AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION. Agricultural education in Texas has been conducted on the high school and college levels and, through the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, among farmers. Vocational agricultural education was introduced into twenty-eight white and four black high schools in 1917 under provisions of the federal Smith-Hughes Bill. In 1947 there were vocational agriculture departments in 631 high schools; more than 25,000 boys received daily instruction, and approximately 2,130 received part-time instruction, while 17,650 adults took evening courses. The Future Farmers of America, a national organization of students, had chapters wherever vocational agriculture was offered as a course. An agricultural education specialist program was established in 1958, which provided part-time instruction for 6,750 adults in all phases of agriculture. The Vocational Education Act of 1963 provided for the expansion of vocational agricultural education to include production agriculture training and off-farm occupation training for persons of all ages. In 1965 there were vocational agriculture departments in 1,022 high schools, representing a substantial increase over the 631 extant in 1947. Some 48,895 high school students received daily instruction in 1965, as compared to the 1947 figure of 25,000. Adult agricultural education more than tripled from 1947, with 67,653 persons enrolled in 1965. In addition to regular courses in classrooms, laboratories, and research centers, vocational agriculture teachers provided individual instruction to 41,895 young and adult farmers in 1965. In 1994–95 Texas had 1,462 agricultural science and technology teachers providing instruction to 1,011 departments in Texas high schools. More than 92,000 students received daily instruction in those departments, compared to 48,895 in 1965 and 25,000 in 1947. During the 1994–95 school year twenty-nine courses were offered. Agricultural science and technology teachers were trained at nine universities in the state: Texas A&M University, Southwest Texas State University, Texas Tech University, Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University at Kingsville, Prairie View A&M University, Tarleton State University, and East Texas State University. By the mid-1990s, those institutions were graduating between 150 and 200 teachers a year. Agricultural science and technology teachers also taught 3,356 adults in various agriculture and agribusiness education courses in 1995. See also AGRICULTURE.
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Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on September 4, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.