Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Education and Studies

First Advisor

Robert Martin


The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of agriculture students regarding sustainable agriculture practices, issues related to sustainable agriculture and learning/teaching processes. These students were enrolled in a capstone course that involved managing a 2000-acre operation. Fifty-seven students participated in this census study. Participants completed a survey questionnaire and a select group of students answered questions in a focus group interview.;The participants in this study perceived that the sustainable agriculture movement promotes environmental concerns about farming more than economic concerns. The participants were mildly interested in learning more about practicing sustainable agriculture practices and how to use them. The participants in this study were most concerned about expansion of large farms, urban use of farmland, soil erosion, and dependence on seed and chemical companies. Overall, the participants in this study were concerned about economic, environmental and social aspects of agriculture. Participants in this study indicated that they had long-term experiences using crop rotation practices while frequently using cultivation, leguminous plants and integrated pest management practices on their farms.;Participants in this study perceived that hands-on activities represent the most effective teaching and learning method. Demonstrations, field visits, face-to-face consultations and discussion represent effective methods for teaching and learning. Using a variety of teaching methods was considered effective. Family members and relatives were considered primary sources for agricultural information. Magazines, colleagues, seed and chemical companies and the Internet were frequently used sources for agricultural information. The Extension service was not perceived as a primary source of agricultural information for these respondents. Magazines were the second most frequently used source of agricultural information for the respondents. Younger respondents tended to use the Internet, magazines, seed and chemical companies and family members more for agricultural information than older participants in the study do.;Overall, the participants in this study were concerned about economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainable agriculture, and they like to see equal emphasis be given to all aspects of sustainable agriculture. Agricultural educators should give equal emphasis to the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable agriculture curriculum design and delivery. Educators should also use hands-on teaching/learning methods and new computer technologies to enhance learning opportunities for students.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Awoke Desta Dollisso



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

104 pages