Differences in Agricultural Knowledge and Perceptions Amongst College Students

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Differences in Agricultural Knowledge and Perceptions Amongst College Students
Short, Melissa
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Agricultural colleges ( jstor )
Agriculture ( jstor )
Biological sciences ( jstor )
College students ( jstor )
Colleges ( jstor )
Food ( jstor )
Law schools ( jstor )
P values ( jstor )
Perception tests ( jstor )
Public colleges ( jstor )
College students
University of Florida
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


The overall purpose of this research was to discover the knowledge and perceptions of agriculture amongst college students at the University of Florida. Of particular interest was whether or not there is a difference in agricultural knowledge and perceptions between students enrolled in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and students in other colleges. Four-hundred and fifty students in AEB 2014 (Spring 2011) were surveyed and 292 responses were collected. Overall there is a positive perception of agriculture amongst participants in the study. However, no statistical difference was found in agricultural knowledge or perceptions between students enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and students in other colleges at the University of Florida. Ethnicity, area raised, and past involvement in an agricultural organization were found to influence agricultural perceptions. Significant differences in agricultural knowledge and perceptions were found among people with different race and ethnicity backgrounds. ( en )
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Awarded Bachelor of Science; Graduated May 3, 2011 summa cum laude. Major: Food and Resource Economics, Emphasis/Concentration: Food and Agribusiness Marketing and Management
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College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
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Advisor: Lisa House

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Copyright Melissa Short. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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1 Abstract The overall purpose of this research was to discover the knowledge and perceptions of agriculture amongst college students at the University of Florida. Of particular interest was whether or not there is a difference in agricu ltural knowledge and percep tions between students enrolled in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and students in other colleges. Fourhundred and fifty students in AEB 2014 (Spring 2 011) were surveyed and 292 responses were collected. Overall there is a pos itive perception of agriculture am ongst participants in the study. However, no statistical difference was found in agricultural knowledge or perceptions between students enrolled in the College of Agriculture a nd Life Sciences and students in other colleges at the University of Florida. Ethnicity, area ra ised, and past involvement in an agricultural organization were found to influence agricultu ral perceptions. Significant differences in agricultural knowledge a nd perceptions were found among pe ople with different race and ethnicity backgrounds. Introduction Due to urbanization and increasingly easy acces s to food, many Americans have little to no connection to the agricultural industry. Approxi mately two percent of Americans live on farms, and only 17% of Americans live in rural ar eas (USDA, 2011). Because of the separation between the everyday consumer and the producer there has been a decline in agricultural awareness and general knowledge of the impact of the agricu ltural industry (Wachenheim & Rathge, 2000). The agricultural industry has an influence on Am ericaÂ’s society, environment, and personal health (Terry & Lawver, 1995). Am ericans have the luxu ry and convenience of going to the grocery store with easy access to a pl ethora of food; however, this has not always


2 been the case. With the development of technol ogy, the majority of Americans are not involved in growing their own food. Due to generations of separation from the farm, some Americans are misinformed and have limited knowledge of wher e food and other agricultural products come from. These misperceptions have important imp acts and implications on farm legislation and regulations (Wachenheim & Rathge, 2000). University students are the next generation of policy and decision makers. Therefor e, their knowledge and percepti ons of agriculture should be researched. Frick, Birkenholz, and Machtmes (1995) noted, “The rationale to support the development of agricultural liter acy is based on the assumption th at as societal awareness of problems and issues facing agriculture and food production increases, public pressure will increase for the development of policies which are mutually beneficial for both consumers and producers.” Objectives The overall objective of this research is to disc over the knowledge and perceptions of agriculture amongst college students at the Univ ersity of Florida, with a part icular interest in differences between students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and students in other colleges. Specific objectives of this study are to determine the base knowledge of agriculture and to evaluate the perception of agriculture amongst college students at the University of Florida. The second objective is to define di fferences in agricultural knowledge and awareness between CALS students and students in other co lleges at the University of Florida. Hypotheses There are two hypotheses for this project. The fi rst hypothesis is students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will have more general knowledge of agricu ltural, regardless of their agricultural background, when compared to st udents in other colleges at the University of


