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Minnesota Celebrates Agriculture, Food, Natural Resource Educators
Minnesota Ag Connection - 09/16/2021

Minnesota is celebrating in conjunction with National Teach Ag Day -- a day dedicated to the agricultural education profession and bringing awareness to the ever-growing demand for agriculture teachers. Governor Tim Walz has officially proclaimed Sept. 16 as "Teach Ag Day in Minnesota."

Across the state, more than 35,000 students receive school-based agricultural, food and natural resource (AFNR) education in grades 7-12. Minnesota is fortunate to have nearly 300 agriculture teachers in over 200 programs, providing students with a strong and effective education that develops academic knowledge, technical ability and social-emotional skills. The Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) recognizes and thanks these teachers for their work in and out of the classroom supporting AFNR students.

Minnesota has experienced continuous demand for high school agriculture, food, and natural resource (AFNR) education programs. Since 2005, 27 school districts have added programs and 75 additional teaching positions had to be filled across the state. This is a 13% increase in AFNR programs, with no signs of demand slowing for the upcoming school year.

To help address the gap between available teachers and the demand, Minnesota's agricultural education stakeholders have worked to develop several pathways to becoming an agriculture teacher. Interested individuals can pursue a four-year undergraduate degree in Agricultural Education from Southwest Minnesota State University, the University of Minnesota-Crookston and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Another option is to obtain a two-year degree through a Minnesota State institution and transfer to any of the four-year programs. A Master's degree is also offered through the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for those who already have an undergraduate degree in another subject and are considering a career change. Finally, those with industry experience have a unique opportunity to start teaching in a local AFNR program and become alternatively licensed while simultaneously being in the classroom.

To explore more about becoming an agriculture teacher in Minnesota, visit teachagmn.org. On the website, individuals can find testimonials of current teachers, links to universities and transfer colleges, an a "Pathways to Teaching" tool from the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership and Imprint. In addition to the website, individuals can connect with Minnesota Teach Ag by following on Facebook (@TeachAgMinnseota), Instagram (@teachagmn), and LinkedIn (Teach Ag Minnesota).

MAELC is a 16-member legislative council that provides leadership to promote and expand agricultural education in Minnesota. The state legislature, agricultural educators, and agriculture industry leaders are all represented on the council.


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