Agricultural education is the instruction, teaching, and training surrounding agriculture as well as the management of land and natural resources. Agricultural education is frequently geared toward those preparing for careers in farming and agriculture. Agricultural education is also frequently provided at the middle- and high-school levels, as well as through vocational schools, and college or university programs.
Agricultural Education Overview
Agricultural education teaches students and aspiring farmers about farming, food production, plant sciences, biology, animal care, sustainable use of natural resources, and more. Agricultural education will typically also include training in leadership, farm safety, and ag business leadership. Agricultural education may be available for K-12 students, college and graduate students, working farmers, and other agribusiness professionals.
According to the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), there are approximately 1,000,000 agricultural education students who are taught by nearly 12,000 secondary and two-year postsecondary teachers.
The NAAE notes that agricultural education is derived from three interconnected components: classroom instruction; experiential learning; and leadership education. Agriculture education grants play a central role in helping schools, government agencies, and non-profit organizations provide these components.
For a closer look at the subjects and courses that comprise an agricultural education, check out these Agricultural Education Areas of Focus.
Agricultural Education Leaders
Strong leaders play a critical role in bringing effective agriculture education programs to schools, organizations, and communities. Agriculture education leaders coordinate agricultural education programs, distribute funding from agricultural education grants, create opportunities for the next generation of farmers, and more. The National Agriculture Education Foundation promotes the unique and innovative contributions of education leaders like:
- Lead NY—a two-year program of seminars, workshops and field travel for committed individuals who wish to step up and make a difference in New York state’s food and agricultural industry;
- The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge—which aspires to enhance the development of the dairy industry and its leaders by facilitating education, communication and an exchange of ideas among students, agribusiness, dairy producers and universities; and
- The PA Friends of Agriculture Foundation—where forward-thinking farmers and business leaders collaborate to preserve and promote agriculture.
Each of these agricultural education leaders demonstrates the kind of innovative thinking required to ensure the continued success of agriculture in the U.S.
Find out more about these agriculture education leaders and others like them with a look at the Northeast Agriculture Education Foundation’s Past Grantees.
Ways to Offer Agricultural Education and Training
Schools, agencies, and organizations with an interest in providing agriculture education and training have several ways to contribute. The best way is to begin with an application for a pertinent agriculture education grant. Agriculture education grants can provide the resources for classroom instruction, hands-on field work, research opportunities, apprenticeships, and more. Before your organization can provide agricultural education and training, evaluate your institution’s capabilities; determine your eligibility for relevant agriculture education grants; and develop a program that matches innovative thinking with important conventions and best practices in modern agriculture.
To begin building an agricultural education program at your school or non-profit group, find out how you can apply for an agriculture education grant.
2. Dr. Wm. Jay Jackman, CAE. Agricultural Education in the United States. The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). https://www.naae.org/advocacy/profiles/ag-ed-nationwide.pdf
3. NAAE. (2020). What is Agricultural Education? The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). https://www.naae.org/whatisaged/