Des Moines, Iowa – January 4, 2019– The Iowa Council on Agricultural Education is seeking to ensure program quality throughout Iowa with regards to the secondary agricultural education classes that are being provided. 



The Council has recommended that Iowa use the National Quality Program Standards for Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Education as the guidelines for determining quality agricultural education programs here in Iowa. The standards were developed by the National Council for Agricultural Education in 2016. The standards are a tool designed for local agriculture, food and natural resource education programs to analyze their program and develop clear goals and objectives for program growth. This tool is designed to be used by local teacher(s) in cooperation with, administrators, community partners, advisory committees, FFA support groups and/or an external assessment team.



These standards reflect all components of an agriculture, food and natural resource education program including: Classroom and laboratory instruction; Work-Based Learning (Experiential, project, and work-based learning through SAE); Career and Technical Student Organization (Leadership and personal development through FFA). Just as agriculture varies throughout our nation and around the world, so will our agriculture, food and natural resource education programs. Use of these standards is voluntary and local entities are encouraged to adapt the standards to meet their local needs. These standards can be used to help guide the state program evaluations when considering minimum qualifications for program approval and/or determining program funding.



The standards include seven key elements that help lead to program success including 1) program design and instruction, 2) experiential, project, and work-based learning, 3) leadership and personal development through FFA, 4) school and community partnerships, 5) marketing, 6) certified agriculture teachers and professional growth, and 7) program planning and evaluation.



The Iowa Council on Agricultural Education is a bipartisan effort that is charged to review, develop, and recommend standards for secondary and postsecondary agriculture education in Iowa. Taking advantage of the work from the national organization, the Iowa Council on Agricultural Education reviewed the standards and voted to adopt them as the baseline for agricultural programs in Iowa high schools.



“Many Iowa teachers are already using these standards and modeling excellent agricultural education programs,” said chair, Will Fett. “This set of standards will provide guidance and direction for continued improvement and growth of agricultural education programs here in Iowa.”



The new standards can be viewed online here:



Agriculture education is offered in 235 high schools across Iowa. Agriculture education employs a three-component model to deliver teaching through classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience programs, and leadership development through FFA. Students who take an agriculture education class are eligible to join FFA. There are more than 15,400 FFA members in Iowa.



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About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture. The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. Iowa is a leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than 9 billion by 2050. IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. IALF will support existing agriculture education efforts such as FFA, 4-H and Ag in the Classroom. IALF was created through a joint effort of agricultural stakeholders, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Silos and Smokestacks Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, GROWMARK, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council. For more information visit IALF online at, on Facebook, and Twitter.



Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation



Will Fett, Executive Director
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation



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