3 Florida. It is also hypothesized that there will be a positive vi ew of agriculture throughout all participants in the study. Literature Review Few studies have been complete d to evaluate the knowledge and perceptions of college students (Terry & Lawver, 1995; Pfeifer, 2008) while others studies have re searched the general public in a particular state (Willits, Lu loff, & James, 2007; Kaufman, Is rael, & Irani, 2008; Richard, 2009); however, no such study has been completed re garding University of Florida students. Most studies have shown that there is a gene ral positive perception of agriculture and food safety. Terry and Lawver (1995) found that st udents at Texas Tech University had positive perceptions regarding food sa fety and the impact of agriculture upon the economy and environment. They also found that males had more positive views concerning production agriculture and animal welfare. Willits, Luloff, and James (2007) found that Pennsy lvania citizens “knew very little about the impacts of agriculture on the state, farmi ng production practices, or agriculture and the environment.” In the knowledge portion of their research many participants answered incorrectly, and even if one answered correctly th ey were unsure of their answer. Willits, Luloff, and James (2007) stated, “For some questions, even high levels of certainty were associated with incorrect answers.” This exhibits th e misperceptions about agriculture. A study conducted by Frick, Birkenholz, and Machtmes (1995) found that of the adults tested, participants were “most knowledgeable about the Animals concept a nd least knowledgeable about the Plants in Agriculture concept.” Fric k also found that adults held the most positive views of natural resources and the least positive view s of agricultural policy. It was also


4 determined that adults who were raised on a farm had more agricultu ral knowledge than nonfarm rural residence, which had greater knowledge th an urban residents. In general, both rural and urban residents were somewhat knowledgeable about agriculture. Par ticipants with higher levels of education were also more knowledg eable about agriculture than less educated individuals. Four demographi c characteristics were associat ed with higher knowledge scores; completing a bachelor’s degree or higher; white race; completing some college education; and, living in or near a town w ith a population less than 2,500. Pfeifer (2008) conducted a study testing the agricu ltural knowledge and pe rceptions of incoming freshman at West Virginia University concl uding that overall students did not possess a good understanding of agriculture. St udents who were enrolled in th e Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences or had an agricultural background had more positive agricultural perceptions and gr eater agricultura l knowledge. Kaufman, Israel and Irani (2008) agreed that rural residents have more favorable views of agriculture and found that overall Florida vo ters tended to be somewhat positive about agriculture and farming. Contrary to what one might expect, it was found that areas of Florida which are more economically dependent upon ag riculture have a lower confidence toward agriculture. Kaufman et al. believed this lo wer confidence in highly dependent agricultural counties could be attributed to that fact that th ese counties were also th e most densely populated. The study uncovered that “as respondent’s county populations increased, their general attitude toward Florida’s agricultural industry becam e less favorable” (Kaufman et. al, 2008). Richard (2009) conducted a study regarding th e agricultural knowledge and perceptions of Louisiana adults. It was c oncluded that overall, Louisian a adults had moderately high


5 agricultural knowledge answeri ng 68% of the knowledge based questions correctly, scoring highest in the Environmental Scie nce category. Richard attributed the high scores to efforts from agricultural promotion programs such as Ag in the Classroom and other campaigns by commodity groups, recommending that these programs continue to expand. Louisiana adults had the highest perceptions concerning “Issues Re lated to Food Supply” and “Attitudes Towards Farming.” Richard credited this positive relationsh ip to the fact that farming and food supply are necessities, and that necessities will have greater perceptions than luxuries. This study also discovered a relationship between agricultural knowledge and per ceptions, deducing that in order to increase agricultural perceptions, agricultural knowledge must first be bolstered. Caucasians were also found to be more positive about agricu lture than African Americans. Richard (2009) suggested positive agricultural messages geared to minority groups. There were no statistical differences in agricultural pe rceptions between those who had received a degree in an agricultural field, and those w ho had received a degree outsid e the field. Richard (2008) proposed this could be due to the fact that ma ny curriculums offered in agricultural colleges are nontraditional agricultural degrees, unrelated to production agriculture. Statistical differences were found between agricultural perceptions and prior agricultural experience (member of Louisiana Farm Bureau), but no significant di fference was found between previous agricultural training (FFA, 4-H, etc.) and agricultural perception. Methods To test the hypotheses, data was collected from UF students using an online survey. The questionnaire was developed based on prior literatu re. The survey was ad ministered online to a convenience sample of 458 stude nts enrolled in AEB 2014 Agri business Issues, Food and You during Spring, 2011 at the University of Florida. Of the 458 student s registered in the class, 375


