TDOE, Department of Agriculture Team Up to Boost State’s Future Farmers of America Program

Tennessee’s Department of Education (TDOE) and its Department of Agriculture (TDA) are teaming up to promote a nearly 100-year-old student organization.

Membership numbers are rising for Future Farmers of America (FFA) in the state, according to a joint release from the TDOE and TDOA.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the pair of agencies plan to “boost Tennessee’s agricultural education programs through the FFA student organization.”

“Changes set forth in the MOU include creating six new staff positions at TDA that are focused on FFA members and their learning activities outside of the classroom, including the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs and FFA competitions and events,” according to the release. “The model creates an FFA State Director position under the purview of TDA. TDOE will continue to focus on in-classroom curriculum development and teacher support, and a new FFA Deputy State Director will be added to their staff.”

TDA’s Commissioner, Charlie Hatcher, praised the new joint program.

“Agriculture is the top industry in the state, and developing future leaders in agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resource systems is essential to our economic outlook,” he said. “TDA is pleased to be a part of this new structure of collaboration with educators to better prepare the next generation of agricultural and forestry professionals. Anytime we can enhance learning experiences for students, we are all in.”

So did TDOE Commissioner Peggy Schwinn.

“Tennessee understands the importance of agricultural education, and thanks to our state partners at TDA, Tennessee can provide even more supports and growth opportunities for students across the state,” she said. “The department will continue supporting teachers and ensure that this instruction is aligned with core FFA skills—science, math, communications, leadership, management, and technology—to support the postsecondary success of our students.”

The program is another in a line of recent announcements highlighting TDOE’s innovation.

Last week, the department touted its teacher apprenticeship program, which it says has “set a new path for the educator profession as the top state to become and remain a teacher and leader for all” by “support[ing] partnerships between Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession and will continue to build pipelines of qualified teachers and school district professionals.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Chicken Farmer” by cottonbro studio.


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