Agricultural Literacy among the Generations: A National Study

Madison L Lewis, Tennessee State University


Agriculture and agricultural education is at the heart of a productive society that enjoys safe, affordable, and abundant supplies of food and fiber without so much as a thought. This descriptive observational study sought to understand the agricultural literacy of the general population in the United States. It also sought to compare agricultural literacy scores by key demographic variables in the literature and generational groups (Baby boomers, gen x-ers, and millennials). This national stratified sample utilized a researcher-developed and American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board, and United States Department of Agriculture and National Institute of Food and Agriculture-sponsored Pillars of Agricultural Literacy Assessment. The national sample of 1170 participants representing the US population are not agriculturally literate. There was a significant difference between males’ and females’ agricultural literacy. Overall, there were no agricultural literacy differences between most races (American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/or Pacific Islander, White/Caucasian/other), and the Non-Hispanic or Latino population is more literate in the construct, Relationship between Agriculture and Animals. Unexpectedly, urban respondents were more agriculturally literate than rural and suburban respondents on many constructs, and. overall, Baby Boomers were more agriculturally literate than Generations X and Millennials with one major exception, the Relationship between Agriculture and Technology. Millennials were more agriculturally literate in this area. Agricultural literacy differences by data collection method were also realized in unexpected areas. This study establishes a much-needed baseline of the United States’ population agricultural literacy.

Subject Area

Agricultural education

Recommended Citation

Madison L Lewis, "Agricultural Literacy among the Generations: A National Study" (2018). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10751140.