Download Studying Sustainable Agriculture (.pdf)
A useful guide from www.bigfuture.com which gives an overview of what a college degree program in Sustainable Agriculture might look like, and key points to keep in mind when choosing a program.
Download The U.S. Servicemember’s Guide to Academic Programs and Aid
A comprehensive guide from www.onlinecolleges.net. Thanks to Celine Brown for the submission!
College Degree Programs
The following colleges and universities offer degrees in Sustainable Agriculture or related fields.
Click Here for information about what a degree program in Sustainable Agriculture might look like and things to keep in mind when researching a program.
Search Programs By State
AL: Alabama SARE (Sustainable AG Research & EDU)
SARE provides resources to agricultural professionals. Alabama SARE’s website contains information about present and past agricultural research, links to resources on other websites, discussion forums, and important training DVDs. The DVD training provides a solid foundation of knowledge about season extension and crop production in cold-soils for agricultural professionals.
AL: Auburn University, College of Agriculture – Undergraduate & Graduate Programs
Auburn, AL 36849
Eight departments, 11 undergrad majors, 23 focus areas: Ag economics & rural sociology; animal sciences; crop, soil & environmental sciences; entomology & plant pathology; fisheries, aquaculture aquatic sciences; horticulture; poultry science.
AK: Alaska Agricultural Resources (a website not a school) – Publications & Library, Forums, Workshops
Educating Alaska’s Farmers and Agricultural Professionals About Sustainable Horticultural Production Techniques and Agricultural Business Practices. This website is meant to provide resources to agricultural professionals throughout Alaska and contains information about present and past agricultural research, links to resources on other websites, discussion forums, and forums where agricultural professionals can interact with each other and share information. More significantly, this website provides exclusive access to important training DVDs geared towards agricultural professionals. The training provides a solid foundation of knowledge about season extension and crop production in cold-soils for agricultural professionals.
AK: Calypso Farm & Ecology Center
Ester (Fairbanks), AK 99725
Participants learn how to become self-reliant farmers by working alongside experienced farmers through the entire growing season from caring for greenhouse transplants, prepping the field for planting, planting, seeding, harvesting, managing soil fertility, weed and pest management, caring for farm animals, operating a CSA, running a farm stand, selling to local restaurants, working in natural alignment to prevent injury and more. Guided training in art and craft skills such as wood carving, basic tool making, papermaking, metal working, wool processing, etc is also provided.
AZ: University of Arizona – Environmental & Sustainability Portal, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The University of Arizona offers more than 150 courses on environmental studies and sustainability in addition to seminars that address the most timely environmental issues. The University of Arizona’s programs explore our relationship to the environment, advance our understanding of our planet, communicate environmental knowledge, and find solutions to environmental problems.
AZ: Prescott College – Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies & Sustainability with emphasis in Agroecology
Prescott, AZ 86301
The Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program centers on education in natural systems and processes of the Earth, and on the role of humans who both depend on and influence these systems and processes. The aim is to develop compassionate, informed, and responsible citizens who are prepared to offer constructive solutions to environmental problems, and to help heal relationships between people and nature.
Agroecology, which emerged as a cross-disciplinary field over the last 40 years, bridges the study of agriculture with ecology. While Agroecology is based on the natural sciences, it lends itself to cross-disciplinary studies. Students interested in Agroecology are required to enroll in the Agroecology Summer Term, which is based at the College’s Jenner Farm, about 15 miles from Prescott. The curriculum of the Summer Term is designed around:
- making conventional agriculture more resource-efficient and sustainable and
- challenging the assumptions underlying conventional and even small-scale agriculture in designing systems that fundamentally mimic the natural systems of a particular region.
AR: University of Arkansas – Center for AG & Rural Sustainability (CARS)
Fayetteville, AR 72701
The mission of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS) is to enhance and sustain prosperity in rural Arkansas. The Center provides an ideal platform for Agriculture researchers to conduct cutting edge research in a team environment to address challenges in agricultural sustainability. Managed and supported by faculty and staff with expertise in all major aspects of promotion and establishment of agricultural and rural sustainability in Arkansas.
CARS has a broad responsibility in research, teaching, and extension of agricultural and rural sustainability. The projects carried out by the Center faculty cover all major areas of agricultural production, including animal and livestock, rice, forestry and timber, soybeans, specialty crops, local foods, and more. CARS’ work provides unparalleled support to agricultural industries and rural communities that helps build sustainable, “green” agriculture in Arkansas.
CA: California State University Chico – College of Agriculture
Chico, CA 95929-0310
California State University Chico College of Agriculture excells at preparing tomorrow’s agriculture leaders for the challenges of feeding the world and nurturing local communities. Enriched through hands-on educational experiences at the extraordinary 800-acre University Farm, students develop a spirit of inquiry, practice collaboration, learn leadership, and gain a broad understanding of agricultural production systems. The program’s agricultural curriculum, combined with the high-quality living laboratory provided by the University Farm, has helped to set CSU, Chico apart as one of the top agricultural programs in the western United States.
CA: UC Davis Sustainable AG Systems – Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis
Davis, CA 95616
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis brings together the expertise of more than 70 UC Davis faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate student researchers, and undergraduate student assistants to address big and emerging issues related to food and farming sustainability. ASI partners with farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, non-profits, policy makers, and local communities to ensure research and teaching remains focused on modern and applicable science-based solutions to today’s biggest sustainability challenges and the people affected by them world-wide. We are training the next generation of agriculture leaders through classroom learning and hands-on experience.
CA: University of California at Santa Cruz – Center for Agro-Ecology and Sustainable Food Systems – The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture program delivers practical training in organic gardening and small-scale farming, to attain fundamental skills in organic horticulture and agriculture. The six-month Apprenticeship offers instruction and daily work experience in organic gardening and farming on both a hand-dug garden scale and a tractor-cultivated field scale. The program focuses on ecological interactions amongst plants, soils, climate, insects, and pathogens. In a hands-on education approach, apprentices work alongside staff in the greenhouse, gardens, fields, and orchards, and also attend lectures, demonstrations, and field trips. Over 1,500 graduates have gone on to develop their own commercial farms, market gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) projects, start inner-city community gardens, work as environmental educators, participate in international rural development projects, manage organic landscaping businesses, and pursue degrees in agricultural studies.
CA: Cal Poly, at San Luis Obispo – Horticulture & Crop Science – Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences Major at Cal Poly
San Luis Obispo, California 93407
The Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences major at Cal Poly allows students to specialize in one of three concentrations during freshman year: Environmental Horticulture Science, Fruit and Crop Science, Plant Protection Science. Students also develop a foundational plant science background. Working side by side with professors, students are able to choose from a broad array of study options among the three concentrations. They experience real world applications through internships and other collaborations with industry partners. Students get their hands dirty with work and study in Cal Poly’s fields, groves, vineyards, nurseries, orchards, arboretum, gardens and greenhouses.
CA: Cal Poly, at San Luis Obispo – Center For Sustainability
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0250
Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) is comprised of ten academic departments that feature nearly two dozen majors – from agribusiness to food science to recreation, parks & tourism! Using a holistic approach to today’s challenges and opportunities in agriculture and the management of natural resources, CAFES fosters initiatives for sustainability and seeks to strengthen links across disciplines that support ‘Agriculture for Tomorrow.’ The Center’s work is helping Cal Poly become a recognized leader for education in sustainable agriculture. In keeping with Cal Poly’s polytechnic, Learn by Doing tradition, the focus is on hands-on, applied learning leading to real world solutions.
CO: Colorado State University – Organic Agriculture Program
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1170
Organic food and fiber production without the use of synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers is the fastest-growing sector of the agricultural industry, fueled by consumer demand in both North America and Europe. Colorado State University’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Organic Agriculture provides a unique opportunity to study the science of organic production. Our program builds on a base of fundamental agricultural sciences with additional courses on organic agricultural methods, management and marketing. See their brochure for more info: http://organic.colostate.edu/documents/OrganicAgbrochure.pdf.
CO: Western Colorado Community College – Sustainable AG (Div. of Mesa University)
Grand Junction, CO 81505
Western Colorado Community College’s Agriculture programs provides the opportunity to receive a well-rounded education in the principles and practices of agriculture and sound business practices. Students tailor their program of study toward individual interests through tracks in Animal Science, Plant/Crop Science and Agricultural Business. Graduates of the Sustainable Agriculture program can move smoothly into bachelor degree programs at Colorado Mesa University. Bachelor degrees are available in Animal Science, Agriculture Education, Crop and Soil Science and Agriculture Business.
The curriculum for the A.A.S. in Sustainable Agriculture is designed to provide the necessary skills to manage a profitable, environmentally-sound, farm, rancher agricultural business. Students learn the fundamentals of sustainable agriculture, focusing on crop and animal production with farm business. Emphasis is placed on entrepreneurial and practical field applications. The program includes a cooperative work / internship experience for on-the-job preparation prior to degree completion. The A.S. in Agricultural Science is designed to provide students the fundamentals and principles of agriculture and related business practices. With this degree, students will be well positioned to transfer into a bachelor degree in agriculture. Graduates are qualified for employment in a variety of position associated with sustainable agriculture, including horticultural and livestock operations, wholesale and retail management, nursery operations and environmental and agricultural education.
