AG 505 Soil Science
Soil Science covers the basics of soil physical and chemical properties, and how biological elements in the soil are influenced by and exert influences on those physical and chemical properties. However, the primary focus will be on the inherent properties of soils arising from their mineral content and physical constituents, as a foundation for more comprehensive exploration of soils in regenerative organic agriculture in higher-level courses. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours plus college-level courses in chemistry and mathematics desired.
AG 506 Crop Science
An introduction to the basic principles of crop production and best management practices (BMPs) in Regenerative Organic Agriculture will consist of studying the biology of crop species, their growth requirements and the soil management needed to achieve those requirements. After that we go into cropping systems and practices, the essential types of machinery used for each crop species, tillage, fertility management, weed control, crop rotations, and control of pests and diseases. Upon completion of the course, students will be prepared to increase efficiency and productivity in the organic production context, while maintaining and improving soil quality. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours plus college-level introductory biology including basic plant structure and physiology desired.
AG 507 Horticulture
This course is an exploration of the issues and regenerative solutions for growing horticultural crops. The emphasis will be on vegetables, but the principles are also relevant to fruits, herbs, and ornamentals. We will study growth and production of horticultural crops in the context of their environment. This includes the interaction of crops with both the abiotic and biotic environment. The abiotic environment includes soil structure and mineral nutrition, climate and weather, light, air, and water. The biotic environment includes soil organisms; insects, both beneficial and pests; and microorganisms, both beneficial and those that cause disease. Throughout the course we will consider ways to manage crops and their environment in ways that maximize crop health and productivity while enriching the soil, increasing biodiversity, and sequestering carbon. This will include general crop strategies, such as succession planting, cover cropping, intercropping, mulches, timing of crops and more. We will also explore using structures and strategies for microclimate modification and season extension. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours.
AG 508 Certification, Processing, & Handling
This core course will offer a comprehensive review of the rules and regulations related to the certification of organic production of agriculture commodities, the handling of such commodities from farm to consumer and the rules which govern the processing and labeling of any such commodities as added value food, fiber, or feed end-products. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours.
AG 596 Research Methods & Statistics for Agriscience
This core course introduces basic principles and statistical applications fundamental to understanding and conducting research on regenerative organic agriculture. This course will introduce and provide practice with 1) formulating hypotheses and designing experiments to confirm or refute them, 2) avoiding pitfalls when producing data, 3) exploring data, 4) fitting models to data – choosing an appropriate data distribution, analyzing data using Excel and either R or SPSS, 5) inference – test of significance, choice of tests, parametric vs non-parametric tests 6) general linear models – ANOVA (analysis of variance), regression, and 7) drawing valid conclusions. Prerequisites: Consent by instructor.
AG 597 Research Project
This capstone course is the applied research component of the degree and will permit many approaches to the intellectual exercise of applying the principles of regenerative agriculture under research settings. Approaches may include, but are not limited to, critique on literature reviews; collecting published data on a selected topic, synthesize of the collected data, reporting and presentation; design and execution of on-the-job agronomic lab or field projects involving environmental sample collection, analyses, data synthesis, report-writing, and presentation, etc. Research may be conducted on the MIU campus or at a location of the student’s choosing. The course not only introduces how agronomic research is done but empowers students in critical thinking to prepare them for research projects in their careers. Prerequisites: AG 596
AG 516 Regenerative Farming Systems
This course introduces to the student the concept of systems of agriculture. In particular, the broadly defined system labeled as regenerative will be discussed. The course includes a rigorous discussion about what is regenerative and what is not regenerative within a farming system. The students are invited as a part of this course to participate in the evolution of definition on what is regenerative by nature within a farming system. This will include the consideration of what is regenerative with respect to crops, animals, soils, and whole ecosystems. This course will look at farming systems around the world as examples of regenerative applications in farming. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours.
AG 521 Agroforestry
Agroforestry is a form of agriculture that utilizes trees to enhance landscape productivity and resilience, thereby contributing to the sustainable production of food, wood, medicinal, and other industrial raw materials. This land use management technique improves agroecology of landscapes and enhances the livelihood of people. Agroecology encompasses diverse applications such as improved soil fertility and carbon cycle, water retention of soils, protection from pests and diseases, protection of soils from water and wind erosion, etc. Students will learn about the principles, classifications, and practical applications of agroforestry systems in agricultural production and environmental management. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours plus basic biology or agricultural science desired.
AG 540A Cultivation & Utilization of Medicinal Herbs
Growing medicinal and culinary herbs is a specialization of horticulture. Gain knowledge of various temperate and tropical medicinal herbs, cultivation practices, and traditional utilization. The course covers: 1) Introduction and ethnobotany of herbs, such as aloe vera, basil, chamomile, chives, lemongrass, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, nettle, and yarrow, along with some tropical herbs like ginger, turmeric, amla, pepper, and ashwagandha. 2) Chemical composition of herbs. 3) Cultivation practices, including nursery techniques, soil and climatic requirements, methods and seasonal planting of herbs, maintenance, and sustainable harvesting practices. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours plus previous course in botany/chemistry desired.
AG 540B Post-Harvest Processing, Extraction, & Quality Control of Medicinal Herbs
Post-harvest processing, extraction, value addition, and quality control procedures of medicinal herbs. This course is an extension of AG 540A Cultivation & Utilization of Medicinal Herbs. The course covers: 1) Post-harvest processing of herbs – minimal processing, methods of drying, dehydration, and storage temperature and conditions. 2) Methods of extraction of herbs, including fresh- and dry- maceration, decoction, and fermentation. 3) Value addition to the herbs, including herb formulation – herb mixes, essential oils, face creams, herb syrups, etc. – and pesticide formulation. 4) Assessing identity and purity of herbs based on quality control procedures, such as Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), and Good Sourcing Practice (GSP), to be followed during cultivation and processing. Prerequisites: AG 540A
AG 580 Soil Ecology
This course will focus on the comprehensive study of soil biology with an emphasis on soil microbiology. The microcosm of the soil has outward effects on the macrocosm of the agro-ecosystem.
In regenerative organic agriculture, establishing and maintaining healthy biology in the soil is a critical component in farm management. Plant health depends on soil health. The foundation for maintenance of healthy soil is knowledge of the composition and dynamics of soil organisms. From the agricultural perspective, this knowledge is applied in management practices that enhance a diverse and balanced soil biota.
We will study how plants interact with the soil life from the level of root colonization with beneficial organisms, to how plants support diverse microbial partnerships in the rooting zone, and outwards to the ways macroscopic soil organisms affect the plant-microbial system. We will introduce some methods for studying community complexity, diversity, and distributions of soil microbiomes, such as metagenomic and multi-omics approaches. Bioremediation, inoculation, and other ways to regenerate soil communities in agro-ecosystems will be investigated. Prerequisites: 60 college credit hours plus general biology, ecology, and microbiology desired.
AG 591 Advanced Horticulture
This course is an extension of the core course on horticultural science. In this course the student will study the organic cultivation of fruits and vegetables. The course will include an in-depth study of organic management of the problems common to this production, including prevention and control of disease and insect problems, soil preparation, bedding systems, mulching systems, irrigation systems, greenhouse production systems, storage, transporting and marketing of organic fresh produce and other topics pertinent to the horticultural field. Composting raw organic materials will be discussed as an input for supporting crop production. Prerequisites: AG 507 Horticulture.