Become Educated

How do I become an advocate for agricultural education?

Being an advocate is not just about lobbying your state and national legislators. It is about being an educated person and educating others about your passion — agricultural education! This starts by beginning to understand your own agricultural education story and how you can best share that story.

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is the act of showing public support for a particular cause or policy.

  • There are a variety of outcomes for advocating, including:
    • Change in an institutional policy and practice
      Example: Encouraging school administrators to offer agriculture biology as a science credit.
    • Change in public attitudes or behavior
      Example: Fostering a shift in the view the local community has about the agricultural education program (Vo-ag program of the 1960’s vs. agricultural education in the 21st century)
    • Change in the political process or system
      Example: Becoming a teacher representative on your local school board
    • Increased power or influence for a less influential group
      Example: Showcasing the importance of agricultural education to the entire school and how it contributes to student success.

What is an advocate?

An advocate is someone who actively supports a cause or policy by building relationships with those who exert influence. Anyone can and should be an advocate, regardless of experience.

Agricultural Education — The Backstory

Agricultural education has changed a lot in the past few decades. It is very important to understand that shift and what has led to it. It is important to know your history before you begin to develop your own story. This is also a time for you to examine your local agricultural education program by gathering test scores, student success stories and anecdotes to help enrich the story you will tell!

There are many factors that have influenced agricultural education. It helps to understand each one and the role they play in the profession.

What is agricultural education?

Organizations that Influence and Affect Agricultural Education

Many of the national organizations that have an interest in agricultural education have banded together to form The National Council for Agricultural Education, a coalition that serves as a common meeting ground for agricultural education and helps stimulate actions to support issues important to agricultural education. Learn more about The Council by visiting their website.

Professional Organizations
National Association of Agricultural Educators
National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education
American Association for Agricultural Education
National Farm and Ranch Business Management Education Association
Association for Career & Technical Education
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Student Organizations
National FFA Organization
National Postsecondary Agriculture Student Organization
National Young Farmers Educational Association

Support Organizations
National FFA Alumni Association
National FFA Foundation

Other Influencers of Agricultural Education

There are many other factors that play a role in the direction of agricultural education. As you can see from the graphic below, some of these influences are constantly shifting and evolving, so it’s important to be familiar with why your program is the way it is.


Legislative Process

Remember that even before the legislative process begins you have an opportunity to influence it. The first way is by becoming an educated voter and ensuring that the candidate you select supports your program and shares your side of priority issues. But be sure to truly investigate these individuals to determine what side of issues they stand on, don’t just take a television commercial’s word for it!

The chart below gives a basic overview of the steps of the legislative process. For a more detailed description of each step, download this document.

ACTE National Policy Seminar with Agricultural Education Strand

The ACTE National Policy Seminar is held annually in Washington, D.C. and is a great opportunity for agriculture teachers to develop their skills as advocates for career and technical education and agricultural education. NAAE hosts special programming during the policy seminar focused on helping agricultural educators tell their story. Attendees will also have opportunity to visit with their national legislators and their staffers. These are skills they can take back to increase their effectiveness as an advocate at the local and state levels as well.

(After I attended NPS) “I was able to tell my students from first-hand experience how the legislative process works, the number of legislative assistants, and specialists in DC, and how I was able to advocate for a subject they know I am passionate about — agricultural education. After all, we all know the best way to teach is to lead by example.”
— Toni Sasso, Illinois Agriculture Teacher and 2013 NPS attendee

Learn more about the ACTE National Policy Seminar

NAAE Advocacy Education Tools

How have you educated yourself to become a stronger advocate for agricultural education? Share your story!