Agriculture in the United States is changing rapidly. While conventional farming systems continue to specialize and exploit economies of scale, the “locavore” movement of the 2000’s has inspired a new generation of farmers and support specialists to serve new and growing markets. Demand for local and regional vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, milk and specialty crops continues to grow, but producers must balance market demand with environmental stewardship and economic viability, and operate within the context of an increasingly global food system and challenging climate variability.
To address these challenges, the University of Maine, through various degree programs, has offered a comprehensive research focus in Sustainable Agriculture since 1988, emphasizing:
- innovative crop production practices that provide opportunities for diversity and added value;
- building soil quality through efficient use of crop rotations, multiple cropping systems, animal manures, and recycled waste products;
- managing pests with multi-faceted, ecologically sound strategies that have minimal reliance on synthetic, broad-spectrum pesticides;
- protecting water quality, worker health, and food safety;
- increasing farm economic resilience and profitability by decreasing the costs of crop and livestock production;
- creating strong rural communities that can be sustained through years of fluctuating crop prices and unpredictable weather.
Graduate students performing research in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Maine can earn one of the following degrees, depending on their specific interests:
Doctor of Philosophy
Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Master of Science
Botany and Plant Pathology
Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences
Resource Economics and Policy
Course work is drawn from the offerings of many departments. Research activities are conducted at University of Maine research farms in Stillwater, Monmouth, Jonesboro or Presque Isle, and on working farms.
For more information about graduate research in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Maine and the availability of financial assistance, prospective students should contact faculty members who might supervise their studies. General information about the program can be obtained from:
Dr. Eric Gallandt
School of Food and Agriculture
5722 Deering Hall
Orono, ME. 04469-5722
Frank Drummond, Ph.D. (Rhode Island, 1986), School of Biology and Ecology. Blueberry insect pest management, pollination.
Susan Erich, Ph.D. (Cornell, 1984), School of Food and Agriculture. Plant-soil interactions, nutrient availability from alternative fertilizer materials.
Eric R. Gallandt, Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison, 1994), School of Food and Agriculture. Sustainable agriculture, cropping systems, and weed ecology and management.
Eleanor Groden, Ph.D. (Michigan State, 1989), School of Biology and Ecology. Biological control of insect pests, population ecology, insect pathology.
Mark Hutton, Ph.D. (New Hampshire, 1988), School of Food and Agriculture. Vegetable production, season extension technologies, disease and insect management, vegetable genetics and varietal evaluation.
John Jemison, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State, 1991). University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Cooperating Associate Professor in the School of Food and Agriculture. Water quality, soil nutrient dynamics, nutrient management.
Ellen Mallory, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2007), University of Maine Cooperative Extension and School of Food and Agriculture. Sustainable agriculture, soil quality and organic grain production.
Tsutomu Ohno, Ph.D. (Cornell, 1983), School of Food and Agriculture. Soil Chemistry, nutrient availability from alternative fertilizer materials.
Gregory Porter, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State, 1985), School of Food and Agriculture. Potato cropping systems, crop physiology, soil fertility management, weed-crop interactions.
Marianne Sarrantonio, Ph.D. (Cornell, 1987), School of Food and Agriculture. Cropping systems, cover crops, nitrogen transformations, organic soil amendments.