National FFA Organization, National FFA Foundation, USDA, National Council for Agricultural Education form strategic alliance to focus on shared goals

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Jan. 20, 2010/National FFA Foundation) – The National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation have entered into a new, strategic alliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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 some within its top 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 will also 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 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 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.

The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that fund FFA activities, recognize member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agriculture education. About 82 percent of all sponsorship dollars received by the foundation support FFA members and agricultural education opportunities.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 523,309 student members as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

About National FFA Foundation

The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that fund FFA activities, recognize member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agriculture education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of all sponsorship dollars received by the foundation support FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit the National FFA Foundation at http://www.ffa.org/donate.

About National FFA Organization

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 523,309 student members as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online (http://www.ffa.org), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nationalffa), on Twitter (http://twitter.com/nationalffa) and FFA Nation (http://ffanation.ffa.org).

About National Council for Agricultural Education

The National Council for Agricultural Education strives to stimulate positive growth in agricultural education. Since its beginning in December 1983, the council has provided leadership for stakeholders in agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems education. It strives to surface issues important to agricultural education and stimulate actions to address those issues. The council serves as a common meeting ground for agricultural education and includes organizations and entities representing students, teachers, teacher educators, state leaders, alumni, industry and government. The council promotes success for students and teachers who participate in the formal agricultural education instructional programs offered in grades seven through adult throughout the 50 states and three U.S. territories. For more, visit http://www.teamaged.org/.

About USDA

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). Visit http://www.usda.gov.

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