WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 21, 2018) — A newly developed program in the 2018 Farm Bill recognizes the importance of youth engagement in international agricultural development. More than sixty percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25, and by 2050 the youth population on the continent is expected to double, reaching one billion. With a $25 million authorization over the five-year length of the omnibus legislation, the newly established program creates fellowship opportunities for emerging American agricultural leaders to build capacity for school-based agricultural education and youth extension programs in developing countries.
Over one hundred years ago, agricultural youth organizations, such as 4-H and the Future Farmers of America (now the National FFA Organization), were created in order to diffuse improved innovation to farmers while preparing a next generation of agriculturalists. The newly established Farm Bill program would give youth around the world the same opportunities these organizations have provided American young people for over a century.
“We’ve seen the positive impact of agricultural education on young people in the U.S., and we’re excited to see this model used to prepare future agriculturalists around the world,” said Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization. Additionally, Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of National 4-H Council, said, “4-H alumni from around the world are better equipped with the skills and experience to contribute to their communities as farmers, scientists and global citizens.”
U.S. based non-profit, AgriCorps, has seen this model work in developing countries such as Ghana and Liberia. AgriCorps sends American agriculturalists to build capacity for agricultural education in developing countries. These young Americans develop a stronger understanding of global agriculture while improving the yields and education levels of farmers, thus creating future markets for American agriculture goods.
In 2016, a House Agriculture Committee Congressional Delegation visited Feed the Future and AgriCorps sites across Africa. At the time, Chairman Mike Conaway said, “Seeing the passion that 4-H Ghana members and AgriCorps Fellows have for agricultural education is inspiring.”
According to Farm Bill language, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National 4-H Council, and National FFA Organization will work collaboratively to identify fellows and program implementers.
AgriCorps connects young, agriculture professionals to the demand for experiential, school-based agricultural education in developing countries. More information on AgriCorps can be found at www.agricorps.org and on Facebook and Twitter.
4‑H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4‑H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4‑H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4‑H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4‑H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4‑H at 4‑H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4H and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H.
About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 669,989 student members as part of 8,630 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 local FFA Alumni chapters throughout the U.S. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org and on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.