FFA, USDA form alliance to focus on ag learning

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The National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation have entered into a new, strategic alliance with the USDA and National Council for Agricultural Education designed to develop agriculture students’ skills, leadership qualities, personal growth and career success.

The partnership establishes a general framework for cooperation between four entities, all of which work toward common goals of advancing agriculture education and increasing awareness about the importance of agriculture through assuring international competitiveness and the sustainability of the industry by creating a highly prepared workforce.

Under the agreement, FFA will work with USDA to identify needs and interests of agriculture teachers, students, communities, farmers, agribusiness and related groups. FFA will also collaborate with other USDA programs, such as 4-H and Agriculture in the Classroom, to extend efforts to educate and inform students about agriculture and promote awareness of career opportunities within the agriculture industry. The National FFA Foundation will pursue grants, cooperative agreements and contracts from both the public and private sectors to secure funding for collaborative projects.

“The National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation believe that this new strategic partnership will heighten our collective focus on our common goals and significantly strengthen our combined efforts to effectively train and develop tomorrow’s leaders in the science, business and technology of agriculture,” said Rob Cooper, executive director of the National FFA Foundation. “FFA is committed to increased collaboration with the federal government and council.”

The USDA will designate individuals from its administrative staff to seek and communicate areas in which there is a match between the education delivery needs of USDA and the agriculture education initiatives offered by FFA and the council. The USDA also will identify and provide opportunities, resources, input and coordination between USDA programs and FFA, the National FFA Foundation and the council. The council will work to bolster in-service education opportunities, develop forward-thinking instructional materials designed for agriculture teachers to utilize in their classrooms and help identify today’s needs and interests of agriculture teachers, students, farmers, agribusiness leaders and communities in general.

“This agreement is aimed at preparing and motivating the youth of America to undertake the challenges and reap the rewards associated with life in rural areas,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Working with our partners, we want to provide educational support and promote career opportunities in agriculture. This partnership will help meet the Obama administration’s goal of raising a generation of Americans who are well educated, ready to lead their communities and strengthen the American economy.”

The agreement was signed by today by Vilsack after a meeting in Washington with representatives from FFA, the National FFA Foundation, USDA and council.



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