The One-Way (Agri)Cultural Mirror: A Case Study of How Young Agricultural Leaders Understand and Experience Culture
Keywords:agricultural leaders, cultural competence, leadership, production agriculture
As the global economy continues to advance, cultural competence has become a buzzword in education, professional development, and research. Despite this, little research has been devoted to understanding cultural competence in agriculture. Thus, a need emerged to describe the cultural competence of young agricultural leaders in Louisiana. Through data analysis, four themes emerged: (a) cultural anxiety, (b) cultural pressure, (c) the one-way (agri)cultural mirror, and (d) cultural lens expansion. The participants expressed anxiety to discuss cultural issues because of a fear of negative social ramifications. As a result, this yielded a pressure to adopt a culturally competent mindset to be successful. Additionally, participants recognized that the agricultural profession exhibited a unique cultural identity that produced a one-way cultural mirror whereby consumers and producers cannot understand one another. Because of this cultural barrier, participants recognized a need to expand their cultural lens, through domestic and international experiences, to better serve diverse populations. Therefore, we recommend that future research explore strategies that can cultivate cultural competence at earlier ages. For example, perhaps opportunities that feature cultural concepts could be offered more purposefully through 4-H, FFA, and Ag in the Classroom.