Agricultural arts are an educational discipline devoted to the instruction and practice of a variety of activities related to the cultivation of food. This includes horticulture, sustainable farming and animal husbandry, among other things. Agricultural arts are taught at primary and secondary schools and colleges across the country, especially in agricultural regions. Curriculum in the field is designed to educate students about food cultivation but also to prepare some students for higher education and careers in agriculture.
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The Farm Experience
As a K-12 discipline, the agricultural arts throw students into a number of hands-on experiences, similar to what students would expect in a local 4-H club. The Hartsbrook School in western Massachusetts, for example, teaches second- and third-graders how to plant and harvest corn, beans and squash while also exploring the crops’ significance to Native Americans. Eighth-graders at the same school learn how to raise bees. At the college level, agricultural arts often fall under the banner of agricultural studies or agricultural sciences. At the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, undergraduate students can major in agricultural studies, an interdisciplinary program that includes animal science, horticulture, soils science, environmental science and agricultural engineering. Students work on two laboratory farms with varied crops, horses, beef and dairy cows, swine and sheep, exploring the relationships among management, nutrition, breeding and the environment.