Department of Agriculture, Culinology and Hospitality Management

The origins of SMSU’s Agriculture and Applied Economics Department can be traced back to when the Minnesota legislature originally authorized the founding of the university in 1963. When SMSU first began to offer degree programs in 1967, it was known as Southwest Minnesota State College (SMSC).

SMSC’s mission was to offer university-level programs in liberal arts, technical and professional programs. SMSC was expected to pursue nine goals to fulfill its state-approved mission. Goal #7 specifically stated that SMSU will “place particular emphasis on course-work, service and research in rural studies, rural education and agribusiness.”

Because of this emphasis in the university’s initial goals and mission, SMSU has been offering agriculturally-related degree programs for over 40 years.

The answer to the question of why there should be an Agriculture and Applied Economics Department at SMSU is straightforward. SMSU is located in Marshall, MN. The entire region that surrounds SMSU and Marshall is predominantly rural; and the agricultural economy largely governs the landscape.

In addition, the Minnesota (MN) Legislature established SMSU to be a “regional” university that could serve higher education needs in the southwest corner of the state.

A quick study of our service region area easily demonstrates that SMSU serves a principally rural population where agriculture is an economic linchpin. When viewed from these perspectives, the reason for creating an Agriculture and Applied Economics Department at SMSU is apparent.

As of today, SMSU's Agriculture and Applied Economics (AAE) Department offers majors in Agribusiness Management, Agronomy, Agricultural Solutions and Applied Agriculture. In January 2015, the AAE Department will join with SMSU's Education Department to offer a BS in Agricultural Education for the first time on our campus.

Last Modified: 6/23/17 5:14 PM