Sustainable Food & Agricultural Systems Associate Degree

Program Code: 100903

As a graduate of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems associate degree program, you're ready for careers in sustainable gardening, field crop production, livestock operations as well as emerging areas like aquaponics. You will have the necessary knowledge to run your own successful food-related business and add value to your farm products or be qualified for employment in a variety of positions associated with sustainable agriculture, including commercial gardens, livestock operations, farmer support, and local food system efforts.

Follow Your Path

All credits from the following certificate(s) apply toward this associate degree:
• Sustainable Agriculture, 900901


Employment Potential

A graduate of the program will have the potential for employment in the following areas:

• Farmer

• Gardener

• Crop production specialist

• Farm-to-school program leader

• Livestock operations manager

• Sustainable agriculture wholesale and retail management

• Feed/animal health sales/consulting

• Certifying agency inspector


Requirements for Program Entry

• Completed application.
• High school transcript or equivalent. (For a list of equivalents, go to
• To be admitted to this program, learners must achieve a prior cumulative high school or college grade point average of 2.6 or higher OR a satisfactory academic skills assessment score. College grade point average must be based on 15 credits or more. To learn more about starting this program, please contact an academic advisor at (920) 498-5444 or (888) 385-6982.

Program Availability

FULL TIMESummer 2018Fall 2018Spring 2019
Green Bay

Application Checklist

Students following the study plan below will complete the Sustainable Food & Ag Systems associate degree in the number of semesters shown.
10-001-117 APPLIED BOTANY ...this course provides the opportunity for the learner to develop the knowledge skills process and understanding of taxonomy, plant morphology, plant physiology, reproductive processes and environmental interactions.
10-090-111 SUSTAINABLE AG: ISSUES & PRACTICES ...use critical thinking skills to compare organic and sustainable agricultural practices with industrial agriculture. Explore food production issues including antibiotics, herbicides, hormones, GMOs, animal welfare, crop yields, nutrients, and pollution.
10-090-118 BEEKEEPING & POLLINATORS ...bees pollinate our crops and orchards; they are an environmental quality indicator species and they provide honey. Explore beekeeping using onsite hives; explore pollinators and habitats, and network with local beekeepers.
10-090-119 CHEESE MAKING & FERMENTATION ...practice the basics of cheese making and fermentation of beverages & food in this hands-on course. Eat what you make. Value the taste, nutrition, and quality of hand-crafted foods.
10-090-139 ORG SOILS, NUTRIENTS, COMPOST... Healthy soil is the foundation of sustainable farming and gardening. Build robust soil through organic matter, cultivating beneficial microorganisms, and nutrient cycling. Explore composting techniques and organic fertilizer sources.
10-606-112 COMPUTER APPLICATIONS FOR TECHNICIANS...basics of a computer system, computer terminology, the Microsoft Windows environment, file management, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
10-801-136 ENGLISH COMPOSITION 1 ...learners develop knowledge/skills in planning, organizing, writing, editing. Students will also analyze audience/purpose, use elements of research, format documents using standard guidelines, and develop critical reading skills. (Prerequisite: One of the following or the equivalent: Cumulative GPA of 2.6 or greater; satisfactory reading and writing assessment scores; 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better)
10-804-113 COLLEGE TECHNICAL MATH 1A ...topics include solving linear, quadratic, and rational equations; graphing; formula rearrangement; solving systems of equations; percent; proportions; and operations on polynomials. Emphasis will be on the application of skills to technical problems. (Prerequisites: One of the following or the equivalent: Cumulative GPA of 2.6 or greater; satisfactory math and reading assessment scores; 10-834-110, Elementary Algebra or 10-834-109, Pre-Algebra with a “C” or better; 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 or Intro to College Writing with "B" or better)
