Jay Jackman

Washington Beat -- October 2020

Blog Post created by Jay Jackman on Oct 7, 2020

GO AG Act – On October 6, 2020, United States Representative Abby Finkenauer (D-IA-1), Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA-15), Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-3), and Representative Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22) introduced H.R. 8535 – the Growing Opportunities in Agriculture (GO AG) Act – to amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to direct the Secretary of Education to award grants for new agricultural education programs in secondary schools. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.


In a nutshell, this bill, if signed into law, would authorize the U.S. Department of Education to provide grants to states to start new school-based agricultural education programs in school where agricultural education does not currently exist.


The bill has been introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives. It will have to pass the House, pass the U. S. Senate, and be signed by the president before it will become law.


NAAE and the National FFA Organization are supporting the GO AG Act:

  • "On behalf of the board of directors and the over 9,000 members of the National Association of Agricultural Educators, I am grateful to Representative Finkenauer for her support for school-based agricultural education in our schools,” said Parker Bane, NAAE President and agriculture teacher at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Illinois. “Opening agricultural education programs where they don’t exist currently will expand opportunities for students to learn science, mathematics, and literacy skills in the applied context of agriculture, which is our nation’s most important industry sector. Ag-related value chains provide excellent opportunities for high-demand, high-wage careers and school-based agricultural education programs are the beginning of the human capital pipeline for these careers."


  • "Agricultural education plays an important role not only in FFA but in developing a future generation of leaders. Through hands-on experiential learning, students in agricultural education develop skill-sets to help them succeed in life, said Dr. James Woodward, National FFA Advisor. "The Finkenauer legislation enables more students to experience agricultural education and the opportunities it offers."


  • "On behalf of the National FFA Organization, I’d like to express my thanks to Congresswoman Finkenauer, Congressman Thompson, and Congressman Luetkemeyer for their leadership in ensuring support for school-based agricultural education programs. As National FFA works to grow the world’s next generation of leaders, we recognize and realize that we are just one piece in this puzzle," said Mark Poeschl, CEO, National FFA Organization. "This legislation provides opportunities for students to experience classroom instruction, a work or project-based experience (which we refer to as a Supervised Agricultural Experience) and of course the National FFA Organization. We look forward to the passing of this legislation and the impact it will provide to future students of agricultural education."


Stopgap Funding Bill – The president has signed a stopgap funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown since federal funding expired on September 30, 2020. The Senate passed this continuing resolution (CR) in a bipartisan vote of 84-10, following the House vote on the CR. This bill extends federal funding at the currently enacted levels through December 11, 2020. At that time Congress will either pass new Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills, or continue with another CR. The bill (H.R. 8337) extends funding for all 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed). All education programs will continue at the currently enacted funding levels through the duration of the CR.