Future Farmers of America chapters across the state are celebrating as the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant, which funds FFA, was removed from the chopping block in Gov. Jerry Brown’s final budget that was released earlier this week.
A state-wide conversation began once Gov. Jerry Brown’s preliminary budget was released earlier this year with the future of FFA funding hanging in the balance. By cutting the $4.1 million Agriculture Education Incentive Grant, Brown would have reallocated agriculture education spending control into the hands of local school districts. With more than 75,000 student participants in FFA in California in districts that vary in size, removing the incentive grant would have called into question not only the future of FFA in districts across the state but the importance of the agriculture industry to the state.
With more than 1,000 local FFA students between the Turlock High School and Pitman High School programs, months ago the Turlock Unified School District assured the chapters that should the governor decide to cut the funding, the District would maintain it in their budget to ensure the continued success of the programs.
“We are very fortunate to have a district administration and board that supports us, but it is good that it relieves them from that responsibility. We are very excited because now it gives us the security to continue to work hard and keep our programs at the top with secure funding,” said Joe DiGrazia, FFA advisor for THS.
Earlier this year FFA supporters and stakeholders rallied at the Capitol on State Ag Day to demonstrate the importance of the national organization that empowers future generations through farming, agricultural sciences, business and more. Keeping the funding in place is a major win for FFA chapters across the Central Valley and down the state.
“By supporting our state’s tradition of FFA chapters, our children can continue to gain valuable workforce experiences in engineering, the sciences, and the arts,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray (D). “Months of letter writing, coalition building, and FFA student rallies paid off today.”