6 surveys were started, 83 were incomplete, and 292 surveys were useable for a completion rate of 63.76%. A majority of the incompletes were a result of a validation question. The validation question read, “As a validation ch eck, please enter Strongly Disagr ee for this question.” If ‘Strongly Disagree’ was not select ed, respondents were taken to the end of the survey and the response was not used in the analysis. The survey consisted of three sections. Inform ation was collected on st udents’ perception of agriculture, knowledge of agricultural topics, and relevant demographics. Twenty-seven questions were designed to determine the part icipants’ perceptions of various aspects of agriculture, while eight questions tested their agricultural knowledge. Data for the knowledge based questions were obtained from the USDA Florida Fact Sheet (USDA, 2010), and some perception questions were from The Agricultural Industry as Perceived by Members of the General Public of Louisiana (Richard, 2009). Ten demogra phic questions were asked to determine differences between knowledge and pe rceptions of agriculture based on where the participant grew up, gender, level in school, college, and major. The survey instrument can be seen in Appendix A. Data was grouped based on descriptive statistics and then multiple chi squared tests were used to determine differences between groups. Chi Squared Test In a chi square test, a cross tabulation table is used to examination the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. In a cros s tabulation table the i ndependent variable is given as the row variable and the dependent variable is the column variable. In order to compare cell frequencies, the frequencies mu st be expressed as a part of the whole (percent). This is


7 called a bivariate percentage distribution. To s ee if a statistical diffe rence exists one would compare the column percentages expected if no re lationship existed to th e bivariate percentage distribution observed. The larg er the difference is between the observed percentages and expected percentage, the larger the chi square value, and the more like ly that a relationship exists. Mathematically, chi squared measur es the squared difference of the expected observations and the observed observations divide d by the expected observations. Chi square distributions have K-1 degrees of freedom, where K equals the number of parameters tested. where: = observed =expected K= number of parameters tested If the chi squared number calculated is greater than the critical value then there is a statistical difference, if less then no statistica l difference exists in the sample. Results Data Each respondent was asked ten demographic qu estions relating to th eir gender, ethnicity, academic level in school, college of enrollme nt, major, involvement in an agricultural organization, hometown, and population of area in which they were primarily raised. CALS


8 students accounted for 56.51% (n=165) of the st udents surveyed while 43.49% (n=127) were enrolled in other colleges at the University of Florida. The majority of the students were freshman (n=105, 36.21%) and sophomores (n =83, 28.62%). Fifty –seven (19.66%) were juniors, 40 (13.79%) seniors, and five ( 1.72%) were graduate students (Figure 1). Nearly three-quarters of the re spondents were female (74%, n=214). Of the respondents, 68.84% (n=201) were White, 10.96% (n=32) Black or African American, 9.59% (n=28) Asian and 10.62% (n=31) were other races (Figure 2). A dditionally, twelve percen t (n=35) identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. 63 47 38 14 42 36 19 26 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 FreshmanSophomoreJuniorSeniorGraduate LevelFrequencyLevel in School Acedemic Level in School Non CALS CALS Figure 1-Academic level of survey participants


