We encourage expansion of the current and creation of new junior high/middle school and high school Agriscience, Food and Natural Resources Education Programs (AFNRE) and FFA chapters as vital tools for educating young people, providing career and technical training and development of leaders to work in careers related to Michigan’s agricultural industry.
Michigan Farm Bureau commends the Michigan Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Education on its support and recognition of food and agriculture as a greater than $100 billion industry in the State through the adoption of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Cluster. This cluster will enable the future leaders of agriculture to obtain foundational knowledge that will help shape their careers and ultimately promote the sustainability of the agriculture industry.
We strongly encourage agriscience and natural resources courses fulfill the criteria and be recognized as a science credit by all high schools, colleges and universities in Michigan.
Regional Educational School Districts administrators, as well as local district superintendents, principals and counselors, should be provided information on curriculum requirements of agriscience careers so they can encourage student participation.
AFNRE and FFA chapters in the state of Michigan have been supported for years by the local school district, added-cost funding administered by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), federal Perkins dollars, and FFA Foundation funds, including the Glassbrook FFA Endowment. These appropriations are essential for public school districts to retain AFNRE and the FFA as program priorities, and as an incentive to expand these programs into other school districts.
Added-cost funding available to AFNRE programs has continued to decline. We encourage the MDE to adequately fund these programs, (e.g., FFA) so as to provide educational and career opportunities in agriculture and natural resources at the high school level.
We support the reporting of all information regarding graduates, or completers, from all agriscience and Natural Resources programs within the State. This information should help increase the amount of added-cost funding for each student currently enrolled in the program. We also encourage all agriscience and Natural Resources instructors to engage in an active role in the information gathering and reporting process.
Community support is vital to the survival of high school AFNRE programs and FFA Chapters. We encourage county Farm Bureaus and members to assist and become involved with their local FFA chapters.
We encourage MFB and county Farm Bureaus to assist in state and local FFA activities. We support FFA alumni associations and their efforts to strengthen agriscience and natural resource education across the state and nation.
Michigan’s 100 plus AFNRE programs and FFA programs are important to the future success of Michigan agriculture. These programs provide future leadership to the agricultural industry and many programmatic and leadership opportunities for non-farm students to learn about and understand agriculture, natural resources and the environment.
Due to the lack of qualified people willing to lead these programs, Farm Bureau supports AFNRE emergency certification programs, as well as the hiring of retired ag teachers to fill these positions without any retirement penalties.
We encourage consideration be given to student loan payoff or scholarship programs to help promote AFNRE programs through private or public partnerships.
We support the continued activities of private and public companies and organizations, like those of Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers, which provide an educational opportunity to the public to learn and experience the role, importance, and economic impact of agriculture in the future of food production for generations to come.