During the first half of the twentieth century, deep structural changes occurred in the South African countryside. While farming became an important pillar of the national economy, more and more people left the land in search of better lives in towns and cities. This article examines agricultural education, an early avenue of state intervention in farming, to elucidate how officials and groups of farmers navigated the ‘agrarian question’ by trying to define the roles that men, women, blacks, and whites played in the sector's restructuring. I argue that agricultural planning was inextricable from ideologies and politics of segregation, a factor that historiography has not systematically taken into account. By comparing interventions in the Transkei and Ciskei with those in the Orange Free State, this article illuminates the interrelations between rural planning and segregation, as well as how they were complicated by delineations of class and gender.