9 To develop an understanding of the relationship between the type of area a student was raised and their agricultural knowledge and perceptions, data was coll ected on the population of their hometown. Eighty-eight percent (n=255) of the participants were rais ed in Florida, 9.00% (n=26) in the United States outsi de of Florida, and 2.77% (n=8) we re raised in another country. The results showed that 31 (10.76% ) participants were raised in a rural area (less than 10,000 people), 106 (36.81%) in a s uburban area (10,000 – 99,999 people) 104 (36.11%) in an urban area (100,000 to 999,999 people), and 47 (16.32%) in a metropolitan area (1 million or more people) (Figure 3). Additiona lly, a minority of the students (n=42, 14.48%) have been involved with an agricultural organizat ion such as 4-H or FFA. 118 18 17 20 83 10 15 11 0 50 100 150 200 250 WhiteAsianBlackOtherFrequencyRaceRace Non CALS CALS Figure 2Participant Race


10 Agricultural Perceptions When responding to the statement ‘I have a favor able view of Florid a agriculture’ over 58.99% (n=171) either agreed or strongl y agreed (Figure 4). A mean of 3.69 on a 5-point scale (with 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree) was found, indicating th at on average students agreed that they had a favorable view of Florida agriculture. 21 53 60 30 10 53 44 17 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 RuralSuburbanUrbanMetropolitanFrequencySize of Area RaisedArea Raised Non CALS CALS 1 15 103 123 48 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Stongly Disagree DisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeFrequency Level of Agreement I have a favorable view of Florida Agriculture Figure 3Size of area where participant was raised Figure 4Self-rated perception of agriculture


11 To evaluate the studentsÂ’ perception of agricult ure in more detail, a scale was created based on the participantÂ’s answers to 14 likert questions. Some questions were positively phrased, with strongly agree denoting they had a high perception of agriculture, while others were negatively phrased, meaning strongly agree indicated they had a low perception of agriculture. If the student answered positively (negat ively for reverse-coded questions ) they were given a score of five, somewhat positive a score of four, neutral a score of three, somewh at negative a score of two, and negatively a score of one. The minimu m score possible was 14 and the maximum score possible was 70. The range of perception scores was 35 to 59 (Figure 5). The mean perception score for students in AEB 2014 was 46.87 (SD=4.80). Respondents were then categorized into those th at had low (score < 44), medium (43 < score < 50) and high (score > 49) percepti ons of agriculture. A chi-square test was run to determine if students from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) have significantly different perceptions of agriculture from those in other colleges at UF. The mean perception scores were 47.35 (SD= 4.91) and 46.27 (SD= 4.60) for CALS students and non-CALS students, 1 2 1 3 8 9 7 17 29 26 14 26 2121 18 12 14 17 99 6 8 222 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 35363738394041424344454647484950515253545556575859Frequency ScorePerception of Agriculture Figure 5Perception scale


12 respectively. Results from the chi-square te st indicate perceptions of agriculture are not significantly different between the two groups of students ( 2 = 2.72, p-value = 0.26). Next, a series of chi-square tests were performe d to determine if any demographic characteristic influenced agricultural perceptions. There were no statistical differences in perception based on gender ( 2 = 2.04, p-value = 0.36) or Hi spanic/Latino descent ( 2 = 0.71, p-value = 0.70). Similar to previous studies, st atistical differences did exist among different racial backgrounds ( 2 = 23.17, p-value = 0.0007). On average the respondents who indicat ed their race was Caucasian (mean=47.64, SD=4.90) have the highest perception regarding agriculture, while African-American students (mean=44.45, SD=3.17) have the lowest. Figure 6 below shows the variation in the mean perception score. Race Mean Perception Score Standard Deviation White/Caucasian 47.64 4.90 Asian 44.62 3.70 Black/African American 44.45 3.17 Other 46.30 4.99 In addition, a significant difference was found ba sed on the size of the area in which a person was raised ( 2 = 14.80, p-value = 0.02). Rural residents ha d the highest perception score (mean = 49.16, SD=5.76) and metropolitan residents had the lowest percepti on scores (mean=46.44, SD=4.19). Suburban residents mean perception score was 47.19 (SD=4.82), and urban residents mean perception score equaled 45.33 (SD=4.71). Overall, this implies that pa rticipants raised in rural areas have medium to high perception, ur ban and suburban particip ants have a medium perception, and those raised in the metropolitan areas have low to medium perceptions. Figure 6Perception score means based on race


