Agronomy is the branch of agriculture that deals with the study of plants, soils and the environment. Agronomists work to develop methods to increase the production of food and fiber crops, and to properly manage and sustain the soil. Agronomist are involved with research in plant breeding, tillage and cropping systems, weed control, pasture and rangeland management, soil fertility, animal waste use and management, biofuels, irrigation, and many other areas. The challenge for an agronomist is to use science to develop and sustain the food supply, while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.
As an agronomy major, you'll be immersed in a broad array of courses and topics including botany, chemistry, genetics, cell biology, plant physiology, computer science, agricultural economics, entomology (the study of bugs), plant pathology (the study of plant diseases), and natural resource conservation. You'll learn all about the science behind farming and how to best control weeds, insect pests, and plant diseases.
By the time you graduate, you will have a solid understanding of plants and soil and their interrelationships. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be ready to develop cutting-edge solutions to modern-day agricultural problems. Majoring in agronomy opens up a wide variety of career paths. Agronomy majors are highly sought after in today's economy. Another benefit is that agronomists are able to spend a great deal of time outdoors and in cool laboratories (i.e., not behind a desk).
Career opportunities are excellent for agronomists. Currently the demand for agronomy majors is exceeding the number of graduates at OPSU. With a degree in agronomy, an individual could find employment in a vast range of agriculture related industries including:
- Crop consulting
- Seed, chemical, and fertilizer industries
- Corporate farm management
- Agribusiness (banking, administration, etc.)
- Government (NRCS, USDA, etc.)
- Animal waste management with feedlots and hog production facilities
- Natural resource management
- Education and research