DelVal to offer new organic livestock course

Aug 16, 2017

 Rodale Institute Farm Manager Ross Duffield

Credit: Rodale Institute. Ross Duffield, Rodale Institute Farm Manager, will teach a new course at DelVal focused on organic livestock for fall 2017.  

Delaware Valley University will begin offering a new Organic Livestock Management course starting in the fall 2017 semester. Rodale Institute Farm Manager Ross Duffield will be teaching the course.

“Very seldom do you find an organic livestock management course available,” said Duffield. “There are many livestock management courses out there for conventional settings. Organic management is an area where we’re seeing more student interest.”

From lectures, discussions, and field trips, students will learn to manage organic livestock. Students will examine feeding, healthcare, and grazing strategies affecting the growth and development of organically-raised livestock including dairy cows, pigs, poultry and more.

Participants will gain hands-on experience with a variety of livestock and communicate with different farmers about the rewards and challenges of their operations. For each type of livestock studied, there will be an in-class lecture followed by a field trip to a farm that specializes in that type of livestock.

“You can gain some knowledge from a PowerPoint presentation, but actually experiencing the sights and smells of what is going on around you at a farm operation is the best way to learn,” said Duffield.

The course will also cover the National Organic Standards, the organic certification process for livestock and alternative niche markets.

“Given the consistent increases in sales of organic food, I believe it is important for all students of agriculture to have at least one course in organics so they have a background in current, scientifically-based organic food production methods based on the National Organic Standards,” said Dr. Jackie Ricotta, a DelVal professor.

The three-credit course, which begins Aug. 30, is open to anyone with an interest in organic agriculture. Students can take the course as visitors through the Office of Continuing and Professional Studies and do not need to be current DelVal students to sign up. The class will be held on Wednesdays from 2:15 to 4:55 p.m. on DelVal’s campus.

Rodale Institute and DelVal have an existing relationship through the Organic Farming Program. The 36-credit certificate program, established in 2012, takes a year to complete. It is offered through a partnership between DelVal and Rodale Institute, a leader in the organic industry. The program was designed to provide a quick pathway to careers in organic agriculture. It has been popular with military veterans looking to transition to civilian careers.

“Ross Duffield was asked to teach the Organic Livestock Management course based on his work at Rodale Institute, his classroom experience as a teacher, and his deep knowledge and background working with animals,” said Dr. Ricotta. “We are confident Ross will connect with our students on many levels.”

For more information or, to register, please contact: or 215.489.2904.