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Tufts OpenCourseware
Student Learning about Swine Production in ASP II Lab at Tufts Veterinary School. (Image courtesy of Kathleen 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 science has influenced policies related to agriculture, food safety, and the environment in the United States
  • How the policies have evolved over time in the US
  • What has worked and what has not; the reasons and the consequences
  • What other factors influence policies beyond science
  • How we link what we learn to ecological agriculture
  • How we use what we learn for policy analysis

Course Description

This course, semester two of a year long 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. The course focuses on plant-pest interaction, crop breeding, plant nutrients, and livestock production. Topics covered during the first semester are soils, water, air and energy.

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  work in field laboratories and trips to research stations and farms.  This leads to improved 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