Proficiency Areas

SAE programs form the basis of proficiency and degree award programs. They are planned, practical activities conducted outside of class time that help students develop and apply agricultural knowledge and skills learned inside the classroom. These activities can include entrepreneurship, placement (paid or unpaid) or research/experimentation.

Developing an SAE into a successful program takes time and planning. SAE programs also involve goal setting because they take time to grow and develop.

Who Can Apply?

Agricultural proficiency awards are available to all FFA members enrolled in high school agriculture, including special needs students.

Individually, you can apply for specific proficiency areas while you are in or after you are out of high school, as long as you have been out for no more than one year. If you have graduated from high school, you must have completed at least three full years of instruction in agricultural education or the program of agricultural education offered in the school last attended. At the minimum, you must have kept one full calendar year's worth of records as an FFA member to apply for a national level proficiency award. Realistically, you are more competitive at the national level with more years of records. Some states have specific requirements; your state FFA advisors can provide more information.

Proficiency applicants do not need to live on a farm or ranch to participate in the awards program. The agricultural industry needs qualified employees in over 300 career areas, including processing, sales and service, conservation, forest management, horticulture, landscaping, nursery operation, turf management and floriculture.

Open Imagination

Diversified Livestock Production

Open Imagination

Enviro. Sci. & Natural Resources Mngmnt

Open Imagination

Small Animal Production & Care

Open Imagination

Wildlife Production & Management


Award Types and Applications

Type Description
Agriscience Research Involve planning and conducting an agriculturally based scientific experiment based on hypothesis and the use of the scientific methods of investigation on the hypothesis.
Entrepreneurship Given to those whose SAEs are related to ownership of an agribusiness or agriculture-related enterprise.
Placeement Given to those whose SAEs are related to employment, apprenticeships, or internships at an agribusiness or agriculture-related organization.
Combined Some proficiency award areas are not split into entrepreneurship and placement, applicants can combine both placement and entrepreneurship records if both are included in the SAE.

There are two (2) different applications for Proficiency awards. For entrepreneurship, placement or combined type SAE projects use the “Proficiency Application”. For research SAE projects, use the “Research Proficiency Application.” Your agriculture instructor can assist you in determining which application best suits your SAE program.

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