Dealing With Misconceptions

Dealing With Misconceptions

Dealing With Misconceptions. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Cartoons, commercials, video games and storybooks, they can all generate misconceptions about farms, ranches and where our food comes from. 

MILLER: We all got that joke when we were young that chocolate milk comes from brown cows and everybody laughs about that. I grew up on a dairy farm and it was something my dad said to me, but if you don’t address that issue, young people will actually believe those kinds of things. 

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Education Director Curtis Miller says it’s important to help kids understand more about food production, because it will be important information when they’re making decisions about their food in the future.

MILLER: Research has shown that if young people - who are increasingly removed from farming -if their ideas and perceptions of agriculture are built upon falsehoods that no new learning can happen. And unfortunately if what’s seen as creative or clever by advertisers or cartoonists or even educational book producers isn’t addressed, the young person builds their perception of agriculture on a falsehood and it’s really hard to change that. 

That’s why the Foundation provides materials for teachers and parents to help battle those misconceptions at an early age and why you can play agricultural computer games at 

MILLER: My American is basically subject matter focused games with agricultural themes which help stop those misconceptions about agriculture, give accurate portrayals, showing farmers are from all races and all genders and just help address some of these stereotypes about agriculture. There are teachable moments for farmers and ranchers every day that we can help address and it’s difficult. We want to roll our eyes; we want to grit our teeth. We want to laugh sometimes when we hear a misconception but it is really an opportunity for a teachable moment to tell our story. 

Miller talks about why people shouldn’t dismiss the misconceptions kids have about farming and ranching.

MILLER: A lot of the research that we’ve seen and a lot of the materials that we’ve developed at the American Farm Bureau Foundation started addressing the issue of misconceptions about agriculture at a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten level. We know that young people know what the golden arches are at a very early age. They are consumers at a very early age and if you don’t address the basic information about agriculture, they’re not going to make good choices later as consumers or as voters and ultimately that is what a lot of literacy and agricultural education is about.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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