- A quality learning experience in a setting that is unique to Colorado
- Small class sizes with hands-on instruction
- Internships with agricultural businesses are available and encouraged
CT: Yale University – Sustainable Food Program
New Haven, CT 06511
The Yale Sustainable Food Program inspires big questions and crucial research that address our pressing need for more sustainable food systems. The Sustainable Food Program is the steward of two small farms used for learning and research, one on Yale’s main campus and the other at Yale’s West Campus. Internships are available to graduate and undergraduate students, both during the school year and over the summer. These opportunities are paid, which makes them accessible to students from all backgrounds. The Sustainable Food Program also hosts regular workshops, conferences, and talks with visiting experts, and works to enrich and expand coursework and hands-on learning opportunities.
DE: SARE – Delaware
State Programs: The Northeast SARE region supports state coordinators at sixteen land-grant colleges and universities across the region who deliver sustainable agriculture education shaped by local needs. Coordinators also provide information about SARE grant programs, project results, and other sustainable agriculture resources and opportunities.
Delaware Programs: Cover Crops and Soil Health – This Delaware and Maryland Eastern Shore 3-year initiative, begun in 2014, provides training in suitable cover crops species, management strategies and the fertility, soil health, environmental and financial benefits of cover crops in grain and vegetable rotations.
Beekeeping and Attracting Pollinators: This Delaware and Maryland Eastern Shore three year initiative, begun in 2014, provides training in beekeeping best management practices based on current research-based recommendations, methods for increasing overwintering, honey production, extraction and marketing via workshops and hands-on demonstrations. Participants will also learn about native pollinators and best management practices for conserving and promoting them.
FL: University of Florida – Sarasota County Extension – Sustainable Agriculture Program
Sarasota, FL 34241
The Sustainable Agriculture Program provides education and demonstrations that promote the ecological use of resources. The program also develops direct marketing opportunities for Sarasota County’s agricultural producers. The program’s focus is on best management practices for sustainable agricultural production that supports economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. The Program also provides information to Sarasota County residents on agricultural awareness and local food systems. To get your feet wet with sustainable agriculture teachings, you can take a free online short course offered by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. This short course covers core concepts and gives a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture. If you are a farmer, it’s designed for you, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer and want transition to more sustainable practices. If you are a consumer or part of the allied industries, it will describe its goals and its relevance to your local food system, i.e., from farm to plate.
GA: University of Georgia – Sustainable AG Cooperative Extension
Athens, Georgia 30602
University of Georgia’s Extension department has a a diverse library of agriculture subcategories, including Sustainable Agriculture. With many links to publications, news, websites, and events, it’s an incredible place to start down the path for learning and resources to become informed and educated on sustainable agriculture.
GA: Fort Valley State Cooperative Extension – Agriculture and Natural Resources Program
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Extension Administrator: 478-825-6572
Program Assistant: 478-825-6565
Fort Valley State’s Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Extension Program focuses on growing food and fiber, producing crops for renewable energy, and resource conservation. The program partners with landowners to improve existing enterprises or to launch new endeavors to serve income expansion and diversification for farm businesses.
Areas of Focus include:
- Animal Science and Livestock Enterprise Development
- Horticulture/Fruits and Vegetables/Organic and Traditional Garden Methods
- Aquaculture/Pond Culture and Recirculating Systems/Aquaponics
- Forestry/Woodlots and Forestry Products/Agroforestry
- Water Quality/Soil Management and Fertilization/Conservation
- Agricultural Marketing/Niche Sales and Traditional Opportunities/Food Service
- Life on the Farm Educational Program
HI: Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture (HIP)
Kapa’au, Hawai’i 96755
“WOW! What an incredible place to learn agriculture, completely hands on! A quote from the program director explains it well:
“This is a huge opportunity to come to Hawaii and study community living, your relationship with the earth, and explore agriculture in a pristine environment surrounded by epic beaches, forests, gardens, and incredible food abundance. Students leave HIP Agriculture with a profound realization of how to live a life of balance on the planet, becoming holistic human beings, with the potential to emerge as leaders at the forefront of a global shift to live in alignment with the earth’s precious eco-systems. The value of learning to live more sustainable, healthy lives, and gain real skills, in a time of increasing global crisis, is priceless.” – Dashiell Kuhr, Director
- Immersion Courses
- Farmer Training/Living Farm Internships
- Farm Tour
- Field Trips
HI: University of Hawaii at Manoa – Sustainable & Organic Programs
Honolulu, HI 96822
Academic and Student Affairs: 808-956-6997
Preparation for a career in Sustainable and Organic Production requires a broad spectrum of coursework. Students learn to manage complex agro-ecosystems and the fundamental skills required for today’s successful agri-entrepreneurs in areas including: tropical crop and soil science, basic horticulture, entomology, weed science, plant disease, and crucial business. CTAHR offers a wide array of selections for specialization, ranging from organic food crops, vegetables, tropical fruits, taro and Hawaiian medicinals. Using a creative combination of lectures, invited guest speakers, special projects and local farm visits, classes offered by CTAHR expose students to a rich and stimulating educational environment of science-based and hands-on learning.
ID: University of Idaho Extension – Cultivating Success Program (in partnership with WA University & Rural Roots)
Colorado (various cities)
A Partnership of Washington State University, University of Idaho and Rural Roots, “Cultivating Success: Starting Your Sustainable Idaho Small Farm” is a course that has students takes a realistic look at their goals and resources, and helps them evaluate what type of small acreage enterprise is right for them. Students are exposed to various types of farming and ranching systems, guest farmers speak to the class, and field trips are taken to local farms. Students complete a whole farm plan. This course is offered as a series of webinars and regional workshops, including an introductory webinar, three full-day workshops, related farm tours, and an end-of-course potluck and evening seminar.
IL: College of Lake County – Associate’s Degree or Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture
Grayslake, IL 60030
http://www.clcillinois.edu/programs/hrt (click “Programs”)
Today’s horticulture industry offers careers that go beyond landscaping and floral design. Associate degree graduates of horticulture programs can become natural area managers, arborists and owners and managers of sustainable farms as well as landscape designers and business owners. CLC Horticulture program offers Associate in Applied Science degrees in five specialty areas as well as six certificate options.
IN: Purdue University Cooperative Extension N. Central SARE Indiana
Greenfield, IN 46140
SARE in Indiana:
Check out “Organizations, Programs, and Contacts”, most especially, Perdue University Extension.
Perdue Extension offers programs and information on agricultural production and financial management for farmers, food and fiber processors, manufacturers and consumers. They also provide expertise in environmental issues, natural resource conservation and land use. https://extension.purdue.edu/pages/c.aspx?intHomeID=1&intCatgID=1
IN: Merry Lea Sustainable Farm at Goshen College – Agroecology Summer Intensive
Albion, IN 46701
Goshen College: http://afsic.nal.usda.gov/edtr/goshen-college
The Agroecology Summer Intensive is an undergraduate residential curriculum in academic and experiential learning at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center and Sustainable Farm of Goshen College. The Intensive has four 3-credit courses in Sustainable Agriculture: soils, vegetable crops, agroecology and small farm management/produce marketing that count towards the school’s Agroecology Minor.
Environmental Science (B.A.) with Agroecology Minor and Track:Students in the Agroecology Track take 12 credits in the Agroecology Summer Intensive program plus botany and entomology courses in the botany department.
Agroecology Undergraduate Minor: The Agroecology Minor requires four courses in the Agroecology Summer Intensive program plus two additional courses.
Merry Lea Sustainable Farm: The Merry Lea Sustainable Farm serves the Agroecology Summer Intensive program, the Center’s K-12 programs, and the Center’s Masters in Environmental Education. The educational farm demonstrates sustainable agriculture practices for students and the visiting public.
*A Certificate Program is available for those not seeking academic credit.
IA: Iowa State University Extension – Alternative Agriculture
Ames, IA 50011
The Alternative Agriculture in Iowa website provides useful resources for producers, researchers, and anyone interested in becoming more diversified, profitable, and environmentally responsible using alternatives to Iowa’s traditional crops (corn and soybeans). Using peer-reviewed material from contributing departments, topics include: Agronomy and Horticulture (alternative crops), Economics (farm management and profitability), Animal Science (alternative livestock and forages), Organic Agriculture (crops and livestock), Economic Development (value-added ag), and Natural Resource Management (environmental considerations). Downloadable information includes publications, articles, and videos.
KS: Cultivate Kansas City
Not a school, but diverse in its program and support.
Kansas City, KS 66106
Cultivate Kansas City is a locally-grown non-profit working to grow food, farms and communities for a healthy local food system. They grow food. They’re farmers who work to feed you, your family and your community good, fresh, real food right here in Kansas City. They grow farms. They’re educators, trainers, facilitators and organizers. They work to help growers develop skills and access resources to start sustainable farm businesses on our city’s vacant land. They grow community. They bring people together. They help farmers connect with each other. They help farmers connect to their neighbors and community. They help you connect with your farmers.
KS: Kansas Rural Center
Not a school, but diverse in its program and support.
Topeka, KS 66604
KRC partners with organizations, agencies, companies and individuals across the state and country to provide the resources that farmers, ranchers, consumers and communities need to grow an ecological, diversified food and farming system. Our vision encompasses independent family farms, healthy rural communities, and a safe and healthy food supply for all, with increasing emphasis on local and regional food production supported by partnership between farmers and consumers.
