To make it clear that Minnesota is committed to bridging the gap between ag educators and the growing demand for them, state leaders celebrated “Teach Ag Day in Minnesota" on Sept. 16

The state proclamation signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz falls in conjunction with National Teach Ag Day, which is dedicated to the agricultural education profession and bringing awareness to the growing demand for agriculture teachers.

Minnesota has nearly 300 agriculture teachers in over 200 programs, according to the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC), and more than 35,000 students receive school-based agricultural, food and natural resource (AFNR) education in grades 7-12.

Minnesota has experienced continuous demand for high school agriculture education programs since 2005, according to the proclamation. 27 school districts have added programs and 75 additional teaching positions had to be filled across the state, marking a 13% increase in AFNR programs.

To help address the gap between available teachers and the demand, Minnesota’s ag education leaders 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.

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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.

And 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, where testimonials can be found from current teachers, as well as links to universities and transfer colleges.