Supervised agricultural experience 

Experiential learning in school based agricultural education allows local programs to extend beyond the classroom and into the community in order to develop an individual student’s industry and career-based competencies. An agricultural education program is made up of three integrated parts: classroom instruction, FFA and a supervised agricultural experience (SAE).

The SAE is a required component of a total agricultural education program and intended for every student. Through their involvement in the SAE program, students are able to consider multiple careers and occupations, learn expected workplace behavior, develop specific skills within an industry, and are given opportunities to apply academic and occupational skills in the workplace or a simulated workplace environment. Through these strategies, students learn how to apply what they are learning in the classroom as they prepare to transition into the world
of college and career opportunities. Students with an SAE learn by doing.
With help from their agricultural teachers, students develop an SAE project based on
one or more SAE categories:


This type of SAE is appropriate for all agriculture students. This SAE activity is designed primarily to help students become literate in agriculture and/or become aware of possible careers in the AFNR career cluster and results in the development of a plan to begin an SAE.


Placement/Internship programs involve the placement of students in agriculture, food or natural resources-related businesses, on farms, in school laboratories, at community facilities, or in a verified non-profit organization to provide a "learning by doing" environment. These experiences may be paid or non-paid.


The student plans, implements, operates and assumes financial risks in a productive or service activity or agriculture, food or natural resources-related business.


As agriculture becomes more scientific, there is a need to conduct research to meet the needs of a growing world. There are three major kinds of research SAE programs: experimental, analytical and invention.

School-Based Enterprise

This enterprise is a student-managed, entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods or services that meet the needs of an identified market.


Service-learning is a student-managed service activity where students are involved in the development of a needs assessment, planning the goals, objectives and budget, implementation of the activity, promotion, and evaluation/reflection of a chosen project. It may be for a school, a community organization, religious institution or non‐profit organization. The student(s) are responsible for raising necessary funds for the project (if funds are needed). A project must be a stand‐alone project and not part of an ongoing chapter project, or community fundraiser.

Two new resources designed to assist in implementation of the new SAE programs have been released to the field.  The SAE for All guides for students and teachers were posted on the National Council’s webpage.

These guides were created in answer to the needs identified by the participants in the SAE Summit held last fall.  The work was completed by Vivayic under the guidance of the Council’s SAE Resources taskforce.

The Student Guide is designed to help students understand that in agricultural education; learning does not start and stop at the classroom door! It introduces students to the many opportunities to learn and develop real-world skills outside of the classroom and beyond the school day. This guide will provide students and parents: 

  • Clarity about what an SAE is and how it works

  • A roadmap to get on the correct SAE path

  • An understanding of how an SAE provides Real Learning for a Real Future!

The Teacher Guide provides additional clarity and details about expectations for student learning outcomes. It also includes tools and frameworks to guide implementation. It is meant to supplement the SAE for All Student Guide and provide teachers practical guidance, tools and examples to do the following:

  • Help students understand what an SAE is, the value it provides and how to get started

  • Ensure all students enrolled in agricultural education courses have an SAE

  • Connect SAE to school priorities

  • Integrate SAE into classroom grading system

Additional work is underway on creation of six implementation guides that address the Foundation SAE along with individual guides for each type of immersion SAEs. These should be released by December 2017.