Agriculture Education Makes Sense For Everyone, Not Just Farm Kids
Not too long ago, Buzzfeed released a video that I, being someone who grew up surrounded by agriculture, of course had to watch: "City Folk Work On A Farm For A Day."
Del Monte Foods invited four Buzzfeed members to visit one of their farms where they took part in collecting crop samples for maturity testing and allowed them to drive equipment during harvesting. These Buzzfeeders had no idea what they were doing or what they were getting themselves into, that much was obvious by their reactions and commentary.
Watching it, I didn't know if I should laugh or cringe. They thought green beans grew on TREES for cryin' out loud! Really?
But, these Buzzfeeders aren't alone in their disconnect from agriculture. In fact, it seems like most people really do have no clue where their food comes from. There are lots of agricultural products many consumers have no idea where they actually come from, and it's not as if the producers are trying to keep it a secret.
I've met people who genuinely believed wool was a plant, that there was no difference in dairy and beef cattle, that roosters were the ones that laid eggs and so much more off the wall concepts. Unless you are within one to two generations of a family farm, it's sad to say that most Americans know next to nothing about the agricultural industry.
This is where agriculture education comes into play. It's important and it's helpful to know where your food comes from, the growing and the sciences behind it.
Starting with food production as your base opens you up to learn about crops, plants, land management and all forms of animal sciences. More than just your food, it's helpful to know about basic environmental sciences such as soil or water conservation and renewable energy.
Everyone can benefit from understanding the basics of business, public speaking, and professionalism. With all of these possible topics and more covered in agriculture education, why wouldn't you want it to be apart of your curriculum?
AG-ed is already taught in rural schools all over the country, but not in many urban school settings.
These schools don't feel a need to "teach students how to be a farmer" as I've heard from various urban school educators, such as my own high school. (Thankfully AG-ed had been offered at our school for decades so the program was going nowhere.) But that's not what most high school or in some places middle school AG educators aim to teach their students. And even kids who don't want to grow up to be farmers should still know about basic agriculture.
The AG industry plays a part in every single person's everyday life.
From the clothes, you wear to the food you eat, to the lumber that built your house and from your constant use of agricultural byproducts, this industry plays a massive role in your life. There will always be a need for AG and there will always be a need for workers in the AG industry, and I mean way more than just farmers. With this industry being so vital to not only us but the whole world, it just makes sense to teach our students about it, urban or rural backgrounds aside.
Between knowing about your environment and your food supply to general knowledge on a field that will always be necessary, what possible argument could you have for not wanting schools to teach agricultural education?
Go on, think of something, while you do that I'll continue to dispell the crazy misconceptions the general public has about my industry. Wake up world, Ag ed makes sense.
Originally posted from odysseyonline.com. Cover photo courtesy of National FFA Organization.