Welcome to Agricultural Experiment Station Multistate Research Project (W2006)

Agriculture impacts the food, health, economy, environment, technology, and well-being of all. We are a nation that has reaped the benefits of a successful agricultural system. This has allowed our society to flourish, engage in leisure activities, and dream about future endeavors. Our successful innovations concerning food and fiber have resulted in fewer farmers and larger yields. However, this success story has come with a consequence—a society that has little understanding concerning agricultural production and processing, and how this system meets our basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), and relates or interacts with a sustainable environment and our quality of life. Daily decisions made by individuals, through dollars and voting, affect our agricultural system—from soil to spoon. If U.S. agriculture is going to continue to meet the needs of the U.S. population and address growing global needs, agriculture needs to be understood and valued by all.

The objectives of our research to address agricultural literacy include:
  1. Assess agricultural knowledge of diverse segments of the population: a) What are the points of acquisition of agricultural knowledge? b) What decisions are made based upon assessed knowledge?
  2. Assess attitudes and perceptions and motivations concerning agriculture of diverse segments of the population. a) How are perceptions, attitudes and motivations developed? b) What decisions are made based upon assessed attitudes, perceptions and motivations?
  3. Evaluate agricultural literacy programs to measure the program impact. a) What is effective programming? b) What is the impact of effective programming, both short-term and longitudinal? c) What knowledge, attitudes, and motivations exist for individuals that participate in agricultural literacy initiatives (formal programs, informal programs, voluntary programs)?

The objectives in this proposal outline work for five years. Upon completion, stakeholders will have agricultural knowledge data, and several program initiatives will have been evaluated. These results are necessary as a baseline to initiate decision-making that “moves the needle” toward an agriculturally literate society. It is noted, however, that while this work can be done through a multistate effort over the next five years, a long-term approach, as identified by phases over the next 15-20 years, will be necessary to measure long-term impacts.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes


W2006 Publications by Objective: 2014-2019


Objective 1: Assess agricultural knowledge of diverse segments of the population

Brandt, M. R. (2016). Exploring elementary students’ agricultural and scientific knowledge using evidence centered design (Master’s thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/natresdiss/131/. (Major Professor, Cory Forbs, W2006)

Edwards, E. B. (2016). Dig into learning: A program evaluation of an agricultural literacy innovation (Doctoral dissertation, GARDNER-WEBB UNIVERSITY). Retrieved from http://gradworks.umi.com/10/11/10118994.html. (Committee Member, Debra Spielmaker, W2006)

Enns, K., Martin, M., & Spielmaker, D. M. (2016). Research Priority 1: Public and Policy Maker Understanding of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Roberts, T. G., Harder, A., & Brashears, M. T. (Eds). American Association for Agricultural Education national research agenda: 2016-2020. Gainesville, FL: Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/National-Research-Agenda

Keeton, E., Hock, G., Enns, Martin, M., Spielmaker, D. M., & Stewardson, D. M. (2016, September). Simplifying the process: Agricultural literacy publications search framework. Poster session presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/Western%20Region/2016%20WRAAE%20CONFERENCE%20PROCEEDINGS.pdf

Spielmaker, D. M. (2016, September). Developing agricultural literacy outcomes: A synthesis of research-based expectations. Poster presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/Western%20Region/2016%20WRAAE%20CONFERENCE%20PROCEEDINGS.pdf

Spielmaker, D. M., Pastor, M., & Stewardson, D. M. (2014). A logic model for agricultural literacy programming. Proceedings of the 41st annual meeting of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Snowbird, UT. Retrieved from http://www.aaaeonline.org/uploads/allconferences/5-8-2014_148_2014_AAAE_Poster_Proceedings.pdf. [Blind review, awarded first place in the innovative poster category, 230 participants]

Spielmaker, D. M., & Leising, J. G. (2013). National agricultural literacy outcomes. Logan, UT: Utah State University, School of Applied Sciences & Technology. Retrieved from http://www.agclassroom.org/get/doc/NALObooklet.pdf

Wray, P., & Spielmaker, D. M. (2016, September). Farm field days as a learning model for agricultural literacy. Poster presented at the Western Region Conference of the American Association for Agricultural Education, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/Western%20Region/2016%20WRAAE%20CONFERENCE%20PROCEEDINGS.pdf

Wray, P. (2016). Evaluating the effectiveness of Utah farm field days (Master's thesis). Retrieved from
https://library.usu.edu/etd/. (Major Professor, Debra Spielmaker, W2006)

Objective 2: Assess attitudes and perceptions and motivations concerning agriculture of diverse segments of the population.

Chriestenson, C., Martin M. J., Thilmany, D., Sullins, M., & Jablonksi, B. (2017). Public attitudes about agriculture in Colorado. A study by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/2016%20Public%20Attitudes%20Report%20Final.pdf

Martin, M. J. (2016). The polarization of agriculture: The evolving context of Extension work. Journal of Extension, 54(2). Retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/2016april/comm1.php

Martin, M. J., & Enns, K. J. (2017). The conflicts of agriculture: Exploring the agriculture values of university agricultural education students. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 210-255. Retrieved from https://doi:10.5032/jae.2017.01210

Martin, M. J., & Wight, R. A. (2016). The need for a critical pedagogy of agriculture. NACTA Journal, 60(4), 448.

Stofer, K. A., & Newberry, III, M. G. (2017). When defining agriculture and science, explicit is not a bad word. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 131-150. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.01131

Yamashita, L., Hayes, K., & Trexler, C. J. (2015). How pre-service teachers navigate trade-offs of food systems across time scales: a lens for exploring understandings of sustainability. Environmental Education Research, 1-33. Retrieved from
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504622.2015.1074662#.Vg21PflVhBc

Objective 3: Evaluate agricultural literacy programs to measure the program impact.

Martin, M. J., Hill, R. L., van Sandt, A., & Thilmany, D. D. (2016). Colorado residents trusted Sources of agricultural, biotechnology and food information. AgBioForum, 19(1), 1-10. Retrieved from http://agbioforum.org/v19n1/v19n1a04-martin.htm