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The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources offers majors in environmental science; bioresources and bioenergy; engineering; food, animal and nutritional sciences; applied economics and business; education; agriculture; natural resources; and plant sciences. We've highlighted two CFANS majors below. To learn about more U of M major options, visit http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/fresh_acadprog.html.

Major: Agricultural Education

Description: Majoring in agricultural education provides an understanding of how to work with people in business and education through courses including applied economics, physical and biological sciences, humanities, and communications. Students choose between two exciting specializations within the major:

  • Agricultural Education Teacher Licensure
  • Agricultural Leadership and Communication

Examples of Careers: Agriculture Education Teacher, Communications Specialist, Extension Educator, Corporate Agricultural Associate, Customer Service Representative, and Sales Representative


Major: Nutrition

Description: Nutrition explores how nutrients and the foods from which they are derived aid the body in growth and development and in maintaining health and wellness. With the national and international concern for the effects of food an nutrition on health and wellness as a disease, there are many career opportunities for graduates of this program. Students choose from three possible fields of study:

  • Nutrition Studies
  • Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
  • Nutritional Science

Examples of Careers: Community Health Worker, Nutrition Educator, Assistant Food Editor, Research Scientist, Sports Nutritionist, Nutrition Program Manager, or Dietetic Technician

If you would like to learn more about Agricultural Education or Nutrition, we encourage you to schedule a campus visit at http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/visit. CFANS visits are held every Monday and Friday.


The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources (CFANS) offers majors in environmental science; bioresources and bioenergy; engineering; food, animal and nutritional sciences; applied economics and business; education; agriculture; natural resources; and plant sciences. Below are descriptions of just three of the 14 majors to choose from within CFANS.

Major: Horticulture

Description: This major prepares students for a variety of career opportunities including research (plant breeding/genetics); food and plant production (sustainable/organic); plant use and function (design/restoration); or recreation (golf courses/parks). Students gain experience in the use of plants to alter environments, restore damaged landscapes, improve health and well-being of individuals, educate people about science, improve community environments, and provide recreational and practical benefits to the public. Areas of study include Nursery and Floriculture Production, Organic Horticulture and Local Foods, Plant Breeding & Genetics, Restoration Ecology, and Turfgrass Science. 

Examples of Careers: Crew Supervisor, Design Assistant, Environmental Scientist, Farm Apprentice, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Horticulturalist, Nursery/Greenhouse Manager, Production Coordinator, or  Project Manager

Major: Fisheries and Wildlife

Description: This major provides students with a broad science background emphasizing biological and environmental sciences along with other course work needed for careers in fisheries, wildlife, conservation biology, and other natural resource and environmental fields. The program also provides students with a fundamental science background needed to enter a wide variety of graduate programs in biological and natural resource sciences as well as professional programs in veterinary medicine, environmental  law, and environmental education. Areas of specialization include:

  • Conservation Biology
  • Fisheries
  • Wildlife 

Examples of Careers: Biological Science Technician, Conservationist, Conservation Officer, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Environmental Biologist, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Educator, Fish Hatchery Manager Naturalist, Wildlife Biologist, or Zoo Biologist

Major: Forest Resources

Description: This major prepares student to plan, implement, and research the management, protection, and sustainable use of forest and related resources and environments, including timber, water, wildlife, recreation, and aesthetic resources. Coursework includes the physical, biological, and social sciences with managerial sciences and policy, field skill development, and technologies for measuring and monitoring natural resources. There are two possible tracks of specialization:

  • Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation Track
  • Urban and Community Forestry Track

Examples of Careers: Biological Science Technician, Conservationist, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Environmental Biologist, Environmental Consultant, Fish Hatcery Manager Naturalist, Wildlife Biologist, or Zoo Biologist

If you would like to learn more about Horticulture, Fisheries & Wildlife, or Forest Resources, join us at the CFANS Sneak Preview on Monday, July 16! Click here to register today!

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences offers 14 majors and 22 minors. CFANS' nationally recognized programs, hands-on learning, small-college feel, and broad array of internship and research opportunities provide students with the education and experience they need for successful carees in private businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations, or for graduate study. Three business-related CFANS majors are highlighted below. To learn about more U of M major options, visit http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/fresh_acadprog.html.