13 Not surprisingly those involved in an agricultural organi zation such as FFA or 4-H have a higher mean perception of agriculture ( 2 = 30.13, p-value <0.0001). Stude nts who had no involvement in an agricultural organization score in the medium-low percepti on category with a mean equal to 46.13 (SD=4.52), while students who had previous involvement in an ag ricultural organization have a medium high perception score with a mean equal to 51.19 (SD=4.17). Agricultural Knowledge Questions were used both to have participants rate their own level of knowledge, as well as test their actual knowledge. Self-rate d knowledge is referred to as subjective knowledge. While tested knowledge is referred to as objective knowledge. Over 56.17% (n=164) of students either strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statem ent ‘my level of knowledge about agriculture is high’ (Figure 7). Only 18.84% (n=55) of students agreed or strongly agreed that they had a high level of knowledge about agriculture. The m ean was 2.53 on a scale of five with a standard deviation of 1.07. 44 120 73 39 16 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Stongly Disagree DisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeFrequency Level of Agreement My level of knowledge about agriculture is high Figure 7Self-rated knowledge of agriculture


14 Figure 8 illustrates responses when asked wh ich products involved some aspect of the agricultural industry. Students most frequen tly recognized that a potato (n=291, 99.66%) and a hamburger (n=282, 96.58%) involve agriculture A chair (n= 138, 47.26%) and a car (n=139, 46.70%) were acknowledged by the l east amount of students as re lated to agriculture. Nursery and greenhouse plants, beef cattle, orange s, sugarcane, tomatoes, dairy cattle, wheat, and potatoes are grown commercia lly in Florida. Sugar beets are not grown commercially in Florida. Student most frequently recognized that oranges (n=290, 99.32%) are grown in Florida, followed by recognition of FloridaÂ’s top comm odity, nursery and gree nhouse plants (n=245, 83.90%). The most common incorrect answer wa s to identify sugar beets (n=211, 72.26%) as produced in Florida (Figure 9). 1 154 10 153 139 97 291 138 282 139 153 195 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 PotatoChairHamburgerCarFootballT ShirtFrequencyProductWhich Product Involve Some Aspect of Agriculture Does not involve Agriculture Does involve agriculture Figure 8Identification of products involving agriculture.


15 In order to determine a studentÂ’s agricultural knowledge, a series of 20 true-f alse type questions were answered. When students answered a questi on correctly, a score of one was assigned (zero was assigned for incorrect answers). A score was created for each student by summing the number of correctly answered questions. The sc ores ranged from a minimum of six (n=2, 0.73%) to a maximum of 20 (n=5, 1.83%). A mean of 14.85 (SD=2.71) was found, indicating that on average a score of 74.25% was obtained on the knowledge based questions. Three CALS students and two non-CALS students received the highest score of 20. However, the lowest scores of six were both received by CALS students (Figure 10). 47 65 2 107 80 70 193 170 211 245 227 290 185 212 222 99 122 81 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Frequency ProductWhich products are produced commercially in Florida ? Incorrect Correct Figure 9Identification of products grown and not grown commercially in Florida.


