This is FFA week, and FFA state officers are busy spreading the word about agriculture and FFA. State FFA Treasurer Nathan Blume says FFA Week is a time when he connects with a wide variety of people to explain exactly what FFA is and the benefits it can provide to students and their communities, “I try and hit the tone that FFA is not just about agriculture but about developing leadership that comes with agricultural education.” Blume says, when he is talking to those who are not that familiar with agriculture or FFA, he stresses the leadership training that FFA provides and how that can impact their community as well as the industry of agriculture. He said FFA Week is a great time to spread this message.
This week FFA students served as pages at the Indiana State Capitol, where there is discussion about making agriculture education more prevalent in schools around the state. Blume feels that including ag classes in a high school curriculum is important to expanding students’ career choices and expanding their horizons when it comes to agriculture, “My ag classes taught me just as much as my math, science, and English classes, so I feel it is important to expand ag classes in other schools around the state.” He added that getting more students involved in agricultural education will also lead to developing more agricultural education teachers, which are in very short supply. State Rep. Melanie Wright, D-Yorktown has co-authored legislation (HB 1283) that would require school districts, charter schools, or accredited non-public high schools to offer a high-school level agriculture class. The measure would tie compliance to districts’ accountability grades with no district able to achieve the highest grade without offering the class. “I think accessibility to agriculture might open up to students who aren’t exposed to that,” Wright said. “I think it’s such a part of our heritage.”
Blume and his fellow state officers will also be meeting with FFA chapters around the state this week.