Agricultural education has a long and rich history in Illinois, although organized efforts to foster agricultural education for all students did not begin until the 1980s. In 1984, a grassroots movement from the Illinois agriculture industry recognized that agriculture is central to the welfare and economic stability of the state, and requires a continued source of trained and qualified individuals for employment in agriculture. That movement resulted in creation of the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE).
In 1986, the Illinois General Assembly legislated that a comprehensive program for agricultural education be created and maintained by the public school system for all school districts. The Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) was formed. In 1987, the first agricultural education line item within the Illinois State Board of Education budget was approved at $48,500. When the line item was increased to $1,000,000 in 1989, the Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education Project (FCAE) was developed by the Illinois State Board of Education to assist in the coordination of improvement and expansion efforts in agricultural education. The current funding level for the agricultural education line item is $1,800,000.
How can you help?
Support our local program, educators and students by encouraging our schools to maintain and enhance agricultural education opportunities and ask state legislators to increase agricultural education line item funding.
Share the message that agriculture is the state's number one industry and top employer, and raise awareness of the diverse career opportunities available in the agriculture and horticulture fields.