16 In order to run a chi square test, knowledge scores were categorized into four groups. A knowledge score of less than 12 was considered lo west, a score of 13 or 14 was low, a score of 15 or 16 medium, and a score of 17 to 20 high. The mean score for CALS students is 14.84 (std dev = 2.77), versus non-CALS students, who aver aged 14.87 (std = 2.63). Results of the chi squared test indicate that ther e is no statistically significant difference in agricultural knowledge between CALS and non CALS students ( 2 = 1.22, p-value = 0.7493). Multiple chi square tests were run to determine if differences existed in knowledge scores based on demographic characteristics. Gender ( 2 =1.43, p-value=0.70), area raised ( 2 = 11.77, pvalue=0.23), Hispanic background ( 2 = 5.16, p-value = 0.16), and invol vement in an agricultural organization ( 2 = 3.79, p-value = 0.28) had no statistical impact on the knowle dge score with a 90% confidence level. Similarly to the agricultural perception score, a statistical significance was found between race and agricultural knowledge ( 2 = 32.06, p-value = 0.0002). On average those who identified themselves as White/Cau casian scored higher (mean=15.27, SD=2.51) and 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 67891011121314151617181920FrequencyKnowledge ScoreKnowledge Score Non CALS CALS Figure 10Objective knowledge score of participants


17 those who identified themselves as Black/Afr ican-American (mean=13.29, SD=2.32) scored the lowest (Figure 11). Race Mean Knowledge Score Standard Deviation White/Caucasian 15.27 2.51 Asian 14.08 2.93 Black/African American 13.29 2.32 Other 14.30 3.32 Students were accurate in judging self-knowle dge. The relationship between subjective knowledge and objective knowledge was significant ( 2 = 24.20, p-value = 0.0191). Students who rated their knowledge as highe r were likely to score higher on the knowledge test (Figure 12). My level of knowledge about Agriculture is high. Mean Standard Deviation Range Strongly Disagree 14.25 2.39 10.00 19.00 Disagree 14.64 2.71 6.00 20.00 Neither Agree nor Disagree 14.66 3.06 6.00 20.00 Agree 16.00 2.21 10.00 20.00 Strongly Agree 16.00 1.97 12.00 19.00 In addition, a statistical signifi cance was observed between a st udentÂ’s agricultu ral knowledge score and their agricultural perception score ( 2 = 30.73, p-value=<0.0001). Students who had a Figure 11-Agricultural knowledge score means based on race Figure 12Relationship between objective and self-rated knowledge


18 more positive perception score also scored high er in the agricultural knowledge section (Figure 13). Perception Mean Knowledge Score Standard Deviation Low 14.08 2.74 Medium 14.65 2.72 High 15.93 2.31 Conclusions The hypothesis that a positive view of agricultur e would be found throughout all participants in the study was confirmed. Overall, students ha d a positive perception of agriculture as shown though both self-rated agricu ltural perceptions and perception scale scores. This was similar to results found by Richard (2009), Kaufman et al.(2008), and Pfeifer (2008). A somewhat surprising finding was that ther e was no statistical difference between the perceptions of College of Agricu ltural and Life Sciences students and students in other colleges at the University of Florida. This lack of st atistical significance is in consistent to findings by Pfeifer (2008) who found that in coming freshman students enroll ed in the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences had greater knowledge and perceptions than students in other colleges at We st Virginia University. No reason was given by Pfeifer (2008) for this difference in agricultural knowledge and perceptions; furthe r research should be conducted to explain this. Figure 13Relationship between objective knowledge and perception of agriculture


19 Similar to perceptions, there was no statistica l difference found in the knowledge scores of CALS and non-CALS students. Based on this, th e hypothesis that students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will have more general knowledge of agricu ltural, regardless of their agricultural background, when compared to st udents in other colleges at the University of Florida is rejected. This findi ng are symmetrical to Richard (2 009) who found that no statistical differences regarding agricultur al perceptions existed between participants who had received a degree in an agricultural field and those who had received a degree outside the field. One possible explanation for this fi nding is that colleges of agri culture now offer nontraditional agricultural majors, such as general biology a nd human nutrition. Students in these majors may be learning more about life scie nces and less about production agri culture. An av erage score of 74.25% on the knowledge portion indicated that st udents surveyed have a medium level of knowledge of agriculture. This average knowledge score is higher than th at found by Frick et. al (1995) and Richard (2009). The higher knowledge found in this study compar ed to other studies agrees with the finding of Frick et. al (1995) w ho found that college education results in higher agricultural knowledge. The findings of this study are similar to that of Richard (2009) and Fric k et. al (1995), who found differences in agricultural knowledge and percep tions with respect to race. Lower knowledge and perceptions scores by those of the Afri can-American race may partially explain lower enrollments in colleges of agriculture from th is minority. Further research on the impact of agricultural awareness and marketing campaigns targe ting African-Americans should be conducted to determine if the differences in perceptions and awaren ess can be reduced. Results from this study agree with Kaufman et .al (2008), and Frick et. al (2005) that rural residents have a more positive perceptions of agricultur e. This could be attributed to that fact that


