Rep. Greg Barreto (R-Cove) is sponsoring a bill that will reinvigorate Future Farmers of America programs throughout the state. Oregon’s FFA program has been part of agricultural education for 90 years, but funding has dwindled since the 1990s.
HB 2444 will provide $1,430,000 for FFA students to participate events such as leadership training tours, regional leadership conferences, Statewide training programs, officer recruitment, training and coaching, local, county and state fair competitions, along with state and national conventions and competitions. The bill also provides $600,000 for a grant program, administered by the Oregon Department of Education, to fund extended duty contracts during summer months for agricultural science and technology teachers.
Oregon FFA advisors often spend money out of their own pocket and give their time to support their students’ summer county and state fair participation. HB 2444 would compensate teachers for their time. The bill also requires that the ODE better coordinate with the FFA, so students can better utilize the agri-business education they receive through FFA for college and career opportunities.
“The FFA provides a student leadership component tied to agriculture that includes leadership development, class presentations, development conferences, and events, and connects real-world applications to classroom learning,” Rep. Barreto said. “I marvel at the level of quality of kids we have in this program, it is one of the most stellar we have in the state.”
Rep. Barreto continued, “The level of commitment from the FFA instructors has a definite influence on the outcome of the quality of the FFA program and those students involved. Instructors should be compensated for their inordinate amount of time commitment and this program should be supported as part of our education system.”