Semester of Graduation

Spring 2021

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

As the global economy continues to transform how society operates, cultural competence has become a buzzword in education, professional development, research, government, and healthcare (Gay, 1994; Gallus et al., 2014). Cross et al. (1989) developed the most accepted definition of cultural competence: “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enable that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations” (p. 13).

Despite this, little to no research has been devoted to understanding cultural competence in agriculture. Thus, a need emerged to describe the cultural competence of young agriculturalist in Louisiana. As such, this case study aimed to address the dearth in knowledge. There was a total of five study participants, all who were young agriculturalist in the Louisiana Farm Burau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers program in 2020-2021. Through rigorous data analysis, four themes and three subthemes emerged. They included: (a) cultural anxiety, (b) cultural pressure, (c) the one-way (agri)cultural mirror, and (d) cultural lens expansion. The young agriculturalists expressed anxiety and apprehension to discuss cultural competency because of fear of negative social ramifications. And as a result, this yielded a cultural pressure to adopt a culturally competent mindset to be successful in the agricultural industry in Louisiana. Additionally, the participants noted that the agricultural profession was an recognizable cultural identity. This distinction has produced a one-way cultural mirror whereby consumers and producers cannot view and understand one another. Because of this cultural barrier, the young agriculturalists recognized a need to further expand their cultural lens, through domestic and international experiences, to better serve a culturally diverse population. Therefore, I recommended that more professional development opportunities can be offered through 4-H, FFA, and Ag in the Classroom, to initiate cultural competence development from an earlier age. Additionally, this study furthered the need to understand and develop intrinsic motivation for young agriculturalist to gain cultural competence as they navigate the globalized industry of agriculture.

Committee Chair

Stair, Kristin

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