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What is Ag Teaching?



Agricultural education first became a part of the public education system in 1917 when the U.S. Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act. Today, over 800,000 students participate in formal agricultural education instructional programs offered in grades seven through adult, throughout the 50 states and three U. S. territories.


In this challenging economic era, agriculture is a promising area of progress.  California's 77,900 farms and ranches received a record $46.4 billion for their output in 2013.  California remained #1 in the U.S. in cash farm receipts with nearly 12% of the U.S. total.  California's agriculture abundance includes more than 400 commodities, producing over 1/3 of the country's vegetables and 2/3 of the country's fruits and nuts. 



79,512 students in agricultural education courses

804 agriculture teachers

317 agriculture programs

Course pathway offerings:

Plant & Soil Science - 1,757 students

Animal Science - 4,797 students

Agricultural Mechanics - 16,006 students

Agriculture Business Management - 1,947 students

Ornamental Horticulture - 5,971 students

Forestry & Natural Resources - 683 students

Agriscience - 48,097 students



There are 18 community colleges offering full course sequences in agriculture and natural resources, including a majority of disciplines such as plant science, ag business, animal science, horticulture and ag mechanics.  Of these 18 community colleges that offer degrees and certificates, 5 also offer forestry and natural resource programs.  There are 60 community colleges that offer degrees and certificates that fall under the agriculture and natural resources category; primarily horticulture programs. There are 269 full and part-time instructors at these institutions.  In 2014-2015 there were 8,111 full-time students with at least 12 units of coursework enrolled in community college agriculture or natural resource programs.  There were 70,137 total community college enrollments, including full and part time students.  There are 5 California Universities that offer pre-service agricultural education certification programs.



Community college data courtsey of Agriculture Project Coordinator, Reedley College.  

Economic impact data courtsey of USDA California Agriculture Statistics 2013 Annual Bulletin (April 2015).


Agricultural education uses a three-circle model of instruction. The three-circle model includes classroom and laboratory instruction, leadership development, and experiential learning. Now more than ever California needs agriculturalists trained in specialized technical occupations to continue this competitiveness in national and global markets.  California agriculture programs keep students abreast of specialized and demanding career opportunities through internships, work-study, and Career Technical Education (CTE); creating a direct link between agriculture industry representatives and the classroom. 



California high school agriculture programs use FFA to enhance the leadership and experiential learning portions of their program. To learn more about FFA and its influence on agricultural education, visit

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