A young woman sites on a red tractor in a field, with clouds overhead.
February 26, 2020
Albany, NY

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces $350,000 Awarded to 91 Agricultural Education Programs Across the State

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces $350,000 Awarded to 91 Agricultural Education Programs Across the State
Announcement Coincides with National FFA Week, February 22 -29

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that $350,000 has been awarded to 91 schools through New York State’s Agricultural Education Incentive Grants Program. The program, which is funded through the New York State Budget, provides assistance to local school-based agricultural education programs to support the next generation of New York’s agricultural workforce. Commissioner Ball made the announcement during National FFA Week, which is celebrated from February 22-29 and honors the positive impact that FFA and agricultural education programs have on students across New York and the nation.

Commissioner Ball said: “There are a tremendous number of agricultural career paths available to our young people today – from animal and vet science, to food science, conservation, biotechnology, agribusiness, and much more. The Agricultural Education Incentive Grants Program helps our agricultural education program leaders continue their important work of highlighting all of these diverse options, inspiring students to choose agriculture and ensuring the future of agriculture in New York State.”

The Agricultural Education Incentive Grants Program promotes agricultural education in public school districts across New York State through classroom instruction, extracurricular programs, and work-based learning. Currently, there are 212 schools offering agricultural education programs to over 10,000 students across New York State.

Funding was awarded for agricultural education programs’ curriculum development, teacher professional development, program development, resource acquisition, and program coordination. Funded projects across the State include:

  • updating learning labs, including new benches in the school greenhouse;
  • adding onsite work-based learning opportunities, such as apiaries and small animal housing;
  • purchasing advanced scientific equipment such as LabQuests, sensors, and simulated suture kits; and
  • improving the leadership and career readiness of students and teachers through conferences and professional development.

A full list of grant recipients is available below.

The Agricultural Education Incentive Grants Program is administered by Cornell University’s Agriculture Education and Outreach Program and the New York State FFA Association, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Farm Bureau, and the New York State Education Department. 

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State has dedicated nearly $5 million over the last three years to support agricultural education programs. A record $3.6 million was invested in the 2017-18 Budget to support the New York FFA, New York Agriculture in the Classroom, and to expand the number of agriculture teachers. Highlighting the success of these historic investments, the New York FFA received national recognition for its membership increase in the 2018-19 school year, a 60% increase from the previous year and the highest increase in the nation.

Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said: “Understanding the connections between agriculture and the systems that put food on our plates is more important than ever to young people today. To that end, Cornell CALS is proud to support New York’s investments in agricultural education that will lead to the development of tomorrow’s global citizens.”

Kaylie Siddall, Grant Program Coordinator, New York Agriculture Education and Outreach, Cornell University, said: “This grant program has been a key factor in the continued growth and retention of New York agricultural education and FFA. Of the schools that received grants in the first cycle back in 2017-2018, 87% of those schools have already started an agricultural education program and FFA chapter.” 

Dr. Jason Andrews, Superintendent of the Windsor Central School District, said: “We take great pride in the expansion of our agriculture program. In under two years, our high school program has grown to 109 students while adding a new tractor, developing a 6.7-acre land lab, and moving into a state-of-the art space with an aquaponics lab, chicken coop, and welding area. Our program also earned Windsor’s first Future Farmers of America charter in 50 years. The support we have received from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Governor’s Office has helped us develop a robust agriculture career pathway for our students.”

About NY FFA

Administered by Cornell University, NY FFA develops premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through activities and opportunities nationwide. Future Farmers of America was founded by a group of young farmers in 1928. Their mission was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They showed that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it’s a science, it’s a business, and it’s an art.

FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet challenges by developing their own unique talents and exploring their interests in a broad range of career pathways. Learn more about NY FFA at www.nysffa.org.