A definition and the concepts of agricultural literacy: a national study

Frick, Martin
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The purposes of this study were to refine a group definition of agricultural literacy, identify agricultural subject areas that fall within the framework of agricultural literacy, and identify those concepts about agriculture that every citizen should know. This investigation was conducted using the Delphi technique. Panelists were nominated by land grant university agricultural education faculty;Data were collected using three instruments. The first instrument requested every panelist to submit his/her definition of agricultural literacy. Quantitative content analysis was conducted on 78 definitions and yielded a consensus definition. The definition identified 11 broad areas of agricultural knowledge. The second instrument asked panelists to submit one concept for each of the 11 broad agricultural subject areas identified in the group definition. The third instrument asked panelists to submit demographic information and rank the 11 agricultural subject areas on their importance to agricultural literacy and the knowledge they possessed about each area;Data analysis consisted of frequency counts, percentages, the Wilcoxon Sum Rank test, the Mann-Whitney U-test, the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance, the Dunn's Multicomparison procedure, and Spearman-Rank correlation;The following conclusions were drawn from the analysis and interpretation of the data in this study. Agricultural literacy describes the understanding and possession of knowledge needed to synthesize, analyze, and communicate basic information about agriculture. Agricultural literacy encompasses 11 broad agricultural subject areas. Five hundred ninety concepts were generated by panelists, and 394 concepts remain after refinement. The agricultural concepts generated demonstrate the vast amount of knowledge from other disciplines agriculture applies to produce food and fiber. The concepts also indicated how much agriculture is affected by and affects the world in which we live. Analysis of panelists' subject area rankings indicated that five area importance rankings were significantly related to subject knowledge rankings, and four subject area importance mean rankings were significantly different from the related subject area knowledge rankings.

Agricultural education and studies, Agricultural education