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Ronnie Simmons
Feb 2, 2018

Call to Action - Regarding FFA/Agricultural Education Funding

Feb 2, 2018 by Ronnie Simmons

FFA Members, Advisors & Stakeholders,

First, let me express how pleased I am with our FFA Day at the Capitol earlier this week!  More than 50 chapters from throughout Florida gathered to tell the story of FFA and Agricultural Education - and never have I been more proud of those Blue Jackets - the young people that wear them and the teachers that support them.

As you know, we are fortunate to have the support of many elected officials and we are incredibly lucky to have several who are working tirelessly to ensure that the legislative funding initiatives for FFA and Agricultural Education are successful.

How can you help?

In her remarks to our students, Senator Denise Grimsley challenged us to gather "letters of support" from students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.  This is where we need your help - as soon as possible.

What can you do?

Please take the time to write (and encourage others to write) a letter of support that highlights the importance of FFA and Agricultural Education.  It is important to include things such as:

  • Why FFA and Agricultural Education are important to You? Your Community? Our State?
  • How FFA and/or Agricultural Education affects/changes the lives of young people
  • Why agricultural education is critically important to the food, fiber and natural resources industry, as well as our national security
  • How additional funding will enhance the delivery of FFA and Agricultural Education
    • If funded, the Next Generation Agriculture Student bill will expand student leadership and career opportunities offered to more than 50,000 students statewide.  This funding will help stimulate student interest in agriculture and introduce them to leadership and career development opportunities that will ensure a pipeline of talent to help meet workforce needs
    • If funded, the Next Generation Agriculture Programs bill will enhance agricultural education classrooms and laboratories throughout Florida and provide extended support for agriculture teachers, allowing teachers to spend more time engaging students in real-world experiences beyond the classroom and participating in professional development beyond the school day

Who to write to?

  • In addition to your own elected official(s), we are specifically encouraging stakeholders to write letters to the following:
     
    • Senator Denise Grimsley
      413 Senate Office Building
      404 South Monroe Street
      Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
       
    • Governor Rick Scott
      The Capitol
      400 S. Monroe St.
      Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Where to send your letters?

  • While you are welcome to send your letter(s) directly to your elected official(s), we are encouraging stakeholders to send letters to our FFA office in Gainesville at:

    Florida FFA Association
    5600 SW 34th Street
    Gainesville, FL  32608

    Or email your letters to Ronnie.Simmons@flaffa.org
     
  • All letters sent to our office will be gathered and forwarded to Senator Grimsley to be shared with Governor Scott's office personally.
  • It is critically important that these letters be received in our office by next Wednesday, February 7th.  

Bill Information:

In the Florida House of Representatives, the bills are:

  • HB2553 - Next Generation Agriculture Education Programs in Florida (Sponsored by Representative Caldwell)
  • HB3053 - Next Generation Agriculture Education Student (Sponsored by Representative Clemons)

In the Florida Senate, the funding requests sponsored by Senator Denise Grimsley are:

  • Senate Funding Request 1981 - Next Generation Agriculture Education Student
  • Senate Funding Request 1982 - Next Generation Agriculture Education Programs

If you have any questions, please let us know!