Anyone in Iowa’s agricultural industry will be encouraged by the results of a new Iowa State University study. Professor Robert Martin, chair of I-S-U’s agricultural education and studies department, says while the number of farmers is declining, the number of young people in Iowa who are studying the ag industry is rising.Back in 1990, there were about nine-thousand Iowa high school students studying agriculture. A recent study found there are now 16-thousand students statewide studying ag issues in 240 high schools. Martin says curriculum changes have broadened the scope of agricultural education classes, adding, “We’re getting more into the science of agriculture. We’re getting kids excited about all aspects of agriculture.” Only 29-percent of students in Iowa high school ag-ed classes are female, but contrary to popular belief, the students come almost equally from rural and nonrural homes. It’s no longer “cows, sows and plows” but focuses more on biotechnology, environment and natural resources, horticulture and sales and service. Martin says he’s excited by the results of the survey.The I-S-U research also looked at the impact of F-F-A membership and at learning experiences conducted outside the classroom that are organized by teachers and their students. Of the 16-thousand students studying agriculture, 12-thousand are F-F-A members. The research showed 79-percent of F-F-A members pursue post-secondary education in Iowa. Martin says “We also found F-F-A members are more likely to score proficient in science, math and reading on standardized tests than nonmembers.”