FFA Funding On The Chopping Block In California Budget Talks

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Funding for Future Farmers of America programs across California is in jeopardy. Money that helps fund the program was cut from the governor’s current proposed budget.

“Without this program, I couldn’t do all the things I do,” said Larry Satter, a junior at Elk Grove High.

Larry is raising a hog as part of the school’s Future Farmers of America program.

“I’ve been to nationals twice and it’s been the best experience of my life,” he said.

Larry is one of 469 students enrolled in the FFA programs who spends hours each day after school caring for their animals.

“It has inspired me to become a vet as well,” said Lex Oliver, also a junior at Elk Grove High.

“It’s taught me a lot of life skills that you need to know or like you should know as a student,” Larry added.

Funding for the popular program could be cut if the legislature approves the governor’s state budget as is.

“The No. 1 industry in California is agriculture and these kids are going to feed directly into that industry become leaders of that industry, so without FFA to lead that where would we be?” said Matt Patton who teaches Ag through Career Technical Education.

“These guys play a vital role in the future that’s why they are the future farmers of America,” said Assemblyman Devon Mathis, (R-Tulare County).

Mathis said keeping the FFA program is key to California’s ag industry

“Anything that we can do to protect the funding for them is vitally important to the future of agriculture,” he said.

Under the governor’s current budget, $15 million that helps fund FFA and other career education programs would be redirected to community colleges.

Ag teachers like Matt Patton say it’s a big mistake for these high schoolers.

“Kids are more likely to come to school, their attendance increases as a result of career technical education because they are bought in. They have something to come to and be a part of,” Patton said.

But these students are hoping to teach the politicians a lesson about the lifelong value that an agricultural education can provide

“I’ve learned to never stop and always keep going and never give up and that’s what FFA has taught me,” Larry said.

The budget is still being negotiated at the state Capitol, but supporters to keep FFA funding were encouraged after the Senate subcommittee shot down Governor Brown’s proposal.

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