• To improve, through scholarly research, the understanding of plant and soil systems as sustainable resources for human use while preserving and enhancing environmental quality.
  • To recruit, educate, and graduate top-quality students and serve our broad-based clientele by providing progressive education programs and effectively interacting with partners in the public and private sectors.
  • To anticipate and effectively respond to societal needs for improved agricultural productivity and for the wise use of natural resources in order to enhance the quality of life.


The department strives to balance the three mission areas of a land-grant institution:  teaching, research and extension. We take seriously our role of responding promptly to agricultural and environmental issues. We address a broad subject matter including the chemistry, physics and biology of plant, soil and environmental systems ranging from the molecular, to the whole plant, to the ecosystem scale. The department works towards sustainable and profitable crop production, renewable resource management, and environmental protection for now and the future.

Our activities in fulfilling this mission contribute directly to the university’s strategic plan areas: Undergraduate Student Success, Graduate Education, Diversity and Inclusivity, Research and Scholarship, and Community Engagement. We support the goals enumerated in the CAFE strategic plan: Prepare highly motivated and culturally adaptive graduates; Build and nurture relationships with the people of the Commonwealth and across the world; Recruit, develop, and retain exceptional faculty and staff; Show CAFE commitment to diversity and inclusion; Produce innovative solutions through multidisciplinary collaborations; and Build state-of-the-art facilities equipped with cutting edge technology.