Shaping Future Agriculturalists: Does Agricultural Literacy and Demographic Background Influence Student Views about Farm Policy?

US food and agricultural policy can be a sensitive subject among numerous constituencies. Since university agricultural students may eventually become a part of these groups, does the level of agricultural literacy and personal backgrounds influence students’ views of agricultural policy? The Food and Fiber System Literacy instrument and the Consumer Preferences for Farm Policy and the USDA Budget survey were administered to students enrolled in Introduction to Professional Leadership Skills (Intro) and in Agriculture and Government Programs (Policy) at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). A student’s one-tailed t-test variances compared agricultural literacy between students in the two courses. Results indicated students enrolled in Policy were significantly more agriculturally literate than students enrolled in Intro (p<0.001). Subsequently, students’ level of agricultural literacy and demographic background were regressed on a series of seven Likert-type scale questions related to farm policy. Select demographic characteristics were significantly different on three of the seven questions. Based on the findings from the policy questions posed, students’ academic experience, enrolled course, level of agricultural literacy, age, political affiliation and being raised around a family farm influenced their views regarding programs to ensure food supply, programs to preserve rural landscape and government interference in markets.

Issue Date:
Jan 21 2016
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
A22; Q10; Q18
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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