Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



NACTA Journal • March 2016, Vol 60(1)


High school agricultural education teachers have expressed concern about the lack of easily accessible educational materials dealing with contemporary topics in sustainable agriculture. There are numerous textbooks and monographs available for farmers and students at the college level, including the highly practical resources available from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) book series on soil fertility (Magdoff and van Es, 2010), cover crops (Bowman et al., 2007) and building a farm business (DiGiacomo et al., 2003), among others. Although these are full of color photos and easily accessible graphs and tables, they are still in the print media category. Many of today’s students, accustomed to personal electronic devices and instant access to entertaining (and hopefully educational) video material are more apt to use information from newer formats. As one student said, perhaps in jest, “If it is not online, for me it does not exist.” So we determined to meet high school students where they are.

The regional SARE grant committee agreed with our assessment and a modest proposal was approved to develop accessible sustainable agriculture teaching materials for high school students. With the help of experienced Nebraska high school teachers, we selected topics that would supplement their current modules in courses and raise interest by virtually ‘bringing farmers into the classroom’. To add interest for the high school agriculture classes, students were selected to do the interviews. Questions were carefully edited by a member of the SARE grant team (Jenn Simons) and professionally produced by information technology experts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here are the methods used and results of the project.