> My comments on Ag Education:
> As one working in the area of integrated pest management, it
> is important to realize how one production practice (say
> fertilization) can affect such things as disease susceptibility,
> insect vulnerability, maturity, etc. The concept of sustainable
> agriculture involves a systems approach dealing with cropping
> systems, integrating livestock production with crop production,
> etc. These are the ideas we need to get across to ag students as
> well as the nuts and bolts of producing a given commodity. It may
> be a different (non-traditional) way of thinking about ag.
Actually your thinking is *very* traditional. Ten to twenty years
ago this is exactly what the Ag Education curricula looked like.
Students would enroll in Ag I their freshman year and finish up
with Ag IV when they were seniors. It was only with declining
enrollments in the early 80's that many states abandoned this
approach. Some of this was marketing--you could get more students
to enroll in specific classes, e.g. horticulture, natural resource
management, pre-veterinary science, etc. Also, many agriculture teachers
were successful in getting their more scientifically oriented classes
counted as a science requirement towards graduation. With the Ag I-IV
sequence only the very serious agriculture students were enrolling.
With the semester type sequence the agriculture classes attracted
more non-traditional students.
> These are just my thoughts - I'll be glad to entertain any
> comments or be more specific on anything. Some of these things may
> involve re-writing or at least modifying the typical ag education
> curriculum. But, hey! You asked for comments.
The changes mentioned above were quite controversial at the time they
were implemented. There are probably a number of schools that never
adopted the semester approach. Others just kept doing the same old thing
as before, but just changed the names. They wouldn't have to rewrite
much of the curriculum to switch back, but then they probably wouldn't
have many students either. :-)