December 11, 2002 | By: Haven Miller

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) board of directors has selected Lexington, Ky. as the new location for its national office.  The office will be located on the University of Kentucky campus in collaboration with the UK College of Agriculture.

The College of Agriculture edged out several other universities and organizations to be the board’s final choice.

“It was a difficult decision and we discussed the pros and cons of our three finalist proposals for several hours, even going past 12:00 midnight, before deciding that Kentucky was the best place to go,” said Sarah Osborn Welty, Maryland high school agriculture teacher and NAAE president.  “UK’s proposal was very competitive.”

NAAE, which is the main professional organization for more than 7,500 agriculture teachers, statewide ag ed coordinators, university ag ed faculty, and university ag ed students, is currently headquartered in Virginia within the Washington, D.C. metro area. 

The relocation is viewed by UK faculty and administrators as a significant achievement, and as a move that will bring several benefits to the College of Agriculture.

“It will provide our faculty, in cooperation with NAAE, an opportunity to assume an even greater leadership role in agricultural education programs at the national level,” said Scott Smith, dean of the College of Agriculture. “I’m confident we will see immediate and significant benefits.”

“Our College administration was outstanding in its support of this relocation proposal, and I think that speaks volumes about our College’s commitment to ag education,” said Charles Byers, UK agricultural education professor.

The agreement between UK and NAAE provides office space in close proximity to the Ag College’s new department of Community and Leadership Development.  UK also will provide the organization with a graduate student assistant, and access to undergraduates who may wish to involve themselves with NAAE activities.

“It’s going to give our students a chance to be associated with a national organization, and meet people and hear about issues and cutting edge trends that will make them aware of how ag education is changing,” said Gary Hansen, chair of the Community and Leadership Development department.

The NAAE’s decision to relocate was primarily driven by the need for NAAE to expand its service to members nationwide.

“If you want to grow the organization and do more for NAAE members and the ag ed profession, then you’ve got to have additional financial resources, and the board felt the best way to do that was to move away from the high-rent Washington, D.C., area to an area where the cost of doing business is less expensive,” said Jay Jackman, NAAE executive director.  “We’re excited about this move for a number of reasons, and I would agree that it brings benefits and opportunities to both UK and to NAAE.”

Jackman said the next step in the relocation process will be the preparation and signing of legal documents that make the move official.  He said the move will likely happen before July 2003, and that the NAAE office will employ a minimum of two full-time support positions to assist the executive director.

The NAAE is a federation of state associations of agricultural educators.  It began in 1948 as the National Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association.


Jay Jackman, 703-838-5885, ext. 4366