Texas Tech adds new local food production degree program

Texas Tech adds new local food production degree program

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Texas Tech University is adding a new undergraduate degree program: Local food and wine production, the first of its kind in Texas.

Its director, Eric Hequet, said it will prepare students for urban farming careers.

"This desire for high-quality products is coming back, which is a good thing. A big thing to us, as a department, is that we want to another type of kid to Ag," Hequet said.

While cotton is king in West Texas, Hequet said it is nearly impossible for a kid without an Ag background to survive in the industry.

He said he hopes this new "farm to table" program is the alternative young farmers can afford.

"But if you want to buy five acres to grow vegetables, that's workable. You can do it. So I really think that it opens a door for plenty of other types of kids," Hequet said.

According to the USDA, there are six times more farmers over 65 than farmers under 35.

Hequet said a big reason for this is there has not been an outlet for students without a farm background.

"It's important for us. Talking to a shrinking population only is probably not a recipe for success. I think expanding to the cities is the right way to go," Hequet said.

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