sealPurdue News

June 27, 2002

Purdue leads team of educators on Honduras agricultural tour

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University led group of secondary agricultural science and business teachers will return Tuesday (7/2) from an eight-day international learning and engagement program in Honduras.

Jerry L. Peters, an agricultural education specialist and interim dean of the School of Education, and seven secondary school educators have spent three days touring the educational systems and rural development projects in the small towns and villages around Zamorano University. Zamorano is a Pan American center of higher education that prepares leaders for the Americas in sustainable agriculture, agribusiness, agroindustry, natural resources management and rural development.

The teachers also will tour the Zamorano campus, visit with instructors and learn more about its motto, "Learning by Doing." Zamorano University served as host for Purdue's School of Agriculture and School of Education on previous trips to Honduras.

"Purdue University, for several years, has had a very close working relationship with Zamorano," said Peters, Purdue's former head of the School of Education's curriculum and instruction department and an agricultural education specialist. "These collaborations include Zamorano graduates participating in an in-service training at Purdue, attending graduate school, faculty research and the creation of a K-6 bilingual school on the Zamorano campus in collaboration with faculty in the School of Education and a team of Zamorano parents and teachers."

Visits also will be made to the southern part of Honduras to tour a shrimp production company and a melon processing plant. The group also will visit the National Forestry School, the ALCON Feed Balance Processing Plant and a banana plantation. Time also will be allotted to visit the Mayan Ruins of Copan.

Peters said this program is designed to educate Indiana secondary agricultural science and business teachers on issues pertaining to international development and the globalization of agriculture. Agricultural educators also can provide the leadership needed to assist other teachers in the educational system to become globally aware and involved.

The opportunities received by the secondary agricultural science and business teachers through this experience will help them gain knowledge on key needs and issues in less developed countries, how public and private development assistance addresses these needs and how these activities benefit U.S. citizens in general and U.S. agriculture in particular.

The program also will identify internationally oriented career opportunities.

The primary beneficiaries of the project will be the secondary, post-secondary, collegiate and adult students studying agriculture, Peters said.

"No greater challenge faces Indiana's educators today than the commitment to prepare students for responsible roles in an increasingly shrinking world," he said. "If Indiana is to continue to keep abreast of changes taking place in the global dimension of agricultural education programs, diligent effort must be made to continue providing opportunities to internationalize our teachers. It will be the key to helping infuse an international component into our secondary agricultural science and business programs."

Peters said educators and students alike need a better understanding of different cultures and their political systems and how they relate to the food production and educational systems, as well as the interrelationships between education, scientific research and the total food and agricultural system.

"More specifically, there is a need for students and educators to develop a global awareness of agriculture," he said. "We need to understand the importance of agriculture in international trade and have a better understanding of international agricultural marketing systems, economics, and agricultural production and management.

"It is no longer sufficient to prepare students solely for their adult roles in American life, because the affairs of America are interdependently linked to those of other nations of the world. It is vitally important that students at all levels of education learn how to function in a global economy and society."

Peters said Indiana is a prime example of the global nature of agriculture.

Indiana ranks among the 10 leading states in agriculture and eighth in total dollars of exported agricultural products. Two of every five soybeans rolling out of Indiana combines are sold to other countries. Of the major agricultural commodities, Indiana ranks first in total duck inventory and egg-type chicks hatched; second in popcorn and ice cream production; third in tomatoes for processing; fourth in U.S. agricultural production of soybeans, corn, eggs and peppermint; and fifth in agricultural production of corn, pork and spearmint, according to the Indiana Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture.

Educators accompanying Peters, are: Greg Curlin, Switzerland County High School, Vevay, Ind.; Grace Gochenour, Tri-County High School, Monticello, Ind.; Duane Huge, Cloverdale High School, Cloverdale, Ind.; Elizabeth A. McGuire, Madison High School, Dupont, Ind.; Travis Park, Tri-County High School, Wolcott, Ind.; Susan Peters, Klondike Middle School, West Lafayette, Ind.; and John H. Schut, Lowell High School, Belding, Mich.

Writer: Grant A. Flora, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Jerry L. Peters, (765) 494-2336,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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