Points of Pride - College of Agricultural Sciences

  • The college is home to the only bachelor’s degree program in equine science in Illinois.
  • The Department of Forestry has developed the ultimate study guide -- a comprehensive tree and shrub identification smart phone application for students.
  • University Farms is a 2,000-acre farm system that is the backbone of the animal science teaching program.
  • PotashCorp contributed to the college’s i2i initiative to create the Potash Corp Executive i2i Pathway to Excellence, a new option for students to conduct mentored research addressing issues facing agricultural industries.
  • Students in the animal sciences programs participate in “Pig Watch,” an overnight field laboratory class that has them witnessing the birth of piglets, and recording details of their first hours of life. Equine sciences students also participate in similar “foal watch” stable vigils.
  • The college holds accreditations from the Society of American Foresters, the Council on Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Education and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • The college features plenty of acres for row crops, vegetable production, organic gardening, soil and water conservation and other agriculture related studies and demonstrations.
  • Agricultural Sciences students help organize and staff educational and competitive events that bring hundreds of high school students to campus every year.
  • Students staff the annual bull test sale and the performance testing that precedes it. The student interns learn to handle large livestock, to record statistics about the animals’ health and to prepare for and market a sale. The 2016 sale featured an online and video component.
  • Forestry students study at the only Illinois university with a national forest at its back door. Shawnee National Forest, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, state wildlife areas and campus forest and watershed areas support hands-on learning and research.
  • Students have opportunities for field research, including research that contributes to Illinois Department of Natural Resources policies, the development of new soybean varieties and improved weed control, to name a few. Students engage in their own research, or join a professor or graduate student to participate in significant, ongoing research.
  • Study-abroad opportunities include tropical conservation and biodiversity in Costa Rica, island agriculture in Puerto Rico and forestry in the Bavarian region in Germany. In addition, forestry students may take a summer field course that includes travel to national parks, forests, wildlife areas and recreation areas for intensive lessons in forestry principles and forestry and recreation management topics.
  • The six-acre SIU Sustainable Farm is devoted to organically grown vegetables and fruits. The farm offers a Community Supported Agriculture option, which is an opportunity for local people to invest in the farm at the beginning of growing season and to receive fresh produce as it comes into season.
  • The college is an integral part of SIU’s commitment to green initiatives by providing a sustainable full circle of food. The SIU Sustainable Farm contributes produce to the University Housing dining halls; food waste from the dining halls is turned to compost on campus; the compost is used on campus and by the farms to improve soil fertility. SIU’s forced air composting facility can handle about 9,800 pounds of food waste every week.
  • Researchers in the college are continually working to improve crop health, with particular attention to soybeans, one of Illinois’ most important crops. In addition to breeding lines with higher productivity and disease resistance, researchers are studying the genetic structure of the plants to learn more about pathogen resistance.