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1 Motivating Change Our world is changing at an increasing pace, producing many chal- lenges that did not exist a generation ago. “Sustainability” is the watchword of today, linking issues from energy security to national security, from human health to the health of the planet. The challenges have intimate ties to food and agriculture, and colleges of agriculture1 are in a perfect position to address them. With their mix of basic, applied, and social sciences, the col- leges already have the fundamental—and historical—capacity to respond to complex issues, such as developing biologically based means of energy production, preserving the security and safety of our food supply, protecting the environment and using natural resources efficiently, and understanding the connections between nutrition and health to address important issues such as obesity. If agriculture colleges are to lead the way to a future of continued well- being, they will need to recognize the key changes that are occurring and the influence of those changes on the skill sets needed by the next generation of leaders. The colleges will have to reform their undergraduate curricula and their students’ experience to meet the needs of a changing world. This report discusses the practical meaning of that reform and outlines a path to effect the necessary changes. 1Throughout this report, the phrase college of agriculture and similar terms refer to admin- istrative units that include food, agriculture, and related disciplines. In many cases, such a unit incorporates other disciplines, including natural resources, environmental science, and life sciences. The terms should be interpreted as including all such entities, whether colleges, divisions, departments, or other administrative units. 

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World WHAT IS AGRICULTURE? Agriculture can mean different things to different people. To some, it has been limited to production agriculture—that is, farming. While farming remains a vital and central part of agriculture, what defines 21st-century agriculture is much broader, encompassing a range of natural and social science disciplines. Uniting them is a commitment to understanding and sustainably and responsibly utilizing natural resources to benefit humanity. Therefore, it is the motiation behind the activity that defines something as part of agriculture. Agricultural disciplines can look quite similar to those traditionally outside of agriculture as researchers may pursue similar ques- tions and use similar techniques. But agriculture can be distinguished by interest in the application of the work to agricultural systems, even when conducting basic research. Looked at in another way, agriculture often focuses on question of “how” in addition to “why”: how to improve animal nutrition, how to grow crops without the use of pesticides, how to develop markets that support sustainable models for agriculture; in contrast, other disciplines tend to focus less on the “how” and are, instead, interested in understanding mechanisms or phenomena. Throughout this report, the committee has taken an inclusive view of agriculture, including related disciplines that are sometimes considered separately. The reader should, therefore, take “agriculture” to include dis- ciplines such as forestry and nutrition as well as related areas of natural resources, environmental science, and life sciences. In fact, one important message of this report is the degree of commonality between agriculture and related disciplines, meaning that an inclusive definition of agriculture is usually most appropriate. THE NEED FOR CHANGE To be sure, many institutions have made changes over the last several decades, and some of the ideas and best practices suggested here will be familiar to some readers. However, many students experience conditions that have not kept pace with the changing times. Even institutions that have been at the forefront of reform have not addressed all the challenges, so there are opportunities for eery institution to discuss and improve. More- over, institutions that have implemented many of the ideas discussed in the report can be leaders for those who are only now taking action. The com- mittee hopes that all institutions will not only be receptive to the changes proposed, but also responsive.

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Motiating Change  Moreover, reform is not a one-time event. Academic institutions need to continually keep pace with the realities of 21st-century agriculture and agribusiness, and in particular, with the significant forces shaping agriculture today, including the integration of global agricultural markets; the growing concern for the environmental impact of agriculture; the scientific redefini- tion of agriculture; the effects of growing consumer influence; the push for local and organic foods; the need to respond to increasing rates of obesity; and the changing demographics of the agriculture workforce. Global Integration Scholars, pundits, and observers of all stripes regularly make the case that the world has changed and continues to change. Thomas Friedman (2005) suggests that the “world is flat”—in other words, that disparities in economic and creative opportunities across nations of the world are leveling out. Through social, cultural, political, and economic integration, we are now connected to one another in ways, both simple and complex, never before experienced. In food and agriculture, competition for outputs (commodities and products) and inputs (fertilizer and fuel) reflects worldwide participation. America’s farmers buy and sell in a global marketplace; indeed, agriculture is a cornerstone of U.S. trade activity. Markets, production, and distribution are both global and local, and knowledge about agricultural production is generated internationally and widely shared. Public policy made in one country has implications well beyond national boundaries. What happens in Beijing, Jakarta, or Bogotá has ramifications in Minot, Austin, and Raleigh. A wide range of factors including currency exchange rates, distribution costs and capacity, environmental regulation, and labor cost differentials routinely affect the competitiveness of American agriculture. Challenges arise when those factors diverge widely between countries—for example when foods and raw ingredient sources from around the globe must meet safety and environmental standards that vary widely from one country to another. Increasingly, agricultural policy is shaped by multinational agreements and alliances. Ultimately, there is a fundamental need to feed a growing world popu- lation. Addressing world hunger creates an imperative to provide health- ful food worldwide. But the uneven availability of food, the difficulties in growing and transporting food, and the unpredictable nature of both humanitarian crises and natural disasters will further challenge the agri- cultural sector.

