Agriculture Education aff plans/Drafts


Agriculture Education Good



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Agriculture Education Good



Ag Threats Now



Agriculture faces a number of threats now


Mulder, Wageningen University, Education and Competence Studies Group, 17

[Martin Mulder (2017) The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, “A Five-Component Future Competence (5CFC) Model,” pg. 99-100, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1389224X.2017.1296533, accessed 6.30.2017]//TRossow



An important question regarding the study of competence, or professional competence (Mulder 2014) if you will, is what this has to do with agricultural education and extension. To give a short answer to this: in my opinion, a lot. Like in e-based production technology or smart office design, in knowledge-intensive agriculture, farm management, logistics in supply chains and networks, electronic marketing, web-based purchasing, climate-neutral construction, sustainable pest control, increased animal welfare, quality control, finance and governance, many developments are going on, some incremental, some disruptive. These developments have various consequences for the professionals working in and for agriculture, at different levels in different specializations, be it in crop farming, animal husbandry or aquaculture. Effects of climate change have to be taken into consideration, as well as goals regarding sustainable development. Researchers, engineers, planners, politicians and the industry have to design solutions for pressing problems, keeping the balance between people, planet and profit-related objectives in mind. The big question here is the same as we were studying in the project on basic skills: which competencies do people need to not only cope with the developments which are taking place, but to also contribute to create solutions for the current and future challenges to feed the global population, to sustain sufficient production with respect for the natural resources, and to warrant access to healthy food for all. Competence studies have to come up with suggestions of competencies people need for this. This does not only apply to the improvement of farming; it is much bigger than that. It certainly includes specifications of what is needed to foster production, to lower costs and maximize margins, but it is also about creating new business models, developing alternative value propositions or crossing boundaries. It may even apply to radical changes of economic activities of farmers who close their business because of the lack of future perspective and the earning power of their present activity. In the Netherlands it is expected that around 1000 dairy farmers will close their business during the course of 2017 because they do not see a viable future in milk production under the conditions of the set EU agricultural policy and the national agreement on phosphate reduction. The question then becomes which competencies are needed to realize this dramatically life-changing transformation in a positive-constructive way.

Solves Literacy



Agricultural curriculum increases agricultural literacy - and bolsters applied science skills


Henry, Purdue University Office of Multicultural Programs graduate research assistant, et al, 14

(Kesha A., Brian Allen Talbert, Purdue University College of Agriculture Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education Professor, Pamala V. Morris, Purdue University College of Agriculture Assistant Dean/Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, 2014, Journal of Agricultural Education, “Agricultural Education in an Urban Charter School: Perspectives and Challenges.” Volume 55 issue 2, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122353.pdf, p. 93-94, Accessed 6/28/17, GDI - JMo)

C1: Participants stated school agricultural education courses enhanced students’ knowledge and awareness of agriculture. Additionally, they reported these courses heightened student comprehension regarding higher education opportunities and careers in agriculturally related fields. Participants noted that agricultural education courses helped students understand practical applications of science and how science applied to their daily lives. Further, participants emphasized importance of agricultural education courses on the development of well-rounded students. Mr. Brown elaborated on the importance of agricultural education classes to urban school curricula.

Because it’s their everyday life. They eat, they wear it, they talk it. They are engaged in computer science, they are engaged in other modern technologies, but we leave out the Ag science, which not only feeds them but feeds the world [and] comes up with medical solutions. And so it’s nature and what we can do with it that makes the world go round....Let the young people of all diverse backgrounds, so all Americans, all [state residents] in particular let them know about the industry of agriculture, let them know about it early on and then let them know about [State] University and what it offers and then while we are promoting agriculture, or get in the midst we can go ahead and let them become the engineers and the nurses and the lawyers but we have done something, we have given them an appetite to continue to seek secondary education and it is, education is always the key....

Mr. Brooks explained strategies he used to help urban students gain appreciation for the importance of incorporating agricultural education courses into urban school curricula. One strategy in particular explains to students that agriculture is the application of science.

Yes, I talk to them about the importance of a well-rounded education and not to look at it as that agricultural class....They are not going to be out gardening during the day, they are going to be learning and using the practical application of biology and chemistry and understand how it is important to everyday life and most of them get it....They understand it once I explain it to them that way....

[Note Ellipses in original]

Solves Ag Policy Making



Ag literacy is necessary to informed decision making and policies


Kovar, Southwest Minnesota State University Agricultural Education professor, & Ball, University of Missouri Graduate Studies for Agricultural Education and Leadership Director, 13

[Kristin A. & Anna L., Journal of Agricultural Education, Volume 54, Number 1, “Two Decades of Agricultural Literacy Research: A Synthesis of the Literature,” http://www.jae-online.org/attachments/article/1728/54.1.14.Kovar.pdf, p. 167-8, accessed 6.27.2017]//TRossow



