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3 Great Colleges for the Farmer in You

Picture of Nicole Pilar
By Nicole Pilar on December, 9 2022 | 6 minute read
3 great colleges for farming

Are you someone who dreams about working with horses? Do you get excited talking about natural pesticide methods for crop production? Do you want to spend time in college thinking about how to solve global hunger sustainably? There are a number of colleges that offer farm and agricultural opportunities for students all over the US. Read on to learn more about some of our favorites. 


Bard college

Bard College

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Bard’s location in the Hudson River Valley and commitment to sustainability is serious and runs deep. The Bard College Farm is a prime example of that. The Farm produces over 20,000 lbs. of fresh food with much of it benefiting students on campus through their partnership with on-campus dining. Students have the option to work on the Farm year-round, and the community can swing by to pick up some goodies from the Bard Farm Stand each week from June until October. 

Sustainability initiatives regarding food are not limited to the Bard College Farm BardsEATS (Education, Advocacy, Transparency, and Sustainability) is a collaboration between staff, faculty, students, and dining services to reduce food waste and support sustainable farming. There are many initiatives, ranging from growing microgreens for use in the dining halls to a Teaching Kitchen where students can learn how to meal plan with low carbon ingredients. Fun fact: Bard met its pledge to purchase 20 percent “Real Food” (local/community based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane as defined by the Real Food Challenge five years ahead of schedule due to the efforts of BardEATS programs and participants.


Cal Poly SLO

California Polytechnic

San Luis Obispo, California

Nestled halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California State Polytechnic University (aka Cal Poly SLO) is one of the oldest universities in California and a pioneer of the “learn by doing” hands-on learning philosophy, especially for their agricultural programs. Nowhere on campus is this more evident than in the programs offered by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the US, with more than 4,100 undergraduate students choosing to study majors ranging from the traditional animal science to the unique agricultural communication program.

Cal Poly students also have plenty of room to “roam,” seeing as Cal Poly is the second largest college campus in California. The campus is home to a dairy farm, veterinary hospital, strawberry center, and so much more. Students also have access to two working farms off campus, and there are over 6,000 acres of working agricultural land directly adjacent to Cal Poly’s campus focused on agricultural production, research, and lab facilities. Cal Poly’s student population is primarily undergraduate focused, meaning students are getting real world experience working in these environments. Throw in the fact that San Luis Obispo is home to the best farmer’s market in California and any student interested in an agricultural program would be foolish to not give Cal Poly a serious look. 


Berry college 

Berry College

Rome, Georgia

Students who visit Berry might be forgiven for thinking they are in Italy when they tour campus, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the US. Besides the incredible architecture on campus, Berry is also the world’s largest college campus, coming in at an astounding 27,000 acres that feature over 85 miles of trails and 42 buildings. Berry’s approach to education is unique, and these opportunities on campus are what give Berry students an over 80% acceptance rate to veterinary school.

Berry has several unique opportunities for students with animal and agricultural interests. Their animal science major is strikingly robust for a college with around 2,200 undergraduate students. Students also have access to a working farm and equine center for hands-on learning opportunities. A notable element of the Berry experience is that all students have access to paid working experiences for every semester of college, regardless of major. The LifeWorks program represents Berry’s deep commitment to professional development and is part of the reason students are so successful post-graduation in job placement and graduate school acceptance. Finally, there are a number of ag-related Student Enterprises on campus like Blue Hen Eggs and Berry Beef that allow students to get business experience in fields related to their major.


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