20 many rural residents have on farm experience when compared to those in urban and metropolitan areas. A relationship between agricultural knowledge an d perceptions demonstrates that the more knowledgeable a consumer is about agriculture th e more positive their perceptions. Therefore in order to increase agricult ural perceptions, consumers first need to become more educated about agricultural issues. New technol ogies, especially social medi a should be used to increase consumer awareness and perceptions. Facebook, Twitter, and smart phone applications, such as a daily agricultural fact applicati on sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, should be used to connect consumers to agriculture. Current pr ograms such as Ag in the Classroom, 4-H and FFA should also be continued. Future Studies Studies could be conducted within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to determine if agricultural knowledge varies according to a studentÂ’ s major. For example, one might test to see if there are differences in knowledge and percepti ons of students enrolled in typical agricultural majors such as Animal Sciences or Agricultu ral Engineering versus students who are in nontypical agricultural majors such as Human Nu trition, Microbiology, and general Biology. Future research on the adult populat ion of Florida could be used to evaluate the perception and knowledge of Florida residents. Agricultural commodity groups and organizations could use such data to target consumer groups and determine how to direct their awareness and marketing campaigns. If multiple studies are conducted over time, this data could serve as a measurement tool for the effectiveness of agricultu ral awareness and marketing campaigns.


21 Limitations The limitation of this study is that a convenience sa mple was taken; therefore, the sample is not representative of the entire University of Flor ida population or college students. Inferences can only be made about the sample population (students in AEB 2014). The knowledge and perceptions scores are also limite d to the context of the questions asked. Therefore, if other knowledge and perception questions were asked different results could be generated.


22 REFERENCES Frick, M. J., Birkenholz, R. J., & Machtmes K. (1995). Rural and urban knowledge and perceptions of agriculture. Journal of Agricultural Education, 36 (2), 44-53. Kaufman, E. K., Israel, G. D., & Irani, T. A. (2008). Voter confidence in the agricultural industry. Journal of Applied Communication, 92 (1), 31-55. Pfeifer, L. L. (2008). Agricultural awareness and perceptions of freshmen at West Virginia University. (Unpublished masterÂ’s thesis). West Virginia University, West Virginia. Richard, J. B. (2009). The agricultural industry as perceived by members of the general public of Louisiana. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Louisiana State University, Louisiana. Terry, R., & Lawver, D. E. (1995). University st udentsÂ’ perceptions of issues related to agriculture. Journal of Agricultural Education, 36 (4), 64-71. United States Department of Agriculture. (2010). State fact sheets: Florida. Retrieved from United States Department of AgricultureNa tional Institute of Food and Agriculture (2011). About Us Retrieved from qlinks/extension.html Wachenheim, C., & Rathge, R. (2000). Societal perceptions of agriculture. (Agribusiness and Applied Econ. Rep. No. 449). Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. Willits, F. K., Luloff, A. E., & James, J. S. (2007). PennsylvaniansÂ’ knowledge of agriculture. Harrisburg, PA: The Center for Ru ral Pennsylvania.