As our global population grows to a projected nine billion people by 2050, the nonagriculture population has little to no understanding of the complexities involved with sustaining a viable agriculture system” (Doerfert, 2011, p. 8). With a steady increase in the planet’s population, changes affecting agriculture are occurring such as increased production needs, widespread urbanization, and regulation and policy changes. The National Research Agenda for the American Association of Agricultural Education (AAAE) outlines six key research priority areas. Research priority one is “Public and Policy Maker Understanding of Agriculture and Natural Resources” (Doerfert, 2011). The emphasis placed on understanding agriculture in a modern world through research priority one communicates the need for an agriculturally literate society. Agricultural literacy is defined as an “understanding of the food and fiber system [that] includes its history and current economic, social, and environmental significance to all Americans” (National Research Council (NRC), 1988, p. 1). With fewer people directly involved in production agriculture and the complexity of agricultural issues presented to legislatures, the need for an agriculturally literate society is imperative so that informed individuals are able to make educated decisions regarding agriculture (Pope, 1990). The steady rise of urbanization has transferred the future of agriculture to a group of people with an overwhelming lack of support for agricultural issues. Agriculturally literate Americans are more likely to support policies affecting agriculture than those Americans lacking agricultural literacy (Ryan & Lockaby, 1996). Controversy in agriculture has continued to increase over the years due to genetically modified crops, animal rights, and food safety issues (Leising, Igo, Heald, Hubert, Yamamoto, 1998). Organizations and special interest groups have attacked the agricultural industry using the guise of creating an “informed public.” An agriculturally literate population is able to see beyond emotional pleas and make informed decisions on these issues. A society with an understanding of agriculture and current economic, social, and environmental impacts could lessen current challenges facing agriculture through good decision making along with providing the necessary support. Research efforts in agricultural literacy began after a publication by The National Research Council in September of 1988 entitled Understanding Agriculture—New Directions for Education (1988). This report was the result of a study initiated in 1985 due to concerns about the diminishing profitability of American agriculture and the decrease of agricultural education enrollments in secondary schools. At the request of U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Education, the National Research Council established the Committee on Agricultural Education in Secondary Schools to assess the contributions of agricultural instruction on the economic impact of U.S. agricultural production (Frick, Kahler, & Miller, 1991). Upon publication of Understanding Agriculture—New Directions for Education (1988), research on the concept of agricultural literacy began and has continued throughout the last 23 years. Publication of Understanding Agriculture— New Directions for Education (1988) sparked many changes in the management and operation of agricultural education programs in secondary schools. The publication stressed the establishment of programs in urban and suburban settings as well as a broadening of agricultural instruction. It also motivated a change in exclusivity by removing terms such as vocational, straying from traditional boundaries and attracting students of diverse interests. Aligning curriculum with science-based instruction methods and promoting a goal of increased program ethnic diversity was also encouraged (NRC, 1988). Agriculture as a whole has changed drastically since the publication of Understanding Agriculture—New Directions for Education (1988). The agricultural industry went through extremely trying times and financial crises in the 1980s, as evident in the dramatic rise of interest rates peaking over 20 percent, as well as a high debt-to-asset ratio (Boehlje & Hurt, 2008). Financial issues are still a concern in current times, but with agricultural loans at a much lower 4.5 percent and a significantly lower debtto-asset ratio across the industry, agriculture is in a more secure position than it was in the 1980s. Another change is the rise of corporate farming resulting in fewer people involved in production agriculture. As agriculture changed drastically over the years, one would expect to see a change in how society understands agriculture as well. Over the last two decades, the core concept of agricultural literacy, the understanding of agriculture, has stayed the same. However, understanding agriculture in 1988 and understanding agriculture in 2012 are two vastly different concepts. The change in technology alone warrants a new framework in which to examine agricultural literacy. Other changes include organic farming, ethanol production, international trade, buying local, environmental stewardship and climate, genetically modified organisms, as well as many other trends in agriculture. Agricultural educators designed programs to increase agricultural literacy prior to the publication of Understanding Agriculture—New Directions for Education (1988), but society is still considered agriculturally illiterate. If the concepts of agricultural literacy have evolved, but is being assessed through traditional methods, is the understanding of agriculture truly being evaluated?

Only the plan facilitates informed policy decisions


Doerfert, Texas Tech University Agricultural Communications Associate Chair & Professor, 11

[Doerfert, D. L. (Ed.), American Association for Agricultural Education , “National research agenda: American Association for Agricultural Education’s research priority areas for 2011-2015,” http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE%20National%20Research%20Agenda.pdf, p. 8, Accessed 6.28.2017]//TRossow

Public and Policy Maker Understanding of Agriculture and Natural Resources As our global population grows to a projected nine billion people by 2050, the non-agriculture population has little to no understanding of the complexities involved with sustaining a viable agriculture system. The potential negative impact of an uninformed population on the United States and global agriculture and food systems is great. An informed citizenry, including policy decisions at all levels, will create win-win solutions that ensure the long-term sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and quality of life in communities across the world. Our areas of scientific focus should include: » Increasing our understanding of related message and curriculum development, delivery method preferences and effectiveness, and the extent of change in audience knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors after experiencing an educational program or consuming related information and messages. » Demonstrating the impact of agricultural literacy efforts on a variety of stakeholder behaviors including consumer behavior (e.g. K-12 test scores, voting behavior, food consumption behavior). Literacy research efforts must be reciprocal in that members of the agriculture industry must also increase their understanding of various stakeholder group needs and/or behaviors » Determining the potential of emerging social media technologies, message formats, and strategies in realizing a citizenry capable of making agriculture-related informed decisions.

Solves Agriculture Worker Shortage



Expanding access to agricultural literacy in secondary schools is key to meeting growing ag industry demand


Stripling, University of Tennessee Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Assistant Professor and Ricketts, Tennessee State University Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Professor, 16

[Christopher, John, 2016, American Association for Agricultural Education, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA 2016-2020, http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE_National_Research_Agenda_2016-2020.pdf, page 30, Date accessed 6-28-17, RK]

In a USA Today article, Krogstad (2012) wrote concerning higher education in agriculture: “Enrollment is booming…as students flock to study subjects they feel offer a clear path to a job upon graduation” (para. 1). Education in and about agriculture and related areas is attractive because skills are developed that can solve issues such as global hunger, obesity, food safety, and climate change. The excitement is well-timed, as researchers have noted expected growth in the human population will result in a 50% increase on the demand for food over the next two decades (Hazel & Wood, 2007) and a 70-100% increase in demand by 2050 (Godfray et al., 2010).

As a result, employment opportunities in agriculture-related fields continue to increase. Projections for 2015- 2020 show an increase of more than 5% for graduates with postsecondary degrees, which is an average of 57,900 annual openings (Goecker, Smith, Fernandez, Ali, & Theller, 2015). Furthermore, 35,400 or 61% of the annual openings will be filled with new U.S. graduates – leaving employers to fill the other 39% with nonagricultural graduates (Goecker et al., 2015). In response to this continued trend, the National Research Council (2009) called for colleges and universities to reach out to secondary-school students and teachers and “explore partnerships with youth-focused programs, such as 4-H, National FFA, and scouting programs(p. 9) to expose students to agriculture and generate interest in agricultural careers. In addition to youth programs, nongovernmental organizations, agricultural employers, and agriculture industry professionals serve a vital role in the workforce supply chain (National Research Council, 2009). Forming partnerships among the aforementioned groups may increase awareness of the multidisciplinary and challenging nature of agriculture and could increase the diversity of students seeking postsecondary degrees and careers in the agricultural sciences (National Research Council, 2009).


