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Agricultural education


Agricultural education

The Texas Technological College Dairy Barn was used as an agricultural teaching facility until 1967.

Agricultural Education is the teaching of agriculture, natural resources, and land management through hands on experience and guidance to prepare students for entry level jobs of to further education to prepare them for advanced agricultural jobs. Classes that may be taught in an agricultural education curriculum include horticulture, land management, turf grass management, agricultural science, small animal care, machine and shop classes, health and nutrition, livestock management, biology courses, etc. Agricultural education can be taught at the elementary level, middle school level, secondary, post secondary and adult levels.[1] Elementary agriculture is taught in public schools and private schools, and deals with such subjects as how plants and animals grow and how soil is farmed and conserved. Vocational agriculture trains people for jobs in such areas as production, marketing, and conservation. College agriculture involves training of people to teach, conduct research, or provide information to advance the field of agriculture and food science in other ways. General education agriculture informs the public about food and agriculture.


  • In the United States 1
    • High schools 1.1
    • Colleges and universities 1.2
      • Land-grant universities 1.2.1
      • Teaching 1.2.2
      • Research 1.2.3
      • Extension service 1.2.4
    • Youth organizations 1.3
    • History 1.4
  • In other countries 2
  • 10x15 3
  • Agricultural educators 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

In the United States

The chief sources of agriculture education in the United States are:

High schools

Agricultural education at the high school level focuses on three main categories: classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience (SAE), and active involvement in the National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America).

  • Classroom Instruction- classroom instruction of an agricultural class teaches the students the basic concepts of the particular course through hands on learning and experience. Students will be taught the information in the curriculum in order for them to understand and develop skills in the application and problem solving issues that would occur in an agricultural setting. Another requirement for agricultural education at the high school level is the Young Farmers association group, but this is a requirement for the teacher, not the students.[2]
  • Supervised Agricultural Experience- The supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) portion of the agricultural curriculum is when a student must use the knowledge they have gained in the classroom instruction and use it in real life situations. Several topic choices are available for the student to choose between, whether it is on a farm setting, exploratory setting, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, or research projects. The student will choose a task from one of these topic areas and conduct a research experiment throughout the course of the agricultural class. The teacher is involved in the process and will help guide the student along the way. SAE programs give students the opportunity to take the information learned in the classroom setting and use it on an agricultural topic that interests them. This portion of an agricultural education will give students an idea of how it is working out in the real world and solving problems that will arise in the work field.[3]
  • [4]
  • Young Farmers Association- Young Farmers Association is a requirement that any agricultural teacher must meet. This is a group led by the agricultural teacher that meets usually monthly. The group will consist of all the local farmers, citizens, or anyone interested in learning more about agriculture and the new methods that are being created. The Young Farmers Association is designed so that the technologies made in the agricultural field will be introduced and used in the economy. It also gives the agricultural teachers the opportunity to meet the local citizens and reach out in the community.

Colleges and universities

Agricultural education is taught on the college level as well. Degrees in agricultural education can be used to teach agriculture or obtain a job in an agricultural related work field. This degree can give students the qualifications and knowledge necessary to teach agricultural classes such as the courses offered at the high school level. Students will be required to complete agriculture classes as well as education classes in order to become qualified to teach. A bachelor’s degree in agricultural education will qualify a person to teach classes all the way up to the high school level. A Masters degree is required in order to teach on the college level. An agricultural education degree also gives the qualifications to do extension work for universities and agriculture related companies and organizations.[5] Colleges and universities award about 21,000 bachelor's degrees in agriculture each year (1988). About 6,000 other students receive a master's or doctor's degree (1988).

Land-grant universities

Land-grant universities award more than three-quarters of all agricultural degrees (1988). These state schools receive federal aid under legislation that followed the Morrill Act of 1862, which granted public lands to support agricultural or mechanical education. Land-grant universities have three chief functions:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Extension/Outreach


Colleges of agriculture prepare students for careers in all aspects of the food and agricultural system. Some career choices include food science, veterinary science, farming, ranching, teaching, marketing, agricultural communication, management, and social services.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers, provides resources for agricultural education.


Each land-grant university has an agricultural experiment station equipped with laboratories and experimental farms. There, agricultural scientists work to develop better farming methods, solve the special problems of local farmers, and provide new technology. Research published in scholarly journals about agricultural safety is available from the NIOSH-supported National Agricultural Safety Database. The American Dairy Science Association provides research and education scholarships focused on the dairy farm and processing industries.

