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Why We Love Agriculture (And You Should, Too!)

Posted on September 3, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Iowa Corn

If you are anything like me, you walk into a grocery store and feel assaulted by all of the information you see when you are shopping.  When I was younger, picking out a box of cereal was as simple as deciding between Snap, Crackle and Pop or the Trix Rabbit.  Now everything is labeled as: sugar-free, locally-grown, gluten-free, reduced fat, lower cholesterol, organic, or any number of countless other adjectives of promotion.  What does it all mean?

It is easy to long for a simpler time and wish for the pastoral way of agrarian life to return.  But, that probably isn’t going to happen.  Having been involved in agriculture and education for the past 20 years I would like to think I know about the agriculture system and how food gets from the field to the grocery store and ultimately to my kitchen table.  But every day I learn something new.

We are a nation that has reaped the benefits of a successful agricultural system.  This has allowed our society to flourish, engage in leisure activities, and dream about future endeavors.  Our successful innovations with food and fiber production have resulted in fewer farmers and larger yields.  This success story has come with a consequence—a society that has little understanding of agricultural production and processing and how this system meets our basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) and interacts with a sustainable environment and our quality of life.  Daily decisions made by individuals, through dollars and voting affect our agricultural system from—farm to fork.  If U.S. agriculture is going to continue to meet the needs of the U.S. population and address growing global needs, agriculture needs to be understood and valued by all.

As global population rises so does the demand for food.  It is anticipated that global population will reach more than 9 billion by the year 2050.  That is 2 billion more mouths to feed!  At the same time more people are moving into the middle class allowing them to afford higher protein diets which in turn increases demand.

As it is, there are approximately 1 billion people in the world today who are food insecure and are either malnourished or simply don’t know where their next meal will come from.  All this combined showcases the need for increased food production.  But, productive arable land is being lost to urbanization.  Water and other inputs are not unlimited.  It will take advances in infrastructure, technology, and science to address the growing demand and growing need.

We would like to invite you to take a journey with us and explore agriculture.  As an organization we hope to connect more students to agriculture and get them interested in STEM careers.  But mostly we want to help people who are removed from the farm understand how agriculture impacts our lives every single day.  If you eat you are involved in agriculture!

We will be sharing our thoughts on agriculture, the agriculture industry, education and a variety of other topics.  We will also be providing tips and tricks for classroom teachers to bring agriculture into their classrooms as a way of helping teach science, social studies, math and language arts.
Meet the team that will be on this journey of learning and discovery with you.

Will (that’s me):  A former high school agriculture science teacher, I have more recently supported youth leadership development and agriculture education working at National FFA.  I have a passion for science, economics, cooking and travel and my number one goal is to never stop learning.

Cindy:  Having a passion for education is a good quality if you want to work with students and teachers.  Cindy has worked with the Ag in the Classroom program for the past 8 years and has seen firsthand how excited students can get when learning about agriculture.  She grew up on a family farm and has a background in horticulture. Cindy loves gardening and cooking, and tries to experience all things in life with the curiosity and wonder of a child.

Sheri:  Volunteering and working in schools has been really rewarding for Sheri.  She loves working with students, but the world of agriculture is somewhat new to her.  She has become a sponge soaking up new info and sharing it with others.  Sheri tends to be very detail oriented which spills over into every area of her life.  This keeps her searching and striving to learn more, see more and experience new things in life.
Needless to say, we are excited about agriculture literacy!  Please leave us a comment below and let us know what kinds of agriculture topics or education topics would be of interest to you!

Will Fett, Iowa Ag Literacy
To follow Will, Cindy, and Sheri on their journey, please visit the Iowa Agriculture Literacy blog

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jenie watson | | 10/16/2014 at 04:08 AM
&quot;f U.S. agriculture is going to continue to meet the needs of the U.S. population and address growing global needs, agriculture needs to be understood and valued by all.&quot; I actually would not agree with that one. We drive cars and do not know how exactly they are manufactured and where all these parts come from or why one year they push SUVs, next year cabriolets. We have no notion that this year's fashion colors have actually been decided about seven years ago by a small circle of maybe ten men and women who then inform the designers, the die and chemical industries as well those that make the matching belt buckles and ear rings. Because it takes several years to get the dies rright and make them the same shade on e.g. nylon, cotton, linen, silk and leather, buttons etc. In fact, I'd go a step further: if people knew a lot more about modern agricultural methods they might actually go berserk or vegan. This does not apply to every farmer or homesteader of course but certainly no knowledge about e.g. how tanks are manufactured has not precluded them being bought and used, even agaist one's own population.
Darragh McCurragh | | 09/08/2014 at 05:27 AM
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