KY: University of Kentucky – KY FarmStart
Lexington, KY 40546-0276
Kentucky FarmStart is a management program for beginning farmers and transitioning farmers (those moving into a new role). Based on their interests, program participants learn about farm planning, enterprise selection, management, marketing, farm safety, soils, and production. One of the primary program goals is to assist producers in developing a comprehensive farm management plan. The KyFarmStart program helps beginning farmers evaluate their land, labor, and other resources and make management decisions that are profitable for their operation.
KY: The Berea College Farm – Agriculture & Natural Resources Program
Berea, KY 40404
The Berea College Farm is one of the oldest continuously operating and most highly diversified student educational farms in the United States. Located in the Knobs along the edge of the Bluegrass Region, the Farm borders the campus of Berea College and consists of pastures, cropland, gardens, woodlots and ponds on about 500 acres. The Farm is an educational laboratory for students in the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program at Berea and a working model of sustainable agriculture in the region.
Students who work on the Farm as part of the College’s labor program produce beef cattle, hogs, chickens, eggs, goats, fish, honey bees, grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, and herbs, all of which are sold locally, mostly to the College’s dining hall and to the public. The Farm is an essential educational resource that compliments and reinforces in-class academic learning.
The Farm serves as the main laboratory for most of the courses taught in the ANR Program and provides students with practical work and management experience through the College Labor Program. Students play a fundamental role in the Farm’s operation, including enterprise development and management, production, equipment maintenance, marketing, and financial planning.
LA: Southern University – AG Research & Extension Center
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
Research scientists and extension personnel from Southern University and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center work to create programs that focus on, but are not limited to, the following areas:
- Sustainable Agricultural Systems
- Nutrition & Health
- Family & Human Development
- Urban Forestry& Natural Resources
- Youth Development
- Economic & Community Development
The Center’s programs are aimed to help small-scale and limited resource farmers and ranchers to develop and/or maintain viable farming operations that are in harmony with the environment. They help communities build capacity to develop the business and industrial sectors. They also improve the quality of life for families and youth throughout Louisiana.
LA: Southern SARE University of LA
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a professional development program sponsored by Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSUAC) and the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SUAREC). These institutions work together to create programs that help Louisiana’s professionals build skills in sustainable agriculture.
Louisiana SARE partners with researchers, extension faculty, producers, and community organizations to research and implement the best science-based practices available in Louisiana’s agricultural system. SARE is also dedicated to providing various educational trainings in sustainable agriculture that are offered annually. Initiatives include workshops, long-distance education training sessions, field trips, resource manuals and informational bulletins.
MA: Hampshire College Farm – Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute
Amherst, MA 01002
The Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute at Hampshire College is an academic program focusing on food production and sustainable agriculture and is centered at the vibrant Hampshire College Farm. Over a 4-week period, students, faculty, staff, and alumni come together as a living and learning community. Students gain hands-on work experience with the guidance of the Farm Center staff and acquire experiential knowledge through independent research projects.
Students learn the various aspects of the production process, including soil, plant cultivation, animal management. Students address issues in public health and politics and spend time in the kitchen, breaking bread. There are numerous opportunities for community building through roundtable dinner discussions with local farmers and food producers, a weekly film series, and field trips to local farms emphasizing environmental and community sustainability. Not only will students learn about organic vegetable production and sustainable animal husbandry at the Farm Center, which provides food to more than 200 farm share members, they will learn about microbiology through making cheese, fermentation through making sauerkraut, and cultural practices through growing heritage varieties and breeds. Each week, the program will have a new thematic focus with support through lectures, discussion groups, and experiential learning opportunities.
MA: University of Massachusetts Amherst – Bachelor’s and Associate Degrees and Certificates in Sustainable Food & Farming, and Sustainable Horticulture
Amherst, MA 01003-9286
http://stockbridge.cns.umass.edu/program/sustainable-food-farming | http://stockbridge.cns.umass.edu/program/sustainable-horticulture-0
Students in the Sustainable Food and Farming major prepare for work in diverse fields such as:
- growing and marketing real food
- farm-based educational systems
- food advocacy, community development and public policy
You can concentrate on a diverse range of work opportunities from permaculture and organic farming to medicinal herbs and community food systems.
Sustainable Horticulture (i.e., “the green industries”) is the largest segment of plant agriculture, by economic measures, in Massachusetts and New England. Abundant career opportunities exist in the field and in related industries and services.
The next generation of students graduating from Land Grant universities will be faced with the challenge to redesign landscapes in response to diminishing supplies of fossil fuels and water as well as greater financial stress in public and private enterprises.
MD: University of Maryland, Eastern Shore Maryland Extension – Sustainable Season Extension
Princess Anne, MD 21853
Note: This project has ended, but you can read an overview of the project, the program plan, reports, outcomes, and accomplishments at the Maryland Season Extension webpage on Northeast SARE’s website (http://www.nesare.org/State-Programs/Maryland/Season-extension).
Delaware State University and the University of Delaware collaborated with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in this joint professional development program that focused on promoting the adoption of season extension strategies on the DelMar peninsula. During 2011-2014, the project trained agricultural service providers and farmers in a comprehensive education program about season extension strategies that can help farmers increase profits, spread labor out over a longer time, deepen customer relationships, and meet the increasing demand for locally-grown foods.
ME: University of Maine – Cooperative Extension – Sustainable Agriculture Program
Orono, ME 04469-5722
The University of Maine offers academic, research, and extension programs in Sustainable Agriculture (SAG) that address the principles and practices of environmentally sound, profitable farming.
The SAG program’s areas of focus include: building healthy soil through crop rotations, organic soil amendments and erosion management; protecting water quality by reducing synthetic chemical use; managing pest and weed problems with integrated, ecologically sound approaches; increasing farm profits and income stability through diverse, community-based enterprises; and using knowledge of scientific principles to propose and test farming practices that better mimic natural ecosystems. In addition, to the core courses, students obtain knowledge and skills in the liberal arts, mathematics, sciences, and communications.
ME: College of the Atlantic – Beech Hill Farm
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
COA (College of the Atlantic) Students have the opportunity to design and participate in independent studies, group studies, and final projects that involve the Beech Hill Farm. Beech Hill Farm work study positions are available along with ongoing volunteering opportunities. Areas of Study at COA aren’t majors or formal concentrations. All COA students design their own major in human ecology and are free to chart their own path. Your major is defined by you.
Farming and Food Systems Area of Focus: Understanding food and its production requires insights from history, anthropology, economics, politics, ecology, botany, chemistry, and so on. COA has a diverse and interdisciplinary set of classes in the area of farming and food systems, such as Agroecology, Edible Botany, The Art and Science of Fermentation, and Agriculture and Biotechnology. In addition to learning about the ethics, anthropology, and politics of food, there are many opportunities to get your hands dirty. The college owns and operates two organic farms. Classes make use of these farms and there are opportunities to work both during the school year and during the productive summer months.
ME: University of Minnesota: Crookston – Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Sciences with Emphasis is Agricultural Environmental Stewardship
Crookston, MN 56716
An emphasis in agricultural environmental stewardship will train students to address environmental issues by providing them with the background of agricultural operations that will enable them to understand the impact agriculture can have on the fate and transport of chemicals in the environment. This will also enable students to learn about techniques in various fields of agriculture that minimize the impact on the environment while still producing the food, energy, shelter, and other commodities needed to sustain the human population.
MI: Michigan State University – Organic Farm and Organic Farmer Training Program
East Lansing, MI 48824
Students of the Training Program engage in the management of the 15 acre certified organic farm, including its 20,000 square feet of passive solar greenhouse space. The farm has pigs, cattle, laying hens, and honey bees. Students develop competencies in farm skills through skills trainings and by engaging in the day-to-day work and operation of the farm. Hands-on-training is combined with workshops, lectures, readings, and assignments that build participants’ knowledge and understanding of organic farming principles and practices. Students manage the Sustainable Organic Farm’s production for its primary markets, including a 48 week CSA, 7 month on-campus farm stand, sales to campus dining services, and other wholesale accounts.
The program is designed to give participants a strong background in production, as well as the knowledge, management, and business planning skills necessary to operate a diverse small farm. The program provides students with the know-how required to scale up their operation over time.
Scholarships are available! There is also a Farmer Field School that offers Intensives and Workshops built upon the foundational work of the MSU Organic Farmer Training Program.
MO: North Central SARE – University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
Check out Missouri SARE’s programs page, with links to tons of resources in farming and ag education in Missouri. One notable resource in particular is University of Missouri Extension’s resource page for Sustainable Agriculture: http://extension.missouri.edu/main/DisplayCategory.aspx?C=50
MO: College of the Ozarks – Agriculture Program
Point Lookout, MO 65726
The field of agriculture needs graduates who are trained in the liberal arts and the scientific and practical components of agricultural production. Students benefit from College of the Ozarks’ strong academic agriculture program, which is coupled with experiences in on-campus farm production, farm management, and industry internships. Students majoring in agriculture choose one or two of the following areas for emphasis:
- Animal Science
- Dairy Science
MS: Southern SARE – University of Mississippi
MS State, MS 39762
The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a professional development program sponsored by the Southern Region SARE and co-coordinated by Mississippi State University and Alcorn State University. The goal of Mississippi SARE’s program is to enhance the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the state through research and education. Mississippi SARE partners with researchers, extension faculty, producers, and community organizations to research and implement the best science-based practices available in Mississippi’s agricultural system. In addition to research, SARE is dedicated to providing education in sustainable agriculture through various trainings offered each year. Sustainable agricultural practices have been incorporated in educational programs, such as annual small farmers conference, field days, producer meetings, workshops, and demonstrations of management practices and conservation.