  1. Journal of Agricultural Education
  2. Journal of Extension
  3. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education
  4. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
  5. Journal of Leadership Education
  6. Journal of Applied Communication
  7. Journal of Career & Technical Education
  8. Career & Technical Education Research
  9. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal

Extension service

The Cooperative Extension System is a partnership of the federal, state, and county governments. This service distributes information gathered by the land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to farmers, families, and young people. County extension agents, located in most countries (1988), train and support about 3 million (1988) volunteer leaders. Agents and volunteers carry out extension programs through meetings, workshops, newsletters, radio, television, and visits.

Youth organizations

Youth organizations involved in agricultural education include National FFA Organization (FFA).

  • , and other subjects. The 4-H program in the United States is part of the Cooperative Extension service. health and safety, food and agriculture, conservation Members of 4-H carry out group and individual projects dealing with [6]
  • The FFA is an integral part of the program of agricultural education in many high schools as a result of Public Law 740 in 1950 (Currently revised as Publication 105-225 of the 105th Congress of the United States), with 500,823 FFA members (2007–2008). Local chapters participate in Career Development Events (individually and as a team), each student has a Supervised Agricultural Experience program (SAE), and participates in many conferences and conventions to develop leadership, citizenship, patriotism and excellence in agriculture. The National FFA Organization is structured from the local chapter up, including local districts, areas, regions, state associations, and the national level. The FFA Mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. [5]


The rapid growth of agricultural education began during the late 19th century. In 1862, the United States Congress created the Department of Agriculture to gather and distribute agricultural information. The Morrill Act, which provided the land-grant schools, became law that same year. The Hatch Act of 1887 gave federal funds to establish agricultural experiment stations. The first dairy school in the U.S. was created at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1890.[7]

Government support for agricultural education has increased during the 20th century. For example, the Woodlawn High School (Woodlawn, Virginia) was the first public high school in the United States to offer agricultural education classes under the Smith-Hughes Act.[8] The Vocational Education Act of 1963 funded training in other fields of agriculture.

Agricultural science and education expanded after 1900 in response to a need for more technical knowledge and skill. This development led to the use of modern farming methods that required fewer farmworkers. Another major result of this change was the creation of larger farms and ranches. This development increased the need for more agriculture science and education. Other legislation influenced the development of agricultural education into what the field is today. It has developed throughout the last century from various laws and pieces of legislation. Some of the laws include:

    • Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975- this law required all public schools to provide a free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities. Children with disabilities were allowed to enroll in agricultural classes.
    • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1986- This law required public schools to give students with disabilities equal opportunities as all the other students. It required teachers to let students with disabilities participate in more agricultural based classes.
    • Educate America Act of 1994- This raised the standards for public education and the goals that school districts had for their students. The curriculum and development requirements became stricter for all classes, including agricultural classes.
    • School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994- This law required teachers to teach students tasks and disciplines that would help their students prepare for employment once they graduated. Teaching real life applications in agriculture was a major part of this law because of the need for employment in the agricultural field.
    • No Child Left Behind (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001) - Raised the standards for students in public schools and the requirements of the teachers. This law helped provide financial support for public schools in low income areas. [3]

In other countries

Hurlstone Agricultural High School in Australia maintains a dairy with 42 head of cattle.

The history of agricultural education predates USA activities and derives from, the development of Scottish, Italian and German colleges. The land grant approach of the USA owes much to the Scottish system in particular. Changes in higher agricultural education around the world today are highlighting implicit approaches that have hampered development and exceptional advances that have fed the world. the process has been described in one text (below) which takes a global perspective.

Agricultural education in other countries resembles that in the United States. Canada has its own 4-H program. Agency for International Development (AID).


"By 2015 there will be in operation 10,000 quality agricultural science education programs serving students through an integrated model of classroom/laboratory instruction, experiential learning, and leadership and personal skill development. Further, all students will be members of the FFA and have a supervised agricultural experience that supports classroom and laboratory instruction.' -Team Ag Ed

The Case for Growth and Quality in Agricultural Education

Of the critical issues facing the nation, few are more compelling than improving the academic performance of public schools and ensuring a stable, safe and affordable food supply. Today agricultural education is positioned to contribute substantially in these arenas through a major national initiative. Under the direction of The National Council for Agricultural Education, the “10x15 Long Range Goal for Agricultural Education” employs a comprehensive strategy engaging eight high-priority initiatives. The focus of the unprecedented effort is twofold: create new programs in communities not yet served by agricultural education and FFA, and ensure the quality and high performance of current programs providing personal, academic and career education in agriculture. While the goal of “10x15” is to grow the number of agricultural education programs from 7,200 to 10,000 by the year 2015, the clear emphasis is on quality.