10-890-101 COLLEGE 101 ...presents learners with exposure to the language of responsibility with an emphasis on two tracks-soft (employability) and learning skills to enhance lifelong learning in academic, career, and personal settings. Course curriculum provides application and reflection of On Course strategies and vocabulary emphasizing the value of a growth mindset. Students should take this course during the first semester of college.
10-090-120 ORGANIC LIVESTOCK PRACTICES ...students learn how organic farmers manage livestock successfully. Principles covered include organic health care, strategies for reproduction, feeding, housing, and young stock. Review rules and organic certification standards.
10-090-121 ORGANIC GARDENING ...whether gardening on a small scale or using commercial greenhouses and fields, plan seedings, control pests, diseases, and weeds, all using best organic practices. Review rules and organic certification standards.
10-090-123 ORGANIC POULTRY MANAGEMENT...explore a variety of poultry for backyards or commercial enterprises. Topics include biology, health, feeding, eggs, housing options, processing plans and budgets. Compare organic and conventional management and business opportunities.
10-090-124 AQUAPONICS ...investigate hydroponic plant growing operations; designs, suitable plant species, maintenance, costs, efficiencies and yields. Evaluate potential programs in a sustainable context. Plan a system that fits your budget and goals.
10-090-125 AQUACULTURE farming, the most suitable species, different system setups and best practices. Develop a budget, explore markets and trends, analyze benefits and obstacles in this business.
10-090-138 SPRING GARDEN in the greenhouse and high tunnel to seed and grow transplants. Prepare the garden soil, build fertility, sow seed, transplant, and cultivate. Use organic practices, gain hands-on skills.
10-090-410 TRACTOR & IMPLEMENTS: SAFETY & OPERATION...practice safe driving and operation of tractors, skid steers, and farm implements. Hook up implements, PTOs and hydraulics. Use quick attaching accessories. Follow rules of the road. Explore emergency first aid and fire extinguisher use.
10-480-101 ENERGY-INTRO RENEW & SUSTAIN overview of various renewable energy technologies and sustainable design practices and their current applications. Emphasis will be placed on policies, renewable energy production, green products and jobs.
10-809-196 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY ...the nature and variety of groups; inequality, race and ethnicity; family, population, social integration, and change; collective behavior; politics, economics, religion, education, and the effects of technology. (Prerequisite: One of the following or the equivalent: Cumulative GPA of 2.6 or greater; satisfactory reading and writing assessment scores; 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better)
10-090-127 SUMMER AG INTERNSHIP... Gain hands-on skills and experience with a mentor farmer or gardener by working at their site or in the NWTC garden. Set goals and report to an NWTC instructor. (Prerequisites: 10-090-111, Sustainable Ag: Issues and Practices; 10-090-139, Organic Soils, Nutrients, Composting; 10-090-120, Organic Livestock Practices; and 10-090-121, Organic Gardening)
10-090-103 ORGANIC FIELD CROPS ... Evaluate organic practices for fertilizing, planting, weed and pest control in corn, soybeans and small grains. Create an organic transition plan, qualify for certification. Evaluate yields, markets, rotations, and cover crops.
10-090-141 ARTISAN MEATS: HUMANE HARVEST... topics include humane butchering, carcass yields, sausage-making, smoking and packaging. Compare professional techniques to home-based skills. Review rules, regulations and sanitary practices. Determine produce mix, costs and income potential.
10-090-128 MANAGED GRAZING ... examine pasture plants and livestock in a rotational grazing system. Build a fence. Evaluate watering systems, fertilizers, yields and environmental impacts. Meet experienced graziers. Create a grazing plan and budget.
10-090-130 HERBS & HEALTH... explore various herbs; their unique properties, role in history, medicine, food and other traditional uses. Examine growing practices, harvest, and preservation. Make organic preparations; i.e., tea, infusions, tinctures, and salves.
10-090-137 FALL GARDEN MANAGEMENT...use GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) to harvest, clean and bring produce to markets. Use season-extending hoop house, compost vegetative residue, sow cover crops, and prepare the garden for next year. (Prerequisite: 10-090-121, Organic Gardening)