MT: Western SARE – Montana State University Extension
Bozeman, MT 59717
The overall goal of the Montana Western SARE PDP is to foster learning opportunities and promote critical thinking on sustainable agriculture issues among Montana agricultural professional, farmers, and ranchers. Montana SARE’s program is being developed in association with Montana State University Extension specialists, Extension agents, faculty, and graduate students interested and involved in sustainable agriculture. The Montana Western SARE PDP holds meetings, workshops, field days, and other training and professional development activities.
More information about the Montana Western SARE PDP can be found at the following webpage:
Montana State University Extension – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (http://ipm.montana.edu/SARE/index.html)
MT: Montana State University – Bachelor’s Degrees is Specialized Fields in Sustainable Food & Bioenergy Systems
Bozeman, MT 59717
The B.S. degree program in Sustainable Food & Bioenergy Systems focuses on ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable farming methods, food and health, and other food and bioenergy system-related issues. It emphasizes the interconnected processes of crop and animal production, processing, distribution, and utilization for food and/or bioenergy.
The wide range of food- and bioenergy-related areas covered will prepare students for careers in which they can address food safety, rural economic decline and poverty, obesity, loss of indigenous foods, bioenergy-related issues, and other food- and energy-related problems.
NE: Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
Curtis, NE 69025
Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots is a program designed to assist eligible military personnel, their families and armed forces veterans to become Farmers, Ranchers, and Business Entrepreneurs in their next careers. Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots utilizes existing programs funded by the federal Department of Agriculture, Small Business Administration, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and various state and local agencies to create successful business succession plans that match participants with existing farm/business/ranch owners.
Other programs include the “100 Beef Cow Ownership Advantage Program”, the “Heifer Link Program”, “100 Acre Farm Ownership Advantage Program“, an “Irrigation Technician Area of Concentration” and an “Earn to Learn” program to cover school expenses.
NE: Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society – Farm Beginnings Workshop
Ceresco, NE 68017
The Farm Beginnings Nebraska Program consists of a series of 10 sessions from December to April that cover a variety of topics including: holistic management, building networks, goal setting, whole farm planning, building your business plan, financing, marketing, business and farm management and financial management. While the class participants will learn firsthand from the farmers, they will also work on developing their own business plan as they progress through the course. As part of the class tuition, participants will also have the opportunity to attend the Healthy Farms Conference at the Peter Kiewit Lodge at Mahoney State Park near Omaha on February 15th and 16th. The Healthy Farms Conference has been held annually for over 35 years and is the annual conference of NSAS. Sessions this year will include; hugelkulture, homeopathy for the farm, vegetable production, grass-fed beef, local foods policy council, cover crops, organic farming, bee keeping, young and beginning farm opportunities, farm transitioning, agri-tourism and more. Farm tours are also part of the Farm Beginnings Nebraska program. Both during the course and at the concluding we will visit around 10-15 farms highlighted by a twilight tour and potluck. Tuition for the is $500, but you may qualify for a partial scholarship. Your tuition includes; Farm Beginnings notebooks and handouts Joel Salatin’s, Holy Cow and Hog Heaven book Meals at each session, An NSAS membership, Registration to the annual Rural Advantage and Healthy Farms Conference For details and to sign-up email William at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NV: University of Nevada Cooperative Extension – Sustainable AG Programs
Reno, NV 89557
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, introducing sustainable biodiversity and multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the number of pest control materials labeled in Nevada, and increasing the knowledge and implementation rate of Insect Pest Management practices in Nevada. Such programs include: Alternative crop production, Cool season forage grass/IR-4/IPM program, Sustainable Biodiversity/Multiple Use of Rangelands. Contact: Jason Davison, Alternative Crops and Forage Spec., 775-423-5121.
NV: Deep Springs College – Cattle Ranch & Alfalfa Farm – Two Year Liberal Arts Honors Program
Office/Mailing: Dyer, NV 89010 | Ranch: Big Pine, CA 93513
Deep Springs College is a unique institution of higher learning. The educational program is built upon three pillars: academics, self-government, and manual labor. The school is located 40 miles from Bishop, California on an isolated cattle ranch in Deep Springs Valley. Between 12 and 15 students are admitted each year. A scholarship covers the costs of tuition, room, and board for every student offered admission. Leadership and enlightened service are the aims of Deep Springs by bringing students into intense contact with nature, work, and ideas. No tuition or fees are levied, but strenuous effort, self-governance, and selfless service to the community are expected of everyone. Based on a cattle ranch in an isolated desert-mountain valley, the college enables its twenty-six male students to experience and take year-round responsibility for a largely self-sustaining community, ranch, and farm, while requiring them to engage in a two-year liberal arts honors program. Learning is pursued to solve real problems, both practical and social, for the joy of intellectual understanding and humane action.
The Ranch: Deep Springs College operates a cattle ranch and 155 acre alfalfa farm. The college sells both hay and beef cattle, but the ranch and farm are maintained primarily for educational purposes. The ranch keeps about 200 head of beef cattle which graze throughout the valley and in the White Mountains. Working with the ranch manager, students perform much of the necessary ranch work, from herding cattle to shoeing horses to delivering calves. More than a dozen horses are kept for ranch work and recreation. Students receive training in basic horsemanship, and many take advantage of the opportunity to go on frequent horseback rides. The alfalfa farm is a large part of the student labor program, where students irrigate, harvest, and periodically replant the fields. The farm manager trains students to operate and repair irrigation equipment as well as drive the tractors and harvesting machinery. The college has a fleet of trucks, tractors, and farm machinery which are maintained on-site by the staff mechanic and his student assistants at the shop.
Liberal Arts at Deep Springs: Courses at Deep Springs are intensive and interactive. Classes are very small, usually between four and twelve students, so every student must come prepared to contribute. Instruction at Deep Springs emphasizes student participation, which often extends beyond time in the classroom to the formulation and execution of goals for individual courses. Students take seriously their individual responsibility in learning.
NH: University of New Hampshire – EcoGastronomy Dual Major
Durham, NH 03824
The Dual Major in EcoGastronomy integrates UNH strengths in sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition to offer a unique academic program emphasizing the interdisciplinary, international, and experiential knowledge that connects all three fields. From growing and preparing food to getting first hand experience in international food cultures and issues of food security, the program provides students with an integrated academic experience and prepares them for professions within the rapidly evolving food community.
NH: University of New Hampshire – Agricultural Experiment Station – BA and BS in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Durham, NH 03824
University of New Hampshire Research Farms: The New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES) funds, maintains and manages multiple field research facilities. Our field facilities include two horticulture and agronomy farms, a typical New England Holstein dairy, a diversified organic dairy farm, and the research/teaching greenhouses. The several other field sites adjacent to or near the UNH campus are used independently for research, teaching, and engagement while directly contributing to the farm operations by producing required dairy and equine feed. The majority of our forage fields are maintained in certified organic status, and we use manure and compost generated from our dairy and equine facilities to maintain their soil fertility and tilth.
BA or BS: The University of New Hampshire offers a BA and BS in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. The program offers a flexible curriculum for acquiring knowledge and experiences related to modern agricultural and food systems and/or preparing for varied careers in these fields. The diversified courses are offered at the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and the Thompson School of Applied Science. The B.A. degree will be particularly useful to those interested in having more flexibility to take courses from a variety of disciplines or pursuing a dual degree, second major or minor. The B.S. degree will best serve those seeking a strong foundation in scientific and technical knowledge and/or who envision pursuing an advanced degree in biological or agricultural sciences.
Minor in Agribusiness: The agribusiness minor is designed to provide students in disciplines other than environmental and resource economics training in the economics and management of agricultural and other natural resource business firms. This program prepares students to work for private companies, governmental agencies, or nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations. Students who are interested in operating their own businesses will also find this minor very useful. The courses in the agribusiness minor emphasize the applications of economic and business management principles.
NJ: Northeast SARE – The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences – Agriculture and Foods Systems Major
Clayton, NJ 08312
856-307-6450 ext. 1
The Agriculture and Food Systems Major aims to appeal to those who are interested in an entrepreneurial and innovative education in the agricultural sciences, spanning the entire range from production to table. The A&FS major targets students who seek careers in agribusiness, government service and agricultural education and extension, as well as those preparing to be owner/operators of farming enterprises. A unique aspect of the A&FS major is the ability of students to tailor their course work to their specific interests by selecting classes from a chosen area of focus, which include controlled-environment and precision agriculture, agricultural policy and entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, and niche agriculture, including agro-tourism, community-supported agriculture, and sustainable agriculture.
The New Jersey Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station is the research and outreach arm of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Cooperative Extension agents and specialists deliver wide-ranging educational programs in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, urban and community outreach, youth development, food, nutrition and health, and related areas of economic and workforce development across New Jersey.
NJ: Ramapo College of New Jersey – Masters of Arts in Sustainability Studies
Mahwah, NJ 07430
Ramapo College’s Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies (MASS) is a ground-breaking program that unites the social sciences, the natural sciences and business to develop leading practitioners in the emerging field of sustainability. Students develop and refine the skills needed to promote sustainability in a variety of organizational, cultural, commercial, and geographical contexts. The curriculum is designed so that all coursework feeds into each student’s own capstone project, which is developed in conjunction with faculty mentors. The primary focus of the capstone project is to help students make the career transformation they most desire. This is an intensive program, with a graduate-level workload. The courses are delivered in a hybrid on-line format. Students come to campus for face-to-face sessions one evening per week, with the remainder of the coursework delivered online.
