The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Israel's standard bearer in agriculture, is ranked among the top 30 agricultural schools worldwide. It is known for its academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, for exceptional basic and applied research, and for educating international students through the Division of External Studies and now the International School.
Since the inception of the Faculty of Agriculture in 1942, even before the State of Israel was founded, the Faculty has generated advances vital to Israel's well being, economic strength and agricultural productivity. These innovations have become increasingly crucial to our global community as well.
The Faculty is the only institute of higher education in Israel offering university degrees in agriculture. It is also home to the only schools of Nutritional Sciences and of Veterinary Medicine. Established in 1942 as the Institute for Agricultural Sciences with 21 masters students, the today it has a student body of 2,300 students.
The Faculty offers programs leading to B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Agriculture, B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Nutrition, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. The Faculty's International School of Agricultural Sciences also offers short-term postgraduate courses on various agricultural subjects, and Masters of Science in Agriculture degree programs, all of which are conducted in English for foreign students.
The Faculty's teaching and research continue to play a central role: in advancing agriculture to strengthen the Israeli economy, while training tomorrow's scientists and agriculturists; protecting and rehabilitating the environment, while increasing food production and reducing world hunger; mobilizing agriculture to meet human health needs and improving the quality and purity of agricultural products; and sharing the benefits of Israeli research and innovation with other nations.
Faculty graduates are active in farming communities - kibbutzim, moshavim or private farms - using their know-how to compete in world markets; they also comprise a large part of the staff at the Agricultural Research Organization and the Extension Service of the Ministry of Agriculture; occupy most of the leading positions within the Ministry of Environmental Quality; constitute a significant professional section in many Israeli companies involved in production of relevance to local and international agriculture (drip irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, etc.); become teachers of biology, nutrition and agriculture at universities, high schools and junior high schools all over the country; and serve abroad on Israeli projects of technical aid, cooperation and R&D.
Some of the Faculty research achievements and innovations include methods of drip irrigation and fertigation; tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables bred with long shelf life, improved taste and disease resistance; returning the fragrance to flowers; intensive arid-zone agriculture; soil solarization - a nonchemical method of controlling soilborne plant diseases; green-farming techniques - use of natural biofertilizers and biocontrol by biofungicides and parasitic insects - to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides; recycling technologies for waste-water reclamation and composting of solid municipal and agricultural wastes; using plants to purify water polluted by heavy metals.
Research at the Faculty has improved and increased yields of fruits, vegetables, grain crops, flowers and cotton; helped overcome problems of pest damage and soil contamination; led to the most efficient use of water for agriculture; produced ground-breaking innovations in irrigation techniques; helped develop Israel's annual flower export from almost nil in the 1960's, to its current status as one of the largest exporters of flowers in the world, and much more.