AOM 4461
Sustainable Ag Systems

Semester Taught - Spring

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

Minimizing energy and costs in agricultural and natural resource systems and industries. Students explore ways to enhance sustainable systems by improving efficiency. Topics include agricultural machinery, pumps, motors, fans, refrigeration, lights and construction methods.


Senior standing and 1st year physics.

Course Objectives

Students will be able to calculate efficient operational plans for agricultural and natural resources facilities.  Topics that students will analyze include:

  • Agricultural machinery
  • Lighting
  • Ventilation systems
  • Electric motors
  • Internal combustion engines (stationary and non-stationary)
  • Pumps
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Building systems and technology

Students will learn to analyze efficient operation and couple the results with economic analyses to reduce fixed costs.  Reduction of fixed costs will be shown to increase profitability and sustainability.


Dr. Wendell Porter
Office Location: 113 Rogers
Phone: 392-1864 x113

Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

Selected handouts, notes and Internet sources will provide for the text in this class.

Course Outline

  1. Review of current energy and water issues affecting the nation, the South east and Florida.
  2. Energy overview of diverse agricultural operations such as nurseries, cattle ranches, row crops and groves.
  3. Efficient operation of non-stationary agricultural machinery.
  4. Upgrading lighting technology to minimize cost and maximize efficiency
  5. Ventilation systems for both plant and animal needs will be analyzed and optimized for efficient operation.
  6. Electric motor systems for agricultural uses will be presented
  7. Best management practices for electric motor systems.
  8. Stationary internal combustion engines for agricultural and natural resource uses.
  9. Efficient operation of pumping systems.
  10. Agricultural refrigeration systems.
  11. Building systems and certifications such as LEED.
  12. Case Studies
  13. Case Studies

Time does not permit everything to be covered in the lectures and labs therefore, reading and homework will be assigned.  Exams will include outside reading material as well as that provided in the lectures.


A C- will not be a qualifying grade for critical tracking courses.  In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA and an upper-division GPA of 2.0 or better (C or better).  Note: a C- average is equivalent to a GPA of 1.67, and therefore, it does not satisfy this graduation requirement.  For more information on grades and grading policies, please visit:

Exams 2 @ 50 each 100 points
Homework 10 @ 10 each 100 points
Projects 3 @ 50 each 150 points
Attendance 20 @ 5 each 100 points
Final Project   100 points
Total Points   550 Points

Projects are worth 50 points each and a grading rubric for each will be included in the information provided for that assignment.  UF grading policy can be found at:

550-506 pts     =          A
505-495           =          A-
494-478.5        =          B+
478.4-451        =          B
450-440           =          B-
439-423.5        =          C+
423.4-396        =          C
395-385           =          C-
384-368.5        =          D+
368.4-341        =          D
340-330           =          D-
<329           =          E

Projects and homework will be due on or before the date assigned in class.  Late work will not be accepted without prior approval.  Class participation, including attendance, is expected.  Complaining about the assignment of any and all grades will be listened to only if the student participates in class discussions and activities. 


Grades and Grade Points
For information on current UF policies for assigning grade points, see

Absences and Make -Up Work
Requirements  for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments  and other work are
consistent  with university  policies that can be found at:
https://cata lo g. ufl. ed u/ugrad /c urre nt/re gulatio ns/info /atte nda nce.asp x.

Academic Honesty

As a student at the University of Florida, you have committed yourself to uphold the Honor Code, which includes the following pledge: “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.” You are expected to exhibit behavior consistent with this commitment to the UF academic community, and on all work submitted for credit at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: " On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

It is assumed that you will complete all work independently in each course unless the instructor provides explicit permission for you to collaborate on course tasks (e.g. assignments, papers, quizzes, exams). Furthermore, as part of your obligation to uphold the Honor Code, you should report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. It is your individual responsibility to know and comply with all university policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and the Student Honor Code. Violations of the Honor Code at the University of Florida will not be tolerated. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office for consideration of disciplinary action. For more information regarding the Student Honor Code, please see:

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability  Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations  of students with
disabilities.  This includes  registering  disabilities,  recommending  academic accommodations within  the classroom,  accessing  special adaptive computer equipment,  providing  interpretation services and mediating  faculty-student  disability  related issues. Students  requesting  classroom accommodation  must first register with the Dean of Students  Office. The Dean of Students  Office will provide  documentation  to the student who must then provide  this documentation  to the Instructor when requesting  accommodation

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Campus Helping Resources

Students experiencing crises or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to utilize the university’s counseling resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center provides confidential counseling services at no cost for currently enrolled students. Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career or academic goals, which interfere with their academic performance.

  • University Counseling & Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 352-392-1575,

    Counseling Services
    Groups and Workshops
    Outreach and Consultation
    Self-Help Library
    Training Programs
    Community Provider Database

  • Career Resource Center, First Floor JWRU, 392-1601,