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A student standing in a cotton field at the UF Teaching Farm

A student standing in a cotton field at the UF Teaching Farm

The increasing complexity of agroecosystems caused by uncertain markets, climate change, food insecurity, and exponential population growth is requiring educational programs in agriculture to have foundations in robust scientific approaches grounded in an ecosystem framework. This new educational paradigm is linked to an old discipline known as agroecology, or the scientific discipline that integrates ecological and agricultural principles that results in optimizing resource conservation, productivity, societal benefits, and profitability. To meet this need, UF has developed a core curriculum of crop, soil, and water sciences that emphasizes rigorous presentation of the fundamental scientific principles behind sustainability, resource management and stewardship, valuation of ecosystem services, and system productivity and profitability. We have incorporated the use of distance education in parts of the curriculum, allowing the inclusion of students and institutions across the globe in our program. Our program offerings in agroecology deliver to students the broad and scientifically rooted knowledge and skills demanded by the complexity of technological, political, and economic challenges found in the global agricultural industry of today and the future.