High School Students’ Perceptions of Agriculture and Agricultural Careers as Delineated by Presence of an Agriculture Program and Rural/Urban Categorization
Abstract Eleventh grade students (n = 1,953) in 17 public schools across New York State were surveyed regarding their agricultural perceptions and stereotypes. Four types of schools were targeted for this study: rural and urban schools with agriculture programs, and rural and urban schools without agriculture programs. The purpose of this study was to determine perceptions among high school students about agriculture and careers in agriculture. Results indicated a lack of understanding regarding the importance of a college education for agricultural careers. The agricultural perception scores of students attending a school with an agriculture program but not enrolled in an agriculture course were similar to the scores of students attending schools without agriculture programs; only the students enrolled in agricultural education courses had significantly higher perception scores. The demographics from the rural schools without agriculture programs indicated an opportunity may exist to expand agriculture programs within these areas. The majority of the population believed no specific individual, media, and/or environment influenced their perception; however those who indicated an influence held more positive perceptions of the field of agriculture.