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World New Science This is the era of “scientific agriculture.” Genomics, ecology, chemistry, engineering, and other science disciplines play essential roles in 21st-century food and agriculture. As these disciplines become increasingly intertwined with food, fiber, and fuel production, agriculture has lost a little of its distinct identity. Agriculture now so thoroughly combines basic and applied aspects of the traditional STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that the acronym might rightly expand to become STEAM, joining agriculture with the other fundamental disciplines.2 Agriculture can also connect with social science disciplines in areas such as ethnobotany and rural development, with medicine in areas such as pharmacognosy and nutrition, and with a large range of emerging and traditional fields from throughout the university. Research and technology developed from public and private sources are primary inputs into agriculture and agribusiness. Despite a shrinking pool of researchers and declining support for research, the nation’s colleges and universities, both within and outside of colleges of agriculture, are significant contributors to the scientific basis of the agricultural enterprise. Consumer Influence Consumers in the United States are increasingly interested in all aspects of the food they eat. They expect abundant, affordable, safe, and healthy foods and want a wide array of food products and choices year-round. But they increasingly look for humanely produced and environmentally sound products that are “organic,” “natural,” and “local.” Americans are expressing their demand and expectation of agricultural producers through the market, as evidenced by the remarkable growth of farmers markets, community- supported agriculture, agrotourism, and the emergence of “slow food” groups. Consumers have also exercised their influence through public policy measures that, for example, proscribe certain types of plant and animal production or subsidize school purchases of locally grown food. Consumers also demand nonfood products from agriculture, such as natural fibers for clothing and textiles. Nursery products, ornamentals, and turf grass have become important growth industries and, of course, forestry 2Sincethis report was issued in prepublication form, the committee has learned that this use of STEAM education was independently coined by Dr. John Nishio, Director of the Professional Science Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences, at California State University, Chico.

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Motiating Change  and lumber products are also agricultural products. More recently, consum- ers and other sectors are turning to agriculture to produce fuels and energy products. Even as science and engineering advance to better serve agriculture, some segments of the public remain skeptical about the putative benefits of scientific advances. Finding a way to reconcile the potentially conflicting demands of consumers will be a challenge to agriculture in the years ahead. Environmental Concerns While responding to multiple new demands and expectations, Ameri- can agriculture is increasingly concerned about environmental damage and natural-resources sustainability. How will professionals in agriculture use water and manage soils and land responsibly? How will they protect fresh-water supplies and maintain air quality? How can agricultural materi- als be ethically sourced? Moreover, the effect of climate change on food and agriculture constitutes an important unknown for the future of our food system and production agriculture. American agriculture will be fundamentally influenced by the rapidly emerging challenges of providing, allocating, managing, and conserving water and energy. Some farmers are becoming part of the alternative-energy production system, and others are being adversely affected by the runup in energy prices. Some have the capacity to adapt to the new realities of scarce water, and others will probably face serious consequences. The dynamics of energy and water will ultimately restructure agriculture substantially and will redefine agriculture’s relationships with the larger economy. Demographic and Political Shifts The traditional “farm population” now makes up less than 2% of the U.S. population. Fewer citizens than ever before now play a role in agriculture, and public understanding of what is involved in the food and fiber system has decreased. One result is that a once powerful farm lobby is losing clout, particularly in the federal policy-making process. An increasing number of voices now have a stake in agriculture policy, not only the traditional agriculture-based organizations and not only those with a high degree of agricultural literacy. The days when agriculture-related employers could expect to hire new employees with farm backgrounds are over. There are not enough “farm

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World kids” available. Even the land-grant institutions in farm states are largely and increasingly populated by students with urban and suburban backgrounds. These students, who come from a diversity of cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds, bring a variety of ideas and skills to the agricultural enterprise—and changing expectations for their undergraduate education. IMPACT OF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION As a consequence of the many changes in agriculture and related industries, employers seek growing sets of skills and perspectives in the people they hire. Clearly, people with global perspectives and concern for the environment increasingly will be in demand, as will those with rigorous scientific preparation in a variety of fields. But other skills are also essen- tial, including problem-solving, critical thinking, team-building, leadership, communication, conflict and financial management, and thriving in diverse environments. Thus, the agriculture-related sectors seek employees, man- agers, and leaders who bring a wide variety of skills with an appreciation of what agriculture is today. Industry leaders and other employers look to colleges and universities to produce employment-ready graduates who meet the new and emerging stan- dards. They will hire qualified students wherever they are. Companies that have traditionally hired graduates from colleges of agriculture are increas- ingly looking elsewhere in the university. They are finding equally—or even better—qualified students in colleges of arts and sciences, colleges of engineering, and throughout the university. Even as agriculture confronts powerful new forces and the accompany- ing challenges, agriculture remains essential to America’s economy and the way of life of many people. Agriculture, of course, produces the essentials of life, but it also constitutes a major national economic sector and a primary player in both international and local commerce. Much of rural America continues to depend on agriculture and agri- business as drivers of economic development and social stability. As the stewards of natural resources, agricultural leaders will continue to play a central role in the long-term strength of local communities. Maintaining a strong and vibrant agriculture system is central to national security and economic competitiveness. Innovation and resource allocations 3Throughout the report, the term agricultural education is used to refer to undergraduate education in food, agriculture, and related disciplines. It is not meant to refer specifically to the discipline of agriculture education.

