Thursday, September 25, 2014

Last Hunger Season

This week we share with you a film series titled "The Last Hunger Season." This series is being provided by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Currently four short videos (ranging from a two minute video to a seven minute video) have been posted to their YouTube channel. They will continue to post videos, each week, telling the story of four African farmers and the everyday challenges they face to feed themselves and others. The videos will continue to be posted until the series is complete on October 16th, which is World Food Day 2014.

I encourage agricultural educators to show the various clips throughout the next weeks leading up to World Food Day and discuss the videos as a class. Challenge students to discuss things from the video that surprised them or they found unique.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

African Agriculture Challenges

Below I have provided a link to a short video that shares issues facing farmers in Africa. This video created by USAID is packed with information in a video that shows in less than two minutes. I encourage you to watch the video and discuss the questions below with classmates, peers, co-workers, and friends.

Discussion Questions

  1. What one piece of information stood out to you or caught your attention and why?
  2. What are the major issues facing farmers in Africa?
  3. What things were mentioned as needed for improvement?
  4. It's easy to say "this can be solved," but what steps or actions do you see need to be taken in order for farmers to be successful and see improvement with their crops? 

Further Ag Ed Challenge: 

Take the last question, from above, a step farther:
  1. Have groups of students develop a plan to improve agriculture in Africa. 
  2. Have students present their solutions to the class as if they were presenting to a governing organization that would be funding the best proposal. 
  3. Have students vote on the top proposal not allowing them to vote for their own.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Smart Farming and Innovation in China

The article, Smart Farming the Key to China's Food Problems, discusses agronomic production practices in China to produce crops to feed a growing country, as well as four different methods utilized to produce crops and the results they achieved. Read through the article then discuss the points below as a class or with colleagues.

Discussion Points

  1. Discuss the four methods utilized and what results were found.
  2. Of the four methods how do farmers treat crop production in your community and country? What are the impacts or results you see from this? Do you see this trend continuing? Has it always been this way?

Further Ag Ed Challenge

Innovation is the name of the game! How can we produce more with less? Watch the video below from Elanco dealing with the need for innovation in agriculture to get you thinking about innovation. After watching the video assign groups of students different commodities (corn, soybeans, cattle, hogs, sheep, dairy, etc.). Have them reflect on their commodity and develop a plan to increase production in their given commodity through innovation (encourage students to think outside of the box). Share with the class and discuss the possibilities!