Agriculture Education Makes Sense For Everyone, Not just Farm Kids

Agriculture Education Makes Sense For Everyone, Not just Farm Kids

Thank you for bringing the importance of AG ed to light Buzzfeed.
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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.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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