Several factors make this effort timely and essential. First, the public’s expectations for higher student achievement are leading to dramatic increases in accountability, standards, rigor and relevance throughout education. Especially critical is the need to raise math and science proficiency. Second, the industry of agriculture, already concerned about meeting growing domestic and global demands for food and fiber, is eager to identify the future managers, leaders and workers who will ensure the future security and productivity of agriculture. A forecasted shortage of well-educated workers is adding urgency to the issue. Also, concerns about food safety, security and independence are registering at the highest levels of agribusiness and government. Lastly, local communities are intent on cultivating leadership and securing effective participation from their citizens. Through the intra-curricular programs of agricultural education and the FFA, a half-million students are developing skills in leadership, communication, team building and civic engagement. They will be prepared to provide for the social, economic and cultural well-being of small communities and large urban centers alike.

The work of “10x15” is concentrated in eight national taskforces operating over the next several years. Their scope of work includes national program and content standards; teacher recruitment and preparation; alternative program design; data reporting; public advocacy; brand communication strategy; and program funding. Driving the work of “10x15” are more than a hundred top leaders drawn from today’s Team Ag Ed, including teachers, students, university educators, state education leaders, the National FFA Organization, alumni, business and industry, and key stakeholders

Agricultural educators

See also


  1. ^ Phipps,Osborne, Dyer, Ball, Lloyd, Edward, James, Anna (2008). Handbook on Agricultural Education in Public Schools Sixth Edition. NY: Delmar Learning. 
  2. ^ Phipps, Osborne, Dyer, Ball, Lloyd, Edward, James, Ann (2008). Handbook on Agricultural Education in the Public Schools Sixth Edition. NY: Delmar Learning. 
  3. ^ Phipps, Osborne, Dyer, Ball, Lloyd, Edward, James, Anna (2008). Handbook on Agricultural Education in Public Schools Sixth Edition. NY: Delmar Learning. 
  4. ^ "National FFA Organization- Agricultural Education". Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  5. ^ a b Phipps, Osborne, Dyer, Ball, Lloyd, Edward, James, Anna (2008). Handbook on Agricultural Education in Public Schools. NY: Delmar Learning. 
  6. ^ "4H youth development organization". Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  7. ^ L.H. Schultz; D.A. Wieckert; C.C. Olson; W.T. Howard; D.P. Dickson. "A Century of Excellence in Education and Discovery" (PDF). UW–Wisconsin. Archived from the original on 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2008-08-27. Stephen Babcock established the first 'Dairy School' in the nation in 1890. 
  8. ^ Worrell, A. (2009, January) Woodlawn School Tabbed for Historical Marker. The Carroll News. Retrieved from

External links

  • Holistic Management International
  • Washington State University's Online Organic Agriculture Certificate Program
  • AET Africa | Portal for Agricultural Education and Training in Africa - Provides information on agricultural education in Africa
  • PROTA - Provides information on the approximately 7,000 useful plants of Tropical Africa and to provide wide access to the information through Webdatabases, Books, CD-Rom’s and Special Products.
  • Association of Career and Technical Education Agricultural Division
  • Found Family Farm Learn by taking a tour at a small family farm!
  • AgrowKnowledge - The National Center for Agriscience and Technology education
  • Illinois Agricultural Education - Curriculum, Careers, and other resources for Ag Teachers in Illinois.
  • National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America)
  • .Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World - 2009 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Teach Agricultural Education Wiki - Learn more about teaching agricultural education grades 6-12
  • Sustainable Agriculture Resources and Programs for K-12 Youth. from the United States Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
  • .Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture 17th ed. 2006. A worldwide directory of academic and organizational programs from the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, National Agricultural Library.
  • "Should a Liberal Education Include an Agricultural Education?"—an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • National Association of Agricultural Educators The professional organization for agricultural educators in the United States
  • Hay Harvesting in the 1940s instructional films, Center for Digital Initiatives, University of Vermont Library
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