ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER IDEAS ABOUT THE AGRI-FOOD SYSTEM AND THEIR EVALUATION OF AGRI-SYSTEM STAKEHOLDERS’ SUGGESTIONS FOR EDUCATION
The primary purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of beginning farmers in Iowa towards the content and delivery of beginning farmer education. A secondary purpose was to determine the usefulness of selected educational providers and media. Questionnaires were mailed to 286 beginning Iowa farmers in 1997. Responses were received from 48% of the sample. Beginning farmers showed preferences towards experiential learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. They relied heavily on parents, siblings, and relatives, Extension, and consultants for educational information. They felt strongly that lifelong learning and continuing education were important in the development of their farming careers. Also, they preferred on-site educational instruction, single meetings on a specific topic, and consulting public institutions for unbiased information. At the same time, the beginning farmers indicated that radio, information services, marketing services, and newspapers are likely to be important educational media in the future. Cutting-edge educational technologies were not as highly rated as more conventional instructional technologies.