PERCEPTIONS OF AGRICULTURE AND GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS AT TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
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A study was conducted to determine the perceptions of agriculture and geography students at Texas State University towards sustainable agriculture. The study focused on students’ self-assessed level of knowledge on selected sustainable agricultural practices. The objectives of the study were accomplished through a quantitative descriptive survey within Texas State University. Likert-type scales were used to measure students’ level of agreement with nine statements related to sustainable agriculture, their level of knowledge on selected sustainable farm practices, and the level of importance they place on the implementation of sustainable agriculture into college curricula. Data was collected using Qualtrics survey software following procedures by Dillman (2000). To account for reliability, a pilot test was conducted with a group of 16 students from the department of agriculture. The Cronbach alpha coefficients ranged between .84 and .94. A total of 500 students were invited to participate in the survey, out of which, 302 responded, for a 60.4 % response rate. Students rated themselves as having limited knowledge on some sustainable agriculture practices. The highest mean was (M = 3.46) representing a range between some knowledge and moderate knowledge on the Likert-type scales used. Students had little knowledge on integrated pest management (IPM) as indicated by the lowest mean (M = 2.57). Significant difference was noted between graduate and undergraduate students’ level of knowledge on the topic, and also between undergraduates majoring in different fields. For instance Agricultural Education graduate students had the highest mean (M = 3.73) for their level of knowledge on IPM. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) generated a significant difference (p = .000) at (p < .05) level for IPM. Results from this study indicate a need for additional efforts from agricultural educators in incorporating sustainable agriculture courses into their curricula.