High school agriculture courses increase the likelihood of pursuing degrees in agriculture – studies prove


Thoron et al., University of Florida Agriculture Education and Communication Assistance Professor, 16

[Andrew, 2016, American Association for Agricultural Education, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA 2016-2020, http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE_National_Research_Agenda_2016-2020.pdf, page 42, Date accessed 6-28-17, RK]



Career and technical education (CTE), including agricultural education, focuses heavily on career exploration as well as career and college readiness in order to help students better understand the skill, knowledge, and education expectations of specific careers (DeLuca, Plank, & Estacion, 2006). While no direct link has been established to connect successful secondary school experiences in agricultural education all the way through the human capital pipeline to successful employment in agricultural careers, studies have shown that “students’ course taking during high school plays a critical role in their ability to transition to postsecondary education and pursue a range of postsecondary majors and degree options” (Laird, Chen, Levesque, & Owings, 2006, p. 1). Dyer et al. (1996) found that while the percentage of freshman students with secondary school agricultural education was declining, the percentage of students intending to graduate with a major in agriculture was much higher among students with secondary school agricultural education experience than among those with no previous agricultural education experience. Dyer, Breja, and Wittler (2002) found enrollment in a high school agricultural education program to be one of the most influential factors in whether students completed a degree in a college of agriculture. Enrollment in agriculture courses at the secondary school level has also been found to be correlated with high positive perceptions of agriculture (Smith, 2010).

Agriculture knowledge key to meeting growing food production demand


Enns et al., College of Agricultural Studies Agricultural Education Associate Professor, 16

[Kellie, 2016, American Association for Agricultural Education, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA 2016-2020, http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE_National_Research_Agenda_2016-2020.pdf, page 14, Date accessed 6-28-17, RK]

Low food costs are the result of a variety of innovations and inventions related to food and fiber production. These innovations and inventions have resulted in larger yields but fewer farmers. This success story has a significant consequence—a society that is disconnected from agricultural production and processing. The current 1% of the U.S. population working on farms is supported by nearly 21 million agricultural sector related U.S. workers, or about 15% of the total U.S. workforce (Goecker, Smith, Smith, & Goetz, 2010). The U.S. agricultural sector annually accounts for 1.6% ($278.4 billion) of the $17.4 trillion U.S. Gross Domestic Product (DGP) (Central Intelligence Agency, 2015). The American agricultural sector will have a tremendous challenge in the decades to come as by 2050 the world’s population is projected to reach 9.7 billion people (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2015). Estimates indicate agriculture production will need to increase from 50-100% to meet the growing population demand (AGree, 2012) with less land and waterwhile sustaining the planet. While most Americans are not directly involved in agricultural production, daily purchasing and voting decisions made by individuals and policymakers affect the American agricultural system. If U.S. agriculture is going to continue to meet the needs of the U.S. population and address growing global needs, agriculture must be understood and valued by all.

Agricultural education is necessary to the future workforce


Ewing, Pennsylvania State University Agricultural and Extension Education Associate Professor, 16

[John C., Editor of The Agricultural Education Magazine, Nov Dec 2016, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “Preparing our Future Workforce through Agricultural Education,” pg. 2, https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P4-1907806536/preparing-our-future-workforce-through-agricultural, accessed 6.30.2017 ]//TRossow

The success of communities, states, and the nation rely on the workforce that is available to meet the needs of employers. The individuals that make up the workforce need to be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are needed at that time. In a time where we are being challenged to produce enough food and fiber to provide for an ever growing population, an emphasis needs to be placed on educating the workforce for agricultural careers.

Employees ranging from agribusiness personnel to agricultural mechanic technicians to agronomists (among others) are needed to meet the rising production, processing, and sales needs of the agricultural industry. These employees must be trained to enter the workforce so the food and fiber needs of our nation and world are met. These are just a few examples of the career opportunities awaiting our students. We must educate students to compete in a global market, and this should begin in the secondary agricultural education program.

Solves Food Security



Ag literacy solves extinction – key to global growth and food security


Malloy, Robeson County Center Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops & Jones, Robeson County Center County Extension Support Specialist, Agriculture and FCS, 16

[Mac Malloy and Jessie Jones, 7-25-16, Robeson County Center, “The Importance of Agricultural Literacy,’ https://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/2016/07/the-importance-of-agricultural-literacy/, accessed 6.27.2017]//TRossow

So why the big issue? All citizens need to understand the economic, social, and environmental significance of agriculture. Food production is the basis of all civilization. We need a well-educated public to contribute to the success of a safe and affordable food system that will attempt to feed the expected nine billion people in this world by 2050. Though only a small percentage of our population is actively producing our food, we all have a responsibility as voters that affect agricultural policy related to trade, employment, and environmental issues. We also need policy makers who are agriculturally literate to create responsible regulation that supports such an important industry in our global economy.

U.S. agriculture also plays a major role in supporting other sectors of our economy. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, one in three U.S. farm acres is planted for export. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service, in 2014, each dollar of agricultural exports stimulated another $1.27 in business activity. That means the $150 billion of agricultural exports in the 2014 calendar year produced an additional $190.6 billion in economic activity for a total output of $340.6 billion. Agricultural exports required 1.13 million full-time civilian jobs, which included 808,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector the same year.

Society’s major challenge ahead is determining how to continue to feed a growing population on less land and with less resources. Maybe it’s time we focus more on agricultural education in our school systems to create a more literate public to meet this challenge. The National Academy of Science, Agricultural Education Committee, has stated that agriculture is too important a topic to be taught to only a relatively small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing vocational agriculture studies. Some have suggested all high school graduates need to take at least one agricultural course to gain a basic understanding. I guess it all depends on how important we think agricultural literacy is to all mankind.

Ag literacy is essential to food security within ecological limits - solves extinction


Ross, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Secretary, 13

[Chuck Ross is Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. Chuck has a history of civic and agricultural leadership in the state, as a farmer, former state legislator, and former State Director for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy. June 24, 2013, University of Vermont Food Feed, “Agricultural literacy: How VT is leading the way in food system awareness,” https://learn.uvm.edu/foodsystemsblog/2013/06/24/agricultural-literacy-how-vt-is-leading-the-way-in-food-system-awareness/, accessed 7.1.2017]//TRossow

But that doesn’t change the fact that agriculture, and the policies that shape our food system, seem to exist someplace outside the mainstream cultural consciousness. How can that be? We all depend upon food – everyone eats. In this way, we are all innately connected to and through our food system. And yet the fact remains: most of us don’t understand the intrinsic connection between the food on our tables, the economy, the ecology, and the farmers who produce it.

