Thirty state FFA officers – mostly college students – from throughout the country will join agricultural students from 4-H, the Agriculture Future for America and the Student National Agrimarketing Association in Washington, D.C., March 17-19 to experience leadership and advocacy training, meet congressional leaders and help raise awareness of agriculture and its impact on our nation's society and economy among Washington policymakers.
Leadership training at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md., will be led by experts representing the National FFA Organization, National 4-H, Agriculture Council of America, Farm Credit, John Deere, Walmart, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, American Farm Bureau Federation, Land O' Lakes, the U.S. Forest Service and more.
During their time in D.C., FFA members and agricultural students will participate in idea exchange groups, visit congressional leaders at Capitol Hill, undergo media training and take a nighttime tour of the nation's capital.
"National Agriculture Day is a great opportunity for agriculturalists to share their knowledge, dedication and commitment to the future's safe, affordable and abundant food supply," said Kent Schescke, director of government and nonprofit relations at the National FFA Organization. "It also creates an opportunity for our state FFA officers to meet with their government representatives and discuss the current and future state of agriculture in their communities."
Monday, a panel discussion titled "Farm to Folk Politics" at the Hart Senate Office Building will look at the year ahead for food and agriculture.
Tuesday, FFA members will start their day meeting with their respective congressional representatives at the U.S. Capitol. They will then attend a luncheon emceed by famed agricultural broadcaster Orion Samuelson during which Outstanding Young Farmer honorees will be recognized. In the evening, a "Celebration of Agriculture" dinner hosted by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan will be held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during which winners of the National Agriculture Day essay, video essay and poster contests will be announced.
The National FFA Organization, 4-H and Agriculture Future for America coordinate with the Agricultural Council of America to stage National Agriculture Day each year. The event began in 1973.