FFA seeks boost in state funding

Idaho’s Future Farmers of America and their supporters will seek a $2.24 million funding boost from the 2014 Legislature.

The state’s 90 ag education programs serve 12,000 students in 37 counties. Student enrollment has increased by 20 percent over the past five years, according to Capital Press, which wrote last week about the funding request. But 46 of the state’s 126 ag education teachers left in the past two years, a 36 percent turnover rate.

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Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson

The $2.24 million initiative would fund “common Idaho quality standards for all ag education programs, incentive grants based on those standards, professional development programs, $25,000 start-up grants for ag education programs, and full-time FFA personnel,” according to Capital Press.

Two Magic Valley lawmakers said FFA backers should have a shot at getting at least some of their request.

I think it’s worth the effort to reinvigorate (FFA),” Sen. Bert Brackett, a Rogerson Republican and FFA alum, told Capital Press. “ The whole vocational technical agricultural training and FFA program is in jeopardy.”