On May 20, Fukushima University's School of Food and Agricultural Sciences held a rice planting practice at its affiliated farm. All first-year students in the Department of Food Science and Agriculture participate in this practical training as part of the "Basic Farm Training I" program. Although farm practice is commonly conducted in all agricultural departments, Fukushima University's School of Food and Agricultural Sciences is unique in that all first-year students take this program. This is due to our style of learning, in which students acquire observation and insight skills by experiencing agriculture, forestry, and food processing from an early stage after entering university, and then learn specialized knowledge in depth based on these experiences. Last year, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the practical training was conducted online, and the current second-year students participated in rice transplanter test drives and rice planting in the research paddies during the time when there were no lectures.
On the day of the rice planting, President Hiroki Miura, Dean Shinichi Shogenji of the Faculty of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and other faculty members worked with all 104 first-year students. In addition, local residents of Kanayagawa prepared the paddy fields and assisted the students, and an agricultural machinery manufacturer demonstrated the ICT-based smart rice planting machine. The participating students were introduced to the local agriculture and the latest technology of agricultural machinery, and felt the importance of "connections" not only with faculty members but also with the local community and private companies.