I call this phenomenon “agricultural literacy,” or more accurately, illiteracy. As a culture, we have become mostly detached from the source of our food and our understanding of the systems that produce it. Given the population pressures emerging in the 21st century and the importance of our ability to feed ourselves within the ecological limits of the globe, our agriculture illiteracy is a true threat that must be addressed. Certainly, there is a growing movement, led by some very dynamic, progressive thinkers, working to correct this problem. They are a small, but determined minority. Their challenge is great.

As Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Vermont, I consider it my mission to increase agricultural literacy. I am proud to report we are making great strides. It is happening in our public schools, where more than half of our students experience Farm to School programming in their classrooms, cafeterias, and communities. (In fact, Vermont leads the nation in Farm to School initiatives.) It is happening at the point-of-purchase, where more consumers are buying direct from the farm (via CSA shares, farmers’ markets, and farm stands) per capita than any other state in the nation. And it is happening in our hospitals, workplaces, and government institutions, where focused match-making and technical assistance is enabling an increasing number of local producers to secure supplier contracts.

Quite simply, more Vermonters are connecting directly with farmers, which deepens their appreciation for and understanding of agriculture.



Agricultural literacy” is the ability to think critically about our food system; understand the interconnectedness of food , farming, economy and ecology; appreciate the complex dynamics of agriculture; and recognize how making informed decisions about how and what we eat shapes our working landscapes, the communities in which we live, and the larger world of which we are a part. We need to understand how our agricultural literacy will inform the decisions we will make about the policies and practices we adopt to guide our food system. And it will be this food system upon which we will all depend to feed our growing population and do so within the ecological parameters of our world. Given the stakes involved I urge us all to improve our individual and collective agricultural literacy – our future depends upon it.

Plan is necessary to facilitate food security - cultivates a skilled workforce needed for scientific and technological innovation


Doerfert, Texas Tech University, Agricultural Communications Associate Chair & Professor, 11

[Doerfert, D. L. (Ed.) (2011), American Association for Agricultural Education, “National research agenda: American Association for Agricultural Education’s research priority areas for 2011-2015,” http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE%20National%20Research%20Agenda.pdf, pg. 19-20, accessed 6.28.2017]//TRossow



With the global population expected to increase to nine billion by 2050, food security is of paramount importance to countries everywhere. Failure to address food security concerns could cause political instability in many parts of the world. Riveria and Alex (2008) connected this global need to a need for change in the development of the agricultural workforce:

Greater commercialization of agricultural systems and increasing trade liberalization dictate the need for better capacity on the part of the agricultural workforce in the 21st century. Global changes in the roles of the public and private sectors and dramatic advances in technology have also strongly affected agricultural workforce development needs. These evolving changes have important policy, institutional, and programmatic implications. (p. 374)



The need to provide a highly educated, skilled workforce capable of providing solutions to 21st century challenges and issues has never been greater. The issues that face our society have grown increasingly complex and harder to solve, even with the products of sophisticated scientific discovery and application. In the meantime, our educational system is being challenged by cultural, economic and structural factors that threaten our nation’s standing as a global leader in scientific and technological innovation. There is therefore a growing need to develop strategies to create a society of diverse, highly educated professionals and knowledge workers to address major societal challenges and develop innovations that drive the engines of economic growth.

There is also a commensurate need for relevant, rigorous, and actionable research into the human factors that influence educational preparation, quality teaching and learning outcomes and life-long human capital development of our workforce, especially in discovery science and STEM disciplines. This will require changes in university-level agricultural education.



If we are to be able to recruit and retain students to study in and prepare for careers in agriculture and natural resources related fields, we must be able to better understand the models, strategies, and tactics needed to best prepare, promote, and retain new professionals who demonstrate the requisite content knowledge, technical competence, and cultural awareness, coupled with communication and interpersonal skills. ,mThis will require that adequate numbers of well-prepared, highly effective agricultural educators, communicators, and leaders be made available to meet current and future needs.

Opportunities to Respond The agriculture industry represents a major driver of economic growth and development; it requires a stable, qualified workforce that possesses a diverse range of skill sets suitable for employment in jobs ranging from the on farm setting to positions as Ph.D. scientists in highly sophisticated laboratories. However, attracting the best and the brightest to pursue careers in agriculture remains a challenge. According to the Coalition for a Sustainable Agricultural Workforce (n.d.), major obstacles exist to recruiting students into careers in the agricultural sciences, including budget constraints, student misconceptions and competition for the most talented from the basic sciences and industry.

These challenges also represent our opportunities. The National Academy of Sciences (2009) stated that:

During the next ten years, colleges of agriculture will be challenged to transform their role in higher education and their relationship to the evolving global food and agricultural enterprise. If successful, agriculture colleges will emerge as an important venue for scholars and stakeholders to address some of the most complex and urgent problems facing society. (p. 1)



Our discipline is uniquely positioned for an immediate, positive impact on this need as research outcomes are quickly communicated and integrated into K-12, pre-professional, and professional-level educational opportunities. Our profession’s knowledge base is rich with cognitive, affective, psychomotor and experiential research and practical understandings. Collectively, we have a foundation towards a comprehensive theory of human learning. This includes retraining existing and developing new human capital in agriculture as part of a lifelong learning system.

Our specializations in teacher education, agricultural communication, leadership development, and extension education are grounded in the applied research tradition of solving problems, and our knowledge bases focus on understanding the dimensions of human and social capital in educational and organizational settings. The research endeavors of those in the agricultural education profession are focused on discovering, testing and refining those very models, strategies, and tactics that will be needed to create a sufficient scientific and professional workforce that can effectively address current and future challenges.


