About Crop Science

Every day, everyone is impacted by crop science. From the endless green fields of corn and soybeans which cover the Midwest, the vibrant yellows of sunflowers in Canada, the expansive rice patties of Asia, the vast acres of cotton drying under the hot Southwestern sun, to the lush green mountains of coffee growing in Central America, these crops do not just happen. Hard work on the part of the grower, aided by the crop sciences makes these crops possible.

Crop scientists focus on improving crops and agricultural productivity while effectively managing pests and weeds. They make this possible through the application of soil and plant sciences to crop production that incorporates the wise use of natural resources and conservation practices to produce food, feed, fuel, fiber, and pharmaceutical crops while maintaining and improving the environment.

The Science of Crops

The evolution and ongoing development of plants and crops, enabled by science, is the focus of crop scientists. Scientific research to enhance productivity while sustaining the integrity of ecological processes encompasses crop science, including crop breeding, crop physiology, crop ecology, forage and grazinglands, nutritionally enhanced plants, seed science and technology, and turfgrass science. The research is communicated and transferred among agronomists and those in related fields on topics of local, regional, national, and international significance. This research may then be used for practical applications.

Research highlights are also featured via News Releases on our News & Media page.

A Day in the Life of a Crop Scientist

A career in crop science keeps you in the center of efforts to increase the production of food, feed, fuels and fiber, for a growing world citizenry. The crop scientist has many career paths. You’ll find agronomists working in research, teaching and extension at colleges and universities, for the USDA at their Agricultural Research Stations, in extension offices, for companies, and as consultants in agribusiness. Interested in a career in crop science? Discover more with our career brochures, and view the list of colleges and universities with courses and programs in agronomy, crop science, soil science, and related disciplines.

The Future of Agriculture

"The evolution of agriculture within the last 11,000 years marked the first major inflection point in food yield and changed forever the character of the human condition. The application of technology to agriculture early in the 20th century induced the next major crop yield inflection point. Identifying the technological wellspring from which increased rates of productivity will be obtained in the decades ahead is far less obvious than during the last century. The agronomic challenge for the decades to come is to increase productivity per unit of land enough to preclude appropriation of other ecosystems for cropland expansion while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of production inputs, reducing their leakage to the environment, and sustaining the integrity of those ecological processes that undergird these intense biological production systems." -- This excerpt from the abstract of an article by Fred P. Miller, retired Professor of Soil Science at the School of Environmental and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University was written in celebration of 100 years of The American Society of Agronomy.

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