How Kids Perceive Agriculture

Recently, I was co-lecturer along with Dr. Dixie Reaves, a professor in our department, to the Governor’s School of Agriculture students. These are 90 of the brightest and best high school students who spend four weeks on the Virginia Tech campus studying various areas of agriculture.

Our task was to teach agriculture trends and their impact on the food system. Of the 90 students, only 20% were from a farm or a rural area. Most others had experiences with agriculture from visiting a grandparent’s or relative’s farm.

Dixie and I asked them to share their fondest experience on the farm. The following are some interesting positive comments about our industry:

  1. One of the first comments was playing pickup ball after a long day’s work on the farm. No supervision, just have fun and be spontaneous!

  2. Another liked to listen to the raindrops on the tin roof in the barn while reading a book.
  3. Watching the horses and cows frolicking in the field against green grass, blue sky and mountain backdrops.
  4. Listening to the sound of the diesel engines as they harvested the corn and soybean crops.
  5. Taking dad lunch and a drink while he was combining crops and having a picnic under a tree.
  6. Finding the deep water hole in the corn pasture and plunging in for a cool dip with your favorite dog.
  7. Getting a complement from mom, dad, grandpa or uncle Joe. You know you made it, because they were few and far between.

Folks, in these times of tight margins and uncertainty, and a "surprise a second," isn’t it interesting to see what really counts through kids’ eyes even if they live in the city?

My e-mail address is: sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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