NM: New Mexico Farmer-to-Farmer Training Program
Albuquerque, NM 87105
AFSC NM provides comprehensive hands-on farmer-to-farmer training led by Don Bustos, AFSC NM director, who has been recognized by the state as an Organic Farmer of the Year as well as by New Mexico State University as an agriculturist of distinction. Beginning farmers are mentored on all aspects of sustainable farming including crop selection, soil health, irrigation methods, harvesting and post harvest handling techniques, business planning, aggregation and marketing. Training is a one year commitment. All trainings and workshops are free of charge. If you are interested in joining the training program, please contact us. Currently, we have training sites in Bernalillo County, Dona Ana County, and Rio Arriba County.
NM: Quivira Coalition
Santa Fe, NM 87505
For young, aspiring ranchers and farmers, a daunting barrier to starting up a successful, regenerative agricultural enterprise is lack of opportunity to learn on the ground alongside established practitioners so that vital, experience-based knowledge can be transferred to a new generation of land stewards.
The New Agrarian Program offers apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture through partnership with mentor ranchers and farmers who are part of the Quivira community. In particular, this program aims to build resilience on Western lands by training the next generation of stewards in agricultural best practices, and by training ranchers and farmers to be mentors.
Our apprenticeship program works closely with carefully selected rancher and farmer mentors who are dedicated stewards of the land; practice beyond organic, regenerative methods of food production; provide excellent animal care; and who are natural teachers for young agrarians.
NY: N.East SARE – Cornell University Small Farms Program and Beginning Farmers Project
Ithaca, NY 14853
Cornell University’s Small Farms Program:
Cornell University’s Beginning Farmers Project:
The mission of Cornell’s Small Farms Program (http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/) is to foster the sustainability of diverse, thriving small farms that contribute to food security, healthy rural communities, and the environment. This is done by encouraging small farm-focused research and extension programs, and by fostering collaboration in support of small farms. At the Cornell Small Farms Program webpage, you can find an abundance of learning resources, from webinars and videos, to loads of information on production, livestock, business planning, marketing, farm energy, farm safety and more. For example, you’ll find webinars and slideshows from the 2011-2014 NY farm energy project, photo essays of farm energy innovators, and other useful farm energy publications and videos. Helping farmers learn about and adopt innovative, sustainable farm energy solutions was the goal of New York’s 2011-2014 state program. Improved energy efficiency and conservation, and increased use of renewable energy are important components of farm sustainability.
Another great resource is Cornell’s Beginning Farmers Project (http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/), a place to find resources, online courses, planning guides, and more for starting your farm business!
NY: SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill – Associate’s Degree in Sustainable Crop Production
Cobleskill, NY 12043
Students who choose to major in Sustainable Crop Production at SUNY Cobleskill take a two-year course of study that prepares them for employment in private industry or public service. They are exposed to up-to-date information presented by faculty who are highly trained and well-educated. A student may find themselves in a well-equipped laboratory studying soil science one day and out on the College’s 650-acre farm studying crops. The campus is used extensively for laboratory experiences and the student is typically involved in activities such as collecting insects for a course in Entomology, gathering weeds for Weed Identification, or surveying a field for the Surveying and Land Measurement curriculum. The SUNY Cobleskill mission is to produce graduates with “hands-on” experience who are competent and successful in the field of agriculture. More than 98 percent of Sustainable Crop Production graduates find employment in their chosen area or continue their education.
NC: Warren Wilson College Farm – BA or BS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture
Asheville, NC 28815-9000
The Warren Wilson College Farm serves as a resource through which the goals of work, service, and academics can be fully met. The student run mixed-crop and livestock operation is managed as an educational and working farm with a commitment to sustainable farming practices. With 275 acres divided among 25 fields in the Swannanoa Valley, the mixed-crop farm also has beef cattle and hogs, which make up the majority of the livestock. The College Farm strives to cultivate student leaders with a strong work ethic, continuing an agricultural tradition since 1894.
Degree program includes a BA or BS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture.
NC: Duke University Campus Farm
Durham, NC 27705
The Duke Campus Farm is a one-acre working farm dedicated to catalyzing positive change in the ways we grow, eat and think about food. By using sustainable methods to grow fruits and vegetables, DCF provides a living laboratory for all things food related at Duke and beyond. Since DCF was founded in fall 2010, it has grown from a student project to a working farm providing thousands of pounds of produce each year to campus dining halls and CSA members, working with classes across the academic spectrum, exposing hundreds of students and community members to the joys and hard work of growing real food.
NC: Central Carolina Community College – The Green Central Program in Sustainable Agriculture (a two year Associate in Applied Science degree)
Pittsboro, NC 27312-8822
The Green Central Program in Sustainable Agriculture focuses on environmental awareness as well as the farming community. The program provides both the small business and technical skills needed to develop and manage a profitable, environmentally sound, and community-based small farm or agricultural business. Students work with fellow classmates to plant, cultivate, and harvest a variety of produce. They learn to utilize a variety of tools and equipment, including tractors and tillers. Field trips, farm tours, and internships enhance the learning experience.
A five-acre student farm at the Pittsboro Campus is an organically managed outdoor classroom for research, demonstration, and crop production. The site includes a greenhouse, as well as student-built farm structures including a pole barn, a packing shed and a masonry pizza oven.
Degrees and Certificates include:
- The Green Central Program in Sustainable Agriculture (a two year Associate in Applied Science degree)
- Agricultural Sustainability Certificate
- Sustainable Livestock Systems Certificate
- Sustainable Vegetable Production Certificate
ND: FARRMS – Intern Program
Medina, ND 58467
The FARRMS Internship Program provides beginning farmers and ranchers real world training in sustainable agriculture.
Participants in the FARRMS internship program live and work full time on a host farm for an entire growing season, receiving ongoing instruction and learn in-depth skills unique to the host farmer’s operation.
The goal of the FARRMS internship program is to prepare beginning farmers and ranchers with the fundamental skills and concepts of operating a successful farm.
OH: Ohio State University Agricultural Reseach & Development Center (OARADC) – Waterman Research Farm – Various Undergraduate Majors
Columbus, OH 43210
Waterman Research Farm: Facilities and features of the Waterman Farm include the Turfgrass Foundation Research & Education Facility, the Waterman Dairy Facility, the Rothenbuhler Honey Bee Research Lab, the Waterman Headquarters Building (including the Wittmeyer Conference Room), the SENRL Woodlot and acres of irrigated and non-irrigated plots. Collectively, these facilities provide comprehensive research, teaching and outreach opportunities in the areas of turf science, dairy management and research, entomology, ecological engineering, agricultural systems management, sustainable agriculture, food science, agronomic and horticultural production practices.
The Ohio State University – College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences – Undergraduate Majors:
- Agribusiness and Applied Economics
- Agricultural Systems Management
- AgriScience Education
- Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability
- Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
- Sustainable Plant Systems
- And more
OH: Cincinnati State Technical and Community College – Associate’s Degree in Sustainable Horticulture or Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture Management
Cincinnati, OH 45223
In the Sustainable Horticulture program students learn sustainable landscape techniques and technologies including design, implementation, and management of green roofs and green walls; stormwater management best practices; sustainable choices in plant materials; and use of alternative energy systems in landscapes. Students complete foundation courses in landscape horticulture and environmental science, and then take additional technical courses in sustainable horticulture. Core business courses prepare students for leadership roles in local businesses and municipalities, while cooperative education employment experiences allow students to further develop their knowledge in positions with companies utilizing sustainable horticulture.
OK: Oklahoma State University – Bachelor of Science in Agriculture & The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Stillwater, OK 74078-6028
Oklahoma State University – Bachelor of Science in Agriculture: An available focus of the BS is the “Farm and Ranch Management option (http://casnr.okstate.edu/academics/majors)
Extension: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service creates Fact Sheets to provide research based information on a variety of topics: Ag Business, Community and Rural Development, Crops, Family and Consumer Sciences, Gardening, Livestock, Natural Resources, Environment and Ecology; Weather. Specific topics in the Crops section include: forages, pastures, grain crops, fruits & nuts, vegetables, soils, tillage, pest management and plant diseases (http://www.oces.okstate.edu/crops)
Additional Resources: http://oregonstate.edu/ag-ed/
OR: Oregon State University – College of Agricultural Sciences – BS in Agricultural Sciences
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
The agricultural sciences undergraduate degree prepares students for a variety of paths with focuses in agriculture business management, introductory soil science, leadership, and communications. Students add additional technical agricultural courses from pre-approved content areas to create a personalized emphasis related to a career goal within agriculture.
With a degree in Agricultural Sciences, you can get a wide-ranging education that covers agriculture production, agribusiness, resource management, and environmental/sustainability issues. The major gives you the freedom to design your own degree, and as part of the degree program, students can choose from various agricultural based credits and electives. You can go broad with exposure to all areas of agriculture, go deep with two or more emphasis areas, or do a combination of both.