Major: Recreation Resource Management

Description: The Recreation Resource Management curriculum prepares students to plan and manage natural and non-urban recreational land and water, as well as manager the people and organizations that depend on these resources. The curriculum emphasizes natural and managed non-urban areas; natural resources-oriented recreation programs in public and private sectors; social science aspects of natural resources use; and skills in communication, planning, and management.

Examples of Careers: Environmental Educator, Environmentalist, Eco-Travel Consultant, Naturalist, Recreation Facility Manager, Wilderness/Adventure Guide, Natural Heritage Recreation Officer, or Park Ranger

Major: Applied Economics

Description: Applied economics is the social science that uses tools to analyze real-world problems. It allows us as individuals and as a society to think about making choices wisely in the areas of jobs, wages, taxes, pollution, poverty, economic growth, and more. Areas of study include management and finance, marketing, food retailing, trade and development, resources and the environment, and more. 

Examples of Careers: Assistant Policy Analyst, Business Analyst, Commodity Merchandiser, Financial Advisor, Marketing Specialist, Revenue Tax Specialist, and employers such as Retail Food Companies, Government Agencies, Research Centers and Universities, and Non Profit Agencies.

Major: Bioproducts Marketing and Management

Description: Bioproducts are materials, chemicals and energy derived from renewable bio-resources including forestry, agriculture and other biomass. The molecular building blocks and components of biomass can be harnessed to heat our homes, run our cars, light our buildings, and provide industrial and consumer products. This major provides students with knowledge in the sustainable utilization of bio-resources while protecting the environment. Students choose from two areas of specialization:

  • Marketing and Management
  • Residential Building Science and Technology

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was recently awarded three grants, each worth approximately one million dollars, to research the biofuels production process along with co-products that can help enhance the value of the bio-based economy. These grants were awarded by the U.S. Department Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) which targets the development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and bio-based products. Here is a quick overview of the three projects:

• A study of how diversified bioenergy cropping systems -- perennial crops such as grasses and woody plants -- can improve biological control of pests such as the soybean aphid. The project, led by agronomy and plant genetics associate professor Gregg Johnson, is intended to help provide more information for decision-makers about biomass cropping systems design, placement and influence on the surrounding landscape.

• An examination of how useful thermoplastics can be created from lignin, an important co-product from the conversion of biomass to biofuels. Professor Simo Sarkanen of the bioproducts and biosystems engineering department estimates that by 2030, biofuel production using lignocellulose will generate large quantities (more than 200 million tons per year) of lignin, which can be used for new kinds of polymers and plastics. An important focus of the work will be the development of effective plasticizers for these new materials.

• Research on how solid residues of bioenergy production could be utilized to generate nanofiber intermediates, binderless films and adhesives, converting a would-be waste residue into value-added co-products. The project is led by William Tze, an assistant professor in the bioproducts and biosystems engineering department.

William Tze was actually my academic adviser for my sophomore, junior, and senior year. It was wonderful to have an adviser who was an actual professor from the department to help me choose the classes that would best fit my career goals and interests! In addition, you can get involved in research that is happening in CFANS through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program!

Researchers from the University of Minnesota's Fisheries and Wildlife Department have been researching the health benefits that 1,500 miles of migration has on the monarch population. Their study has shown that the migration actually helps to rid the monarch butterflies of parasites. This implies that disruptions to migrations, whether by habitat loss, loss of nectar plants along the migration route, climate change, or other factors, can reduce the fitness of monarchs, other migrating insects, and even vertebrates.

"We've shown that migration provides an opportunity to escape from habitats that might build up levels of diseases, and also to cull out susceptible individuals," says Karen Oberhauser, a University of Minnesota Monarch researcher.

Monarch butterflies.jpgCheck out the UMNews article for more details on monarch butterfly research at the U of M.

