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South Dakota Agricultural Education History

History is the foundation for future generations to build on. It nurtures our identity in a diverse world and teaches us vital skills. It inspires leaders, is a catalyst to economic growth, and helps people envision a better future. It helps us develop contextual understanding and historical perspective, encouraging meaningful engagement with concepts like communication, continuity, change, and causation.

By preserving authentic and meaningful agriculture education documents, artifacts, images, stories, and places, future generations have a foundation on which to build and know the value of agriculture education in the past, present and future.

The South Dakota Agricultural Education and FFA History Project started with an idea for the SD Agricultural Education profession and friends to have some event or activity to commemorate the passage of the Smith Hughes Act of 1917. At that time (Feb. 7,2017) Clark Hanson, retired Agricultural Education teacher educator, decided to write a historical summary of events that have occurred in the South Dakota Agricultural Education program. Starting in the Spring of 2018 and continuing over the next two plus years, Dr. Hanson submit a series of twenty-four articles to the American News Farm Forum (The Green Sheets) as a means of sharing some insight as to how the South Dakota program originated and developed over the 100 years.

As time passed, certain readers asked Dr. Hanson if he planned on publishing the series in a book. At that time, he realized a great amount of material and knowledge had been discovered from a number of sources and the published articles only skimmed the surface. On top of that, the materials were being preserved in a number of locations including high schools across South Dakota. Reality also set in that publishing is especially expensive with a relatively small market. The role technology could serve entered the picture and a contact was made with the South Dakota FFA Foundation and it was agreed that the organization would serve as a web site host.

Historical knowledge is crucial to our future. This collection of SD Agriculture Education materials has three purposes:

  1. a collection of historical events and data of Agricultural Education programs and FFA Chapters across the state, past and present.
  2. a knowledge base consisting of research, writings and best practices for the classroom teacher as they strive to produce the best product possible.
  3. a resource readily available to the beginning teacher for garnering ideas and supporting concepts which can serve as building blocks for a successful, exciting career combining agriculture and teaching.

Clark W. Hanson
Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Education, SDSU

May, 2023

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