Exploring Careers in Agriculture
Student activity based on the article “Food on Demand” from the March/April 2010 Our Ohio magazine.
Academic Content Standard
(Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources: Level 1: High School): The content included in this Student Activity provides a survey of the AFNR Level 1 standards, covering AFNR LifeKnowledge, Agribusiness Systems, Animal Systems, Biotechnology Systems, Environmental Service Systems, and Food Products and Processing Systems. The performance indicators covered in this piece are listed at the end. Students will be provided with an introduction to a “forward-thinking guide” including what they should “know and be able to do through the study of agriculture in high school.”
(Note: Key terms used from the National Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Career Cluster Content Standards are in bold below.)
* Read the article titled “Food on Demand” in Our Ohio magazine.
* According to the article, what is the overall goal of agriculture?
* What will need to happen for agriculture to accomplish the goal of feeding the world in 40 years, according to the United Nations?
* In addition to feeding the world, the article states that agriculture is also about the following causes. Explain how “farming is an”:
o Environmental cause
o Social Justice cause
o Economic cause
o Political cause (think about the recent vote involving animal agriculture)
o Health cause
o Religious cause
* What does the question “can society find agreement on a contemporary food system” mean to you?
* Define “food security.”
* How can different people in society have “unique needs” with regard to the food they purchase? Compare the needs of the following groups of people in society:
o Rich vs. Poor
o Those with different religious beliefs
o Rural vs. Urban
o People desiring locally grown vs. those who don’t
o People desiring fresh food vs. those happy with packaged food
* The article introduces us to three farmers who have found “diverse roles” for their farms and farm products. Summarize the following farmers:
o Katherine Harrison:
* What does she raise?
* Who are her customers?
* What cause from above would you say most affects her farm?
o Matt and Kristin Reese:
* What do they raise?
* Who are their customers?
* What cause from above would you say most affects their farm?
o Cody Kirkpatrick:
* What does he raise?
* Who are his customers?
* What cause from above would you say most affects his farm?
* Andy Kleinshmidt encourages us to explore who historically had the “greatest influence on agriculture”. Who are the following six people and why are they important to agriculture? (web search)
o Thomas Malthus
o Fritz Haber
o Norman Borlaug
o Henry David Thoreau
o Aldo Leopold
o Rachel Carson
* Why do you think Kleinshmidt believes that “advancements in technology” will be the most important aspect to feeding the world? Do you agree?
* Real people: Do you believe it is important for people, not involved in farming, to understand who the people are that produce food? Why or why not?
* If farmers do not produce food for the world, who will? What can be done to educate others about food production?
Hands on at Home or School
* Technology in agriculture: What are current technologies important in agriculture? Do a Web search for “Agriculture Technologies”
o Farmindustrynews.com: one article summary
* Which farmers mentioned in the article were willing to adapt to change in the agricultural industry? How did they adapt?
* Would you consider any of the farmers noted “entrepreneurs?” Is this concept important in agriculture businesses?
* Why do the farmers have to be concerned with production and profit on their farms?
* What economic factors does Cody Kirkpatrick need to be concerned about on his grain farm?
* Katherine Harrison relies on a particular market for her sheep and goats. What is it and how did she find a “niche” market?
o What niche markets can you identify in your community?
* What strategies can Matt and Kristin Reese use to gain new customers?
o How would you gain new customers for Katharine Harrison?
* Define biosecurity and its importance to animal agriculture.
o Do you think Katherine Harrison is concerned with the security of her animals?
* Food animals look different today than they did 50 years ago. What does this have to do with genetic inheritance?
* Do farmers need to be concerned with animal welfare and animal rights when raising food animals? How?
* What are some environmental and safety concerns involving food production?
* What environmental concerns should food producers consider?
o What agencies oversee environmental policies and regulations?
* List some ways that farmers can increase production so that 8 billion people can be fed in the year 2050. (Sustainable Agriculture)
* Geography: Map Use: Locate the following counties from the article on an Ohio map. http://www.censusfinder.com/mapoh.htm
o Coshocton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Van Wert
National AFNR Content Standards
CS.03.03 AS.03.02.01.a ESS.02
This Student Activity was prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.