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Overview of Modern Agricultural Education

Learn more about modern agricultural education at the University of Michigan.
<v ->If we want to live in a world where the,</v> you know sons and daughters of farmers get to grow up to be like teachers, and architects, and plumbers, and doctors. <v ->We do.</v> <v ->Somebody else has to replace that.</v> <v ->We do want to do that because because the opposite of that</v> is some kind of indentured servitude. <v ->Right.</v> <v ->Then we need to live in a world where the sons</v> and daughters of doctors, and plumbers, and architects get to be able to be farmers and we, that is a newer, that is not how we’ve done things. Farming has been passed down intergenerationally and not taught as a profession.
<v ->Sure.</v> And so I think part of it, the thing that you’re seeing with these place-based programs is how do you make something more professionalized in terms of the delivery mechanism for learning how to do it, like when we want more lawyers, we send them to law school, and you can kind of send someone to farm school. Ten years ago, you couldn’t really.
Yeah. <v ->And now you kind of can.</v> And even though I ran a farm school I’m like, it’s not exactly like- <v ->Yeah and-</v> <v ->Well, it would be better if it was more like</v> as robust as medical school and you had, like, more learning and more practice doing before someone was like, (snaps fingers) make it happen. <v ->Yeah right and make a business, and make money on</v> something that typically you get haggled for at best when you’re trying to price something out, right?
So you’re like, “I’m selling these radishes for four bucks a bunch,” and they’re like, “How about two bucks,” and I’m like, “Really, would you go, like, to any other business and just try to haggle down their price,” right? <v ->No.</v> <v ->No.</v> <v ->Yeah, yeah.</v> <v ->Like, there’s so many stereo, yeah</v> <v ->Would you take fifty percent off?</v> <v ->No. It just doesn’t work.</v> <v ->It’s just an unreal, an unreasonable offer.</v> It just, it isn’t even in the realm of possibility. Yeah, that’s a really good point. [Man In Blue Jacket] And I think that opens up conversations around what we pay farmers and how we pay them, price that out.
And is there an opportunity for parity pricing or not, you know, paying a living wage to farmers, but with, until we get there, then we’re, we’re really gonna have a hard time convincing people to get into agriculture. It’s just. <v ->And I think that’s an expectation issue in the U.S.</v> largely around our price, the prices that we pay for food. So we have expectations that food should be very cheap. And as a result of that, it’s hard to internalize the externalities. Like a lot of these environmental consequences are directly related to the fact that we really want the cheapest possible milk or beef, or, you know, lettuce that we can get.
And I think that is out of balance with what the environmental side needs are and what the farmer economic needs are. And I think we can do that. We can address that in the different ways, whether that’s at a policy issue level, subsidy level, but right. You can’t have the equation on balance and the way that it is where you’re saying, we want everything as cheap as possible, but we don’t want it to destroy the planet. Those things are probably not, you know, possible together in that way. <v ->Where do you reach the younger generations?</v> Cause by the time that they’re in college, they’ve likely made up their mind about a lot of things.
And like, I think there are opportunities to expand once you get here, but how do you reach them when they’re five years old, 10 years old and build that interest, that’s kind of ingrained in who they are. <v ->If you cruise out to U of M and you say,</v> how many of your high school guidance counselors that said, Hey, you know what, you’re really smart. You’re really good at a lot of different things. Do you? I think you should farm. <v ->You’re gonna be an awesome farmer one day.</v> <v ->Because that’s the skill set that you need,</v> but I don’t think anyone’s getting that career advice. I’m not saying they should get that advice.
I think it’s just a way to think about how we have, are still evolving and have yet to evolve to the place we need to be how we think about who grows our food and how, how it’s grown. <v ->Yeah. There’s a really interesting,</v> I recruited for Peace Corps for a couple of years at U of M and like thinking through, okay, who would go into the agriculture sector and there isn’t that person that you could get. <v ->Anybody that you could get?</v> <v ->And there isn’t that person that’s like, “I get a degree”.</v> So then I I’m finding myself asking people, did you grow up on a farm?
Because if you grew up on a farm, you’ve got 10 plus years of experience, and you’re already qualified to be an ag volunteer wherever versus someone that’s like coming in and like, no, but I’ve, I grew a garden once or twice, or like, I’m trying to study it. Like, how do you make up for that 10 years of experience? Right? <v ->There is a whole thing at MSU where we thought about</v> having a program, because a lot of MSU undergrads that are going to the Peace Corps want to do ag for a couple of different reasons, but a lot of them don’t have any experience.
And so we were like, we kind of need like a Peace Corps bootcamp for ag volunteers, you know, just to get them to like, have some similar experience. <v ->Similar at Colorado State, like land grant ag university,</v> but turning out like students that doesn’t necessarily have that experience.

In this video, Alex Bryan and Jeremy Moghtader further discuss modern agricultural education at the University of Michigan.

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