The Agricultural Sciences major combines diverse coursework with hands-on experience. Students concentrate in one or more of five areas including sustainable agriculture. This concentration allows students to combine interests in environmental and social studies with current topics in agriculture such as organic farming practices, local food initiatives, farm workers' rights, energy sources, and farm policy. Graduates from this concentration have the skills to work in a range of related fields such as sustainable education, immigration rights, social activism, farm management, environmental studies, and agricultural policy.
Coursework in the Agricultural Technology Program covers organic and sustainable technology, organic food production systems, sustainable vegetable production, application of sustainability practices, precision agriculture, high tunnels, and hydroponic systems and more. "Emphasis is placed on the application of sustainability principles on the university's farm, research plots, gardens, hydroponic systems, greenhouses, and high tunnels."
Dilmun Hill is a 30-acre certified student-run organic research farm that has been practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell University's campus for more than a decade. The farm offers students, faculty, staff and community opportunities for experiential learning, group collaboration and research. Students operate campus farms stands and supply produce to campus dining services.
Cornell University manages seven research farms, orchards, greenhouses, and other facilities dedicated to organic research. Research programs focus on: organic vegetable production; weed and crop management, organic production systems and breeding and variety testing; organic grain trials; pest management; vegetable pest and crop management systems; organic greenhouse production; organic grape production; and organic apple production.
The Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (COSA) organizes workshops on organic and sustainable production, local food systems, and related topics. COSA's two working farms support instruction in organic dairy production, management intensive grazing, organic forage production, sustainable livestock husbandry, organic vegetable production and more.
Works closely with Extension, farmers, non-profits, and Cornell faculty to strengthen research and extension support specifically targeted to New York's small farms. Among its many projects, the program offers a two-credit undergraduate course titled "Exploring the Small Farm Dream" and publishes Small Farm Quarterly and a bimonthly, electronic Small Farms Update.
"The Ecological Sustainability Landscape (ESL) is a 110-acre tract of land including fields, forests, wetlands, and streams, complete with a three-story house and outbuildings. The ESL is home to three courses, Sustainable Agriculture, The Sustainable House and the Seminar in Ecological Sustainability." Students can explore or research organic gardening, farming, integrated pest management, alternative energy sources, beekeeping, and more.
Students actively take part in the restoration of a 75-year-old nut grove. The MacDaniels Nut Grove is being developed as a multipurpose forest-farming teaching, research, and extension site. Hands-on activities include site evaluation and planning, temperate-nut harvest and variety evaluation, mushroom culture, small-fruit and fruit-tree culture, and medicinal-herb culture. Outdoor activities are integrated with selected readings via an online discussion board.