10-090-140 VALUE ADDED FOODS... Food preservation and value-added processing. Explore the rich variety of food preservation methods. Discover how to turn the bounty from your garden, orchard and land into foods you can sell at a premium because you have added value through minimal, safe, processing methods and unique recipes.
10-101-190 ACCOUNTING-QUICKBOOKS introductory course in using QuickBooks to create vendor/employee accounts, invoices, budgets, profit/loss statements, balance sheets, A/R, A/P, journals, graphs.
10-104-101 HANDLING OBJECTIONS ...consumer buying process, appropriate closing techniques, and proper follow up techniques used to ensure a quality, long-term relationship with your customers.
10-801-197 TECHNICAL REPORTING ...principles of report writing and correspondence, proposals, feasibility reports, progress reports, investigation reports, evaluation reports, meeting reports, memos, and correspondence. (Prerequisite: 10-801-136, English Composition I OR 10-801-195, Written Communication with “C” or better)
Elective 3
10-090-129 FOOD SYSTEMS; FOOD QUALITY... compare traditional food systems (heirloom breeds, grass-fed beef) with modern production, processing, additives, packaging, transportation, marketing, price, distribution and fast food. Evaluate how these factors influence individual and societal health.
10-090-134 SUSTAINABLE AG & FOOD BUSINESS ...define your goals. Research expenses and potential income for a small food-related enterprise. Outline a budget. Compare markets. Develop a brand identity. Review financial terminology. Draft a business plan.
10-090-136 SMALL FARM MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT... Evaluate equipment, machinery and tractors needed for a small farm. Troubleshoot small engines; hook up PTOs, hydraulics, plows. Calibrate seeders and fertilizer spreaders, drive a skid steer, and try welding.
10-090-142 PERMACULTURE: EDIBLE LANDSCAPES & HOMESTEADING... explore permaculture; the creation of an edible landscape and the development of a homestead-style, self-reliant, sustainable property. Examine the use of perennial fruit & nut trees, vines & berries, "new" plants & pastures. Explore permaculture zones & placement of home-based enterprises. Review energy, relaxation, small building construction, and local community in the context of your personal landscape.
10-809-172 INTRO TO DIVERSITY STUDIES...basic American values of justice and equality by teaching vocabulary, history of immigration/conquest, transcultural communication, legal liability, multicultural majority/minority relations, ageism, sexism, gender, sexual orientation, the disabled/ADA. (Prerequisite: One of the following or the equivalent: Cumulative GPA of 2.6 or greater; satisfactory reading and writing assessment scores; 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better)
10-809-198 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY ...survey of theoretical foundations of human behavior such as sensation and perception, motivation, emotions, learning, personality, psychological disorders, therapy, stress, and human diversity in personal, social and vocational settings. (Prerequisite: One of the following or the equivalent: Cumulative GPA of 2.6 or greater; satisfactory reading and writing assessment scores; 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better)
Curriculum Note
. The credit for 10-890-101, College 101 is an institutional requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program credit requirements, but must be passed with a C or better.
. Students completing General Studies courses at NWTC must earn a "C" or better in English Composition to enroll in Technical Reporting.

Program Outcomes

• Evaluate sustainable food systems and farms
• Balance soil health
• Make business and financial decisions
• Maintain farm records
• Market sustainable, diverse products
• Grow sustainable crops
• Practice animal husbandry
• Assist in the management of farm operations
• Innovate in value-added food and logistics
• Fill out organic certification paperwork and comply with standards
• Use effective oral and written communication skills
• Utilize problem solving skills
• Perform safe work practices


Start here. Finish at a four-year.

NWTC transfer programs are offered through collaborative agreements with our four-year college and university partners. See where your associate degree credits will transfer >> EXCLUDEEND


Study Abroad Opportunities

The International Studies staff continually seeks opportunities for students to travel abroad for educational experiences that may be offered in association with program courses. To find out more about which of your program courses may offer an opportunity during this academic year, contact your academic advisor.