Food Insecurity Impact – Conflict Magnifier


Food insecurity ensures that conflict is uniquely severe and drawn out

Simmons, Wilson Center guest contributor, 13

[Emmy, September 3, 2013, New Security Beat, “Harvesting Peace: Food security, Conflict, and Cooperation”, https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2013/09/harvesting-peace-food-security-conflict-cooperation/#.Uth9YaCLDy8%29//JuneC//, accessed: 6/30/17, SK]

Deaths directly attributable to war appear to be declining, but war and other kinds of conflict continue to take a toll on human health, often through food insecurity. Conflict induces the affected populations to adopt coping strategies that invariably reduce their food consumption and nutrition. Poor nutritional status in individuals of any age makes them more susceptible to illness and death. But the acute food insecurity caused by conflict has especially potent and long-lasting effects on children. Children whose nutrition is compromised by food insecurity before they are two years old suffer irreversible harm to their cognitive and physical capacities. Analysis of the causes of conflict and war has been an area of growing academic interest. Both theoretical work and empirical analyses substantiate the many ways in which food insecurity can trigger, fuel, or sustain conflict. Unanticipated food price rises frequently provide a spark for unrest. Conflict among groups competing to control the natural resources needed for food production can catalyze conflict. Social, political, or economic inequities that affect people’s food security can exacerbate grievances and build momentum toward conflict. Incentives to join or support conflicts and rebellions stem from a number of causes, of which the protection of food security is just one. Food insecurity may also help to sustain conflict. If post-conflict recovery proves difficult and food insecurity remains high, incentives for reigniting conflict may be strengthened. Given the complexity of factors underlying food security, however, we do not yet understand what levels or aspects of food insecurity are most likely, in what circumstances, to directly contribute to or cause conflict. More explicit integration of food security variables into theories of conflict could help inform external interventions aimed at mitigating food insecurity and preventing conflict. The high human and economic costs of conflict and food insecurity already provide substantial incentives for international humanitarian and development organizations to intervene in order to alleviate food insecurity in fragile states and conflict-affected societies. Experience suggests, however, that effective efforts to address food insecurity in these situations may require external actors to reconsider the ways in which they intervene.

Food insecurity causes war


Koren, University of Minnesota Political Science PhD Candidate, & Bagozzi, Delaware University Political Science Assistant Professor, 16

[Ore Koren is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota in Political Science and a former Jennings Randolph Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. October 2016, Benjamin E. Bagozzi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Relations at the University of Delaware. Food Security, “From global to local, food insecurity is associated with contemporary armed conflicts,” Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 999–1010, on Springer, accessed 6.30.2017]//TRossow

This study adopts an economic perspective on food security to explain this variation in the concentration of social conflict. From the demand side, violent conflict is most likely to revolve primarily around access to food sources. When food insecurity produces higher demands for food, these demands will directly compel groups and individuals to seek out and fight over existing food resources, rather than leading these actors to pursue and fight over geographic areas that lack any (or have very little) agricultural resources. Thus, access to croplands and food is a necessary condition for food insecurity-induced conflict, which is confirmed in the cropland analyses presented here. From the supply side, and within those areas that do already offer access to agriculture and/or food, conflict is most likely to occur in regions that offer lower levels of food availability, or insufficient food supplies. This is because lower food availability (or supplies) in these contexts directly implies higher levels of resource scarcity, which can engender social grievances, and ultimately, social and political conflict (Brinkman and Hendrix 2011; Hendrix and Brinkman 2013). More broadly, several causal mechanisms could plausibly link food security and social conflict.

For one, conflict in regions with higher food access and lower availability might arise as a principal outcome of food insecurity. This approach is most directly in tune with the body of research concerned with the resource scarcity-based security implications of climate change (e.g. Miguel et al. 2004; Burke et al. 2009; O’Loughlin et al. 2012), as well as with broader studies of conflict dynamics and food security in both rural and urban contexts (Brinkman and Hendrix 2011; Hendrix and Brinkman 2013; Messer and Cohen 2006). From this perspective, individuals and groups actively fight with one another due to food insecurity-induced grievances, which may manifest in groups’ attempts to overthrow existing political structures, or in these actors’ efforts to more directly seize and control available (but scarce) agricultural resources in an effort to better guarantee long-term food security for their constituents. If future global projections for population growth, consumption, and climate change hold true, then these dynamics suggest that incidences of violent conflict over food scarcity and food insecurity may increase as individuals and groups fight over a continuously shrinking pool of resources, including food.

A second mechanism involves the existence of logistic support in conflict-prone regions, or lack thereof. Throughout history and well into the nineteenth century, armies living off the land have been a regular characteristic of warfare. The utilization of motorized transport vehicles and airlifts has significantly reduced the need of modern militaries to rely on local populations for support, at least among modernized, highly technological militaries (Kress 2002, 12–13). However, given the bureaucratic and economic capabilities required to maintain such systems, the majority of state and non-state armed groups in the developing world are still unlikely to be supported by well-developed logistic supply chains (Henk and Rupiya 2001). Taking into account the consistent relationship between economic welfare and conflict (Hegre and Sambanis 2006; Fearon and Laitin 2003), unsupported warring groups on all sides of a conflict may move into regions that offer more access to cropland in order to forage and pillage to support themselves, which in turn produces higher incidences of hostilities, especially if there is not much food per person available within these fertile regions. Hence, violent conflict in this case is not the direct result of food insecurity, but rather is shaped by food insecurity concerns.

The identified relationships between food security and conflict are robust across numerous alternative model specifications, and imply an independent effect of food insecurity in shaping conflict dynamics and conflict risk. Especially when considered alongside current, and projected, climatic and political-economic conditions, this linkage suggests that countries could see an increase in localized conflict worldwide in the coming years. However, this anticipated trend should be considered with caution for several key reasons.

Food shortages cause war – consensus of literature and our study is best


Koren, University of Minnesota Political Science PhD Candidate & Bagozzi, Delaware University Political Science Assistant Professor, 16

[Ore Koren is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota in Political Science and a former Jennings Randolph Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. October 2016, Benjamin E. Bagozzi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Relations at the University of Delaware. Food Security, “From global to local, food insecurity is associated with contemporary armed conflicts,” Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 999–1010, on Springer, accessed 6.30.2017]//TRossow



A growing number of studies of environmental stressors and social conflict posit that future wars will be fought over diminishing resources (Miguel et al. 2004; Burke et al. 2009; O’Loughlin et al. 2012; Scheffran et al. 2012). Building on insights from these studies, as well as other suggestive accounts (e.g. Brinkman and Hendrix 2011; Hendrix and Brinkman 2013; Messer and Cohen 2006; Prunier 2008), the present study demonstrates empirically, for the first time, the existence of a systemic relationship between conflict on the one hand, and food (in) security on the other, both globally and locally. Specifically, highly disaggregated cropland-based measures of food insecurity are shown to produce a significant effect on the incidence of inter and intra-state armed conflict worldwide.

