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About our Department

Department Bio

Our department vision is to develop the AgroEcosystems of tomorrow, transforming environmental challenges into opportunities.

The sustainable production of crops for food, fiber, and fuels is essential for human and planetary health and security. Crop production, in turn, is dependent on healthy soils that retain water, supply nutrients, and support a diverse microbiome. Further, soils store more carbon compared to all vegetation and the atmosphere combined. Thus, soil management will play a critical role in decarbonization for mitigation of climate change.

Since the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences awarded its first degree in 1911, we have made important contributions in crop and soil science and management. Today, our research, education, outreach, and extension activities are more important than ever, and remain at the core of the land grant mission of Colorado State University.

Rapid scientific and technological advancements are poised to transform agriculture and environmental stewardship. Our department’s strengths in crop breeding and genetics, crop production systems, climate smart soils, soil ecology and biogeochemistry, microbiome sciences, precision agriculture, agriculture extension, and irrigation management lie at the nexus of some of the biggest challenges facing humanity: climate change, sustainable food production, soil degradation, and depletion of critical aquifers. The opportunity to play a leading role in advancing understanding and developing solutions to these challenges drives our ambition, dedication, and creativity. We can only achieve this vision through a strong and diverse community, and through close collaboration with our many stakeholders.


Departmental facilities include recently renovated laboratories for research in plant genetics and genomics, grain quality, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil physics, and pedology. Service laboratories for soil and seed testing are part of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and additional campus laboratories provide biochemical analysis and genomics services. Greenhouses and growth chambers are available on campus. Facilities for field research include a 200-acre research center in Fort Collins, and additional research centers located throughout the state’s agricultural regions. Shared offices are available for the department’s graduate students.

Faculty and Program Area of Study

AgroEcosystems Management

Irrigation and Water Science – Allan Andales

Forage Production and Range Management – Joe Brummer

Environmental Soil Quality and Soil Fertility – Jim Ippoltio

Agricultural Climatology – Jay Ham

AgroEcology and Cropping Systems- Meagan Schipanski

AgroEcosystem Ecology – Steve Fonte


Plant Breeding and Genetics

Wheat Breeding – Esten Mason

Wheat Genetics and Genomics – Esten Mason


Soil Science

Soil Science and Biosolids Management – Jim Ippolito

Environmental Soil Chemistry – Thomas Borch

Soil Physics – Greg Butters

Soil Ecology – Francesca Cotrufo

Environmental Soil Quality and Soil Fertility – Jim Ippolito

Pedology and Forest/Range Soils – Eugene Kelly

Soil Ecology and Climate Change – Keith Paustian

AgroEcosystems and Soil Ecology – Steve Fonte

Nutrient Cycling in AgroEcosystems – Meagan Schipanski

Soil Microbiology – Kelly Wrighton

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