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February 13, 2012 / NextStepU

Major Monday: Sustainable agriculture

Recently, the natural and organic food movement has been sweeping the country and has influenced many to put down the pesticides and “go green.” But did you know that there is a major out there that focuses on sustainable agriculture? If you’re interested in how food can be grown along with nature then this may be the major for you!

According to the College Board, students who pursue a major in sustainable agriculture will learn the concepts on environmentally safe farming, called agroecology. Activities in the classroom often include working on the fields and visiting other farms, listening to guest speakers and putting theory into practice.

Before applying to schools, students should know more about the program at the campuses that they wish to apply to. They need to know what kind of degree they will be getting (whether it be a certificate, an associate or a bachelor’s) as well as how many courses dedicated to sustainable farming is available at the institution. Students should also inquire into whether or not the school offers concentrations in fields like pest management or greenhouse production if they know the specific route that they want to take.

Students who graduate with a degree in sustainable agriculture can pursue a career in agricultural sciences or agricultural engineering. Both jobs typically require at least a bachelor’s degree and sometimes a master’s or doctorate is required depending on where one pursues a career. Agricultural scientists averaged a yearly salary of $64,370 in 2009 and agricultural engineers averaged about $74,640 as of 2009.

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