Unlike the majority of previous studies, which rely primarily on country-level indicators (Miguel et al. 2004; Burke et al. 2009; Scheffran et al. 2012; Buhaug 2010) or focus specifically on sub-Saharan Africa (Miguel et al. 2004; Burke et al. 2009; O’Loughlin et al. 2012; Buhaug 2010; Fjelde and Hultman 2014), the present approach uses geographic factors to estimate the regional sub-state distribution of conflict globally. Two agricultural output measures, the percent of cropland in a given region and the amount of cropland per capita within agricultural regions, are used to proxy for the demand and supply aspects of food security, respectively (Barrett 2010). Using logistic regression (i.e., logit) models, these measures are then paired with a large number of political, economic, and climatic indicators in order to estimate the direct effects of food security on violent conflict. Evidence suggests that conflict occurs in areas with higher access to, but lower availability of, food resources. Together these findings imply that food insecurity produces an independent effect on contemporary social and political conflict.

Theoretical motivation

While relatively little research directly addresses the relationship between food insecurity and conflict specifically, numerous studies have implied that such a relationship exists. For instance, in their analysis of the relationship between climate variability and conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa, Burke et al. found that B[t]emperature variables are strongly related to conflict incidence over our historical panel^ (2009, 20,670. See also Miguel et al. 2004; Koubi et al. 2012). They further hypothesize that, B[t]emperature can affect agricultural yields both through increases in crop evapotranspiration (and hence heightened water stress in the absence of irrigation) and through accelerated crop development...reducing African staple crop yields by 10 %–30 % per °C of warming^ (ibid. 20,672). Somewhat more cautiously, O’Loughlin et al. conclude that, B[o]ur study and other studies question the evidence that climatic variability is uniformly driving up the risk of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa,^ while also noting that Bthe positive association between instability and temperature may result from the harmful effects of high temperatures on food products such as maize^ (2012, 18,347). While these conclusions were supported by subsequent studies (Raleigh and Kniveton 2012; Hendrix and Salehyan 2012; Hsiang and Meng 2014), other scholars question the validity of these findings and show that the incidence of conflict is primarily related to political and economic conditions (e.g. Buhaug 2010). In common with all these studies, however, is the insight that a major mechanism by which climate change increases the likelihood of conflict is through its effects on food supplies.

Solves Economy



Investment in agriculture bolsters the economy


Mercier, former Senate Agriculture Committee Chief Economist & Farm Journal Foundation Director of Policy and Advocacy, 15

[Stephanie, July 2015, AGree, “Food and Agricultural Education in the United States”, http://www.foodandagpolicy.org/sites/default/files/AGree_Food%20and%20Ag%20Ed%20in%20the%20US_0.pdf, p. 15, accessed 6-26-17, AFB]



If the global agricultural system is going to meet the needs of the global population of 9 billion by 2050, investments in agricultural research and extension are going to have to play a strong role in that effort. Recent studies on U.S. economic competitiveness have brought a renewed focus on improving the U.S. educational system and doing a better job of attracting young people to technical and scientific training in the so-called STEM disciplines. The U.S. agricultural sector needs to do a better job of making the case that these two sets of demands are in fact linked, that the U.S. economy will prosper with strong productivity gains in both the agricultural and industrial sectors with better trained professionals, and that work must begin in elementary and secondary schooling and include food-related as well as agriculture-related topics. Some parts of U.S. agriculture have embraced the notion that agricultural and food education needs to be embedded in the STEM effort, but that viewpoint is not universally held.

Solves Jobs



Agricultural education leads to personal growth, career success and good self-perception


Rubenstein, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & and environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Agricultural Leadership education and communication, et al, 16

(E.D., N.W. Conner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Agricultural Leadership education and communication, S.D. Hurst, Agriculture Teacher Osceola Middle School, and A.C. Thoron, University of Florida Institute of food and Agricultural studies Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2016, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, “A Philosophical Examination of School-based Agricultural Education and NBC's Education Nation.” ProQuest, Volume 60, Issue 3, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)



Membership and participation in the FFA has been shown to have many benefits to students. Talbert and Balschweid (2004) found that FFA members statistically rated agricultural education and history and social studies as more important than non-members. The significantly higher rankings of these topics may contribute to the students' personal growth and subsequent career success. In another study, students and graduates who had FFA membership or were in high school agriculture education classes rated higher in the cooperative/helpful and pleasant/friendly/cheerful categories on the Affective Work Competencies Inventory than non-members or those who were not in agriculture classes (Benson, 1982). This study demonstrates the affect that FFA has had on these members' career success and leadership qualities. Not only do supervisors see the benefits, FFA members do too. Carter and Neason (1984) compared the self-perceptions of personal development of FFA members who had high and low participation using the Personal Development Index. Members with high levels of participation rated themselves statistically higher than low participation members on leadership, orientation to agricultural occupations, citizenship and cooperation (Carter and Neason, 1984). Members who were categorized as having high involvement also had overall higher self-perceptions of personal development (Carter and Neason, 1984). Carter and Neason (1984) demonstrated that high FFA participation could be linked to feelings of self-efficacy in leadership and traits connected to development of the whole person.

[Note FFA = Future Farmers of America]


Agriculture curriculum good – allows for student planning and job training


LaRose, University of Florida Agricultural Education doctoral graduate student, 16

(Sarah, 3/14/16, The Agricultural Education Magazine. “Teach Local: Incorportating the Local Food Movement into Agricultural Education Curriculum.” ProQuest, P.23 , Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)

Local Food Curriculum

The curriculum was construct- ed based off the feedback from advisory committee members, SAE employers, agricultural organizations throughout the state, as well as previously existing syllabi from community colleges, junior colleges, and two-year associ- ate’s degree programs. Initially, a nine-week sophomore class was written, followed by one year of a two year alternating junior/senior class.

Unit content for each of the courses are as follows:

Sophomore Class (9 weeks) Junior/Senior Class (1 year)

January-February 2016

• What is Local?

