Increasing Agriculture Literacy

Dan Citrus, Education

Students visited labs during Citrus Youth Day 2018 at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center.

Agriculture is the second largest industry in Florida, but there is uncertainty about the industry’s labor force, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) recently reported.

UF/IFAS stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the market value of Florida agriculture at more than $7.46 billion. “But career interest from youth does not match the size and scope of the industry’s labor demands,” it added.

The average age of farmers increases each year. “UF/IFAS works to address this disparity through youth outreach programs that increase agriculture literacy early on,” a recent UF/IFAS media release stated.

“The disconnect begins in early education, a time when school faculty, staff and students do not discuss agricultural careers as part of the traditional STEM curriculum,” the release added. It stated that UF/IFAS researchers have developed outreach programs to improve agricultural literacy and increase career interest among youth.  

For example, UF/IFAS entomologists developed a youth outreach program to raise awareness of the risk that invasive species bring to Florida and the career opportunities available in the field. There are a wide variety of career opportunities in agriculture, for example in plant biosecurity.

“A lot of kids were surprised that you could be a scientist working in agriculture,” said …..

Learn mopre about Increasing Agriculture Literacy on the Citrus Industry website.