Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

New Trends in the Agriculture Curriculum

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

New Trends in the Agriculture Curriculum

Article excerpt

There is no doubt that the agricultural industry has changed in the last 20 years, and Agricultural Education has followed suit. Our curriculum has adopted the scientific principles that have become common in production agriculture. In the early 1990's, the push was towards agri-science instruction. High school agriculture programs were building greenhouses and agriscience fairs were taking shape.

We certainly have expanded the definition of agriculture to include many peripheral careers. Some say that we have lost touch with the foundation of our industry, livestock and crop production, while we implemented a new diverse curriculum. Yes, we cannot teach biotechnology without first teaching plant and animal reproduction, however, after we teach these foundation curriculum units, I say "Onward and Upward!"

A new unit of instruction that is gaining popularity is food science. This is not an attempt to displace the Family and Consumer Science teachers in our schools. Food science curriculum deals with food safety/microbiology, agricultural processing, and marketing. Every career that touches a meat product from production to the processing plant and onto packaging has its foundation in agriculture. We should collaborate with Family and Consumer Science teachers to make these units of instruction even better.

Many Agricultural Education programs have taught units in agricultural products for years. These units are outstanding and should continue. However, food science topics can be added to your curriculum, and can be done so in a number of ways. A food science unit can stand alone, or these issues can be incorporated into your meats, dairy products, cereal grains, and fruit/vegetable units.

As a stand-alone unit, food science instruction should include food safety and pathogens that cause illnesses, processing techniques, marketing, sensory evaluation, product development, nutritional analysis, and consumer trends. If you wish to add these topics to your current meats, dairy foods, cereal grains, or fruit/vegetables units, add the lessons in safety, processing, and marketing that are specific to that particular agricultural product.

Lab activities in these units can be exciting and challenging. …

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