A public hearing is scheduled tonight (Thursday) at Iowa State University to talk about the future of agriculture engineering. Robert Martin is the chair of the I-S-U Department of Agricultural Education and Studies, and says the hearing is an effort to create more Ag Education programs. He says there are 242 ag education programs offered in high schools out of the state’s 370 school districts. Martin says they think there needs to be more programs.

Martin says the demand is out there for more programs, as the main thing that has sparked the interest is that in 1990 there were around nine-thousand studying ag education, while now there are 16 or 17 thousand. Martin says the population of Iowa hasn’t changed that much, but other things like the curriculum have.

Martin says ag education has gone beyond learning to driver a tractor or raise animals. He says there’s a broader curriculum focus looking at food science and technology, conservation and natural resources, ag sales and service, the green industry from turf management and landscaping to horticulture.

Martin says the hearing grew out of discussions by the Governor’s Council on Agricultural Education. The hearing begins at 6:30 and will be shown across the state on the Iowa Communications Network.