A new bill amending the National FFA charter hopes to keep FFA and agricultural education front and center in the nation’s education system.
The bill was introduced in the House Tuesday by Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.), and Representative Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Donnelly (D-Ind.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced legislation in the Senate in February. The charter, which originally passed as Public Law 81-740 in the 1950s, publicly acknowledges the role FFA plays as an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The most recent version of the FFA federal charter, Public Law 105-225, passed in 1998 as a technical revision.
The FFA charter also specifies that the U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set the direction for National FFA as a service to state and local agricultural programs. H.R. 5595, which was forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee, seeks to make some changes to Public Law 105-225 as requested by the National FFA Organization and the U.S. Department of Education.
The National FFA Organization believes the revised federal charter will provide needed flexibility for its board of directors and allow the organization to maintain strong ties with the industry of agriculture. The revised charter grants the board power to appoint the chair and the National FFA Advisor, and provides that the FFA board consist of individuals representing education, agriculture, food, and natural resources. This involvement will guarantee the relevance of agricultural education in our nation’s schools and prepare students to fill the 235 unique careers in agriculture.
Another proposed revision allows the organization to consider an expansion of the number of national officers representing the organization’s growing membership, should the need be realized. Last year, FFA membership reached 653,359 in all 50 states and two U.S. territories.
“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, CEO of the National FFA Organization. “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.”