Agriculture and the World We Live In

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Course Date: 11 August 2014 to 09 September 2014

Price: free

Course Summary

You will learn about the world’s population and the crucial role of agriculture in feeding the steadily increasing number of people. You will then see how climate and soils dictate the types of farms we see in different regions and countries. You will then “drill down” and look at individual farms around the world. We will talk about how the farmers manage these farms, and why they do what they do. We will finish off with a look at the exciting new technologies that are transforming agriculture and the sustainability issues that farmers are dealing with in the 21st century.

Course Instructors

Russ Tillman

Russ is a Professor Emeritus at Massey University where he has worked for 40 years. He was originally a soil scientist, but over the years he has developed broad interests across the whole of agriculture. Much of his research in recent years has been on the effect of agriculture on the wider environment, particularly on water quality. In the last two years he has developed several professional development courses in agriculture for people who find themselves working in agriculture but who do not have an agricultural background.

Course Description

What's it about?

You will learn about the world’s population and the crucial role of agriculture in feeding the steadily increasing number of people. You will then see how climate and soils dictate the types of farms we see in different regions and countries.

You will learn about the world’s population and the crucial role of agriculture in feeding the steadily increasing number of people. You will then see how climate and soils dictate the types of farms we see in different regions and countries.
You will then “drill down” and look at individual farms around the world. We will talk about how the farmers manage these farms, and why they do what they do. We will finish off with a look at the exciting new technologies that are transforming agriculture and the sustainability issues that farmers are dealing with in the 21st century.

What's involved?

Module 1Global Food Production
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment11 Aug - 17 Aug
Module 2How Farms Work
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment18 Aug - 24 Aug
Module 3The Business of Farming
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment25 Aug - 31 Aug
Module 4Agricultural Sustainability
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment1 Sep - 7 Sep

What will I learn?

  • The size of the world’s population and how quickly it is growing
  • Whether more people live in cities than in rural areas and why this is important
  • The quantities and types of food we produce around the world
  • How food production is becoming globalised and the implications of this for farmers and consumers
  • How climate, soils and fertilisers affect the way we farm
  • The crucial role of soil biology in our farming systems
  • How different cropping farms operate and the role of crop rotations
  • The big differences between pasture based and feedlot systems of animal production
  • Some of the issues associated with the intensive production of animals such as pigs and poultry
  • The arguments for and against organic farming and the use of genetically modified plants and animals in agriculture.
  • The vast array of businesses that are associated with agriculture
  • The new information technologies that are transforming the way we farm
  • How agriculture can have adverse effects on the environment
  • The challenges that might be posed by global climate change

This course requires approximately 2 - 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student. This includes watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments. The total video time for this course is approximately 4 hours 11 minutes.

If you pass this course you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement. While this certificate isn't a formal qualification or credit, you can use it to demonstrate your interest in learning about this area to potential employers or educational institutions.

Where to from here?

If you love this course, why not take your studies further? Here are some accredited qualifications that could help you achieve your goals.

Where could this lead me?

If you're wondering what your future could look like in this area, here are some potential careers you could head towards.

  • Agricultural consultant
  • Farmer
  • Rural banker
  • Stock and station agent

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