- Agricultural education
Agricultural education is instruction about
cropproduction, livestockmanagement, soil and water conservation, and various other aspects of agriculture. Agricultural education includes instruction in foodeducation, such as nutrition. Agricultural and food education improves the quality of life for all people by helping farmers increase production, conserve resources, and provide nutritious foods.
There are four major fields of agricultural education:
Elementary agriculture education
Secondary agricultural education
College agricultural education
General education in agricultureElementary 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 agricultural 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 sciencein other ways. General education agriculture informs the public about food and agriculture.
In the United States
The chief sources of agriculture education in the United States are:
"High Schools" in every state, the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islandsprovide vocational agriculture training for over half a million students yearly (2007). Most high school agriculture courses offer both classroom instruction and practical experience. For example, a student might raise a crop or an animal, work on a farm, or work for an agriculture business, such as a machinery dealer. Many schools offer adult education courses to help people improve their production, management, and computer skills.
Colleges and universities
"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 award more than three-quarters of all agricultural degrees (1988). These state schools receive federal aid under legislation that followed the
Morrill Actof 1862, which granted public lands to support agricultural or mechanical education. Land-grant universities have three chief functions:
Colleges of agriculture prepare students for careers in all aspects of the food and agricultural system. Some career choices include
food scienceand veterinary science, farming, ranching, teaching, marketing, management, and social services.
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 [http://www.acteonline.org/members/techniques/articlesbyagri.cfm 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 Associationprovides research and education scholarships focused on the dairyfarm and processing industries.
* [http://www.nactateachers.org/nacjournal.htm North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal]
* [http://jds.fass.org Journal of Dairy Science]
Cooperative Extension Systemis 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 Agricultureto 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" involved in agricultural education include
4-Hand National FFA Organization(FFA). Members of 4-H carry out group and individual projects dealing with conservation, food and agriculture, health and safety, and other subjects. The 4-H program in the United States is part of the Cooperative Extension Service and has about 6 million members (2006). More than just a club, 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.
The rapid growth of agricultural education began during the late 1800s. In 1862, the
United States Congresscreated 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 Actof 1887 gave federal funds to establish agricultural experiment stations. The first dairy school in the U.S. was created at the University of Wisconsinin 1890. [cite web |url=http://www.wisc.edu/dysci/images/DairyScienceHistoryPoster.pdf |title=A Century of Excellence in Education and Discovery |accessdate=2008-08-27 |author=L.H. Schultz |coauthors=D.A. Wieckert; C.C. Olson; W.T. Howard; D.P. Dickson |publisher=UW-Wisconsin |quote=Stephen Babcock established the first 'Dairy School' in the nation in 1890.]
*Government support for agricultural education has increased during the 1900s. For example, the
Smith-Lever Actof 1914 created what is now the Cooperative Extension System (1988). The Smith-Hughes Actof 1917 and the George-Barden Actof 1946 financed high-school instruction in farming. The Vocational Education Actof 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.
In other countries
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.
Agriculture Canadadistributes information on new farming methods and maintains experimental farms, research stations, and research institutions throughout the country. In Australia, each state has several agricultural research stations and an extension service. Great Britain has a program of youth clubs called Young Farmer's Clubsthat resemble 4-H. The Food and Agriculture Organisationof the United Nations works to train people throughout the world in modern farming methods. The United States gives technical assistance to farmers in developing nations through its 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 two-fold: 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
* Otto F Hunziker,
* Raymond A. Pearson,
* [http://www.ffa.org/teamaged/10x15/10x15.html 10x15 from the National FFA organization]
World Bookencyclopedia 1988
* by Elmer L. Cooper, Delmar Pubs., 1987
* by Alfred H. Krebs, 5th ed. Interstate, 1984
Working in Agricultural Industryby Jasper S. Lee, McGraw, 1978
Methods of Teaching Agricultureby L. H. Newcomb, and others, Interstate, 1986.
*Food Environment Education: Agricultural Education in Natural Resource Management, by
Lindsay Falvey, 1966.
* [http://www.acteonline.org/about/division/div-agr.cfm Association of Career and Technical Education Agricultural Division]
* [http://www.foundfamilyfarm.ca Found Family Farm] Learn by taking a tour at a small family farm!
* [http://www.agrowknowledge.org AgrowKnowledge] - The National Center for Agriscience and Technology education
* [http://www.agriculturaleducation.org Illinois Agricultural Education] - Curriculum, Careers, and other resources for Ag Teachers in Illinois.
* [http://ffa.org National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America)]
* [http://teachagedwiki.wiki-site.com/ Teach Agricultural Education Wiki] - Learn more about teaching agricultural education grades 6-12
* [http://www.sare.org/publications/edguide.htm Sustainable Agriculture Resources and Programs for K-12 Youth.] from the
United States Department of Agriculture, Sustainable agriculture research and education(SARE) program.
* [http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/edtr/EDTR2006.shtml "Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture".] 17th ed. 2006. A world-wide directory of academic and organizational programs from the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center,
National Agricultural Library.
* [http://chronicle.com/blogs/architecture/1806/should-a-liberal-education-include-an-agricultural-education "Should a Liberal Education Include an Agricultural Education?"] -- an article from the
Chronicle of Higher Education.
* [http://www.naae.org National Association of Agricultural Educators] The professional organization for agricultural educators in the United States
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