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Why Get this Certificate? Specific Problem/Challenge and Justification of Certificate

Agricultural sustainability, biosecurity, and anthropogenic climate change are relatively new concepts and thus there has been little time to reach a critical mass of professionals trained in these fields. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program was only initiated 22 years ago. Further, many of the pathogens that affect agriculture have only recently emerged. To make matters worse, a disturbing workforce demographic is unfolding. A large number of employees in agencies like the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection are mid or late-career scientists, yet we are not training an adequate number of new scientists to fill these positions and help mitigate the impending shortfall. Hence, as emphasized by the new Biology for the 21st Century report, the USDA recognizes the need to ensure a competent, qualified, and diverse workforce to serve the food and agricultural sciences and improve the economic health and viability of rural communities. Thus, there are lots of job opportunities in industries targeted by this certificate.
Clearly, however, the training that is going on at land grant institutions is not sufficient to address the national need to increase the number and diversity (i.e., having an agricultural sciences workforce representative of the Nation’s population) of students entering food and agriculture-related science, technology , engineering , and mathematics disciplines. Consequently, the USDA has initiated a campaign to train undergraduate and graduate students in the agricultural sciences at non-land grant universities and the University of South Florida (USF) has participated in this training effort by developing an undergraduate certificate Program in Agricultural Sustainability and Biosecurity. The link to the Course Copy (i.e. curriculum) for the certificate is provided HERE.
If you have questions, please contact the bioadvisors ( ), Dr. Jason Rohr (, or Dr. Earl McCoy (