Agriculture and natural resources as a program area addresses the most basic requirements of man. i.e., adequate food and a safe sustainable environment in which to live. The American food and agricultural system is the world's largest commercial industry with assets exceeding $1 trillion and it employs more than 23 million Americans (Wolf, 1986). Yet colleges of agriculture have experienced a decline in enrollment in recent years, and at rates greater than the average decline within all colleges nationally. Why that decrease has occurred, and at the proportionately higher rates, is not known for sure. However, such occurrences as

- decrease in number of family run farms which means fewer youth have direct experience with agricultural production and agribusiness interactions, and

- farm "crisis" in the early 1980's created impression among many on-and off-farm youth that agriculture is no longer a secure vocational area

are bandied about as causes. In the future, regardless of what we do, some declines may be unavoidable because

- the youth population, ages 15-24, is expected to fall 21-25% by the middle 1990's (Snyder, 1987: Wentzel, 1987);

- there is a perception among youth, based somewhat on fact, that a college degree may not necessarily be a ticket to a good job (Hodgkinson, 1985).



curricular changes, enrollment numbers, agricultural industries

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