Mechanicsburg, PA – Today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and members of the Pennsylvania Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence joined FFA members and educators of Cumberland Valley High School for an FFA Showcase to cap off Pennsylvania’s Ag and Food Careers Week. Surrounded by those most invested in both education and agriculture, Secretary Redding announced the availability of $500,000 through the PA Farm Bill’s Ag and Youth Grant Program to fund projects such as ag education and workforce development programs, seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects, or equipment purchases that will help to build a strong future workforce for Pennsylvania’s leading industry.
“The youth we met today, and those around the commonwealth, are our future leaders of agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These grants are the seeds we need to harvest a bountiful workforce in the years to come.”
“Agriculture is continuously evolving to meet the needs of a growing world and today’s students need to appreciate the role that food, fiber, and natural resources serve in a global economy,” said Cumberland Valley Ag Teacher and FFA Advisory Darla Romberger. “School-Based Agricultural Education has the unique opportunity to provide agricultural literacy to the next generation of consumers while developing problem-solving and technical skills in our future agricultural workforce. By participating in all components of an Agricultural Education program, students have the opportunity to realize their full potential and develop 21st-century skills relating to their future careers.”
A result of Governor Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill, signed in July of this year, the Ag and Youth Grant Program is designed to address the 75,000 workforce deficit the industry is expected to face in the next decade. It will be open to any youth organization designed to promote agriculture, community leadership, vocational training, and peer fellowship; it includes, but is not limited to, Pennsylvania FFA, 4-H, Ag in the Classroom, Career and Community Leaders of American, and vocational education programs.
“Pennsylvania agriculture is worth more than $135.7 billion,” added Redding. “it’s imperative that we provide the next generation with opportunities to engage in and experience the wide array of opportunities in agriculture.”
Full guidelines for the Ag and Youth Grant Program will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Saturday, October 26, 2019, the program will open for applications the same day.
The PA Farm Bill is Governor Tom Wolf’s bold, aggressive, and necessary investment in Pennsylvania agriculture to grow opportunities and resources, remove barriers to entry, and inspire future generations of leader for the industry.
For more about the PA Farm Bill’s investments in agriculture or the work of the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, visit agriculture.pa.gov.
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