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What is an SAE?

The supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program involves real-world agricultural activities done by students outside of planned classroom and laboratory time. SAE’s provide a method for students to receive practical career skills in a part of agriculture in which they are interested.

An SAE is an essential element to the agricultural education program. The SAE is formulated by the student with the support of parents, employers, and the agricultural instructor. The student will keep track of their hours worked and amount of money they earned within their record book.

An SAE extends far beyond the classroom. Skills acquired through SAE’s stay with students for a lifetime and positively impact others as they grow. Having an SAE is essential for the student to succeed in the agricultural education program. SAE programs benefit students, schools, employers, communities, parents, and teachers.

The Importance of the SAE Program
Benefits of SAE's

Benefits to Students

  • Builds self esteem

  • Application of business practices 

  • Focuses on individual skills

  • Encourages citizenship

  • Provides educational opportunities 

  • Develops work ethic

  • Teaches responsibility

  • Establishes rapport with employers

Benefits to the Education System

  • Provides a relationship with the community

  • Encourages academic success

  • Creates awareness and understanding of technology

  • Increases agricultural skills

  • Encourages civic engagement 

  • Provides relevance to the curriculum.

Benefits to the Agricultural Industry

  • Provides labor

  • Maintains involvement with the community 

  • Creates a pathway from education to career focus

  • Helps keep students aware of new and relevant instruction

  • Develops engaged employees.

What types of SAE's can I have?


So, you want to be the boss? Now’s your chance. Own and operate an agriculture-related business or enterprise—start small and watch what happens with hard work and perseverance. The basic requirement is that you own the enterprise, equipment and supplies, making the management decisions and taking financial risk, with the ultimate goal of earning a profit. As part of an ownership/entrepreneurship SAE, you might own and operate a lawn care service; produce bedding plants, flowers or crops; or raise animals or livestock​


If you like working for someone else, this is the SAE for you. You’ll gain experience and knowledge, and you may be paid, too! Your job or internship could be on a farm or ranch or in an agricultural business, school laboratory or community facility. Track your progress by keeping records of the number of hours you work, your responsibilities and any earnings. Your placement SAE might involve working after school at a farm supply store, on Saturdays at a riding stable or even in a florist shop. Placement programs also include activities where you volunteer your time, learning valuable skills, but are not paid for your time. These unpaid hours can be done as directed school laboratory, community service or service-learning hours.


Research and Experimentation

If you like to research or analyze, this is the SAE for you. You will plan and conduct a major agricultural experiment using the scientific process and discover new knowledge. As a part of your research SAE, you verify and demonstrate or learn about scientific principals in agriculture. Some types of research opportunities include determining if phases of the moon have an effect on plant growth or determining the strength of welds using different welding methods.


In an exploratory SAE, you get to explore agriculture in one of a variety of ways. As a part of your exploratory SAE program, you might attend an agricultural career day or prepare a scrapbook on the work of a veterinarian.

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