• Soil Science

• Crop Production

• Harvest, Processing, & Preservation

• Hydroponic Food Production

• Garden & Greenhouse Maintenance

• Introduction to Local Food

• Production Methods

• Food Quality & Safety

• Winterization of Outdoor Facilities

• Hydroponics

• Garden Planning & Preparation

• Spring Maintenance

• Principles of Composting

• Facility Planning & Design

Students are engaged in a variety of activities involved with planning, planting, maintaining, and harvesting produce in both the hydroponic greenhouse and the school garden. They also participate in field trips to area farms and businesses, deliver produce to the town’s food bank, assess food labels at the grocery store, and design their own farms and food safety protocols in accordance to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Perhaps one of my favor- ite things to do with students as a part of this curriculum was teach- ing them how to use the food they grew by cooking together! Usingin-season vegetables we grew as a class, we made vegetable pizza and a side salad, sometimes ac- companied by bruschetta or sau- téed Swiss chard. Allowing students to complete the full farm to table process provided them with a more holistic view of food production, as well as helping to emphasize the need for producers engaged in direct-to-consumer sales to be able to make cooking recom- mendations for their products to consumers.

Agricultural literacy provides a host of benefits – which can help with job opportunities in the future


Ewing, Penn State Agricultural Economics Professor, 16

[John, December 2016, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “Preparing our Future Workforce through Agricultural Education”, http://www.naae.org/profdevelopment/magazine/current_issue/Nov_Dec_2016.pdf, pg. 2, accessed: 6/28/17, SK]



We can all agree that students learn technical skills through their agricultural education program, but they also have opportunities to practice and enhance communication, time management, team work, and leadership skills. Employers want to know that students are being prepared with skills that will benefit their company. Teachers that are able to partner with local agricultural businesses are often afforded the opportunity to grow their program, while providing access to potential future employees to the business. Through these partnerships there is an amazing opportunity for teachers to learn the most up-to-date information that can benefit their students, immediately.

Solves Education



Agriculture education good for academic achievement – multiple studies prove


Thoron et al., University of Florida Agriculture Education and Communication Assistance Professor, 16

[Andrew, 2016, American Association for Agricultural Education, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA 2016-2020, http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE_National_Research_Agenda_2016-2020.pdf, page 43, Date accessed 6-28-17, RK]



Agricultural education in middle and high school incorporates numerous factors that require a unique set of skills aside from the typical educational factors that are associated with student academic success. Management and advisement of a comprehensive student leadership organization (National FFA Organization) that develops leadership skills and career development applications through competitive events, classroom and laboratory facilities management, Supervised Agricultural Experiences (where students engage in authentic experiential learning), and, in many states, industry certification are all components of school-based agricultural education.

Factors attributing to student academic success have been identified through teaching methodologies such as inquiry based instruction where Thoron and Myers (2011, 2012a, 2012b) found students outperformed peers on subject matter exams, argumentation skill, and scientific reasoning when compared to a more traditional approach to teaching during a fourteen-week study. The authors called for studies of longer duration in the profession and replication. Other studies (Stripling & Roberts, 2014) have investigated the math ability of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs and thus the preservice teachers’ self-efficacy (Stripling & Roberts, 2013) in teaching math concepts in an agricultural context. Further investigations attributing agriscience education to academic success are pivotal to the future of school-based agriculture in the public schools. In addition to academic success in the classroom, there remains a value in indicating further development for students beyond the secondary-school. Impact of industry certifications, students’ ability to obtain an associate degree while in high school linked to career success, due to school-based agricultural education, provide little guidance to the profession above the perception level.

Solves Critical Thinking



Problem based learning and constructivism key to School Based Agricultural Education - increases critical thinking


Rubenstein, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & and environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Agricultural Leadership education and communication, et al, 16

(E.D., N.W. Conner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Agricultural Leadership education and communication, S.D. Hurst, Agriculture Teacher Osceola Middle School, and A.C. Thoron, University of Florida Institute of food and Agricultural studies Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2016, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, “A Philosophical Examination of School-based Agricultural Education and NBC's Education Nation.” ProQuest, Volume 60, Issue 3, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)

Teaching Methods/Approaches

SBAE has a tradition of utilizing teaching methods that support problem-based learning (Phipps et al., 2008). Teaching methods/approaches that have been categorized within problem-based learning include problem-solving, inquiry-based learning and experiential learning (Eggen and Kauchak, 2001). Teaching methods within the constructivist theory allow instructors to provide students with educational experiences that allow learners to construct their own knowledge in a way that encourages critical thinking and development of their own thoughts and opinions (Fosnot, 1996). The central tenet of constructivism posited that the learner creates personal knowledge and meaning based on their personal experiences (Steffe and Gale, 1995). Constructivism is divided into a continuum, which includes cognitive constructivism, social constructivism and radical constructivism (Doolittle and Camp, 1999). According to Doolittle and Camp (1999), Career and Technical Education aligns neatly with cognitive constructivism and adheres to the central tenets that knowledge is actively constructed and that cognition is a process that is continually evolving (Von Glasersfeld, 1984, 1998).

[Note: SBAE = School Based Agricultural Education]


SBAEs problem solving curriculum increases understanding and critical thinking - allows students to thrive in society


Rubenstein, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & and environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Agricultural Leadership education and communication, et al, 16

(E.D., N.W. Conner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Agricultural Leadership education and communication, S.D. Hurst, Agriculture Teacher Osceola Middle School, and A.C. Thoron, University of Florida Institute of food and Agricultural studies Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2016, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, “A Philosophical Examination of School-based Agricultural Education and NBC's Education Nation.” ProQuest, Volume 60, Issue 3, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)

The problem-solving approach has also been used extensively in SBAE (Boone, 1990; Phipps et al., 2008) due to Dewey's (1938) educational philosophy that emphasized the importance of an experience in order to entice students to think critically about the issue at hand. According to Phipps et al. (2008), the problemsolving approach that has been used in SBAE consists of the scientific method and allows the student to develop critical thinking skills that help the student to thrive in a complex society. Boone (1990) posited that the problem-solving approach allows students to utilize the scientific method in a way that allows the student to critically think through a problem, test probable solutions and access results. The researcher found that "the problem solving approach to teaching increases the level of student retention of agricultural knowledge learned during an instructional unit" (p. 25). A study conducted by Dyer and Osborne (1996) found that problem-solving approach is more effective in strengthening the problem solving capabilities of students than the subject matter approach. The problem-solving approach has been widely accepted by SBAE and has been considered one of the best methods of teaching agriculture (Phipps and Osborne, 1988).

