agriculture
STEM Scholars Program greenhouse tour

Ferrum College is the only private college in Virginia that offers a four-year degree in Agricultural Science and teacher licensure in vocational agriculture. A diversified four-year curriculum stresses the theory, art, and practice of agriculture while also emphasizing the intimate intersections with sustainability. Within this framework, students consider the environmental, economic, and social ramifications of agricultural practices in an increasingly resource-strained world.

The four program emphasis areas of Animal Science, Agribusiness, Agronomy, and Horticulture allow students to focus their study. Agricultural teaching is, by nature, a hands-on endeavor. This philosophy is embodied in labs, class exercises, practica, internships, and independent research. These diverse delivery methods allow students to apply theory in a practical, real-world setting. This broad preparatory approach is underscored by a comprehensive liberal arts base to prepare graduates for a wide range of career opportunities. Students interested in a career in primary or secondary school teaching may study Animal Science or Horticulture and minor in Teacher Education.

Coursework in Agriculture

The curriculum incorporates a variety of topics to prepare students for opportunities in the field of Agriculture, and includes courses such as:

  • Introduction to Animal Science
  • Field & Forage Crop Production
  • Farm Business Management
  • Livestock Evaluation and Judging
  • Soil Science and Management
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Introduction to Plant Science
  • Animal Diseases
  • Plant Diseases
  • Fitting and Showing
  • Animal and Plant Breeding and Genetics
  • Plant Pest Management
  • Greenhouse Management

Career Options

An Agricultural Sciences major can lead to traditional and non-traditional career and educational paths.  Potential examples include:

  • Soil Conservationist
  • Extension Agent
  • Vocational Agriculture Teacher
  • Farmer/Farm Manager
  • Greenhouse Manager
  • Commercial Loan Officer
  • Agricultural Scientist
  • Graduate School
  • Quality Assurance Supervisor
  • Golf Course Superintendent
  • Peace Corps/VISTA

Recent Agricultural Sciences Graduates and their Careers

A degree in agricultural science is a gateway to a promising career!  Recent Ferrum graduates credit their program of study for the following careers:

  • Sean Duff
    Field Representative
    Augusta Cooperative
  • Robin Albright Kavanaugh
    Animal Resources Manager
    Franklin College of Arts & Sciences
    University of Georgia
  • Joey Cornwell
    Ag Loan Officer
    Farm Credit of the Virginias
  • Sam Goin
    Manager
    Southern States Cooperative
  • Dr. Kevin Bradley
    Associate Professor
    University of Missouri
  • Kyle Sturgis
    Precision Agronomist
    Helena Chemical

Related Clubs

Students can choose from over 50 clubs and organizations at Ferrum College. The following are specifically related to the Agricultural Sciences:

  • Agriculture Club:  Affiliated with the Collegiate Young Farmers (Farm Bureau), the club works with local farmers and assists with the yearly Folklife Festival. This student-led club also organizes and conducts yearly plant sales using the greenhouse facilities at the Titmus Agricultural Center. The club’s membership is a diverse cross-section of majors – a reflection of its broad appeal.
  • National Agriculture Honor Society (Delta Tau Alpha):  Promotes and recognizes high standards of scholarship, leadership, and character among agricultural students.
  • Equestrian Club:  Ferrum College recently established a new equestrian club in partnership with Healing Strides of Virginia, a therapeutic riding facility in Boones Mill, VA. In addition to weekly riding lessons, student club members volunteer five hours a week at the facility and have the opportunity to participate in horsemanship clinics where they can improve their horsemanship skills.

Internships: Internships are designed to further the learning experience by placing students in situations of responsibility and creativity.  Some past internships include:

  • Triple R Ranch, Chesapeake, VA
  • Rawhide Ranch, Bonsall, CA
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service, VA
  • Tidewater Agriculture Research and Extension Center (AREC), Suffolk, VA
  • United States Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection and Quarantine
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension, Rocky Mount, VA
  • Pilgrim’s Pride, Broadway, VA
  • Buffalo Gap High School, Swoope, VA

Campus Facilities and Field Trips:

The nearly 800-acre Ferrum campus serves as a living laboratory. The picturesque campus gardens include a program run arboretum and two campus greenhouses. The Titmus Agricultural Center provides opportunities for student projects with livestock and the Farm to Cafe Program, which markets college-grown produce to the campus dining hall. Students have been active participants in the construction and management of the farm, gardens, and greenhouses. In addition, faculty routinely take students to local, state, and regional farms, botanical gardens, nurseries, and orchards to give them firsthand experience with current agricultural practices and issues in the field. Offsite, the 172 acre Dehart Botanical Gardens in Patrick County, VA, provide a habitat for students to inquire about the natural world and how it intersects with our human footprint.

Experiential & Hands-On Learning Opportunities

Ferrum College believes that hands-on learning is a natural extension of classroom study. 

Research puts classroom theory to practice.  In effect, research brings the educational Experience full circle.  As mentors, faculty can shepherd students through the scientific process and identify a project that’s compatible with their interests.

  • Dr. Bob Pohlad’s research interests include the use of Appalachian watersheds in undergraduate and community experiential education and web-based collaborative ecological teaching and research using a watershed project.
  • Dr. Tim Durham’s research interests include crop variety evaluation, underutilized and niche crops, Best Management Practices (BMP’s), especially as they relate to slow release fertilizers, reduced risk and biological pesticides, and comparative risk assessment of transgenic and conventional crops.
  • Dr. Nancy Brubaker’s research interests include broad-based biomedical research as it applies to animal health, hypothyroidism in the domestic feline, the properties of the “dynamic” bone, and using animals as environmental markers (Lyme disease).
  • Dr. Glen Stevens’ research interests include renewable energy crops such as switchgrass, the control of insect and nematode pests in agriculture, restoration of native species, and soil ecology.

Agricultural Sciences Faculty

Tim Durham

Timothy Durham 
Program Coordinator of Agricultural Sciences
Assistant Professor of Agronomy/Agricultural Sciences
D.P.M., University of Florida
(540) 365-6948
tdurham@ferrum.edu

Glen Stevens

Glen Stevens
Associate Professor of Environmental Science
Ph.D., Virginia Tech
(540) 365-4554
gstevens3@ferrum.edu

Nancy Brubaker

Nancy Brubaker
Assistant Professor of Animal Science/Agricultural Sciences
D.V.M., Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
(540) 365-2121
nbrubaker@ferrum.edu

Nancy Bradley
Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
School of Social Sciences
Ph.D., Virginia Tech
(540) 365-4395
nbradley@ferrum.edu
Teacher Education Website

Bob Pohlad

Bob Pohlad 
Professor of Biology and Horticulture
Ph.D., University of Georgia
(540) 365-4367
bpohlad@ferrum.edu

Adjunct Faculty

Trenda Leavitt

Trenda Leavitt
Adjunct Instructor
M.L.A., Virginia Tech
Licensed Landscape Architect – Commonwealth of Virginia
Academic Instruction Webpage
tleavitt2@ferrum.edu

Alex White

Alex White
Adjunct Instructor
Ph.D., Virginia Tech
(540) 365-4618
wawhite@ferrum.edu

For More Information:

Faculty are active participants in the intellectual growth and development of students.  Feel free to contact them with questions about the program.

Dr. Bob Pohlad
bpohlad@ferrum.edu
Emphasis Area:  Horticulture

Dr. Tim Durham
tdurham@ferrum.edu
Emphasis Areas:  Agronomy and Agribusiness

Dr. Nancy Brubaker
nbrubaker@ferrum.edu
Emphasis Area:  Animal Science

Glen Stevens
gstevens3@ferrum.edu