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About CAEP

Who is CAEP?

For more than 30 years, Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs (CAEP) has carried out our vision of giving young adults an opportunity to experience the world through agricultural exchange, while providing an opportunity for rural families to be touched by other cultures and forge lifelong friendships.

Here is our story directly from Milt Smedsrud, our founder:

Having born and grow up on Smedsrud Family, founded by my Grandparents when they immigrated from Norway in 1881, which gave me the gift of speaking two languages and growing up with two cultures. Norwegian and American. At the time I did not really appreciate that fact, but later in life, while serving my country in the USAF, I was assigned to Keflavik Iceland. The Icelandic language is close to Norwegian, and I could communicate and also understand and enjoy their culture.

The most wonderful experience of my life is that I met my wife, Birgitta there, and we were married in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1956. We came back to Minnesota, back to the Smedsrud Family Farm and started our life long career in insurance and advocate for families in agriculture. While visiting Birgitta parents in Copenhagen, lunch had been arranged for me with Fred Trager, at the US Embassy,  who was agriculture attachee for Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

Fred asked me, ”would your organization be interested in starting an agriculture exchange for farmers,” I said we would. CAEP was then formed and made application to the USA State Department, for J-1 visa, which was approved 1985.

CAEP first Trainee arrived in the spring of 1986, all four from Denmark, with one being placed on our place. This was the beginning of what today is the largest Agriculture Exchange and Culture Program in the USA.

Today CAEP is truly a Culture and Education Program with all segments of agriculture, having USA families and International Young People from around the World sharing each others culture, exchanging visits in each other countries, attending weddings, being sponsors to each other children, seeing families coming together around the World. Young people going back to their home country and starting business that they had learned while on the CAEP program.

The most common statement we hear, ”The Most Fantastic Experience of My Life Time."

CAEP’s technical capability, a network of offices worldwide, and variety of programs allow us to provide the highest quality of agricultural and cultural experience:

  • CAEP has placed tens of thousands of international exchange visitors
  • CAEP has International Offices connecting globally
  • CAEP has International Partners throughout the world
  • CAEP uses state-of-the-art technology
  • CAEP has a high rate of visa approval

How does CAEP Do It?

CAEP applicants are screened and interviewed by our vetting departments through a CAEP partner or office. We then present the applicant to the hosts that we feel would be the best match for the applicant’s cultural and training needs.

Become a CAEP Business Partner

On the CAEP programs, tens of thousands of young people from all over the world have experienced life, travel, learned and earned with our host families and business. After completing a CAEP program, many Exchange Visitors on the program have found careers in agriculture or now run farms, nurseries, wineries and horse operations in their respective countries.

The CAEP Business Model

CAEP works with our Partners* to recruit young people to come on the program. These exchange visitors come to the U.S. or other CAEP host countries for 3 to 12 months to “learn and earn” with a CAEP hosting operation.

*Partners are collectively CAEP Recruiters, CAEP Country Offices, and CAEP Country Partners.

As a CAEP Partner, you will have access to our online systems which will aid you in building your market, accessing CAEPS financial assistance programs, and provide opportunities to develop a hosting business in your own country for the worldwide program.

There are three levels of partnership with CAEP:

CAEP Recruiter

A CAEP Recruiter is an individual, who wishes to register with CAEP directly.

CAEP Country Office

A CAEP Country Office promotes CAEP services exclusively and has the right to all CAEP brands, assigned territories, marketing assistance, and special programs (i.e., financing from CAEP).

CAEP Country Partner

A Country Partner is an existing independent business who receives special pricing from CAEP for CAEP services and who provides CAEP services in conjunction with other vendor’s products.

If you are interested in becoming a Partner with CAEP, please contact us:

Send an email to with more information about your organization and why you are interested in partnering with CAEP. The CAEP main office phone number is +1-218-739-3241.

Information for Embassies

Three organizations make up the CA family of educational programs:

Communicating for America is the parent, non-profit organization with tens of thousands of farmers, ranchers and small business members across the United States and abroad.  The members are the exchange visitors.  The CA organization has been promoting rural education, training, legislation and health care for close to half of a century.

Communicating for Agriculture Scholarship and Education Foundation has awarded over $2.5 million in scholarships to young people worldwide. The CA foundation is the registered entity with the U.S.  Department of State for cultural exchange purposes
CAEP administrates the exchange visitor programs on behalf of the Foundation.

CA has received high marks from Congress for our efforts to promote agriculture education:

“Mr. Speaker, CA has also been a strong supporter of the education of young people in providing the opportunity to train and experience life and personal growth overseas.  Today, CA Education Programs has become the largest program of its kind in the country.”  Collin Peterson – Member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Every winery, farm, ranch, nursery, business or other hosting business are members of CA which means that our hosting companies have a long-term commitment to involvement with our organization, not just as a host to exchange visitors, but also as a member of our rural advocacy organization.

CAEP has State-of-the-art applicant processing:  Candidates of CAEP programs are screened via video conferencing by CAEP.   CAEP candidates complete all applications online, have all documents and training plans processed online, and all communication archived for auditing purposes and immediate retrieval.

Communicating for America (CA)

In 1972, Communicating for America (CA) started as a small group of dairy farmers in west central Minnesota. Today CA has tens of thousands of agriculture and small business members across the United States, and close to half a century of legislative accomplishments on behalf of our members. From helping to form the first state high-risk pool for the medically uninsurable in Minnesota in 1976 to the first beginning farmer loan program in Iowa in 1980, to form its international agriculture exchange program in 1985, to receive the first Agriculture Apprenticeship designation granted by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2007. CA was founded to promote the general health, welfare, and advancement of people in agriculture or small business, and after close to half of a century of service to rural America, that mission continues to drive CA today. For more information, please visit

CA Foundation

The Communicating for Agriculture Scholarships and Education Foundation is authorized by the U.S. State Department to sponsor programs on behalf of the United State Government under the J1 category for the intern and trainee category. The Foundation provides emerging leaders in rural communities scholarships for educational advancement - both here at home and abroad. Headed by leaders from all over the country, the Foundation helps cultivate new globally minded citizens through education and travel. The Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to young Americans striving to obtain their career dreams. Scholarships benefit a wide range of young people in the fields of nursing, agriculture, and other studies or who want to train in a field where the benefit of practical skill development can be taken back to their communities. The CA Foundation takes a "world view" that young people should be encouraged to visit countries with businesses that have a global presence to develop global work skills. For more information, please visit