The purpose of this study was to determine agricultural education undergraduates’ knowledge and attitudes about international agricultural issues. A proportional stratified sample of 293 students responded to the study. Only 5% achieved a passing score in the knowledge assessment about agricultural policies, products, peoples, and cultures. More than 40% of the respondents cited watching international news stories on television as the source used most often to develop their attitudes about international agricultural issues. Least identified sources included actual participation in a Work Experience Abroad program or International Foreign Youth Exchange. Respondents’ believed more strongly that they could learn about international agricultural issues by taking vacations to other countries or by watching selected television programs than they could by interacting with international agricultural exchange students.
Despite a media deluge of daily global events, the results of this study showed that students do not concern themselves with learning more about international policies, products, peoples, and cultures. The results support earlier research (RoperASW, 2002) where it was found that most U.S. 18-24 year olds lacked understanding of global events. This lack of understanding may stem from a disconnection between “real world” events and the topics discussed in agricultural curricula. More effort needs to take place in teaching students how global events may impact agricultural practices worldwide. One recommendation for increasing students’ knowledge about international agricultural policies, products, peoples, and cultures is through increased experiential learning via out-of-country learning situations.
Keywords: College Students, Agricultural Knowledge, Perceptions, International Issues