Plant and Soil Science Concentration
Food and fiber production for a growing world population on a decreasing land base is one of the greatest challenges facing the American people. They are looking to agriculture to supply food and fiber for the future. The plant and soil science curriculum (crop and soil management option) is designed to help students prepare themselves for careers in food and fiber production – in practical aspects as well as biotechnology aspects. The plant and soil science curriculum (crop and soil management option) leads to a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Plant and Soil Science. Students graduating from this program also have the option of further education at the graduate level. Students are required to complete 25 hours of plant and soil science courses plus the basic core curriculum. The program also includes a number of elective courses and several additional courses in agriculture. This enables students in plant and soil science who may also have a strong interest in animal science or agricultural business to concentrate their electives in these areas. Course requirements during the first two years are very similar to those of other universities, allowing easy transfer of credits.
Special studies in many facets of crop production and soil science are emphasized in this curriculum. Studies include soil origin and management, soil resource utilization, plant reproduction including genetics and breeding, fertilizer formulation and use, pesticides, crop management and ornamental horticulture. Practical applications of basic principles are illustrated with field trips and visits to farms and industries. A student may emphasize technology (production), science, or business phases of the plant and soil sciences according to individual interests, but will meet requirements for certification as a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and with the addition of a course in Physics can meet certification requirements for Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg).Many career opportunities are available with various federal and state agencies, including the Agricultural Extension Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Other opportunities are available in various industries associated with agriculture, including feed, seed, fertilizer and chemical companies; agricultural supply and equipment companies; agricultural communications and public relations; conservation and recreation; and banking, credit appraisal, sales and production agriculture.
Supervised field experience, or an internship, is available for academic credit. It is required of all students in park and recreation administration, agricultural business, agricultural science production and plant science programs, and strongly encouraged for students in all other agricultural and natural resources management degree programs. Internships are designed to enable a student to obtain credit for completion of a prescribed program of work with an approved business or agency. Students have served as interns in a variety of agricultural
management and marketing positions and as interns with a variety of city, state and federal agencies. Supervision and evaluation are provided by faculty and on- the-job supervisors. An essential element of this program is that the work experience be designed so it contributes to a student’s learning and level of competence in his/her chosen career area; routine summer jobs or seasonal employment that do not meet these criteria cannot be considered for internship credit. Students interested in the program should apply for participation one semester in advance and they should have achieved senior standing at the time the work experience begins in the case of park and recreation administration and junior standing in the case of other concentration areas.
As the world population continues to increase, demand for food and fiber will also increase. With this demand will come the need for more people to support the farmer. Less that 10% of our graduates return to the farm; most serve the farmer through supportive areas. Career opportunities available in addition to farming include various federal and state agencies such as The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Extension Service, and Natural Resource Conservation Service; various industries associated with agriculture and the environment, including feed, seed, fertilizer, chemical, agricultural supplies and equipment companies; agricultural communications and public relations; lending agencies; environmental consultants; conservation and recreation. Students completing this curriculum will have met the academic requirements for the Certified Crop Advisor program (CCA). The recent emergence of biotechnology has opened several additional careers in plant and soil science research. Graduates of this curriculum area are also well prepared for further studies in plant and soil science at the graduate level.
Agriculture and natural resources management students are active in several organizations which include the Agronomy Club, Alpha Gamma Rho, Block and Bridle Club, Collegiate FFA, Collegiate 4-H, National Agribusiness Marketing Association, Park and Recreation Adventure Club, Equestrian Team (Athletics), Rodeo Team (Athletics), UT Martin chapter of the Wildlife Society,Student Cattlemen’s Association, UT Martin Turf Club, Sigma Alpha and UT Martin Pre-Veterinary Club. These student organizations provide opportunities for meeting established professionals in the field, enhancing leadership skills and participation in social activities. Teams composed of students enrolled in agriculture or natural resources management annually participate in intercollegiate contests in livestock judging, crops judging, horse judging, NAMA Quiz Bowl,SAEA Quiz Bowl and soil judging. Instruction and coaching are provided by faculty members and membership on the team is based upon participation and competitive performance in practice exercises. The teams have received awards in regional and national competition. They provide excellent opportunities for interested students to sharpen their evaluation skills. Equestrian competition is also available to interested students through the UT Martin athletics program.
The UT Martin Agricultural and Natural Resources Field Teaching and Demonstration Complex, located adjacent to the campus, is utilized as the lab farm in the department’s teaching programs. Together, both units comprise 680 acres and include herds of beef cattle, sheep, goats, horses and swine, as well as greenhouses and landscape, wildlife, field and forage crop demonstration areas. These facilities are used by faculty and students to conduct research that complements the teaching program as well as contributes to the broad objectives of the Center of Excellence. The organization outlined above enables students to become familiar with research conducted at the teaching farm, other experiment stations of the UT Institute of Agriculture and other laboratories of the university. UT Martin, in this way, occupies a unique position that differentiates it from other institutions. UT Martin also has the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex (pavilion and stalling facility), an Equine Center, West Tennessee Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the Ray and Wilma Smith Livestock Merchandising Center, with all of these hosting a variety of events throughout the year.
Dr. Eric walker (email@example.com) is an Assistant Professor of Plant and Soil Science. Dr. Walker had several years of experience in soybean agronomic research before joining the UTM faculty. he specializes in crop production and weed science studies. Dr. Wesley Totten (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Assistant Professor of Plant and Soil Science and specializes in turf grass and golf course management.