Formalizing a long-held relationship between FFA and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the two organizations recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines new ways in which they will collaborate to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture.

“FFA and AFBF have always gone hand in hand,” says Riley Pagett, director of advocacy and government relations for the National FFA Organization. “When we started a conversation about formalizing our relationship, we realized it made sense. The overlap of membership is pretty significant in both organizations; for example, many FFA members go on to become Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers members and Farm Bureau members.”

Pagett says the next step was to “put something on paper describing how, together, we could inspire the next generation of agriculture.” Leaders from the two organizations joined forces to identify ways they could serve and support one another, resulting in a detailed plan that ultimately received input from a wide variety of FFA and AFBF staff members.

“This MOU also outlines how our organizations can work together better on policy issues and initiatives, as well as how FFA can use the AFBF advocacy resources to help our students better tell the story of agriculture,” Pagett says. “In addition, both FFA and AFBF have great career kits for those wanting to pursue careers in agriculture, and this MOU helps ensure that members of both organizations have access to those.”

“There is a commonality in all of our goals, and both FFA and AFBF value raising young people to know food and agriculture and to be involved in the industry.”

After the MOU was finalized, Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization, and Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF, signed the document in Washington, D.C., during a national

meeting of state Farm Bureau presidents from across the U.S. in July 2017. The MOU is valid through July 12, 2018, at which time the two organizations will reevaluate the agreement.

“There is a commonality in all of our goals, and both FFA and AFBF value raising young people to know food and agriculture and to be involved in the industry,” Pagett says. “Formalizing the agreement by creating an MOU was a way to discuss with one another how our partnership could fully benefit our organizations now and in the future.”

Duvall agrees. “Farm Bureau is a long-time supporter of agricultural education’s critical role in creating opportunities for the next generation of agriculture professionals,” he says. “Through the Farm Bureau-FFA collaboration, we will build on that legacy and inspire young people to explore the many ways they can be part of agriculture’s bright future, whether in farming and ranching, agribusiness or a food-related career.”