SIPS Soil & Crop Sciences Section

Our mission is to generate and communicate knowledge about agroecosystems and their sustainable management in the face of accelerating global change. We achieve this by educating students for stewardship of agro-ecosystems, conducting scientific research on sustainable land management, and using our extension and outreach programs for the benefit of our stakeholders.

Many faculty conduct programs focusing on New York and the northeastern United States region, as well as in many countries around the world having temperate, sub-tropical and tropical environments. Learn more about the history of our section and the vision of our school.

Research Areas in Soil & Crop Sciences

Crop Science

Our research in crop science encompasses development of innovative management practices that maximize yield and quality while minimizing environmental impact, identifying new strategies for effective weed control and making discoveries in fundamental crop physiology.

Environmental information systems

Research on environmental information systems encompasses remote sensing, data inventory and analysis of interactions between agroecosystems and climate at various scales.

Soil science

Our faculty are engaged in research on the many aspects of soil and soil heath from chemistry and biogeochemistry to soil ecology and microbiome.

two women examining a computer image of plant leaves
woman working with remote sensing equipment in the field
hand holding soil sample against a green field

Graduate and undergraduate training

Soil & Crop Sciences offers degrees and training opportunities at all stages of the educational pipeline

three women in front of a scientific poster

Graduate field of soil & crop sciences

Students interested in obtaining an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in the graduate field of soil & crop sciences can select from four concentrations.

  • Agronomy
  • Field crop science
  • Soil science
  • Environmental information systems

Master of Professional Studies

Our MPS programs are one-year, course-based degrees, ideal for individuals interested in in-depth study of the issues and advancements in plant and soil sciences. Choose from specializations in Controlled Environment Agriculture, viticulture, public garden leadership, hemp science, plant protection, geospatial applications and more.

Undergraduate — plant sciences major

Undergraduates majoring in the plant sciences can choose to concentrate in soil science, preparing them for careers in soil health, conservation and agriculture, whether in private industry or public government/university sectors.

Undergraduate — agricultural sciences major

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to major in agricultural sciences, an interdisciplinary program to which Soil and Crop Sciences faculty and staff contribute significant instruction and research opportunities.

Undergraduate — soil science minor

Undergraduate students in diverse majors can add a minor in soil science, and gain in depth knowledge of this discipline.

Undergraduate — crop management minor

Undergraduate students in diverse majors can add a minor in crop management, providing a strong foundation in this area.

Undergraduate research — Microbial Friends & Foes

Microbial Friends & Foes undergraduate research experience is sponsored by the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease. Participants are placed in host labs at Cornell working on many different aspects of microbial interactions with plants and animals.

Undergraduate research — other

The Office of Undergraduate Research provides information about exploring the wealth of research opportunities at Cornell.

The Honors Program in Biological Sciences is designed to offer advanced training in laboratory and field research through the performance of an original research project under the direct guidance of a member of the Cornell faculty.

News from the SIPS Soil & Crop Sciences Section

Learn more about recent developments in our research, outreach, and education

A wheat field.

News

While New York’s farmers face more extreme weather events, they are learning to adapt, says a new statewide climate impacts assessment, led and written by two Cornell researchers.

  • Soil
  • Soil and Crop Sciences Section
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
Cornell professor Johannes Lehmann, center, examines the biochar kiln at Spruce Haven Farm with officials from NYSERDA and Arcadis

News

An alumnus-owned farm in Union Springs will become New York’s first commercial dairy to run cow manure through a kiln to make eco-friendly biochar – thanks to Cornell agricultural expertise.

  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Department of Global Development
  • Soil and Crop Sciences Section
A man rolls a bag of wheat in a field.

News

New maps, made from a global dataset of crop residues, reveal areas where biochar may be sustainably produced, offering a path to lowering atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Soil and Crop Sciences Section
  • Climate Change
Many signs in Chinese scattered in a field.

News

A new paper shows that promised yield increases at a global scale from increasing organic carbon in soils would be negligible with current technologies and optimal management practices.

  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Soil and Crop Sciences Section
  • Soil