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Department of Agricultural Sciences

Welcome to the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Texas State University. We are a diverse department with programs that serves about 700 undergraduate students each year. At Texas State, students of agricultural science enjoy a unique education experience with practical, hands-on classes combined with valuable industry insight. With small class sizes and exceptional facilities, students are able to succeed in their individual path.

Student working in greenhouse
student holding goat and smiling
CFFA students smiling at the camera
Students smiling at work
student working with a table saw
Student in bee suit working with hives
student working in field with horses

Facilities and Resources

Nelson Agricultural Mechanics Labs

student welding machinery

The Nelson wing consists of multiple laboratory units, the construction laboratory is outfitted with the latest technology in wood-based material processing. The construction laboratory also houses the electrical laboratory that prepares students to work with both Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) electricity. The large laboratory space in Nelson host the engine lab where state of the art technology has recently been added to support the teaching and learning of small gas engines. Additional upgrades are currently in the plans to improve student learning in the machinery/large engine laboratory. Finally, the large laboratory also hosts the welding facility. Plans are currently underway to upgrade the technology and equipment available for student use in this area including the integration of new virtual reality and virtual assisted technology arriving soon. Keep your eyes open for the new Virtual Reality Laboratory coming soon to the Nelson wing!

Freeman Center sign

The Freeman Center at Texas State University houses livestock animals utilized for animal science teaching and research conducted by faculty in the Agricultural Sciences Department. The Freeman Center also operates a cow-calf operation with 65 mature crossbred cows and 12 replacement heifers. Two 90-day breeding seasons provide fall and spring calves for teaching labs in the Animal Sciences program.

The Freeman Center is also home to a crossbred goat herd, consisting of 9 Syfan-Spanish nannies, 1 Boer billy, and 21 Spanish-Boer crossbred kids, with 15 serving as future replacement females.

The Freeman Center provides 3,500 acres of Hill Country habitat and on-site facilities as part of Texas State University. The main objectives in the management of the Freeman Center are to protect its ecosystems, enable research and educational opportunities within the Freeman Center, and provide access to the Center for service/outreach activities when appropriate.

student walking through garden

The Living Library garden supports the department's Horticulture program and includes plants that are not seen anywhere else on campus. The purpose of the Texas State Living Library garden is to support the teaching of courses in the horticulture program within the Agriculture Department including Woody Plant Materials (AG 3305), Herbaceous Plant Materials (AG 3303), Landscape Management (AG 4304), Landscape Design (AG 4305), Landscape Construction (AG 4185) and Organic Gardening (AG 3308) courses.

The garden allows students to observe living plant material specimen within the landscape and permits them to have a fully hands-on sensory experience while learning the plants in the ornamental horticulture courses. The Living Library garden incorporates native and well-adapted plant materials for South Central Texas. Only a small area of the garden is on a timed irrigation system, so plants need to be very durable, and heat, drought and soil tolerant.  Through observation of the conditions in which plants are currently surviving, students are able to learn sturdy well-adapted and native plants that they can recommend when they move out into the nursery and landscape industries. The garden includes two beehives and a vermiculture production shed that processes cafeteria waste and shredded paper from the College of Applied Arts into worm castings.  The castings are also used to make compost tea for the garden. The garden is designed, constructed and maintained by students.

The garden is also used for research. Texas State University is currently collaborating with several other universities nationwide to study the performance of new cultivars of ornamental grasses in the landscape. Beds within the Living Library garden have been designated for this purpose.  Additionally, garden beds have been used to test composts created with various types of waste materials such as invasive plants and wool to see if the composts perform similarly or better than the currently available composts offered in the market.

Economic/Data Analytics Lab

students doing statistics on computers in a lecture hall

The Agricultural Economic/Data Analytics Lab (located in room 225B of the Nelson Wing) is designed specifically to conduct economic and socio-economic research related to agriculture. The lab is equipped with powerful computers for the analysis of big data in agriculture using statistical software such as MATLAB, STATA, SAS, R, and SPSS. With upcoming expansions, this computer laboratory will house databases, a greater number of powerful computers, and training programs in data analysis to enable students to be proficient in data/statistical analysis skills. This lab serves students in our agribusiness program, and in our integrated agricultural sciences master's program.

From January 2020 onwards, this laboratory will be the venue for the analysis of large databases on U.S. seafood sales. These databases comprise of detailed information on seafood sold in grocery stores and supermarkets in the U.S. This analysis is a component of a project sponsored by the Southern Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC). Through the analysis of these large databases, the project intends to help fish farmers and processors in improving their marketing performance, and to gain a better understanding of the factors determining the demand and prices of seafood products in the grocery marketplace.

There are bright futures in data-driven precision agriculture, and we prepare our students to be proficient in handling, processing, and analyzing data. The department is continually growing our capacity to impart these new skills required in the modern agricultural workplace to our graduates.

Big Data and the Future of Agriculture (presentation by Sonny Ramaswamy).