About SAE

What is a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)?

America’s  agriculture  industry  and  education  system  has  changed  dramatically  since  Rufus  Stimson  launched  the  first  official  SAE,  called  a  “Home  Project”  around  1910.  It  is  unlikely  that  he  could  have  imagined agricultural education programs with 25-30 students per class for seven periods a day, where most students do not live on a farm or ranch.

The diversity of students served by today’s programs requires a new definition and approach to SAE, one that aligns SAE with 21st Century learners. Changes include new types of SAEs, a new approach to supervision,  and  a  focus  on  measurable  learning  outcomes  rather  than  only  dollars  earned  or  hours  documented.  However,  the  fundamentals  remain  the  same,  an  SAE  must  be  supervised,  related  to  agriculture and provide a rich and meaningful work-based or experiential learning experience.

Thus, this definition was formed: 

The Agricultural Experience Tracker (AET) is an online resource that we use to track progress in SAE projects. It is also used to track classroom and FFA activities!

Why should I have an SAE?

If you are looking for a meaningful high school experience, SAE is as real as it gets. By connecting you to employers, leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in your community, SAE is your best path to career success. SAEs  will  help  you:  explore  careers,  refine  your  career  choice,  meet  real-world  career  expectations  and  develop  specific  skills  to  be  successful  in  the  agricultural  industry.  SAEs  enhance your school experience, allowing you to apply what you learn in the classroom in a real-world setting. Most of all, your SAE is personalized learning for you. It will allow you to build on your talents and strengths and develop your passion.

How do I start an SAE?

SAEs can be difficult to understand and identify early on in your high school career. An easy example is raising a sheep or pig to sell at the county fair. While these projects are great at teaching new skills and providing some financial income, not everyone has access to the same resources. SAEs do not have to require any money to setup or maintain. As a freshman, you will setup a basic foundational SAE that will help you build some 21st Century Skills and discover career options throughout your high school career. The goal is to lead students into a larger, more focused project that will specifically help them develop the necessary skills to pursue employment in a related industry.

If any student has an idea of an SAE they would like to start, the first step is to simply talk to one of the ag instructors and they will help you start your experience. If you need help coming up with ideas, check out these great resources to the right!

SAE Grants

SAEs are great for helping students raise money for college and building a future. Sometimes, getting an SAE started is a financial burden, that's why National FFA has grants available! SAE grants, each comprising $1,000, are available to qualifying FFA members in grades seven through 12 who demonstrate financial need in either starting or expanding an SAE project. The SAE grant committee evaluates each application, which must be submitted online and show that the project fits in at least one Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Pathway (Agribusiness Systems; Animal Systems; Environmental Service/Natural Resources Systems; Food Products and Processing Systems; Plant Systems; and Power, Structural and Technical Systems).

Talk to an advisor to learn more!

Cody Carlon (pictured) was a National FFA SAE Grant Recipient in 2021. Applications for National FFA Grants open in October and close November 15th. The Idaho FFA Foundation also provides SAE grants.