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Research


Multistate Agricultural Literacy Research

Welcome to the Agricultural Experiment Station 2020-2024 Multistate Agricultural Literacy Research Project (W3006)

United States

Agriculture impacts the food, health, economy, environment, technology, and well-being of all. 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 concerning food and fiber have resulted in fewer farmers and larger yields. However, this success story has come with a consequence—a society that has little understanding concerning agricultural production and processing, and how this system meets our basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), and relates or interacts with a sustainable environment and our quality of life. Daily decisions made by individuals, through dollars and voting, affect our agricultural system—from soil to spoon. 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.

For more information about how you can become involved with the National Center for Agricultural Literacy or the AES Multistate Research Committee, please contact Debra Spielmaker, debra.spielmaker@usu.edu.

The objectives of our research to address agricultural literacy include:

  1. Assess the agricultural knowledge of diverse population segments related to agriculture, including consumers, students, and producers. Specifically, explore and/or measure: a. points of acquisition of agricultural knowledge; b. decisions made based on assessed knowledge.
  2. Assess attitudes, perceptions, and motivations of diverse population segments related to agriculture, such as consumers, students, and producers. Specifically, explore and/or measure: a. how perceptions, attitudes and motivations are developed; b. decisions made based on assessed attitudes, perceptions, and motivations; c. behavior changes that have occurred due to changes in attitude, perceptions, and/or motivation.
  3. Evaluate agricultural literacy programs to measure program impact. Specifically:a. measure impacts of agricultural literacy programs related to critical thinking and problem solving; b. explore and evaluate peer and participant-centered agricultural literacy programming methods to determine their effectiveness in addressing defined agricultural literacy outcomes?

These objectives serve as the research agenda. Research findings from this work will provide stakeholders with valid agricultural literacy assessments, and demonstrate the impact of various programming modalities. These results are necessary as a baseline to initiate decision-making that "moves the needle" toward an agriculturally literate society. It is noted, however, that while this work can be done through a multistate effort over the next five years, a long-term approach, as identified by phases over the next 15-20 years, will be necessary to measure long-term impacts. Additional information can be found on the W3006 NIMSS website.

W2006 (2015-2020) Archived Documents

W2006 Publications by Objective: 2014-2019
Objective 1: Assess agricultural knowledge of diverse segments of the population

Judd-Murray, R. (2019). Development and validation of an agricultural literacy instrument using the national agricultural literacy outcomes. (Doctoral dissertation). Utah State University. Retrieved from ProQuest (Summer 2019).

Brandt, M. R. (2016). Exploring elementary students' agricultural and scientific knowledge using evidence centered design (Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/natresdiss/131/. (Major Professor, Cory Forbs, W2006)

Edwards, E. B. (2016). Dig into learning: A program evaluation of an agricultural literacy innovation (Doctoral dissertation, GARDNER-WEBB UNIVERSITY). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.gardner-webb.edu/education_etd/187/. (Committee Member, Debra Spielmaker, W2006)

Enns, K., Martin, M., & Spielmaker, D. M. (2016). Research Priority 1: Public and Policy Maker Understanding of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Roberts, T. G., Harder, A., & Brashears, M. T. (Eds). American Association for Agricultural Education national research agenda: 2016-2020. Gainesville, FL: Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/National-Research-Agenda

Judd-Murray, R., & Spielmaker, D. M. (2017, September). Evaluating the effectiveness of an agricultural literacy preservice teacher workshop. Poster session presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Fort Collins, CO. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/Western-Conference

Keeton, E., Hock, G., Enns, Martin, M., Spielmaker, D. M., & Stewardson, D. M. (2016, September). Simplifying the process: Agricultural literacy publications search framework. Poster session presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/Western%20Region/2016%20WRAAE%20CONFERENCE%20PROCEEDINGS.pdf

Spielmaker, D. M. (2016, September). Developing agricultural literacy outcomes: A synthesis of research-based expectations. Poster presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/Western%20Region/2016%20WRAAE%20CONFERENCE%20PROCEEDINGS.pdf

Spielmaker, D. M., Pastor, M., & Stewardson, D. M. (2014). A logic model for agricultural literacy programming. Proceedings of the 41st annual meeting of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Snowbird, UT. Retrieved from http://www.aaaeonline.org/Resources/Documents/National/Poster%20and%20Research%20Schedule,%20National2014.pdf. [Blind review, awarded first place in the innovative poster category, 230 participants]

Spielmaker, D. M., & Leising, J. G. (2013). National agricultural literacy outcomes. Logan, UT: Utah State University, School of Applied Sciences & Technology. Retrieved from http://www.agclassroom.org/get/doc/NALObooklet.pdf

Wray, P., & Spielmaker, D. M. (2016, September). Farm field days as a learning model for agricultural literacy. Poster presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/Western%20Region/2016%20WRAAE%20CONFERENCE%20PROCEEDINGS.pdf

Wray, P. (2017). Evaluating the effectiveness of Utah farm field days (Master's thesis). Retrieved from
https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6853&context=etd. (Major Professor, Debra Spielmaker, W2006)

Objective 2: Assess attitudes and perceptions and motivations concerning agriculture of diverse segments of the population.

Chriestenson, C., Martin M. J., Thilmany, D., Sullins, M., & Jablonksi, B. (2017). Public attitudes about agriculture in Colorado. A study by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/2016%20Public%20Attitudes%20Report%20Final.pdf

Martin, M. J. (2016). The polarization of agriculture: The evolving context of Extension work. Journal of Extension, 54(2). Retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/2016april/comm1.php

Martin, M. J., & Enns, K. J. (2017). The conflicts of agriculture: Exploring the agriculture values of university agricultural education students. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 210-255. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1138975

Martin, M. J., & Wight, R. A. (2016). The need for a critical pedagogy of agriculture. NACTA Journal, 60(4), 448.

Stofer, K. A., & Newberry, III, M. G. (2017). When defining agriculture and science, explicit is not a bad word. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 131-150. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.01131

Yamashita, L., Hayes, K., & Trexler, C. J. (2015). How pre-service teachers navigate trade-offs of food systems across time scales: a lens for exploring understandings of sustainability. Environmental Education Research, 1-33. Retrieved from
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504622.2015.1074662#.Vg21PflVhBc

Objective 3: Evaluate agricultural literacy programs to measure the program impacts.

Miller, A. (2019). Evaluating Michigan's Food, Agriculture, and Resources (FARM) science lab as a modality for agricultural literacy. (Master's thesis). Utah State University. Retrieved from ProQuest (Summer 2019).

Miller, A., Spielmaker, D. M. (2018, July). Investigating Mobile Agricultural Classrooms for Agricultural Literacy Programming. Poster session presented at the Mobile Lab Coalition Annual Conference, Detroit, MI.

Martin, M. J., Hill, R. L., van Sandt, A., & Thilmany, D. D. (2016). Colorado residents trusted Sources of agricultural, biotechnology and food information. AgBioForum, 19(1), 1-10. Retrieved from http://agbioforum.org/v19n1/v19n1a04-martin.htm

W2006 Meeting Agendas and Minutes