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Nebraska Agricultural Education

Our mission…
Preparing students for a lifetime of successful careers and informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems.
Once known as Vocational Agriculture, today's Agricultural Education carries on the tradition of providing instruction through an integrated model of classroom instruction, leadership development, and experiential learning. Knowing that the agricultural industry employs one of every three Nebraskans, and that world population will increase by over 2.5 billion people within their lifetime, students are motivated in this career field. They equip themselves for this reality in local classes/programs and during world-class state and national educational experiences. The Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Career Cluster is comprised of seven Career Pathways (see right), all of which are essential to the economic development of the Nebraska. By serving students in 148 schools across Nebraska, Agricultural Education provides these opportunities to over 13,000 young people each year.

Classroom Instruction
A student's experience in agricultural education starts in the classroom with direct instruction from an Agricultural Education instructor. Students can expect classes to be based on career opportunities within Nebraska's leading industry. Often billed as 'hands on' courses, today's agricultural class prepares students for both career and college opportunities. Teachers work hard to ensure their students are the beneficiaries of experiences that can only happen at the intersection of academics and real life. Most schools with an agricultural education program provide experiences for their students with mechanics labs, greenhouses, aquaculture/aquaponics labs, land plots, large and small animal facilities, and throughout the community by use of field trips and guest speakers. Certified teachers with an endorsement in Agricultural Education engage their students in over 20 available courses based on the identified career pathways within the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Career Cluster.

Leadership Development (FFA)
Instruction in leadership has been a cornerstone of agricultural education for over 80 years. As mechanization of agricultural processes enabled other industries to be born, fewer Americans were involved with the production and processing of food. The Future Farmers of America organization was established in 1928 in order to enable those involved with production agriculture to have a voice amongst a shrinking employment base with the goals of educating consumers disconnected from the industry and to affect policy. Today, the FFA has shed its acronym and is known as the National FFA Organization in response to the number of agricultural careers that are non-farm related. With a redefined agricultural industry in resurgence (and as one of the only industries with a trade surplus), FFA membership is at an all-time high at over 500,000 members nationally. Nebraska membership is over 6,500, and is the largest Career Student Organization in the state. FFA develops students’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Experiential Learning (SAE)
True learning also occurs outside of the classroom. When students apply knowledge in their personal lives and are given a choice about what fields they will develop skills in and study, they transfer their learning into experiences that oftentimes lead to a successful career. A student's Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is a formal way to gain that experience under supervision of their Agricultural Education instructor. Student SAEs can consist of placement (employment/volunteer) opportunities, entrepreneurial ventures, personal research/agriscience projects, or be of an exploratory nature. Students document their projects through an electronic portfolio known as the SAE Record Book. In this, they track their personal goals, skills attained, and financial records for their business and personal lives. Teacher-led Instruction within the classroom and during visitations empowers students to make yearround wise decisions for themselves that will extend into their future careers and lives.