students in the field


We're here to make a difference in the world.

You won't find another crop sciences department with a history like ours. We started as the first Department of Agronomy in the United States. Currently, we are a nationally-ranked plant sciences program with a rich history and exceptional academic reputation.

Our Purpose

Global impact. Millions of people go undernourished every day. They don't have clean water to drink or nutritious food to eat. We're changing that. We're here to educate future leaders to feed and fuel the world. Locally and globally, in the classroom and the field, we're working with students, scientists, communities, and producers to increase food and fuel security. Through these research collaborations, we're developing new crop varieties, agricultural processes, and technologies revolutionizing food systems and the agriculture industry.

Our History

Our story began 150 years ago. The world has changed immensely since then; however, our mission is still the sameā€”to educate new generations to advance the agriculture industry. Former faculty and students didn't just advance the agriculture industry--they revolutionized it and still are today.

What We Do and Why It Matters

The Department of Crop Sciences is advancing agriculture through local and international research to increase food security while protecting the environment. Our internationally recognized faculty lead cutting-edge research programs that educate the next generation of agriculture professionals.

Our Developments and Milestones

  • In the early 1950s, Professor John R. Laughnan developed one of the first varieties of sweet corn known as "Illini Super Sweet."
  • In the 1930s, Clyde M. Woodworth published the first map of soybean chromosomes, which led to the first improved soybean varieties in the U.S.
  • In 1918, Cyril G. Hopkins revitalized Greece's agricultural economy and practices by educating farmers on soil fertility and productivity. In a time when Greece depended on agricultural prosperity, Dr. Hopkins contribution allowed Greece to feed its people for coming generations.
  • Educated one of the Fathers of Hybrid Corn Edward M. East (the first Ph.D. to be awarded from our department in 1907) went on to help provide the foundation for hybrid corn research. Today, East is known as one of the founding fathers of hybrid corn.
  • Our department has the oldest continuous soil experimentation plots in the United States dating back to 1876. Today, you can see the Morrow Plots on campus that continues to provide valuable research information.