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Motiating Change  must be brought to bear at every level if agriculture is to master the chal- lenges of the future. THE ROLES OF LAND-GRANT UNIvERSITIES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS The advance of land-grant universities, arising from the Morrill Act of 1862 and additions in 1890 and 1994, has been a profound and responsive innovation. Several acts of Congress added to the original teaching mission of land-grant institutions, but education remains a central component in the social contract of land-grant universities. Although necessary to cast it in a contemporary context, the directive in the Morrill Act to “promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life” remains relevant today in all land-grant institutions. Of course, agricultural education is not limited to land-grant universi- ties. A large number of other public and private institutions of higher educa- tion offer instruction in food and agriculture and should be seen as among the prime audiences for this report. Just as agriculture will need to adapt to progress, colleges and universi- ties will have to change to advance education and scholarship in agriculture, agribusiness, and natural resources effectively and to foster enhanced public literacy about these issues. Colleges and universities, including land-grant institutions, should pro- duce employees, managers, leaders, policy-makers, and natural and social scientists who accept and respond to the dynamic world of agriculture and agribusiness. CONTINUING PROMISE OF THE AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND THE LAND-GRANT SySTEM With all the changes taking place in the world and in academe, one might ask whether agricultural education and the land-grant university system are relics of the past. Has the agricultural mission of land-grant uni- versities outlived its usefulness? The committee emphatically answers no to those questions. Food and agriculture offer many opportunities for the future, and contributions of these disciplines are essential for addressing some of the most difficult societal challenges. This report strongly calls for reinvigoration of undergraduate education in agriculture and a reaffirmation of the land-grant university and of undergraduate education in agriculture. Fewer students will be directly engaged in farming, but there will still be a great need for citizens who

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World have a deep understanding of the agriculture system. In fact, with increas- ing globalization, advances in technology, and the need for the public to make decisions about agricultural issues, the need is stronger than ever. Agriculture is linked not only to such traditional sectors as food and textiles but increasingly to such 21st-century challenges as energy production and the protection of our environment. Agriculture and the land-grant university system are well positioned to take advantage of what today’s students are demanding, as they have done for years. Perhaps one of the most important things agriculture needs to do is “rebrand” itself. For example, land-grant institutions were set up to respond to the needs of the day, meaning that such institutions have a responsibility to adapt to changing times. They have a compelling reason to communicate to the public and to students that agriculture not only is not behind the times but it also has the necessary qualities to lead the way into the future: • Agriculture colleges incorporate outreach at their core; in fact, they often have the most extensive extension activities and may even be the only part of universities that have an explicit responsibility to reach beyond the walls of the institution and engage the public. What better way to appeal to students who want to make a difference in the world and work toward affecting the lives of others directly and beneficially than through this exist- ing structure and the network of extension centers? • Agriculture focuses on outcomes and results. Although many agri- cultural scientists conduct basic research on plant, animal, and microbial systems, there is a strong emphasis on application. Investigation is often motivated by a desire to realize specific objectives. For that reason, many scientists focus on solving specific challenges or moving a system in a particular direction. Such a results-driven mission allows both students and scholars to work directly on problems that have important implications for the well-being of society. • Agriculture and the disciplines that make up agriculture colleges bring basic and applied sciences together. Outside the agriculture college, there is often a tension between those conducting basic research and those applying its results to develop products and applications. But agriculture colleges themselves integrate science and practice in the same research projects. • Agriculture colleges often include biological-, physical-, and social- science departments within the same college. That provides a unique oppor- tunity for interdisciplinary research and teaching that can serve as a model for the university.

