The College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems (CAFSSS) works to uphold the mission of the University through its commitment to research, Extension, and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences. The College is organized around five divisions:
- Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Environmental Studies and Sustainable Systems
- Food and Animal Science
- Family and Consumer Sciences
The CAFSSS works to resolve agricultural, educational, economic, and social problems of the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, especially limited-resource persons and families. The various programs of the College are supported by federal and state funds. Each of the five divisions works to fulfill the requirements of the Second Morrill Act of 1890 by advancing the three pillars of the land grant mission: Research, Extension, and Teaching which Land Grant programs nationwide were founded upon.
The CAFSSS has nationally and internationally recognized research programs in aquaculture (or fish farming), organic agriculture, sustainable biofuel feedstock production, alternative fruit and nut crops, ecological entomology, alternative pesticides and water quality, goat production, obesity and human health, and apiculture. The Aquaculture Program, KSU’s “Program of Distinction,” is widely recognized as a leader in the areas of paddlefish culture, freshwater prawn culture, Koi breeding, production of feed-trained largemouth bass, and fish meal replacement research.
KSU boasts the largest multi-disciplinary organic agriculture program in the 1890’s Land Grant system. The program recently released its first pawpaw fruit variety, KSU-Atwood. Human nutrition researchers developed the “Shape Up-KSU” program for assessing risk factors for metabolic syndrome in young African-American adults.
These research programs provide mentoring opportunities for students in degree programs where they work with faculty experienced in cutting edge research techniques in areas important to agricultural, aquaculture, food, and environmental sciences.
The Atwood Research Facility contains 7,000 square feet of office space and 7,000 square feet of laboratory space, including a molecular genetics laboratory and nutrition laboratory. KSU’s Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) includes 33 research ponds, a 3,000-square-foot hatchery houses spawning, holding, and experimental tanks, and a 4,000-square-foot office/laboratory building includes a state-of-the-art histology laboratory. The ARC has also introduced a new Production Technology Building that includes a state-of-the art genetics laboratory, and a 10,000 square foot wet lab for the study and development of aquaponics, biofloc and other intensive recycle systems.
Augmenting these facilities are KSU’s 300-acre Research and Demonstration Farm and its 300-acre Environmental Education and Research Center. The KSU farm has goat, beef, poultry, and fruit and vegetable trials, and 11 acres of certified organic land which hosts a range of projects in organic agriculture.
Extension and Outreach
The Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) provides education and technical assistance to limited-resource families and com-munities by meeting the needs of farmers, youth, entrepreneurs, and many others. Some Extension programs provide one-to-one opportunities where paraprofessionals work directly with family members. The CEP has nationally and internationally recognized programs in: family and consumer sciences, family development and management, family financial management and consumer education, small farmer outreach training and technical assistance, apiculture, goat production, community resource development, entrepreneurship, 4-H youth development, and Hispanic initiatives.
Program accomplishments include: the Third Thursday Sustainable Agriculture Workshop series; the Strengthening Kentucky Families (SKY Families) Program, which provides parenting education to persons who have been separated from their children through the family court system; five residential summer youth programs; award-winning programs in financial management; and the Small and Part-time Farmer Program.
Extension program facilities include the new Center for Sustainability of Farms and Families, a $5 million dollar, 12,000 square foot, 600-seat building at the KSU Research and Demonstration Farm. A new Center for Families and Children is a $3.5 million dollar, 15,180 square foot building that will serve pre- school and adolescent children and their families. The Cooperative Extension Building, which also houses a Television Production Studio, which is supported by an Uplink/Downlink Satellite Truck and state-of-the- art communications equipment available for use by all of CAFSSS. The geographic information systems (GIS) laboratory is also located in the Cooperative Extension Building and is utilized by students, faculty and by agricultural research and Extension staff to support their activities.
Teaching and Degree Programs
Today’s world needs people prepared to solve global challenges related to agribusiness, climate change, a safe and reliable food supply, protection of natural resources, improved nutrition, public health, and alternative energy sources. The United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Labor predict significant job growth in the areas of food, renewable energy, and environment. Increased demand is expected for agricultural inspectors, environmental scientists and specialists, including health, agriculturists and food scientists, soil and plant scientists, conservation scientists, forest and conservation technicians, agricultural and environmental law, public and agricultural policy, biotechnology, fisheries, and wildlife, economic development, and agricultural communications. A degree from KSU’s CAFSSS will prepare graduates for a variety of jobs in these fields.
The CAFSSS baccalaureate degree program in Agriculture, Food, and Environment (AFE) with four individual Options in Agricultural, Food, Environmental, and Aquaculture Systems prepares graduates in these growth areas in the U.S. economy. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students from diverse backgrounds will develop a broad understanding of relationships between agricultural and aquaculture systems, food safety, and the environment.
The CAFSSS also offers Masters’ degrees in Aquaculture/Aquatic Science, and Environmental Studies (MES).