EXPLORE – What is Agricultural Education?

Agriculture. Food. Natural Resources.

School-based agricultural, food, & natural resources education

Since 1917 with the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act, federal and state legislation has provided leadership for the implementation and improvement of School-Based Agricultural, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) education programs.

The foundation of any successful AFNR program is based on three inseparable, equal, and interdependent components that include: rigorous Classroom Instruction, FFA leadership development, and Supervised Agricultural Experience.

academic development through the classroom & laboratory

Career and Technical Education, including AFNR education, prepares students for high wage, high skill, and in demand jobs and careers. It integrates science, math, economics, and art graduation credit, while earning college credits and industry certifications.

AFNR education includes courses in animal systems, plant systems, natural resources and environmental services, power and structural systems, agribusiness, food systems, and biotechnology.

social development through a student Leadership organization

Leadership is a skill and it can be taught. In AFNR Education, students learn and practice leadership and career development in a program called the National FFA Organization.

FFA is not a club. It is an intracurricular, required part of the classroom. FFA develops relationship and career skills through a variety of service events, career development competitions, and leadership conferences and conventions.

technical Development through work-based learning experiences

Students learn best by doing. A Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is a work-based learning project, and required part of the classroom, where students develop specific technical and career knowledge that prepares them for their future.

An SAE is different than academic instruction. Often, it is more relevant to the student, as each individual student designs their own project based on their own interests and wants to learn and achieve.

Three Components of
School-Based AFNR Education

Developing the whole student


Rigor: academic skills through contextual classes and labs.

Courses that earn students science, art, and economics graduation credit, and college credit, to prepare them for a career in agriculture, food, and natural resources.

Our classes are hands on using project and inquiry-based learning to bring the content alive.

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Relationships: social skills through a youth leadership organization.

FFA is the nation's largest youth-led leadership organization that makes a positive difference in the lives of students through leadership, personal growth, and career success activities.

FFA includes conferences, officer positions, career development events, conventions, and more.

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Relevancy: technical skills through work-based learning.

Real world experiences in a worksite or simulated environment that provide students opportunities to practice and develop technical skills and training needed for industry.

Work based learning includes internships, school-based enterprise, research, and entrepreneurship.

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21st Century Skills


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Minnesota Team Ag Ed

Minnesota Team Agricultural Education serves as the authority for Minnesota School-Based AFNR Education and is composed of organizations and entities representing students, teachers, teacher educators, state leaders, alumni, sponsors, industry, and government.

More information.

Answers to some frequently asked questions.