Focuses include topics like animal sciences, crop and soil science, or agricultural business management, leadership, and communication skills. And if you’re interested in becoming a teacher, an Agricultural Sciences degree is an ideal first step. It allows you to integrate the breadth of agricultural based prerequisite courses required for the Masters of Agricultural Education graduate/licensure program.
Want even more flexibility? You can complete an Agricultural Sciences degree online through Ecampus, OSU’s accredited distance learning program.
OR: Clackamas Community College – Certificate in Urban Agriculture
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
The Certificate in Urban Agriculture focuses on an ecological systems approach to sustainable farming principles and practices suitable for local food crop production. Many classes have a lab component, which provides students with the opportunity to gain a practical, working knowledge of small-scale, organic farming. Production methods for vegetables, grain, fruit and aquaponics are covered. Students may begin this program fall, winter, or spring term. Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to:
- Apply sustainable, organic methods in the planning, planting, management and harvesting of food crops.
- Select and properly use farm equipment that is appropriate for a given scale and system of farming.
- Implement organic IPM strategies in orchards and on small scale vegetable and berry farms.
- Use a basic understanding of soil science and irrigation systems to make ecologically sound decisions in the production of food crops.
- Write a business plan and identify the various regulations that impact an organic food producer.
- Effectively communicate with co-workers and customers through speaking, writing and computer technology.
- Pass the ODA Pesticide Laws & Safety exam.
PA: Rodale Institute – Farmer Training Programs
Kutztown, PA 19530-9320
Farmer Training: Rodale Institute’s hands-on programs are ideal for aspiring organic farmers and food-systems advocates. Students get a unique and comprehensive education by participating in all aspects of Rodale’s diverse farm operation, with in-classroom and in-field learning. The programs focus on organic farming, seasonal crops planning, tools and machinery, composting, soil biology, livestock, and business planning and marketing.
Training Program Opportunities:
- Delaware Valley University (Del Val) and Rodale Institute have created a 36-credit certificate program focused on organic agriculture. The one-year curriculum combines classroom courses on animal science, marketing, vegetable production, organic crop science, entomology, weed management and sustainable agriculture during the spring and fall semesters on the Del Val campus. The summer semester is spent at Rodale Institute.
- The St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm is an innovative farm-to-hospital model. Interns are trained in greenhouse production, field work, pest and weed management, farm equipment, record keeping, irrigation, CSA distribution, bee keeping, wholesale distribution, and various other skills.
- Research Department interns work with staff researchers to lay out experimental field plots, assist with greenhouse plantings, conduct lab experiments, tend and maintain experiments, collect and process samples from the field, and enter data for statistical analysis and interpretation.
- Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) brings fresh, high-quality organic food to underserved communities and provides a viable business model for new or established farmers who want to enter these markets. Internship participants are trained with responsibilities in every aspect of operating a small local organic grower’s business. Garden interns learn and practice the fundamental principles of organic plant cultivation and garden maintenance. Interns have the opportunity to work with a diverse selection of plant material including vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.
- Rodale Institute livestock interns work with dairy cows, organic swine and poultry, a team of oxen, a small herd of goats, sheep and donkeys. This internship is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about organic animal agriculture and organic veterinary care.
RI: University of Rhode Island – Sustainable Agriculture
Kingston, RI 02881
Additional Resources Through University of Rhode Island Extension Services:
- Get linked to RI Agriculture: Here you can find a Rhode Island farmer, a Rhode Island agricultural association, an agricultural resource, a Rhode Island Cooperative Extension Service, current agricultural research http://cels.uri.edu/sustainableag/SAG_links.html
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Clemsen’s Agriculture programs provide educational information and resources on production practices that enable producers to improve their economic productivity, environmental sustainability and social well-being.
Clemsen’s Extension educational offerings cover the following:
- 4-H Youth Development
- Agriculture, Agronomy, Horticulture, Livestock & Forages
- Food, Nutrition, Health, and Safety
- Natural Resources, Forestry & Wildlife Resources, and Water Resources
SC: Southern SARE – Clemson University – Sustainable Agriculture Program and The Student Organic Farm
SARE South Carolina:
Clemson, SC 29634
Clemson, SC 29534
SARE South Carolina: The South Carolina Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) (http://www.southernsare.org/SARE-in-Your-State/South-Carolina) is a professional development program sponsored by the Southern Region SARE and co-coordinated by Clemson University and South Carolina State University. SARE provides sustainable agriculture education and outreach programs to Cooperative Extension Service personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and other agriculture professionals, farmers, and landowners with an interest in sustainable agriculture. In addition to research, SARE is dedicated to providing education in sustainable agriculture through various trainings offered each year.
The Clemson University Sustainable Agriculture (SA) Program (http://www.clemson.edu/sustainableag/about.html) provides sustainable agriculture education and outreach programs to Extension personnel, staff, agriculture professionals, farmers, and landowners with an interest in sustainable agriculture. The Program is managed by an advisory committee consisting of farmers, agriculture professionals, Non-Government representatives and others with an interest in sustainable agriculture development.
Various Clemson colleges, departments and research and education centers participate in research and outreach devoted to sustainable agriculture. For example, the Agroecology Program at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center (http://agroecology.clemson.edu/) is devoted to sustainable row crop farming methods. The Coastal and Edisto RECs conduct research on sustainable vegetable, small grain, cotton, peanut, soybean and livestock production. (Coastal REC- http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/coastalrec/,Edisto REC- http://www.clemson.edu/edisto/) The Clemson Student Organic Farm Project (see below) is devoted to research and demonstration of organic production methods for high value vegetables, herbs and cut flowers. The SA Program also hosts several workshops and outreach opportunities for the benefit of local small farmers in the southeast. See their calendar for events.
Student Organic Farm: The Clemson Student Organic Farm Project (SOF) (http://www.clemson.edu/sustainableag/student_farm.html) currently occupies approximately 15 acres of the Calhoun Field Laboratory, an area dedicated for agricultural research, teaching, and public outreach programs on the Clemson University Campus. The student farm was certified organic in 2005 and follows the National Organic Program rules which prohibit the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. A certified organic greenhouse is also used for production of transplants for the field and market. The SOF relies heavily on student involvement in all aspects of farm management, production and marketing. It offers research opportunities for graduate students, and also provides undergraduate students with hands-on experience in organic production systems. Students and faculty are dedicated to exploring more profitable and environmentally-friendly farming enterprises through research, education and public service.
SC: Southern SARE – South Carolina State University Extension – Small Farm Assistance and Outreach Program
SARE South Carolina:
Clemson, SC 29634
South Carolina State University Extension:
Orangeburg SC 29117
Small Farm Assistance and Outreach programs build awareness of agricultural entrepreneurship among farmers and promote entrepreneurial opportunities.
SD: S.Dakota State University – College of of Agriculture & Biological Sciences – Various BS/BA Majors
Brookings, SD 57007
South Dakota State University – College of Agriculture & Biological Sciences:In addition to eight academic departments, the college is home to both SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. The West River Ag Center is a satellite of the college, and serves as center for teaching, research, extension, and outreach activities in the western part of the state. The college is the largest at SDSU in terms of student enrollment, faculty and staff, and building space.
Available BS/BA Majors include: Agricultural Science, Dairy Production, Animal Science, Horticulture, and many more.
SD: South Dakota State University – Save Our Farm Youth Program
Brookings, SD 57007
The Save Our Youth Program’s goal is to reduce the incidence of agriculture–related injuries, illness, and deaths by increasing the awareness of potential dangers associated with specific farm and ranch practices. Day camps are designed to teach basic safety practices to farm and urban youth. Volunteers from local communities plan and conduct the day camps. SOFY is coordinated by a partnership consisting of Extension and the Avera Rural Health Institute. Extension provides the administration and curriculum for the camps and leads fundraising efforts, and Avera supplies resources for the health aspect of the program.
SD: South Dakota State University Extension – iGROW
Brookings, SD 57007
iGrow is the teaching platform used by SDSU Extension to assure state of the art program delivery. Each week, SDSU Extension staff and partners publish the latest information to the communities within 4-H & Youth, Livestock, Agronomy, Healthy Families, Community Development and Gardens. SDSU Extension foster learningd communities that empower citizens to advocate for sustainable change and strengthen agriculture, natural resources, youth, families and communities.
Focus Areas Include: 4-H & Youth, Livestock, Agronomy, Healthy Families, Community Development, and Gardens.
TN: University of Tennessee Cooperative Extension – Tennessee New Farmer Academy
Nashville, TN 37209
The Tennessee New Farmer Academy is a six-month, 6 class certification program designed for those with an interest in becoming agricultural entrepreneurs. Ideal candidates for this program include: – those who are new to agriculture, – those who wish to transition into agriculture from another field, such as military service or private sector work, – those who are looking for a post-retirement opportunity. The program focuses on teaching the concepts, providing the information, and facilitating the hands-on experience needed to build solid, viable, and successful agricultural businesses.
Farm Business & Marketing Basics: Over multiple sessions, you will learn to identify the appropriate enterprise for you and your farm, how to start your business, and how to navigate the regulatory issues of the agricultural world. Additionally, you’ll learn about some of the most effective marketing strategies like farmers markets and CSAs, and how to apply for grants and other types of assistance available to new farmers.
Agricultural Production Practices: A portion of each program session will be dedicated to helping you establish and/or maintain productive and efficient operations, covering topics like soil health, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, beekeeping, irrigation strategies, organic production, greenhouse management, and hydroponics.
