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Program description

The Agrosecurity Certificate Program’s goal is to attract students to study food and agriculture sciences by motivating them to think critically about emerging issues in food system infrastructure, policy and security -- and be ready to apply their acquired knowledge and skills in their future professional careers. The UGA Certificate in Agrosecurity will prepare students in diverse disciplinary degree programs to satisfy the requirements of Awareness Level Response and Recovery for animal and plant biosecurity.

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, CAES, strives to value curiosity, creativity, originality and innovation in the pursuit of knowledge and service. As part of CAES, the purpose of the Agrosecurity Certificate is to prepare students in food and agricultural disciplines to assure function of our national food system and protect our state and national food supply and quality.

The Certificate in Agrosecurity objectives are to provide students with:

  • a broad overview of US agriculture and food including the plant, animal and food industries;
  • a basic understanding of emergency management, resource policy and homeland security programs related to agriculture and the food industry;
  • an understanding of terrorism and terrorist organizations, specifically as they relate to agrosecurity;
  • and global issues related to agrosecurity.

The Agrosecurity Certificate Program curriculum at the University of Georgia is designed to educate students about the vulnerabilities of US agriculture, agencies responsible for food security, border security, implications of mosaic vs. monoculture production and food security, model biological agents for agricultural terrorism, methods for first responders and analytical methods used for diagnostics of collected evidence. Course work will include disaster preparedness training as well as examine case studies of terrorism related to agriculture. Students will be challenged to examine agricultural and social policy and address issues related to agrosecurity and our food system infrastructure.

Program is unique and practical

There is currently not another undergraduate certificate, minor, or major in agrosecurity being offered at U.S. institutions with comprehensive study of the plant, animal, and food industries in relation to policy and food system security. The UGA Agrosecurity Certificate Program introduces academic work to prepare students for emerging career opportunities in agricultural sciences and management.

Agrosecurity training relevant to agricultural emergency response along with work experience in the context of a real-world situation will extend learning beyond the classroom and help students integrate and synthesize knowledge from several disciplines. Completion of the Agrosecurity Certificate Program will prepare all participants with greater awareness of issues surrounding security of our food systems, provide them with knowledge about management tools and emergency response and enhance their abilities as professionals in the workplace. Students completing the UGA Certificate of Agrosecurity will have the skill set necessary to make sound decisions regarding agricultural security issues. The proposed instructional delivery of courses taught by faculty from agricultural science disciplines and a wide array of other experts from various applied fields will expose students to the myriad of career opportunities associated with agriculture.

Academic instruction combined with technical training and practical experience as volunteers in the Office of Security & Emergency Preparedness, other work experiences with collaborating programs on campus, or within the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) will give students learning opportunities to help them develop communications and problem-solving skills. The work experience and visiting lecturers encountered during the training course or the capstone seminar will also expose students to a number of collaborator groups associated with agrosecurity related careers. Many of these collaborator groups offer possible internship opportunities that the certificate program faculty can recommend and facilitate [examples GEMA, Georgia Department of Agriculture, USDA agencies, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other Intelligence agencies].