The student groups of the St. Paul campus are currently participating in the annual Minnesota Royal. Minnesota Royal is a week-long event that dates back all the way to 1916, when it was known as Ag Royal. MN Royal consists of a number of competitions held throughout the week where different St. Paul student groups compete for bragging rights. The competitions include:

  • Royal Run
  • Ag Olympics              
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Organization Skits
  • MN Royal Royalty
  • Milk Maid Milking and Lipsync Contest
  • Showmanship
  • Celebrity Showmanship

MN Royal began yesterday, April 4th, and continues through the week until the closing award ceremony on Monday, April 11th. The events provide the students of the St. Paul campus the opportunity to compete, have fun, and connect with staff, faculty, and alumni. You can keep up to date on MN Royal events at their Facebook page.

Each year, outstanding students at the University of Minnesota are honored with awards for their acheivements in academics, leadership and service. This spring, six CFANS students were awarded the prestigious The President's Student Leadership and Service Award to honor their accomplishments, invaluable leadership and service contributions to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the community.

Students who are nominated for this award are required to portray how their engagement experiences have affected their growth and development related to the University's Student Development Outcomes. The Student Development Outcomes outline the critical elements of a student's success. Successful students at the University of Minnesota learn and grow in these seven areas:

1. Responsibility and Accountability
2. Independence and Interdependence
3. Goal Orientation
4. Self Awareness
5. Resilience
6. Appreciation of Differences
7. Tolerance of Ambiguity

Congratulations to the six CFANS students who have been awarded the 2011 President's Student Leadership Award!

Anna Eggen (Sr.) - Agricultural and Food Bus Management
Caitlin Kasper (Sr.) - Agricultural Education
Dan Helvig (Sr.) - Agricultural Education
Hannah Rusch (Sr.) - Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Jason Kaare (Sr.) - Agricultural Education
Jessica Bubert (Sr.) - Applied Plant Science

As noted in one of my most recent posts, this Saturday, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences will be hosting "Classes without Quizzes". The keynote speaker for the event will be Marla Spivak. Marla is a world-renowned expert on bees and recent recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

Here is a brief overview of her address: 

"Promoting the health of bee pollinators is beneficial in our environment. This can begin as an individual or local endeavor; however, one thing is clear, we need to support the health and diversity of bee pollinators. But why? Professor Spivak explains". 

This year's recipients of the Siehl Prize in Agriculture include an innovative farmer who is known worldwide for his conservation practices, a steadfast leader in the agribusiness finance industry, and a longtime voice of agriculture in southwestern Minnesota. Recipients are chosen for three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach), production agriculture, and agribusiness.

Each winner (or "laureate") receives a monetary award of $50,000 and a beautiful granite and glass sculpture. The Siehl Prize is named in honor of philanthropist Eldon Siehl, a successful Minnesota businessman who wanted to educate the general public about where their food came from and to provide recognition for the dedicated people who make it their life's work.

This year's winners are:

Wallace "Wally" Nelson (knowledge): Mr. Nelson was the original superintendent at what is now the Southwest Minnesota Research and Outreach Center near Lamberton was a tireless advocate for putting agricultural research to work for farmers. He led the research center for nearly 40 years, contributing to important breakthroughs in corn management, hail damage, soils and drainage.

James "Tony" Thompson (production agriculture): Mr. Thompson is a Windom, Minn. farmer who manages his family's nearly 5,000 acres to produce bountiful, profitable crops while carefully conserving the farm's soil and water. He's opened his home and farm to hundreds of researchers and scientists who want to learn more about agro-ecology.

Paul DeBriyn (agribusiness): Mr. DeBriyn is the president and CEO of AgStar Financial Services. He took over a struggling agricultural lender in the 1980s and built it into an industry leader. In addition to his business success, DeBriyn has been a leader in advocating for agriculture, in developing leadership and scholarship programs, and in helping rural economies thrive.

The recipients were announced today as part of the celebration of National Ag Week. They will be honored at a ceremony on May 26 on the University campus.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) will be hosting "Classes without Quizzes" on April 2nd on our St. Paul Campus. Honeybees, garden remedies, lawn care, healthy eating, tax policy, water quality, sustainable buying, and threats to the global food supply are among the featured topics this year.

Experts from CFANS will be presenting mini-seminars available to the general public. This is an opportunity for students of all ages to learn from top faculty and experts. The event will run from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by an optional lunch.

The event costs $30.00 for the general public, $10.00 for K-12 and U of M Students, and $25.00 for U of M Alumni Association Members.

Here is information on the different topics and seminars available.

Register online here!

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