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Speaker says population reason enough to teach agriculture

March 24, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The world's population reached 6 billion people in October. In 30 years, according to current projections, the number will nearly double to 11 billion.

That is reason enough to teach as many people as possible about agriculture, said Norman and Vickie Miller, a husband-and-wife team of educators who spoke to about 90 members of the Franklin County Farm Bureau Thursday.

The population predictions were illustrated in a large world map that the Millers projected on a screen in the Kauffman Community Center during the Farm Bureau's spring meeting.

Along with the map was a clock that registered the years from 1 A.D. through 2030. Each 1 million new people lit a pinpoint of light on the map. Drama was added with the sound of a human heartbeat which increased in volume as the world's population increased. By the time the clock registered 2030 there was very little black left on the map to represent open land.

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"Today's population is two to three generations removed from agricultural production," Norman Miller said. "Youth today know very little about agriculture. That's why it's so necessary to start teaching it."

Miller is the agriculture and environmental education coordinator at the private, 1,100-student Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa. The students farm about 800 acres and milk a herd of 65 cows.

Vickie Miller, an elementary school teacher in the Hershey area, teaches at Penn State's summer "Ag in the Classroom" program. Teachers from across the state take the class. The local Farm Bureau sponsors a local teacher each year. Last year Gretchen Marteny from Fanett-Metal Middle School attended from Franklin County.

Rosie Lidard, Franklin County Honey Queen, and Melinda Martin, Franklin County Dairy Princess, also gave reports to the Farm Bureau members. State Reps. Allan C. Egolf, R-Perry, and Pat Fleagle, R-Franklin, were present.

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