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Rep. Delgado Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Support Agriculture Education Opportunities in Local Schools

October 7, 2021

RHINEBECK, NY – Today, U.S. Representatives Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-15), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, announced the introduction of the Growing Opportunities in Agriculture (GO Ag) Act. This bipartisan bill would provide resources to help local schools start agricultural education programs. Under the GO Ag Act, grants are available to secondary schools to cover startup costs, curriculum development, teacher salaries, equipment, lab costs, and more.

"Farming is a time-honored upstate tradition that should be passed from generation to generation," said Rep. Delgado. "I'm proud to introduce the GO Ag Act with my Republican colleague to give schools the necessary resources for agriculture education. These programs can spark an interest in an agricultural career and help students become informed about our food systems."

"Through FFA chapters and agriculture-related coursework we can educate and better prepare the next generation of farmers, producers, and ranchers," Rep. Thompson said. "As the Republican Leader on the House Agriculture Committee and senior member of the Education and Labor Committee, I am proud to support the GO Ag Act to keep young people interested in pursuing careers in the agriculture field. This investment will pay dividends for the future of our food supply."

"There is growing interest in school districts across New York that are interested in starting or expanding their agricultural education programs and FFA chapters. These are gateway programs into increasing understanding of our food system, preparing young people for careers in agriculture, and instilling leadership development. New York Farm Bureau commends Rep. Delgado for introducing the GO Ag Act to help districts with needed seed funding to support the education and future of young people in our state and around the country," said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.

"I can attest to the importance of agriculture programs as evidenced in the success of my alumni in many areas of agricultural careers. So many people are removed from agriculture, it is vital that we are able to keep students involved in the industry. There are so many potential careers in this area, but it has always been my assertion that every student should take an agriculture class regardless of future plans since everyone will be a consumer of agricultural products and it's important to separate fact from fiction in our food supply. Thank you to Representative Delgado for initiating this bill. " said Deborah Fletcher, high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Cobleskill-Richmondville.

"On behalf of the National FFA Organization, I'd like to express my thanks to Congressman Delgado and Congressman Thompson for their leadership in ensuring support for school-based agricultural education programs. As National FFA works to grow the world's next generation of leaders, we recognize and realize that we are just one piece in this puzzle," said Scott Stump, CEO, National FFA Organization. "This legislation provides opportunities for students to experience classroom instruction, a work or project-based experience (which we refer to as a Supervised Agricultural Experience) and of course the National FFA Organization. We look forward to the passing of this legislation and the impact it will provide to future students of agricultural education."

"On behalf of the board of directors and the over 9,000 members of the National Association of Agricultural Educators, I share in the concern regarding the future producers of our nation's food, fiber and fuel. Agricultural education programs continue to evolve and expand their educational value as agriculture diversifies and develops new technologies and practices. Growing agriculture education by securing programs in new locations, in new populations, in new demographics, will be critical to developing the next generation of educated consumers and producers. Today's agriculture encompasses core contents such as science and mathematics, and also requires communication and critical thinking to solve future challenges. As our nation's most important industry, agriculture and the related value and supply chains provide high-priority, high-demand occupations for students, and our school-based agricultural education programs are the gateway for students to build a future pathway in those desperately needed career fields." said Sherisa Nailor, President of the National Association of Agricultural Educators.