[Note: SBAE = School Based Agricultural Education]


SBAE experiments with personal experience reflection


Rubenstein, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & and environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Agricultural Leadership education and communication, et al, 16

(E.D., N.W. Conner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Agricultural Leadership education and communication, S.D. Hurst, Agriculture Teacher Osceola Middle School, and A.C. Thoron, University of Florida Institute of food and Agricultural studies Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2016, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, “A Philosophical Examination of School-based Agricultural Education and NBC's Education Nation.” ProQuest, Volume 60, Issue 3, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)

Additionally, SBAE has utilized Kolb's (1984) model of experiential learning as a conceptual framework for providing students with an authentic learning experience for many years (Phipps et al., 2008). Kolb's comprehension of experiential learning consists of a concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. The curriculum within SBAE programs allows instructors to provide an experience for the student that aligns with the curriculum (Phipps et al., 2008). According to Phipps et al. (2008), the instructor would focus on personal reflection in order for the student to think about the experience and break the reflection apart in an effort to make sense of the experience. The abstract conceptualization stage would then allow the student to create rules and generalizations regarding the experience and the exemplified concept (Kolb, 1984). The final stage allows for the student to test the generalizations they created (Kolb, 1984). An experiential learning philosophy aligns with the learning theory of constructivism and has been commonly used in the SBAE classroom (Roberts, 2006).

[Note: SBAE = School Based Agricultural Education]


Solves Farming Stereotypes



Agricultural education reduces farming stereotypes


Henry, Purdue University Office of Multicultural Programs graduate research assistant, et al, 14

(Kesha A., Brian Allen Talbert, Purdue University College of Agriculture Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education Professor, Pamala V. Morris, Purdue University College of Agriculture Assistant Dean/Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, 2014, Journal of Agricultural Education, “Agricultural Education in an Urban Charter School: Perspectives and Challenges.” Volume 55 issue 2, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122353.pdf, p. 95, Accessed 6/28/17, GDI - JMo)

SC1: Participants indicated urban students have a range of stereotypes relative to higher education in agriculture and careers in agriculture. However, participants believe the inclusion of agricultural education courses throughout high school can play a key role in breaking negative stereotypes. “I think it gets these urban kids a way to see what agriculture is and maybe what it isn’t....I think they all picture a farmer in coveralls riding on a tractor but that’s not what agriculture really is today” (Mr. Brooks). Participants noted urban students tended to view agriculture as just growing corn, not looking further to see career opportunities for themselves in agriculture. Ms. James noted her students’ agricultural stereotypes and lack of agricultural knowledge could be impediments to instruction. However, she views these challenges as teaching opportunities.

You know there is a big stereotype with agriculture. So, the things I do in class I try to break those stereotypes and with me being excited about it and me having that agricultural background I can pull from those experiences and I have personal stories that they can relate to or try to get them to relate to even if they haven’t seen....They just think it’s farming and corn and that’s about it ....When I ask them so what’s the agriculture that we have around the school, you know there is a nursery just on the other side of the parking lot behind the school, and they didn’t consider that as agriculture but landscaping is a huge industry in agriculture so I mean they are just unaware of what agriculture is....I even had a student who didn’t even understand that an apple came from a tree so we went over that most of the foods that we eat come from agriculture. And, farmers don’t just farm corn because that’s what they see around the city here because there are small farm fields in the city here with corn and soybeans so they see that but they just don’t understand that all the stuff that goes into it all the various industries that are wrapped up in agriculture....

Mr. Brooks provided additional rationale for teaching agriculture to increase student knowledge and refute agricultural stereotypes.

What kids know about food is...where do you get milk... from the grocery store ... they come here and they say well I don’t want to take an agricultural class and I say yes you do...and here is why. This could be your future, and it’s a great job and it’s high paying and in high demand and it’s important...not only is it important to people in the United States, it’s important to people around the world.

Political divides between urban and rural folk exist - Trump exacerbates it


DelReal, Washington Post reporter, and Clement, Washington Post polling manager, 17

(Jose A. and Scott, 6/17/16, The Washington Post, “Rural divide.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/national/rural-america/?utm_term=.7dad3c6823e3, Accessed 7/1/17, GDI - JMo)

The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents’ deep misgivings about the nation’s rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States.

The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey of nearly 1,700 Americans — including more than 1,000 adults living in rural areas and small towns finds deep-seated kinship in rural America, coupled with a stark sense of estrangement from people who live in urban areas. Nearly 7 in 10 rural residents say their values differ from those of people who live in big cities, including about 4 in 10 who say their values are “very different.”

That divide is felt more extensively in rural America than in cities: About half of urban residents say their values differ from rural people, with less than 20 percent of urbanites saying rural values are “very different.”



Alongside a strong rural social identity, the survey shows that disagreements between rural and urban America ultimately center on fairness: Who wins and loses in the new American economy, who deserves the most help in society and whether the federal government shows preferential treatment to certain types of people. President Trump’s contentious, anti-immigrant rhetoric, for example, touched on many of the frustrations felt most acutely by rural Americans.

The Post-Kaiser survey focused on rural and small-town areas that are home to nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population. These range from counties that fall outside metropolitan areas such as Brunswick, Va. (population 16,243) to counties near population centers with up to 250,000 residents such as Augusta, Va. (population 74,997), close to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. Urban residents live in counties that are part of major cities with populations of at least 1 million, while suburban counties include all those in between.

The results highlight the growing political divisions between rural and urban Americans. While urban counties favored Hillary Clinton by 32 percentage points in the 2016 election, rural and small-town voters backed Trump by a 26-point margin, significantly wider than GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s 16 points four years earlier.

But popular explanations of the rural-urban divide appear to overstate the influence of declining economic outcomes in driving rural America’s support for Trump. The survey responses, along with follow-up interviews and focus groups in rural Ohio, bring into view a portrait of a split that is tied more to social identity than to economic experience.

Being from a rural area, everyone looks out for each other,” said Ryan Lawson, who grew up in northern Wisconsin. “People, in my experience, in cities are not as compassionate toward their neighbor as people in rural parts.”



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