The 10 Best Agriculture Colleges in the US

Students who are passionate about farming — whether that means animal agriculture, crop cultivation, or any other aspect of the field — would be wise to consider pursuing a degree in agriculture from a reputable college or university.  

Generally speaking, agriculture degrees are offered as a bachelor of science; however, the study of agriculture is very interdisciplinary, requiring students to have a firm grasp of concepts in a wide range of academic subject areas. 

These include natural sciences — such as chemistry, biology, and environmental science — as well as economics, management, and more. 

The interdisciplinary nature of agriculture studies programs allows students to personalize their degree experience to suit their individual preferences and career goals. 

Course offerings relating to agriculture vary significantly from one school to another, so students with a particular interest or profession they want to pursue should be sure to choose a college carefully. 

Some schools may emphasize a specific part of agriculture, like growing crops, while others may focus on a particular geographic region. 

In addition, most agriculture programs involve significant experiential learning, from internship placements to working on a school-owned farm. 

For students interested in finding an excellent college for studying agriculture, we have compiled a list of some of the best schools out there.

All selected schools have been ranked in major publications for agriculture studies, such as US News, Niche, and others. Here are 10 of the best agriculture colleges in the US.

University of Arkansas Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences (Fayetteville, AR)

University of Arkansas College of Agrictulture
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences, a part of the University of Arkansas, is a premier agricultural college with 14 different undergraduate major programs and an additional 25 minors. As of the fall of 2019, the school has a total enrollment of 2,230 students.

Bumpers College boasts a six-year retention rate of 71.6% — the highest of any of the colleges making up the University. Considering graduation rates in general, Bumpers also has one of the highest Arkansas colleges. 

Aiming to graduate students who are highly prepared for successful careers in the agriculture industry, the Bumpser College approach to undergraduate education heavily emphasizes hands-on learning. 

Experiential learning opportunities include professional development seminars, leadership workshops, labs, internships, and more. 

University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Athens, GA)

University of Georgia
Coxonian, Old College UGA, CC BY-SA 4.0

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Georgia is an excellent school choice for students interested in horticulture. The school has been ranked second in the United States regarding best agricultural and horticultural plant breeding colleges.

CAES is also widely known for its excellent entomology program offerings, ranking eighth among all colleges and universities worldwide. 

About a third of students at the school study abroad in one of 15 different countries at some point before graduating, making CAES an excellent pick for those who are considering a career in international agriculture.  

On top of that, CAES boasts a perfect 100% career placement rate for students in their poultry science program.

CAES has an alumni network of more than 19,000 graduates living across the country, providing mentorship, networking connections, and other forms of support to current students. 

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Ames, IA)

A part of Iowa State University, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost agriculture schools in the entire world. In fact, according to QS World University Rankings, the school is among the top 4% among 401 global universities in terms of best program offerings in the areas of agriculture and forestry. 

Established in 1858, Iowa CALS has a history extending more than 160 years. In 1869, it became the first co-ed, land-grant college in the United States, marking the beginning of a legacy of excellence. 

As a result, today, CALS has an active, supportive network of more than 46,000 living alumni.

CALS is known for its research activity, ranking #1 among 60 agricultural schools in terms of number of faculty who have federal research grants.

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Ithaca, NY)

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

One of the eight elite private universities known as the Ivy League, Cornell University is home to a world-class College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It is the second largest of the university’s constituent schools in terms of number of students, faculty, and staff members.

Cornell CALS is globally renowned as one of the foremost institutions for agriculture research in the world, offering students a vast array of opportunities to contribute to projects of significant scholarly impact.

The college offers 22 different undergraduate major programs in agriculture, plus more than 40 minors, allowing students to personalize their program of study to suit their needs.

For students considering studying agriculture at the graduate level, Cornell offers over 30 research graduate degree programs. In addition, the school has many professional, non-degree, and certificate programs.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture (Amherst, MA)

UMass Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Kevin Rutherford, Levi Stockbridge Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

A part of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, dates back to UMass’ early days, established more than 150 years ago in 1867. 

Today, the Stockbridge School of Agriculture has an alumni network of more than 10,000 individuals, a strong source of support for current students. 

Stockbridge offers four BS degree programs and five associate degrees at the undergraduate level. The school also has various MS and PhD program options for those interested in pursuing graduate studies.

Stockbridge emphasizes the importance of providing an academic environment that allows students to form close relationships with their professors and peers.

The school offers various athletic teams, community service opportunities, clubs, and other extracurricular organizations. 

Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (College Station, TX)

Texas A&M University — the first public institution for higher education in the state of Texas — is home to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a stellar school for students who want to pursue a degree in this field. 

Established in 1876, the school has long been a core part of the university, with numerous well-established, world-class programs.

At the undergraduate level, agriculture major program offerings include many BS options, such as animal science, bioenvironmental science, and biological and agricultural engineering. 

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences also has many degree programs that focus more on the social sciences side of the agriculture field, such as the agricultural communications and journalism major. 

In addition to its extensive academic offerings, Texas A&M also offers its agriculture students numerous high-impact learning opportunities.

Oklahoma State University Ferguson College of Agriculture (Stillwater, OK)

Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State Student Union – public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

A part of Oklahoma State University, the Ferguson College of Agriculture is a public land-grant university with a total enrollment of just under 3,100 students. Forty-three states and 30 different countries are represented in the OSU Ferguson student body.

Ferguson College of Agriculture is home to 16 different undergraduate major programs, with a total of more than 50 study options for agriculture students. 

In addition to the various agriculture programs offered by Ferguson, there is also a biosystems engineering degree program, which is offered through a partnership with the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology. 

Since the school was founded more than 130 years ago in 1890, many graduates have received prestigious awards for their significant contributions to the study of agriculture. 

Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences (Fort Collins, CO)

Located on 4,773 acres of Fort Collins, CO, the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University has been an outstanding school for studying agriculture since it was established in 1870.

CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences is widely regarded for its significant contributions to the field of agriculture in terms of its research output. 

The school offers students a wealth of opportunities to participate in research projects of their own creation under the supervision of department faculty, many of whom are celebrated industry professionals. 

One of several research centers at the school, CSU Agriculture is home to the state-of-the-art Agricultural Research, Development, and Education Center, an interdisciplinary facility dedicated to supporting research into the relationship between crop growth, soils, and water usage. 

Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (Pullman, WA)

A part of Washington State University, the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences is one of WSU’s largest, most highly-esteemed constituent colleges. 

In fact, the school — commonly referred to as CAHNRS — makes up over 30% of WSU’s extramural funding annually, receiving an impressive $84 million in research funding in the 2020 fiscal year alone. 

Research programs at CAHNRS include a 10-week summer plant biology research intensive offered in Germany. Internship opportunities, honor societies, and athletic teams are all other extracurricular options at the school. 

At the undergraduate level, CAHRNS at WSU offers more than 20 major programs and 19 minors for students to choose from. In addition, the school has almost 30 different programs for those who decide to study agriculture at the graduate level.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Lexington, KY)

Founded in 1865, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky is an excellent college choice for students interested in earning a degree in agriculture. Its campus stretches across more than 900 acres of urban Lexington, KY. 

The University of Kentucky is home to around 3,000 agriculture students — meaning that CAFE students make up only around 10% of the university’s total population.

Undergraduate program offerings include horticulture, plant pathology, veterinary science, agricultural economics, and biosystems and agricultural engineering, to name just a few. 

There are also numerous course offerings for students interested in studying agriculture more through the lens of the humanities. 

These course offerings range from landscape architecture to retailing and tourism management, community leadership and development, and several others.