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What is Agricultural Education?

Agricultural education teaches students about agriculture, food and natural resources. Through these subjects, agricultural educators teach students a wide variety of skills, including science, math, communications, leadership, management and technology.

Agricultural education is delivered through three interconnected components:

  • Classroom or laboratory instruction.
  • Experiential learning — Learning experiences that usually take place outside of the classroom, supervised by the agriculture instructor.
  • Leadership education — delivered through student organizations such as the National FFA Organization, the National Young Farmer Education Association, National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization and others.

Many high school agriculture programs use FFA to enhance the leadership and experiential learning portions of their program. To learn more about FFA and its influence on agricultural education, visit www.ffa.org.

three-circle model

Some of the potential jobs for someone graduating with a degree in agricultural education could be:

  • High School Agriscience Teacher
  • Ag Literacy Coordinator
  • Agricultural Education Professor
  • Farm Business Management Instructor
  • 2-year Technical College Agriculture Instructor
  • Adult Agricultural Education Instructor
  • Young Farmer Instructor

Agricultural Education uses a three-circle model of instruction. These are classroom and laboratory instruction, leadership development, and experiential learning. The successful integration of each of these three components results in a strong program that produces well rounded individuals who are prepared to be leaders in agriculture, business, and industry.

Agricultural education first became a part of the public education system in 1917 when the U.S. Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act. Today, over 800,000 students participate in formal agricultural education instructional programs offered in grades seven through adult throughout the 50 states and three U. S. territories.

Start an Agricultural Education Program in Your Community

The National FFA Organization has a guide that can help you through the steps of bringing an agricultural education program to your school system. Go.

What does Agricultural Education Look Like in the United States?

National Profile — get a snapshot of agricultural education nationwide

State Profiles

We have collaborated with agricultural education leaders in each state to develop state profiles of agricultural education. Follow this link for a list of downloadable profiles.

National Agriculture Teacher Shortage

Nationwide, there are not enough agriculture teachers to meet the demand. The National Teach Ag Campaign, an initiative of The National Council for Agricultural Education led by NAAE is an effort to combat that while celebrating current agricultural educators. Visit the Teach Ag Campaign to learn more about the shortage and becoming an agriculture teacher.