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Motiating Change  • Agriculture integrates the laboratory and the field. Many scientists either work in a laboratory or go out into the field. Agriculture includes both, by conducting laboratory investigations and exploring what will be most effective in the field. • Agriculture is intricately intertwined with various aspects of envi- ronment and natural resources. In fact, there is little in agriculture practice that does not have important connections with the environment. Therefore, students and scholars interested in environmental stewardship will find many opportunities for working on these challenges in agriculture. • Agriculture is also intertwined with all aspects of food production and nutrition. Addressing such challenges as hunger, obesity, and nutrition will require professionals with a firm grounding in the agricultural sciences. THE CONSEqUENCES OF FAILURE Failure to respond to the changes affecting agriculture and education will place many aspects of the nation’s universities, agriculture system, and society at risk. The agricultural community—by whom this report is written and to whom it is addressed—has a responsibility to ensure that agricultural education is appropriate for changing times. Failure could put agriculture itself at risk. With the impending retirement of the “baby boom” genera- tion, rebuilding the human-resource base of agriculture will be critical to its future. Failure could mean denying many the opportunity for a career in an exciting and rewarding industry. Failure could mean the decline and marginalization of our colleges and universities themselves. Failure could mean that the United States will fall behind other nations in agriculture- based science and stewardship. And failure could contribute to the loss or pollution of our land, water, and natural resources. GOALS OF THE REPORT This study emerged from conversations with the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC)4 and its Academic Programs Section. After receipt of sponsorship from government agencies and private foundations and organizations, a National Research Council committee was convened to consider the changes needed in undergraduate agricultural education to produce a flexible, well-prepared workforce that is appropriately skilled, socially responsive, and technically proficient (see 4NASULGC is now known as the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World Appendix A for the complete statement of task). This report seeks to chart a course for agriculture graduates to be prepared for a wide range of careers in food and agriculture—whether they work in fields or laboratories, board- rooms or courtrooms. While farming remains an appealing career for many students and those with expertise in production agriculture are needed, the range of career options in food and agriculture is much broader than it was a generation ago. As part of the study, the committee and project staff organized a seminal event to draw attention to the need for change in undergraduate education in agriculture. The event, the Leadership Summit to Effect Change in Teaching and Learning, drew over 300 people from academic institutions, business and industry, government agencies, professional societies, and other stake- holders. The presentations and discussion at the Leadership Summit and other speakers and input to the committee from diverse sources helped to provide context and varied perspectives and allowed the committee to consider the issues broadly. The committee saw its role as recommending a structure for change, allowing institutions and the agriculture community to adapt to continu- ally changing times. Although recruiting, retaining, and graduating the best students and providing them with the skills to succeed in future careers is at the heart of the report, the main thrust of the report is in establishing the structures that will make this happen. Time and time again through the study process, there was a clear message that institutions need to be “nimble” and be able to adjust to new circumstances and take advantage of arising opportunities. In part for this reason, the committee has chosen not to make overly specific recommendations with detailed curricula or precise programs since those ideas would necessarily be out of date within a few years. Just as this report argues for preparing students to learn and adapt, the report calls upon institutions to do the same. This is what will sustain institutions and ensure that the education they offer remains relevant. The committee believes that it is important for the report to be not only visionary, but practical and possible. Since spurring action is one of the main goals of the report, the proposed changes must be realistic and actionable. So, for example, the committee could have recommended that agriculture colleges be disbanded and their constituent departments folded into the various other colleges at their institutions. But, whether or not dissolving colleges of agriculture is the right course of action, the committee decided that it was unlikely to happen. The committee could have called upon state legislators, members of Congress, and officials at federal agencies to enact substantial increases in funding for universities and for undergraduate educa-

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Motiating Change  tion. As welcome as these additional resources might be, the committee was realistic that such additional resources might not be easily forthcoming, and change must be implemented even without them. The committee could have outlined a specific series of courses for each of the several dozen majors that might be offered by a college of agriculture. Yet this would unnecessarily constrain the ability of institutions to make priorities on their own strengths and areas of expertise—and would have been out of date as soon as the report was printed. The committee encourages institutions to consider the messages and recommendations seriously, to ask how they can best achieve the goals highlighted in the report, and to anticipate the results of reaching beyond the status quo; institutions should also consider the consequences of inaction as a decision not to change is an action nonetheless. Therefore, the focus is on how to bring about change and on the structures and policies that will enable institutions to provide the best undergraduate experience and to recruit and retain the best students for the careers of today and tomorrow. ORGANIzATION OF THE REPORT Chapter 2 provides additional context and background underlying the changing nature of undergraduate education in agriculture. Chapter 3 sum- marizes the research and opportunities to reform teaching and learning. Chapter 4 discusses the need for breaking down silos within the university, focusing on interdepartmental and cross-college collaboration. Chapter 5 highlights opportunities for partnerships that extend the reach of the uni- versity to other types of institutions and organizations. Finally, Chapter 6 outlines the steps that are needed by compiling the committee’s conclusions and recommendations. Several appendixes are also included: the committee’s statement of task; information about the October 2006 Leadership Summit, including two background papers; a checklist for the review of programs and institutions; and biographical information about the committee and staff.

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