FFA, RMEF Launch Relationship for Conservation

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has formed a new relationship with the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Alumni Association that opens the door for more than 500,000 students of agriculture to learn more about elk, habitat, hunting and conservation.

Through a gift made to the National FFA Foundation, RMEF will support two major FFA events in 2012—as an exhibitor in October’s 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Ind., and July’s National FFA Alumni Development Conference in Bozeman, Mont. Together these events offer a chance to engage thousands of young and continuing leaders in the strong connections between sustainable agriculture and sound wildlife conservation.

“A partnership between these two organizations is exciting because it has the power to help both of us serve our respective members and missions more directly, and in the near term as well as the future,” said Steve Decker, vice president of marketing for RMEF.

RMEF was founded in 1984 to help ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Its 184,135 members are 95 percent hunters fueling a conservation effort that has protected or enhanced more than 6 million acres across public and private lands.

FFA, formerly known as the 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 taught 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 those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. Today, FFA membership nationwide stands at 540,379 in 7,489 chapters. Eighty-nine percent of FFA members are in grades 9-12, while 70 percent live in rural areas. The 85th National FFA Convention will be held in downtown Indianapolis, Oct. 24-27.

The National FFA Alumni Association acts as a support arm for FFA, agriculture and agriculture education, with an unwavering commitment to supporting and sustaining both FFA and agricultural education. The association was founded in 1971, and today boasts 52,555 members from 1,394 local affiliates in 44 states. The FFA Alumni Development Conference, held July 11-14 in Bozeman, Mont., allows participants to explore ways to strengthen their own personal skills and their local FFA Alumni affiliates through workshops, speakers, and group interaction.

RMEF also will be involved in the National Association of Agricultural Educators. By communicating with over 10,000 agriculture teachers, RMEF hopes to become a teaching resource and integrate elk-country conservation lessons into appropriate curriculums.

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