Factors contributing to community support for agriculture education programs
Currently, over 11,000 agriculture teachers instruct students in the areas of agriscience, biotechnology, horticulture, animal science, environmental science, and agriculture mechanics. The nation instructs over 800,000 students in formal agriculture education programs from seventh grade through adult school in 50 states and three U.S. territories. Students pursuing a future in the industry of agriculture need access to instruction and materials pertinent to the current global agriculture industry, which continues to evolve (Vaughn, 1999). Working with administration and district personnel to ensure their understanding of agriculture education’s importance is a direct correlation of community support. The main purpose of study is to identify factors that contribute to community support of agriculture education programs. The population of this research included agriculture administrators and Agriculture Advisory/Ag Boosters members. The target population, accessed through a purposive sample, included schools and communities of the North Coast Region. Survey results indicated 83.33% (n=10) of the respondents were agriculture booster or agriculture advisory members. The other respondents include administrators which were 16.67% (n=6). When surveyed on a scale of 5 (strongly agree) to 1 (strongly disagree), respondents gauged their level of contribution through their current level support. Nearly 70% of respondents agreed to strongly agree to all questions that aimed to gauge their level of support. The majority of respondents believe they support their local agriculture education program through contributions of supplies to classroom/SAE/FFA, along with spending time and providing expertise with SAE projects, Community Service participation, FFA involvement above the chapter level, chaperone and drive to leadership conferences, participation in committees and participation above the chapter level.