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Using the Understanding of Agricultural Crop Geography in the United States as an Assessment for Agricultural Literacy
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The primary aim and purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge level and understanding of where important agricultural crops are historically and statistically produced in the United States in a sample population of American citizen adults from ages 18 to 42. Out of a total of 310 potential participants, 190 respondents participated, with a 61.3% response rate. The objectives for this research were to ascertain this sample population’s ability to: identify ten agricultural crops which are endemic (native) to the North American continent based on their centers of origin; identify five significant agricultural production areas within one or more states of the United States; identify the historically and statistically leading regions for the production of seven different agricultural crops in the United States; identify the historically and statistically leading states (in their entirety) for the production of eleven different agricultural crops in the United States; and, identify the basic physiographic differences of two states (in their interior) and how these limit the production of agricultural crops. Through this, the secondary aim and purpose of this study was to investigate a different approach in the exploration and development of methods which assess agricultural literacy, to describe the need for strengthening academic curricula which are concerned with agriculture, and to underscore the necessity to address the current rates of agricultural literacy nationally, especially with a consumer-based society which aspires to improve its ethics when it comes to all aspects and concerns of its food, fiber, and fuel production systems. It was found that the mean response rate for all correct answers was 52.7% for all individual answers, including multiple-option questions in the survey, thereby indicating a need for better knowledge and understanding of agricultural geography on behalf of the student as a consumer.