ERIC Number: ED390623
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Restructuring U.S. Agriculture: Implications for Rural Education and Other Community Services.
Bird, Alan R.
Restructuring of U.S. agriculture ("neoindustrialization") is having important effects on rural residents, requiring adaptations of supporting institutions such as education. Neoindustrialization involves concentration, specialization, and vertical and horizontal integration of agricultural production and marketing, as well as further reduction of labor, particularly family labor. Meanwhile, farm family members increasingly work off the farm. In 1990, the off-farm employment of farm families contributed 85 percent of total family income, on average. The most remarkable difference among farm operators by income class was not farm business characteristics, but level of educational attainment. Over a quarter of low-income farmers had less than a high school education. Neoindustrialization will demand proportionately more workers at both ends of the skills spectrum: persons with increased skills in management and technology and low-skilled personnel for routine repetitive tasks. The present rural farm labor supply is unlikely to match the increasing demand for skilled workers. Neoindustrialization may tend to reduce local job opportunities and, accordingly, both community incentive to enhance facilities and services and individual incentive to further education. Neoindustrialization will exacerbate the classic isolation of rural education. Educational improvement strategies will depend upon increased use of technology, enlarged social and cultural curricula that develop student abilities to understand and deal with large corporations and the changing economy, and a holistic outreach approach by community colleges and state college systems. Nevertheless, the paucity of local job options and education may still force some rural residents to relocate to urban areas. Contains 32 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Agricultural Change
Note: In: Issues Affecting Rural Communities. Proceedings of an International Conference Held by the Rural Education Research and Development Centre (Townsville, Queensland, Australia, July 10-15, 1994); see RC 020 376.