Abstract

As people have moved away from rural America toward urban areas, they have become deficient in their agricultural knowledge. Fortunately, the land grant universities exist to teach people about agriculture. Yet, identifying the agricultural knowledge and perceptions people bring to the university is important to knowing how to improve their understanding. The purpose of this study was to identify the demographic makeup of incoming freshmen at Oklahoma State University and deter-mine how their previous experiences in agriculture, or lack of, shaped their knowledge of the agricultural, food, and fiber industry. The study found that people who identified as growing up in rural areas outperformed those who did not. In addition, those who had experiences in FFA and 4-H programs outperformed those who did not. Overwhelmingly, the participants agreed that agriculture is fundamental to U.S. national security. Three-fourths of the participants strongly agreed that agriculture plays a key role in society. In all, 40% agreed that they would like to learn more about the agricultural industry, and 61% agreed it was very or extremely important for students at Oklahoma State University to take a general education course about agriculture.

 

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