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Agriculture Education

Resources for agriculture education programs, including classroom instruction, leadership, and supervised agricultural experience programs that prepare students for college or entrance into agricultural careers.

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Creating an Integrated Curriculum in Agricultural Education

Since 1917, with the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act, federal and state legislation has provided leadership for the implementation and improvement of agricultural education programs. The California Department of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education have strongly supported a comprehensive program of instruction in agriculture that integrates technical agriculture with strong academic foundations in core subjects. A successful agriculture education program must be based on three components: classroom instruction, Future Farmers of America (FFA) leadership activities, and Supervised Occupational Experience Projects. Two major federal and state programs provide support for agricultural education programs: the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq., as amended by Public Law 105-332), and the Agricultural Education Vocational Incentive Grant Program (California Senate Bill 813 [1983] and California Education Code, Article 7.5. Agricultural Career Technical Education Incentive Program (sections 52460-52462). The programs seek to accomplish four major purposes:

  • Enable local education agencies to improve the curriculum for students enrolled in agricultural education programs through the development and implementation of (a) an integrated academic and vocational curriculum, (b) curriculum that reflects workplace needs and instruction, and (c) support services for special populations.
  • Increase the competence of future and current high school, middle grades, and regional occupational centers and programs agricultural education instructors in developing and implementing a new integrated curriculum, student and program certification systems, technical preparation strategies, and effective instructional methodologies.
  • Promote the development and use of curriculum, instructional materials, and instructional strategies that prepare students in all aspects of the agricultural industry and foster critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and academic and technical skill attainment.
  • Increase linkages between secondary and postsecondary institutions offering agricultural education programs; between academic and agricultural educators; and among agricultural educators, the agricultural industry, professional associations, and local communities.

Benefits of agricultural education programs are:

  • Collaboration, articulation, and networking with all levels of delivery systems (elementary through postsecondary) for instructors
  • Supervised entrepreneurial and workplace learning experiences for students
  • Linkages and partnerships with business and industry for instructors and students
  • Professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and counselors
  • Curriculum development based on performance and content standards for instructors  
  • On-site technical assistance in programs for instructors and students
  • A foundation for students in the academic and technical skills necessary for career and personal success
  • Student leadership and interpersonal skills
  • An authentic assessment of knowledge, skills, and abilities through on-demand demonstrations and portfolios

California Association of Future Farmers of America

Since 1928, the Agricultural Education Unit of the California Department of Education (CDE) has been the official sponsor of the California Association of Future Farmers of America. An integral part of each comprehensive agricultural education program is FFA, the student organization for grades 9-12. The California Association state advisor and staff coordinate and supervise all activities of the California FFA Association. Local agricultural education instructors serve as advisors to local chapters. The mission of FFA is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success through Agricultural Education.

Information regarding agricultural education programs, agricultural literacy and awareness, incentive grants, the Tech Prep program, and FFA are available from California Department of Education staff. Charles Parker, Education Administrator of the Agriculture Education & Family and Consumer Sciences Office administers these programs. For more information, please contact Agriculture Education staff at 916-319-0887, or go to the California Agricultural Education web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Agricultural Career Technical Education Incentive Grant

The Agricultural Career Technical Education Incentive Grant provides local educational agencies with funds to improve the quality of their agricultural vocational education programs. The goal is to maintain a high-quality, comprehensive agricultural vocational program in California's public school system to ensure a constant source of employable, trained, and skilled individuals.

Questions: Hugh Mooney | | 916-319-0488 
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 5, 2022