5 things to know about CFAES’ new sustainable agriculture major

At CFAES, our mission is: We sustain life. Soon, our students will gain a new path for learning to do just that.

CFAES’ four-year degree program in sustainable agriculture—centered on a balance of food production, environmental quality, economic viability, and social responsibility—will start fall semester 2021. Here are five things to know about it …

1. Path to a bachelor’s degree

Students completing the program will take home a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, with sustainable agriculture as the major. Check out what’s in the curriculum. See a sample four-year plan.

2. Careers after graduation

Career options for the program’s graduates include farmer, farm manager, policy developer, agricultural research technician, corporate sustainability leader, environmental and social justice nonprofit professional, agricultural educator, agricultural compliance agent, and certification specialist.

3. Hands-on experience

CFAES students majoring in sustainable agriculture will, among other things, get hands-on experience at the Ohio State Student Farm, located at CFAES’ Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on Ohio State’s Columbus campus.

4. Actual farming, ‘powerful’ learning

“The best learning happens by theorizing, then putting theory into action and coming back to think about what happened.”

That’s Chris Ratcliff talking, in a recent web article about the new major. He’s a lecturer in the CFAES Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. He’s also a senior lecturer in Ohio State’s Department of Engineering Education. And he helped develop Horticulture and Crop Science 2307, the major’s practical experience course, set to be held partly at the Student Farm.

Students today, Ratcliff said in the article, spend “so much time on assignments in front of screens that the opportunity to do actual farming with tangible results is powerful.”

5. Growing good

“I think there are a lot of students who are looking for something like this,” Ratcliff also said in the article. “Gaining knowledge and experience about ecology and growing plants can support us nutritionally and economically, as well as spiritually, psychologically, and morally.”

Ultimately, he said, “the goal of sustainable agriculture is to create a more equitable and healthy society.”

Read the full web article. Visit the new major’s website.

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