Major in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
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 a four-acre certified organic teaching farm, which is currently in the process of expanding to become a 17 acre multi-disciplinary organic farming operation and community center. This farm is an invaluable tool 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
Employment and Career Possibilities within this major
- Organic Farm Manager/Owner
- Organic Certification Specialist
- Organic Food Product Developer
- Organic Crop & Seed Salesperson
- Organic Dairy Producer
- Organic Food Production Consultant
Examples of Required/Preferred Classes for Freshmen
- AS 101: Introductory Animal Science
- CropS/Hort 102: Cultivated Plants
- CropS/Hort 202: Crop Growth & Development
- Chem 101: Introduction to Chemistry [P]
- Chem 102: Chemistry Related to Life Sciences [P]
- AFS 101: Introduction to Agricultural and Food Systems
- SoilS 101: Organic Gardening and Farming
Preparation/Prerequisite Courses for Transfer Students
- Chem 101 and 102
- Biol 106 and 107
- EconS 101
- Stat 212
Please see the WSU Transfer Equivalencies Menu to find equivalent courses at community colleges or other institutions. It is recommended that transfer students work with an advisor at WSU to ensure that the correct community college courses are taken to fulfill requirements.
- Stat 212: Introduction to Statistical Methods [N]
Student Organizations/Clubs Associated with this Major
- Organic Ag Club
Information for New Students
This is a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Food Systems with a major in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture. All students in the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture major are required to do two internships- one at the WSU Organic Research Farm and one off-campus internship. This major is advised by the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences.
Explore the Omache Farm, learn how two WSU graduates are using what they learned at WSU to implement an Organic farm in the Palouse.
WSU Extension helps to young producers become pioneers of the organic cranberry market.
- WSU expands organic teaching farm into a multi-disciplinary 17 acre smartFARM.
- View statistics on Organic Agriculture in Washington and World Wide.
- Participate in WSU’s Organic Gardening Intensive: This multi-week course begins Feb 22nd.
- Interested Organic Agriculture? Check out the: Online Organic Agriculture Certificate.