Teen seeks to bridge rural-urban divide

Anna Peterson, an FFA member from Nampa, Idaho, proposes mandating that high school students to complete at least two agriculture education classes as a requirement to graduate.

Published on November 30, 2017 8:08AM

Anna Peterson, a high school senior in Nampa, Idaho, has proposed that high school students be required to complete at least two agriculture education classes to graduate.

Sean Ellis/Capital Press

Anna Peterson, a high school senior in Nampa, Idaho, has proposed that high school students be required to complete at least two agriculture education classes to graduate.


One of the wedges that serves to create the rural-urban divide is the general lack of knowledge about agriculture common in the city.

Even in rural areas, most Americans are two or more generations removed from the farm. Our collective memory on the subject is both woefully outdated and uninformed.

Ag interest groups have been asking for years how they can bridge that information gap. It’s a conundrum.

Not to Anna Peterson, 17, an FFA member at Skyview High School in Nampa, Idaho. If it’s a question of education, she reasons, why not teach it in school?

Peterson will propose a bill during the 2018 Idaho legislative session that would mandate high school students to complete at least two agriculture education classes as a requirement to graduate. As part of her effort she’s already emailed every member of the Idaho Legislature to brief them on the plan.

Now, the naysayers will quickly point out all the predictable obstacles for such a plan ever being instituted, even in a state where so many legislators are farmers or ranchers. It would be expensive and school budgets are already stretched thin. The school day is too short to cover all the material already required.

Who would set the curriculum? That could mean the difference between education and indoctrination.

But just because it wouldn’t be easy doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. It’s a great idea.

And whether or not Peterson’s proposal ever gets a hearing she still deserves a huge tip of the hat.

As we said, farm groups across the country have been asking how to bridge the rural-urban divide for years. Peterson considered the question, proposed an answer and has taken it upon herself to petition the Idaho Legislature to make that proposal a reality.

We could all use that kind of passion.



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