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Tufts OpenCourseware
Student Analyzing soil in ASPI lab at Tufts Training farmsite. (Image courtesy of K. Merrigan, Ph.D.)
Highlights of this Course

Highlights of this course include:

  • Major biological, chemical and physical components of the agricultural systems
  • The scientific basis for understanding these systems and their management
  • How has science influenced policies related to agriculture, food safety and environment in the United States?
  • How have the policies evolved over time in the US?
  • What has worked and what has not; what are the reasons and what are the consequences?
  • Beyond science, what other factors influence policies?
  • How do we link what we learn to ecological agriculture?
  • How do we use what we learn for policy analysis?

Course Description

This course highlights the relevance of natural resource conservation for ensuring healthy agricultural, food and environmental systems, as well as the various approaches for implementing it. This course, the first of two semesters, focuses on soils, water, air and energy. The second semester delves into plant nutrients, plant- pest interaction, crop breeding, and livestock production.

Classroom discussions and debates explore the present status of natural resources and their management practices in the context of scientific evidence and policy making. These are complemented with field laboratories and trips to research stations and farms.  This improves understanding of the scientific concepts and provides additional exposure to the forces driving American agriculture

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.
Course Faculty
Kathleen Merrigan
William Lockeretz
Ashwin A Mysore
Jennifer B. Hashley
Course Length
39 Hours