FFA members know the important role agriculture plays in the world today — and so do the organization’s corporate partners. Three companies — PepsiCo, General Mills, and Bob Evans Restaurants — have recently partnered with the organization to educate students about regenerative agriculture, to support personal growth, and to promote the FFA programs that currently exist.
As in any industry, consumers and technology drive what and how things are produced. Right now, personal health, sustainability, and nutrition are significant drivers affecting agriculture, food, and natural resources. Still, other market factors are constantly weighing on these industries as well, including economics, governmental policies, the environment, ad demographics and more. Meanwhile, innovation makes involvement in these industries ever-expanding.
FFA is sharing the importance of the agriculture, food and natural resources value chain with their members through various programs, and corporations are supporting these endeavors.
Today’s agriculture, food, and natural resources value chain is dramatically different than 15 to 20 years ago. Globalization, regulatory impact and consumer concerns have had a tremendous impact. In order to provide sustainable nutrition to a growing and changing population, it will require a new generation of talent and leadership. Leaders who are critical thinkers, who seek input from all stakeholders, who will embrace the technology that is available, or will develop new innovative solutions. While the organization partners with established corporate leaders in agriculture, it is excited to welcome new partners who represent the end product or direct to consumer portion of the value chain, expanding on agricultural education in classrooms.
PepsiCo, General Mills, and Bob Evans Restaurants are working with FFA to help provide the next generation of leaders with the tools they need to ensure that the future of agriculture stays strong and sound.
“The agriculture, food and natural resources value chain plays an important role in everyday life,” said Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “FFA members are the future leaders of this industry and with the support of companies throughout the country, we can ensure this chain stays strong.”
PepsiCo is working with the organization as part of its effort to support the next generation of farmers. Through the partnership, PepsiCo will work with recent FFA state officers and alumni to develop their leadership skills while helping to create a pipeline into commercial agriculture through targeted internships and career opportunities.
“At PepsiCo, we recognize that building a more sustainable food system will require investing in the next generation of farmers and agriculture workers. By providing FFAs alumni with access to PepsiCo’s network of globally recognized agriculture experts, and through targeted recruiting, we hope to accelerate these leaders’ careers to support a vibrant U.S. agriculture sector and more sustainable global food supply,” said Vice President of Global Sustainable Agriculture and Responsible Sourcing, PepsiCo, Christine Daugherty.
General Mills is engaging to provide hands-on experience and inspiration to FFA members by connecting them to regenerative agriculture producers with the intent that FFA members can then expand existing projects and be equipped with best practices — whether it be through supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), Agriscience Fair projects, or giving back to their communities through Living to Serve projects.
Lastly, Bob Evans is funding supervised agricultural experience (SAE) grants that will give high school students the opportunity to further explore careers in agriculture through innovative experiential learning projects and programming during the school year.
“Over the past six months, it’s become increasingly clear the importance of securing the country’s food supply for times like these when we’re met with the unimaginable. The only way that can happen is through continued investment in our nation’s valued farmers, who are responsible for ensuring we all have wholesome, fresh food to eat — both at home and in restaurants,” said Saed Mohseni, chief executive officer for Bob Evans Restaurants. “In partnering with the National FFA and supporting the next generation of farmers, we’re paying homage to our farming roots, while helping to ensure a fresh and robust food supply for all and a strong future for farmers across the country.”
Together, they are all working toward ensuring the agriculture value chain stays strong and continues to thrive.