A new bipartisan FFA Caucus will work to strengthen relationships between Congress and agricultural education students and FFA members and will raise the profile of school-based agricultural education, FFA and the next generation of leaders in food and agriculture.
U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann, R-Kan., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., announced the establishment of the Congressional FFA Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. The FFA Caucus will serve as an informal group of U.S. representatives dedicated to issues related to the next generation of agriculture leaders and students pursuing careers in agriculture, food, natural resources and related sciences.
"As a past chapter FFA president from Quinter, Kansas, and proud FFA alumnus, I am honored to establish the first-ever FFA Caucus on Capitol Hill," says Mann. "The National FFA Organization plays an important role in preparing the next generation of leaders who will change the world. As a member of Congress and the House Agriculture Committee, I'm dedicated to raising awareness about school-based agricultural education, FFA, and the next generation of leaders who will feed, fuel and clothe our world.”
Growing up in production agriculture, Mann learned the value of hard work at a young age as he spent thousands of hours in the fields and on the family feed yard. He was sworn into the House earlier this year and serves the “Big First” district of Kansas. As a past FFA president of his high school chapter and proud FFA alumnus, the FFA organization holds a special place in the Congressman's heart. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and former lieutenant governor of Kansas.
The National FFA Organization is a congressionally chartered school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 735,000 student members as part of 8,817 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“FFA plays a key role in educating our youth and developing the next generation of leaders. With the development of this caucus comes the opportunity to share the message of the importance of agriculture to others,” says Scott Stump, CEO of the National FFA Organization. “We know FFA members are not only our future leaders, but they are the ones who will continue to fill the talent pipeline in the industry of agriculture. It is exciting to be able to share this message with a broader audience through this caucus.”
Panetta adds he’s proud to co-sponsor and co-chair the bipartisan FFA Caucus. “Although Tracy and I come from different parts of the country, we work together in Congress to protect our nation’s agriculture and perpetuate the involvement of young farmers in our food security,” says Panetta. "The Congressional FFA Caucus will be another way to encourage other members of Congress to support agriculture, enhance opportunities for future farmers, and ensure their involvement in the future of America's agricultural.”
Panetta represents California’s 20th congressional district, including Monterey and San Benito Counties, and parts of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. First elected in 2016, he is serving his third term in Congress. Having grown up on the central coast of California, Panetta understands the importance of giving back to the community and country that gave him and his family so much. Prior to Congress, Panetta served as a deputy district attorney in Monterey County and in 2007 volunteered for active duty and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operating Enduring Freedom. He’s a graduate of the University of California Davis and Santa Clara University.