23 Appendix A


24 College Students Knowledge a nd Perceptions of Agriculture Thank you for agreeing to participate in our survey today. The purpose of this survey is to better understand perceptions and knowledge of agriculture. Please note th at there are no right or wrong answers to the following questions. Please be assured that all answers will be kept st rictly confidential and used only for the purpose of this research. In this survey, you will be asked to answer a series of questions that should take you approximately 10 minutes to complete. There are no expected risks or benef its to you for participating in this survey, and you will not receive any compensation from the University of Florida for participating. The survey is anonymous and your participation is voluntary. You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time by exiting the survey. If you have questions about the survey, you can contact Dr. Lisa House, PO Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611, phone 352 392-1826. For questions about your rights as a research par ticipant in the study, you can contact IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; phone 352 392-0433, reference IRB 2011-U0148. By answering the next question, you are indicating that you voluntarily agree to participate in this survey. I agree to participate I do not agree to participate Please indicate the level to which you agree or disagree with the following statements. Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree nor Disagree Agree Strongly Agree I have a favorable view of Florida Agriculture. Florida laws and regulations have little effect on farmers. Using crops grown in Florida for fuel production reduces the U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Agriculture employs a large number of people in Florida. U.S. citizens spend a higher percentage of their income on food than in other countries. The government should exert more control over farming. Only organic methods should be used to produce food. Farmers take good care of animals. Confinement is an acceptable practice when raising livestock. Animals have the same rights as people. My level of knowledge about agriculture is high.


25 Please indicate the level to which you agree or disagree with the following statements. Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree nor Disagree Agree Strongly Agree Agriculture is a viable industry in which to pursue a career. Agriculture is important to FloridaÂ’s economy. Agriculture has an impact on my daily life. I would like to become more knowledgeable about agriculture. Organic products are safer to consume than traditionally raised products. Genetic modification in foods is something I am comfortable with. Agricultural practices in Florida are harmful to the environment. Pesticides can be used safely when producing food. Food safety is a major concern of the food processing industry. Agriculture is the greatest polluter of our water supply in Florida. As a validation check, please enter Strongly Disagree for this question.


26 Please indicate how you feel about the following ideas: Positive Neutral Negative My view of conventional agricultural production is My view of organic agriculture is My view of locally grown food is My view of genetically modified food is My view of Florida farmers is Please indicate whether the statement is True or False and then select your level of cer tainty regarding your answer. True False Certain Uncertain One of every five jobs in the U.S. is related to agriculture. The use of pesticides has increased the yield of crops. Biotechnology has increased the pest resistance of plants. Hamburger is made from the meat of pigs. Nursery and greenhouse plants are the top agricultural commodity grown in Florida. In the United States, the agricultural industry has a trade surplus. Which of the following products involve some aspect of the agriculture industry? Select all that apply. Potato Chair Hamburger Car Football T-Shirt


27 Which of the following agricu ltural products are produced commercially in the stat e of Florida (select all that apply)? Nursery and Greenhouse plants Beef Cattle Oranges Sugarcane Tomatoes Dairy Cattle Wheat Potatoes Sugar Beets What is your gender? Male Female What is your academic level in school? Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Master's Level PhD Level In which college at the University of Florida are you currently enrolled? College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Warrington College of Business Administration College of Dentistry College of Design, Construction and Planning College of Education College of Engineering College of Fine Arts College of Health and Human Performance College of Journalism and Communications Levin College of Law College of Liberal Arts and Sciences College of Medicine College of Nursing College of Pharmacy College of Public Health and Health Professions College of Veterinary Medicine Other


28 What is your major? ______________________________________________________________ Have you ever been involved in an agricu ltural organization such as FFA or 4-H? Yes No Are you Hispanic or Latino? Yes No What is your ethnicity? American Indian or Native Alaskan Asian Black or African American Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander White Other Which of the following best describes the area in whic h you primarily were raised? If multiple locations, please think about the area in wh ich you spent the most time. Area with less than 10,000 people Area with 10,000 to 99,999 people City with 100,000 to 999,999 people City with 1,000,000 or more people Still thinking about the area in which you we re primarily raised, was that area in: Florida United States (outside Florida) Another country What is your home town? Please include city and state. If your home to wn is outside the United States, include your home country. _____________________________________________________________________________

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