The following is excerpted from a press release originally posted on July 26, 2017 via usda.gov
In a motion designed to support youth and prepare the young agriculture leaders of tomorrow, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and CEO of the National FFA Organization, Mark Poeschl, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National FFA. The MOU was signed in Washington, D.C., during the National FFA Organization’s State Presidents’ Conference.
The new MOU establishes a general framework of cooperation between the two entities to work toward the common goals of developing a highly prepared agricultural workforce, and to seek mutually beneficial opportunities for USDA, FFA members and agricultural education students nationwide.
“At National FFA, we are preparing our students to be tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture,” said Poeschl. “Through this MOU, USDA helps us continue our vision of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. We look forward to our partnership and the ability to share our ideas with USDA.”
Nurturing a new generation of workers in agriculture is becoming increasingly critical, as our earth’s population is expected to grow to nine billion people by 2050. To meet future demands for food, feed, energy and fiber, production must increase exponentially, requiring massive investments to attract new workers and increase innovation in the fields of ag and bioscience.
The partnership between the USDA and the FFA marks a very promising step towards meeting the challenge of identifying and attracting a new generation of experts to careers in agbioscience. In the MOU, the National FFA stated they will, “Work with the USDA and others to attract, educate, inspire, and prepare students to enter careers in the agriculture, food, and natural resources industries.” USDA agrees to, “Work to help build awareness of the reach and importance of agriculture, across a diversity of fields and disciplines.”
A recent National Student Study conducted by the Cultivation Corridor shows the FFA has already had an impact in attracting students to the field, as the student study shows a higher correlation between students who participated in high school activities such as FFA to an interest in pursuing an agbioscience degree program. And, there is a promising pipeline: nationally, the FFA is comprised of 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Iowa’s FFA Association has over 14,800 student members as part of 233 local FFA chapters across the state.
Taking further action to encourage and inspire America’s youth, as the USDA and FFA have with this MOU, will bring us even closer towards the goal to “build a strong foundation for the agriculture industry of tomorrow.”
Read the full USDA press release at usda.gov