Agricultural education is a systematic program of instruction available to students desiring to learn about the science, business, and technology of plant and animal production and/or about the environmental and natural resources systems. 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 1,000,000 students participate in formal agricultural education instructional programs offered in grades seven-adult throughout the 50 states and three U. S. territories.
Ag Ed Vision
Agricultural education envisions a world where all people value and understand the vital role of agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources systems in advancing personal and global well-being.
Ag Ed Mission
Agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources systems.
Students are provided opportunities for leadership development, personal growth, and career success. Agricultural education instruction is delivered through three major components:
- classroom/laboratory instruction (contextual learning),
- supervised agricultural experience programs (work-based learning), and
- student leadership organizations (National FFA Organization, National Young Farmer Educational Association, and National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization).
Nationally, eleven organizations serve agricultural education. They are: Agricultural Education Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education, American Association for Agricultural Education, National Association of Agricultural Educators, National Council for Agricultural Education, National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education, National FFA Alumni Association, National FFA Foundation, Inc., National FFA Organization, National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization, National Farm and Ranch Business Management Education Association, and National Young Farmer Educational Association.
Agricultural education instruction is provided at the local level through the nation’s schools. State leadership is provided through various agencies and institutions including state departments of education, state departments of agriculture, land grant universities, community colleges, and other entities. The U. S. Department of Education provides federal leadership. All of the agricultural education organizations have local, state, and national programs and activities. The umbrella organization for the agricultural education community is the National Council for Agricultural Education (The Council).