Agricultural literacy of civic organizations in Lubbock



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Texas Tech University


A person who is versed in learning and science, or is educated, is considered to be literate (Webster's Dictionary, 1988). Generally, literacy describes the ability to read and write. The battle to create literacy among people has continued for centuries, and it is not the battle of the United States alone. Literacy is a global goal, and it is a problem even in such faraway places as New Zealand (Long, 1994).

Agricultural literacy has been defined as "the goal of education about agriculture." A basic knowledge of agriculture is especially important where it is the major industry in a state and the lack of agricultural knowledge and experience impedes economic development (Williams, 1991).

Agriculture is a central industry on the High Plains and South Plains of Texas. Twenty to 30 percent of income for Lubbock and Amarillo citizens comes directly from agriculture. Billions of dollars are generated each year from the region's agriculture commodities, and 30 percent of the agricultural cash receipts for commodities in the state of Texas come from this area (Importance of Agriculture. 1995).

Education about agriculture is crucial to the public's decision-making. Those uneducated about crucial issues, such as agriculture, hinder development in areas where agriculture is a dominant industry. For example. Brooks (1993) tells of assorted groups of British craftsmen called Luddites who banded together in the late 18th century to destroy the new machinery being developed at the start of the industrial era. According to Brooks, the Luddites resisted an era that led to better nutrition, better clothing and ultimately better living conditions, "because their jobs were threatened" (p. 28).