Hands-on Experience: In addition to classroom instruction, the New Farmer Academy provides hands-on experiential sessions on topics including fruit tree pruning and care, drip irrigation and plasticulture, fencing installation and repair, GPS/GIS mapping, sprayer calibration, and equipment operation/safety.
TX: Texas State University – Student Sustainable Farm
San Marcos, TX 78666
Degrees and Programs: Along with the Student Sustainble Farm, the Texas State College of Applied Arts, Agriculture offers programs in General Agriculture, Ag Business and Management, Ag Systems Management, Animal Science, Horticulture Management, and others. The BSAG undergraduate programs offer majors in Agriculture, Agriculture-Animal Science, Agriculture-Business Management, and more. Minors also include Horticulture, Plant and Soil Science and others. (Find more information about each major at http://ag.txstate.edu/degrees/undergrad.html)
Student Sustainable Farm: The ultimate goal of the Student Sustainable Farm is to create an eco-system that can educate, nourish, and provide research opportunities to all students, faculty, staff and the community. Students are highly encouraged to participate in growing and harvesting while at Texas State!
TX: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension – Texas AgrAbility Project
Texas AgrAbility Project offers Workshops throughout the year, Online Courses, Services and other resources geared toward agricultural producers with disabilities and chronic illness.
Workshops: There are currently no workshops scheduled, but workshops are hosted several times a year. Check their Workshops webpage periodically for updates on workshop events (http://txagrability.tamu.edu/workshops/). You can also checkout their past workshops on the same webpage.
Online Courses: Texas AgrAbility offers online continuing education courses through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and provides information on disabilities in relationship to agriculture production and services provided by the Texas AgrAbility project. If you are interested in learning more about disabilities in agriculture, check out the online courses being currently offered by AgrAbility Project at http://txagrability.tamu.edu/resources/online-courses/.
Services: Texas AgrAbility provides a variety of services to farmers and ranchers living with disabilities and chronic illness including:
- Information and Referrals
- Individualized Consultation
- On site Farm and Ranch Assessment
- On site Agribusiness Assessment
- Home Environment Assessment
- Technical Assistance Services
- Business Plan Assistance
UT: Western SARE – Utah State University Extension
Logan UT 84322
Utah State University Extension:
SARE Utah: Utah State University and the Western SARE Professional Development Program provide excellent opportunities for in-service training in sustainable agricultural topics. Over the years, SARE Utah’s partnerships with outside agricultural organizations and experts has allowed numerous agricultural professionals to enhance their learning and skills through SARE Utah’s ag educational opportunities, and apply it to sustainable agricultural systems with which they’re involved. SARE Utah’s goal is for ag professionals to utilize their new skills, knowledge, and awareness to in their own farming and agriculture endeavors, so we can all continue to move forward in our journey towards sustainability.
Sustainable Agricultural Training Opportunities Include:
- Best Management Practices
- USU Extension Annual Conference
- Coordinated Resource Management Planning training
- Organic Fruit and Vegetable Workshop
- Urban and Small Farms Conference
- 35th Annual Arizona/Utah Range Livestock Workshop & Tour
- Dryland Soil Health and Cover Crop Field days
- Presentations of Professional development training results at conferences/workshops/In-service trainings
Utah State University Extension’s Agriculture Resources ( http://extension.usu.edu/agriculture) are extensive and include:
- Ag Waste Management
- Agriculture in the Classrooms
- AgrAbility of Utah
- Animal Health
- Dairy Extension
- Equine Extension
- Production Horticulture
- Small Acreage
- Utah’s Barnyards
- And more!
VT: University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education – Leadership for Sustainable Food Systems Certificate Program
Burlington, VT 05401
800-639-3210 or 802-656-2085
True leadership is about the capacity of people and communities to help shape the futures they desire. This innovative online and on-campus cross-disciplinary program addresses the social, environmental, economic, diet and health impacts of our food system. For the Leadership for Sustainable Food Systems Professional Certificate program, you will:
- Participate in a combined online and on-campus curriculum to expand your capacity to recognize and create positive, forward-looking solutions for our broken food system. The program’s online component is followed by a residential learning experience on UVM’s campus.
- Gain expertise and perspective on sustainable practices related to food systems, which have immediate, real-world application.
- Engage with broad-based stakeholders through the UVM Food Systems Summit and meet in small discussion groups with influential thought leaders.
VT: Sterling College – Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Craftsbury Common, VT 05827
Sustainable Ag: http://www.sterlingcollege.edu/academics/areas-of-study/sustainable-agriculture/
Sustainable Food Systems: http://www.sterlingcollege.edu/academics/areas-of-study/sustainable-food-systems/
Sustainable agriculture is an ecological approach to farming; sustainable food systems is a study of the cultural and ecological context of food. Both study the history and the future of food and food production. The Sterling students who major in Sustainable Agriculture will learn how to build a future of small farming that doesn’t exacerbate climate change, water scarcity, and pollution. Students have experiential classes in how to raise crops for human food and fiber needs, how to measure and tend to soil health, how to work with draft horses, as well as production systems for both plants and livestock.
The heart of the Sustainable Agriculture degree is the college’s own farm (Sterling Farm), where students grow most of the food consumed on campus. All students, regardless of major, work on the farm and gardens at some point during their Sterling College experience.
VT: Green Mountain College – Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Production
Poultney, VT 05764
Students majoring in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Production examine food and agriculture systems through the lenses of history, anthropology, the natural sciences, philosophy, business, economics, and art while learning firsthand the challenges of food production in a dynamic marketplace, a world of increasingly constrained natural resources, and a complex policy arena. Work on the college’s Cerridwen Farm, numerous site visits to regional farms, and engaging internships are critical components of this major. Students pursuing this degree pursue careers in farming, food advocacy, agricultural policy, farm-based education, animal welfare, and natural resource conservation, as well as graduate school in related areas.
VA: Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture – The Veteran Farm Fellowship Program & The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program
Alexandria, VA 22309
The Veteran Farm Fellowship Program will be a one-year, intensive on-farm training program with a second year of paid training pending funding. In 2015 Arcadia will pay one Veteran Farm Fellow to study and work full time at Arcadia Farm for one year. The Fellow will participate in all aspects of Arcadia’s mission, including food access and distribution, sourcing, working with local chefs and retailers, and farm and nutrition education. Farm Fellows should expect 40-50 hour work weeks, and will participate in the Farmer Reserve weekend program.
During the optional second year of the program, Veteran Farm Fellows will be placed in paid externships at local sustainable farms to immerse themselves in other methods of farming and learn specialized skill sets – such as greenhouses, aquaponics, livestock, vineyards, and fruit orchards. They will also be schooled in required business skills, such as accounting, marketing, labor laws, and finance. During both years, Veteran Farm Fellows will be mentored by professional farmers and will produce a viable business plan for their own farms or agriculture businesses when they complete the program.
The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is for those interested in exploring agriculture without committing to a full-time training program. This 12-month program will meet one weekend a month, with an additional service learning commitment of 80 hours of hands-on farm work at Arcadia during 2016. Reserve Farmers will receive hands-on training at Arcadia’s expanding farm in Alexandria, Va.; visit working livestock, greenhouse, organic, and other farms on field trips, and receive classroom instruction on topics ranging from pest control to marketing and farm business planning. Reserve Farmers will also complete independent reading, research and writing assignments. Arcadia Farm Staff instruction will be supplemented by professional farmers and extension agents and supported by staff with our project partner the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
WA: Evergreen State College – Practice of Organic Farming (POF) Program and Specialized Bachelor’s Degrees with various programs in Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainability, and Ecology
Evergreen State College’s Organic Farm is connected to main campus by two trails through the campus forest. It is a working small-scale organic farm that serves as a learning laboratory focused on small-scale organic agriculture. The Farm currently produces fruit, vegetables, and sheep. Produce is sold through a weekly farm stand on campus. The Farm Stand is open Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3-6pm during the growing season and is located in front of the library at the Olympia Campus. Check back regularly for schedule changes!
Located in the northwest portion of the Evergreen campus the 5-acre developed area includes the Farmhouse (built by students in the 1970’s), 3 acres of fields and orchards, greenhouses, a closed-tunnel composting facility and miscellaneous outbuildings. Supported by staff, student farm aides and faculty, students enrolled in the Practice of Organic Farming (POF) program work as interns on the Organic Farm throughout the entire growing season. The growing methods practiced and taught at the Farm provide a working example of organic agriculture with a focus on soil health. Students learn how to plan, plant, maintain and harvest a diverse array of crops while also developing a wide variety of agricultural skills. The internship is supported by academic work in the agricultural sciences. Yearly research projects test new crop and crop varieties, as well as ideas to improve the Farm.
WA: Washington State University – Cultivating Sucess Sustainable Small Farms Education Program
Wenatchee, WA 98801
509-663-8181 ext. 263
The Cultivating Success™ Program offers a series of courses that provide beginning and existing farmers with the production, planning and decision-making skills and support necessary to develop a sustainable small acreage farm. Cultivating Success™ connects the student with the farmers and exposes them to real world situations through a community-based, experiential approach. Whether you are a community member wanting to learn the basics of farming/ranching, or an experienced farmer/rancher wanting to try something new, Cultivating Success™ provides educational opportunities for anyone interested in the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful small acreage farmer or rancher. Courses are offered in various locations around Washington and Idaho to audiences that include new and experienced farmers, academic students, immigrant farmers, and agricultural professionals.
