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Sustainable Agriculture

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Sustainable agriculture views agricultural enterprises in the context of an agricultural ecosystem comprising people, organizations, plants, animals, soils and other natural resources. The sustainable agriculture major prepares students to think about farming holistically — to balance its environmental, social and economic dimensions; to manage the farm itself and its relationship with the surrounding landscape and neighboring communities.

On admission to Ohio State, students who declare a major in sustainable agriculture enroll directly into the major and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Through interdisciplinary course work, sustainable agriculture students will participate in hands-on farming experiences and think critically about environmental sustainability, human-environment interactions, and our changing food system. They'll also develop a variety of transferable and professionally desirable skills.

Core courses in the major will cover topics such as:

  • agricultural ecology
  • farm business management
  • global food and agriculture
  • insect, pathogen and weed management
  • practical farming experience
  • sustainable agriculture and food systems

Students can explore sustainable agriculture in a global context and earn major credit through study abroad programs offered by the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Sustainable agriculture students are required to complete at least one internship to gain practical, hands-on experience to augment their on-campus course work. The CFAES Career Services Office can help students find an appropriate internship.

Student researchers are a valuable part of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS). Our undergraduate students, including sustainable agriculture majors, have a variety of opportunities to gain valuable hands-on research experience while learning new skills and techniques, which can be broadly applied across fields. 

Students conducting research will also get to work one-on-one with faculty and present their work at college- and university-level forums. They may also be eligible to receive a "Distinction" endorsement to their degree. Learn more about getting started in undergraduate research.

The following student organizations are just a few examples of groups that may be of interest to sustainable agriculture majors:

  • Crops and Soils Club: We fundraise (including growing and selling tomatoes) to send our Soils Judging and Weeds teams to compete in events around the United States.
  • Student Growing Collaborative: We learn about and advocate for sustainable agriculture and food justice through workshops and events. We have a four-acre student farm that helps us learn first-hand about agriculture from crop planting to weed and soil fertility management.
  • Pi Alpha Xi (PAX): We're a national honor society, and our purpose is to promote fellowship between students, educators and the professional horticultural community who believe in the enrichment of human life through plants.

Sustainable agriculture graduates can find employment at agricultural and environmental companies and environmental and social justice nonprofit organizations. Potential positions include:

  • agricultural certification agent
  • agricultural research technician
  • agriculture educator
  • corporate sustainability leader
  • farmer or farm manager

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Sustainable agriculture students may be interested in joining the Kellogg-Moser Food Security and Sustainability Learning Community, a community of students interested in sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and food production, security, safety and waste. Members live together on campus, take a common seminar course and participate together in community service projects and events.