Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version

April 1987


Published in The Journal of Agricultural Education, volume 28 (1987), pages 45-50. Used by permission.
The Journal of Agricultural Education (JAE) is a publication of the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE). Its back issues are available online at


Supervised occupational experience (SOE) programs have been a part of vocational agriculture and agribusiness since its inception. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 provided federal funding for vocational agriculture and required ". . . directed or supervised practice in agriculture, either on a farm provided by the school or other farm, f o r a t least six months per year" (Stimson, 1919). Vocational agriculture and the industry of agriculture have changed dramatically since that time. However, the role of SOE in the comprehensive vocational agriculture program remains fundamentally the same (Barrick, 1981).

Lee (1980) expressed concern that SOE in our vocational agriculture program was ". . . slipping away, and without it we would lose one of the pillars on which vocational education in agriculture/agribusiness has been built." If student participation in SOE is indeed slipping, steps must be taken to determine the factors affecting participation and implement programs to address those problems.