Kohl says school discipline is a U.S. weak link

Lack of discipline at school is among fundamental reasons the U.S. economy has problems meeting world conditions.

There?s also a lack of graduates with vocational/technical training, according to David Kohl, an economist with Virginia Tech speaking to a group of agricultural producers and business persons at a three-hour seminar sponsored by Emprise Bank Feb. 25.

On the other hand, world situations are creating opportunities to expand if this country produces the minds to seize situations, he said.

Kohl said problem of discipline has to do with this development of the mind more than conventional views that might have corporal or military discipline initiated.

He said students need to take full advantage of their educations, to gain an appreciation of where it can take them. They need to have an attitude of taking all the education can give them, and then push beyond it. If they don?t, they risk not meeting the economic challenges for themselves and the United States, he said.

?We are seeing too many kids coming into the colleges who only want to know, ?What do I have to do to get my piece of paper, and how long will it take???

Having traveled more than 6 million miles in 25 years with Virginia Tech to deliver seminars, Kohl said he has observed many things, but none more exciting than the little things and the predictions that he feels he is able to make now.

He said he has seen researchers in Africa growing selected corn that can produce as much as 150 bushels of corn to the acre on as little as three inches of annual rainfall.

?When that corn transitions to the fields, it will revolutionize things,? Kohl said.

He also has noted a major input supplier increasing research and development from 4 percent of its revenue to 10 percent.

Kohl predicted U.S. corn yields will double in the next 20 years, from an average of 155 to 158 bushels per acre to 300 bushels by 2025.

He said soybean yields will increase by 17 percent an acre in the next two years, and the range of where soybeans are being grown is extending northward into the prairie provinces of Canada.

The world is down to 1 million farm producers growing 70 percent of world production, Kohl said.

?One-half of new ag lenders in schools are from outside agriculture,? he said. ?About 82 percent of all Americans are at least two generations removed from the farm. Six years ago, there were 90 people in Congress related to agriculture. It?s now 25.

?Funny money circles the globe looking for a place to land,? he added.

Some of the money goes into land. Kohl predicted land values of $10,000 an acre in Iowa by 2010.

Kohl said the funny money was in oil during the 1970s, Japan in the 1980s and the ?Asian tigers? quickly developing nations in the 1990s.

The next generation will have to know how to think to deal with all these things, Kohl said.

?Volatility will create opportunity,? he said. ?Good managers will manage the manageable, and manage around the unmanageable.

?The one best strategy is flexibility. Look at the Federal Reserve. It?s getting boxed into a corner with no flexibility.

?Don?t you get boxed into a corner?nobody will come to your rescue.?

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