On Jan. 29 and 30, Steinbrenner’s Future Farmers of America Chapter (FFA) traveled to Tallahassee to meet with other Florida FFA chapters and advisers. They also got the opportunity to speak to the Agricultural Commissioner of Florida Adam Putnam and Senator Denise Grimsley about bills that are currently on the table trying to get passed. These bills would support agricultural education and improve funding for these programs. Unfortunately, these bills have been rejected in the past by Governor Rick Scott. However, through conferences like this, Florida FFA chapters and other supporters hope to improve that outcome and help pass these bills.
“The students that went with me, they talked to the senators and talked to the legislators about how agriculture and how FFA has improved their lives. Also, how this additional funding could really impact their learning and could impact their experience through agriculture and through FFA,” said Jessica Switzer, the head of Steinbrenner FFA. “They talked a lot about their experiences through FFA and what they’ve gained from the organization and basically how all that money could influence them and help them prepare their futures better.”
If these bills are passed, organizations such as the FFA and other agricultural education programs will benefit from better funding. From new textbooks and equipment, to the improvement of facilities and funding for educational trips, these bills have the potential to improve student education and help prepare them for their futures.
Careers for these students may involve leadership training, running a farm, showing animals, working as a veterinarian, or one of the many other paths for those interested in agriculture.
“We’re really hoping that they [the bills] are going to go through this time. There’s a lot more support behind them. This Capital Day had a mass amount of students, advisers and people there, more so than what could hold the cabinet meeting room,” said Switzer.
There were so many people that many were standing and some even spilled out into the lobby area. Many of these attendees were students there to represent their organizations. This was the Steinbrenner FFA’s fist time attending Capital Day and they succeeded in representing Steinbrenner.
“It’s kind of intimidating because we’re at the state capital and we’re around all these people that are in suits and that are super important and they [the students] were able to talk like it was no problem,” said Switzer. “I thought it went really well and they represented the chapter really well.”
Maeve Campbell // Graphics Dept.