Students' Perspectives On Farming & Ranching Careers, Agricultural Education, and Beginning Farmer Assistance Programs

The traditional land-grant university mission is to provide instruction in agriculture and related fields. The universities developed to fulfill that mission were created in the late 1800s in an era of relatively small-scaled, homogenous farming operations. Today, land-grant universities are still called upon to provide instruction in traditional production agriculture through research, teaching, and extension activities. However, it is also expected to provide an ever-expanding breadth of programs to an increasingly diverse population and dynamic agricultural industry. As demands for research and educational opportunities change, it is important to reexamine the historic foundation of the land-grant university. Assessing the need for services related to preparing young people for careers in production agriculture is one component of this mission to consider. This paper considers the need for the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources to provide production agricultural instruction and assistance through its College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) and Cooperative Extension Division. Information on the number of students considering farming/ranching careers, the current challenges associated with farming/ranching, educational preparation, and beginning farmer assistance was obtained through a 2004 survey of CASNR students. Specific objectives are to: 1 • Assess young potential farmers' general outlook towards farming and ranching, • Explore the educational needs of potential beginning farmers in areas of finance, management, marketing, decision making, and production, and • Examine the areas of need that prospective farmers have for assistance when beginning farming/ranching.

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Report No. 180

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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