Issues in agriculture
are in the news daily and the ability to successfully deal with and understand
issues is a vital skill for those in the industry. As today’s students become
the future faces of agriculture, it is urgent that they understand how to
engage in and react to controversial issues in a professional and socially
Trends become issues
when they elicit strong sentiments either for or against them. Many times these
trends or changes evoke concern among certain stakeholders and others. By
anticipating and planning for these changes, individuals and organizations can
help themselves and others work through those concerns. Thus, issues engagement
is a proactive process, rather than reactive.
Issues engagement is
not advocacy. Our proposed issues engagement approach is not about setting one
side against another or polarizing an issue. We assess that when issues are understood,
points of common ground may be found. When engaging in issues — rather than
advocating for them — relationships can be built and solutions sought to issues
of mutual interest.
It can also mean that
individual perspectives change as new information and experiences emerge. Being
open, listening, reflecting and seeking new ideas are a part of the engagement
Engaging in an issue
does not guarantee a resolution. However, the experience can still be
enlightening and hopefully at least garner a better understanding of the issue
from other perspectives.
Currently, the trend
in interacting and seeking information on controversial issues is the tendency for
people to gravitate to those sources with similar views. Those in agriculture
are told to “tell our story” but missing is the need to listen to others’
stories. Often a defensive stand is taken against those whose views differ.
However, to be truly
informed on issues, often means engaging with groups that might be considered adversaries.
Such interactions provide a more complete picture and help develop better
understanding of issues and their impact. Critical
thinking, seeking diverse views and conflict resolution are skills to proper
This planned program
would provide educational experiences for our Purdue Agriculture students to
help them become more skilled in issues engagement. The combination of formal
and informal activities are designed to intensely impact a small core group of
students and provide additional opportunities for the broader college as
||April, 2014 || >
| Sun || Mon || Tue || Wed || Thu || Fri || Sat |