WA: Western Washington University – The Outback Farm and Outdoor Experiential Learning Program
Bellingham, WA 98225
The Outback, a joint program of the Associated Students and Fairhaven College, is a 5 acre farm and wetland restoration site. The purpose of the Outback OELP (Outdoor Experiential Learning Program) is to coordinate a wide range of opportunities for students to learn about, develop and implement sustainable land use practices. These opportunities include personal and collaborative events and projects involving habitat restoration, organic gardening, green building, academic partnerships, independent study projects (ISPs), workshops, lectures and classes. The OELP also provides job-related skill building and community networking opportunities for students. These include serving on the Outback Governing Council, volunteering, and participating in work-study and salaried employment. The Outback Farm loves volunteers and visitors!
WV: West Virginia University – David College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design – Various Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
Morgantown, WV 26506-6108
WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design: The Davis College is West Virginia University’s oldest academic unit. Today students gain practical knowledge and skills outside the classroom using 3,425 acres of farmland and 8,134 acres of forest for teaching and research. Undergraduate students can choose from 23 majors and 22 minors. Graduate students can choose from 17 master’s and 23 doctoral program areas. The Davis College annually awards more than $250,000 in scholarships.
Additional Useful Links:
Davis College Undergraduate Majors: http://www.davis.wvu.edu/undergraduate/majors
Davis College Minors: http://www.davis.wvu.edu/undergraduate/minors
Davis College Master’s Programs: http://grad.davis.wvu.edu/davis-masters-programs
Davis College Doctoral Programs: http://grad.davis.wvu.edu/davis-doctoral-programs
WV: West Virginia University – Extension Service – Various Programs, Projects, Educational Opportunities, and Resources
Morgantown, WV 26506-6108
West Virginia University’s Extension Service has information and continuing education options in a range of topics including: Commercial Horticulture, Farm Management, Livestock, Soil and Water, Sustainable Agriculture and more. Specifically for Sustainable Agriculture, there are many resources provided by SARE, like the SARE.org Learning Center (http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center) with books, bulletins, videos, curricula, fact sheets and much more! SARE’s Learning Center is a treasure trove of sustainable agriculture information. Information about West Virginia Professional Development Programs can be found at http://www.nesare.org/State-Programs/West-Virginia?_ga=1.118073231.722212656.1454362952).
Another great resource is the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center, an organization that strives to increase the farmer’s bottom line by helping him or her retain more of the dollar spent on food in his or her community. Small Farm Center hosts several conferences throughout the year to bring professionals and experts in certain topic areas to share their knowledge with small farmers who seek to expand their existing operation or try something new. (http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/)
WVU Extension Service’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit website collaborates with the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design (and its research stations and farms), the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the National Research Center for Coal and Energy, and other WVU colleges and research units; with other West Virginia higher education institutions; and with state agencies such as the Soil Conservation Agency, WV Department of Agriculture, and the Farm Bureau. This website has an abundance of resources to checkout and programs, projects and educational opportunities in which to participate:
- Plus a TON more!
Other Useful Links Related to WVU Extension:
- West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Service: http://ext.wvu.edu/ (an abundance of resources)
- Extension > Agriculture: http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/
- Extension > Ag > Sustainable Ag: http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/sustainable-ag
- Organic Production: http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/sustainable-ag/organic-production
- SARE West Virginia: http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/sustainable-ag/sare
WI: University of Wisconsin – Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems
Wisconsin (various cities)
Wisconsin’s colleges and universities offer a variety of classes and programs in sustainable agriculture, from practical skills taught at the technical colleges to a graduate degree in Agroecology at UW-Madison. In addition, student groups at a number of colleges offer non-formal opportunities for learning about and promoting sustainable agriculture. The list (found here: http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wisconsin-college-and-university-programs-and-projects-in-sustainable-agriculture/) provides a brief summary of sustainable agriculture education opportunities at Wisconsin colleges and universities.
Additional Resources: The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (http://www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html) can give you the edge you need to succeed in the pasture-based dairy and livestock industries. It is the only program of its kind in the nation. They offer specialized training through traditional classroom activities, hands-on internships, and farm tours. The business and financial planning knowledge required to run a successful farm business is strongly emphasized. Classroom instruction at the school runs from the middle of November through the end of March, and students typically participate in internships from April through July.
Sustainable Agriculture Curriculum Materials: http://www.cias.wisc.edu/sustainable-agriculture-curriculum-materials/
WI: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College – Associates Degree in Sustainable Food & Agriculture Systems
Green Bay, WI 54307-9042
The Sustainable Food & Agriculture Systems program prepares learners with the entrepreneurial and technical skills necessary to manage a profitable, environmentally sound agricultural business. Students will learn the fundamentals of sustainable agriculture focusing on crop production, animal management and farm business. Emphasis is placed on practical entrepreneurial and field training experiences. Graduates are qualified for employment in a variety of positions associated with sustainable agriculture, including commercial gardens and livestock operations, wholesale and retail management as well as food distribution and logistics.
WY: Western SARE – University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources – Various Programs and Projects Available
Laramie WY 82071
University of Wyoming Extension:
Laramie, WY 82071
SARE Wyoming: University of Wyoming Extension has agriculture/natural resource educators in every county in Wyoming and on the Wind River Indian Reservation. These academic professionals have a minimum of a Master’s degree and are hired with the expectation that they develop an applied research program to support the relevancy, technical accuracy, and objectivity of their educational programs. Accordingly, UW Extension, the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES), and the four UW Research and Extension Centers are increasingly collaborative in their effort to meet the educational and research needs of Wyoming agricultural producers and professionals. Leadership for each of these entities is under the direction of the Dean of UW’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In Wyoming, the Western SARE-PDP program provides educational opportunities which enhance the awareness, technical knowledge, and educational capacity of agricultural professionals. These educational objectives support SARE Wyoming’s overall goal of fostering a cohort of agricultural professionals (UW Extension, NRCS, and Conservation Districts) who can effectively address the contemporary needs of agricultural producers, natural resource managers, and landowners in Wyoming. (http://www.westernsare.org/Professional-Development-Program/State-and-Protectorate-Pages/Wyoming?_ga=1.257431820.687470833.1429058387)
UW Extension: Community development, sustainable agriculture and natural resources, rangeland management, nutrition, food safety, and 4-H/youth development — the University of Wyoming Extension focuses on issues that matter most to you! UW Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources program areas include: Crops, Disabilities, Energy, Farm and Ranch Management, Livestock, Local Foods, Pest Management, Soils, Rural Living and Successful Ag Ventures, Water, Weeds, and more! (http://www.uwyo.edu/uwe/programs/ag-and-natural-resources.html)
WY: University of Wyoming – Bachelors Degree in Agroecology
Laramie, WY 82071
The goal of Agroecology is to promote the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices in the United States and abroad. The program is intended to provide students with the following knowledge and skills:
- Writing, oral communication, and math skills sufficient for success as an agricultural professional or for admission to graduate study to a related graduate degree program.
- Sufficient knowledge of physics, chemistry, geology, cell biology, physiology, genetics, evolution, and ecology for participation in modern agriculture.
- Practical knowledge and skills that include using computer technology for writing and analyzing data, using geographical information systems, conducting chemical and biological analyses of soil and water, diagnosing plant health problems, identifying plants and insects, and the general practice of horticulture and agronomy.
Studying Sustainable Agriculture
If you like your produce organic, you’re not alone. There’s a healthy market for products grown without the aid of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides. But how can farmers deliver top-quality food without these tools?
As a student of sustainable agriculture, you’ll learn to see agriculture as a partnership with nature. You’ll study earth-friendly techniques like crop rotation — planting different crops in the same field during different growing seasons. The right combination of crops can have all sorts of benefits. For example, crop rotation can increase soil fertility, prevent erosion, limit disease, interrupt pest growth, and, ultimately, result in a larger harvest.
Did You Know?
Are You Ready To…?
- Examine the challenges of ensuring that people worldwide have enough to eat
- Debate the impacts of agricultural policies
- Compare livestock breeds
- Memorize pest anatomy and life cycles
- Read up on irrigation techniques
- Analyze soil and choose nutrients
- Learn how to market organic produce
- Write about the complex relationship between people and nature
- Get your hands dirty in the fields, greenhouses, and labs
- Master the science behind sustainable practices
- Protect and improve water, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources
It Helps To Be…
- Should you apply directly to the school of agriculture? Are there special admissions requirements?
- Does the program offer a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree?
- Will you have the chance to specialize in, for example, pest management, environmental stewardship, greenhouse production, or agribusiness?
- How many courses devoted to sustainable agriculture does the school offer? Are sustainable methods and related issues covered in other courses?
- Does the campus include working farms, greenhouses, and nurseries where you can get hands-on practice?
- What are recent grads doing now?
Did You Know?
When you take an introductory class in sustainable agriculture, you’ll focus on agroecology, the science that guides “green” farming practices. You’ll compare natural and agricultural ecosystems and study their interactions. And you’ll be introduced to sustainable methods for encouraging plant growth and managing pests — with as few chemicals as possible.
Class activities might include working in the fields, listening to guest speakers, and visiting working farms. In homework assignments and on tests, you’ll put what you’ve learned into practice. You could find yourself proposing green solutions to agricultural problems. You might even grade a real farm on the sustainability of its practices.