Major in Organic Agriculture Systems
Significantly different than conventional agriculture, organic food production is one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture, with retail sales increasing by 20 percent annually since 1991. In many ways, Washington State has been a leader in this burgeoning new industry. This revolutionary new major is the first of its kind to be offered in the United States. Students in this major take a diverse array of courses in the natural, environmental, economic and social sciences, as well as a number of courses focused on organic production practices.
Students wanting a hands-on degree experience thrive in the organic major. WSU has over a four-acre certified organic teaching farm where students learn to produce certified organic vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers that they distribute through local food banks, on-campus food service, a 100-member CSA (community supported agriculture), and a local farmers’ market. Students have the opportunity to tailor their program of study to specific areas of emphasis, such as organic animal and dairy production, economics and marketing, crop production, food science, pest management, soil management, etc. in consultation with their advisor.
The Organic Agriculture Program at WSU prepares students to work on or develop their own organic farm. It also prepares students for employment opportunities with nonprofit organizations and government agencies involved in environmental and food safety, as well as private-sector food processing, marketing, organic certification, and product development industries.
Undergraduate Certificate in Organic Agriculture
Established in the Fall 2008, WSU’s certificate in organic agriculture, the first in the nation, develops a solid background in the agricultural sciences, including an understanding of complex agriculture and food systems. Students develop knowledge and skills that are applicable to all industries and agencies involved in the food chain – from production, processing, and delivery to policy, regulation, and education.
The Certificate in Organic Agriculture is an 18-credit undergraduate program that can be taken along with a major in another field, or as a stand-alone educational experience. The certificate is ideal for professionals working in agriculture or related fields who require in-depth knowledge of organic systems, those wanting to pursue a career in organic agriculture, anyone interested in beginning a community supported agriculture (CSA) enterprise, home gardeners, as well as current WSU students in other majors at WSU with an interest in organic agriculture. Students develop knowledge and skills that are applicable to industries and agencies involved in the food chain – from production, processing, and delivery to policy, regulation, and education.
This is an interdisciplinary certificate that makes use of coursework from several departments in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS).