State FFA leaders across U.S. attend National Agriculture Day training in D.C.

Today is National Agriculture Day and the theme for this year’s event is “Generations Nourishing Generations.”

Thirty state FFA officers – mostly college students – from throughout the country  join agricultural students from 4-H, the Agriculture Future for America and the Student National Agrimarketing association in Washington, D.C., 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., is 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 are participating 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.”

Yesterday, a panel discussion titled “Farm to Folk Politics” at the Hart Senate Office Building was moderated by Sara Wyant of Agri-Pulse and feature J.B. Penn, chief economist at John Deere; Dr. Keith Collins, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and B. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Information Services division of the National Restaurant Association. The discussion looked at the year ahead for food and agriculture.

Today, FFA members will start their day meeting with their respective congressional representatives at the U.S. Capitol. They are attending a luncheon emceed by famed agricultural broadcaster Orion Samuelson during which Outstanding Young Farmer honorees will be recognized. This 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. For more about National Agriculture Day, visit

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 557,318 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,498 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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