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CAFES Offers Sustainable Agriculture Option

By Kendra Knutson
UWRF University Communications

NOV. 20, 2006--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has added a new sustainable agriculture option within the crop and soils major in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

The sustainable agriculture option was approved a recent faculty senate meeting after more than two years in the planning stage.  

"In this new option students will study economically viable production systems that promote land productivity, energy efficiency, environmental stewardship, and rural community viability," said Mike Crotser, professor of plant and earth science.

The goals of the program are to provide the students with knowledge and skills needed to produce food, fiber and other agriculture products within the framework of sustainable agriculture systems; learn to market sustainable agricultural products in local, national, and international markets; and explore and promote land stewardship and agricultural community viability.   

Some of the courses in this option include: sustainable agriculture, organic certification principles and practices, soil and water conservation, farm management, fruit science and production, integrated pest management, and many more.  

In their future, sustainable agriculturalists use their curiosity and enthusiasm to solve problems within our current agricultural systems. They also work to sustain rural communities and educate consumers. Many are producers of value-added crops such as organic produce, grains and meats, said Crotser.  

Other areas in which sustainable agriculturalists provide assistance include: technical support in crop and animal production systems, development of soil and nutrient management plans, insect and disease control with integrated pest management techniques, and natural and sustainable food products marketing.

Bottom line, Crotser says, is that they strive to make agriculture more efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable for future generations.

This option was initiated by a student request within the college. "Since it was recently approved, we are still waiting for the first student to take on the sustainable agriculture option," said Crotser.

UWRF also offers a relatively new option in sustainable community development through its Master of Science degree program in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

The sustainable community development option is designed for those seeking to apply their unique interests, knowledge and skills to the benefit of their communities. Working with a faculty advisor, each student develops a customized, experientially based degree plan allowing them to focus on a specific sustainability emphasis. Students can choose from community-based agricultural production, food processing, land use planning, nature tourism or conservation/biology. Participants can choose from a thesis or research paper or non-thesis paper or project.

The M.S. program also offers two other options: an initial certification in agricultural education for prospective agricultural education teachers and a professional development in agricultural education option designed for educators in both classrooms and non-formal settings.

For more information about the master's degree programs in sustainable community development, contact the Outreach and Graduate Studies Office at 715-425-3256, 1-800-228-5607 or e-mail . For information about the undergraduate sustainability option in the crops and soils major contact the Plant and Earth Science Department at 715-425-3345.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:48 Central Daylight Time


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