By Gant Team
WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) have introduced a bill to modernize the charter of the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America) to better reflect agriculture education in the 21st Century.
H.R. 5595, the National FFA Organization’s Charter Amendments Act, makes updates to allow the National FFA to be a self-governing organization while maintaining its long-held relationship with the U.S. Department of Education.
As the charter currently reads, the Department of Education holds the majority of the seats on the National FFA’s Board of Directors.
“FFA is the cornerstone of our rural communities throughout the nation,” Thompson said.
“In its 90-year history, the FFA has been a leader in preparing American youth for careers in the agriculture industry. This bipartisan bill will modernize the charter to ensure FFA can take control of its own organization and it can continue to inspire generations of young agriculture leaders.
“I thank my friend Rep. Langevin for his leadership on this issue and look forward to moving the bill through the legislative process.”
“FFA plays a critical role in agricultural education and workforce development in Rhode Island and across the country by allowing young people to explore exciting careers,” Langevin said.
“I’m proud to work with my fellow Career and Technical Education Caucus co-chair, Congressman Thompson, on this bill to modernize FFA’s charter, providing it with the autonomy to be innovative and an increased focus on comprehensive CTE.
“With a new charter, FFA will better fulfill its mission of developing leadership and achievement in American agricultural education.”
“About 100 organizations have federal charters, but FFA is the only one where the government has a majority of seats on the board,” said U.S. Rep. David Young (R-IA), who is an original cosponsor of the bill.
“This bill will allow the FFA to self-govern and continue the important work of educating and empowering our young people to be successful in agriculture.”
“The amendments set the stage for FFA in the 21st century and allows us to bring FFA and our operations into the future,” said Mark Poeschl, chief executive officer of National FFA.
“The one thing that has not changed is our commitment to the relevance that FFA and agricultural education continue to have in our nation’s education system. With its three integral components – classroom/laboratory instruction, supervised agricultural experiences and FFA – the agricultural education model continues to push students toward a thriving future thanks to the relevant skills learned and experience obtained. These amendments will strengthen our commitment.”
About FFA Charter
FFA was founded in 1928. Congress recognized the importance of FFA as an integrate part of vocational agriculture and in 1950 granted the organization a federal charter.
The charter also provides federal authority to create an inter-agency working agreement between the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture that’s focused on strengthening the FFA and school-based agriculture education.
The role of education in securing a skilled, sustainable workforce in agriculture is underscored through the required involvement of the U.S. Department of Education on the National FFA Board of Directors.
Putting it in Perspective
Only about 100 organizations have charters with federal agencies. Only six organizations require their respective government agency to select one member for the board of directors.
FFA is the only organization that requires a majority of its board of directors be chosen by its partner government agency.
About H.R. 5595
The legislation introduced by Thompson and Langevin seeks to modernize the National FFA Organization’s relationship with the Department of Education to reflect agriculture education in the 21st Century.
FFA will continue to work closely with the Department of Education as well as USDA to fulfill its mission to better match the innovative and hands-on approaches that many agriculture educators are implementing across the country.