FFA helps build next-gen leaders

FFA is shaping the future farmers of America as well as future chemists, engineers and biofuel producers of America, writes Tom Buis, adding that Growth Energy now has a partnership with FFA. This column appears in the November issue of EPM.
By Tom Buis | October 16, 2015

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture, and no organization prepares them to rise up and meet the challenges that lie ahead like the National FFA Organization. Not only is FFA shaping the future farmers of America, it’s also shaping the future chemists, engineers and biofuel producers of America. Growth Energy is a proud partner of FFA for that very reason. We recognize the importance of investing in the next generation of hard workers who will fuel America and feed the world.

Students whose lives are impacted by FFA and agricultural education achieve academic and personal growth, strengthen American agriculture and build healthy local communities, a strong nation and a sustainable world. FFA helps its members develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. We want these educated, empowered leaders to know that our industry is looking for young people with their skill sets to help us improve our economy, environment and national security with homegrown renewable fuels. Growth Energy is thrilled to support several important FFA programs that help us achieve these goals.

Our partnership with FFA focuses on assistance in supporting the Curriculum for Ag Science Education, as well as an online personalized career exploration and development resource called “My Journey.” Growth Energy also supports the TeachAg program and has committed an additional investment into a scholarship program in efforts to attract more teachers for the enhanced education of FFA members. There is a serious need for more agriculture teachers, an improved biofuels curriculum and updated facts about our industry. It is a need that we are determined to meet. We want these future leaders, who will someday live and work in rural America, to be involved in the production of biofuel feedstocks and pursue careers in biorefineries, to hear our industry’s message now.

We’re spreading our message in person at the 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. As an Expo exhibitor, Growth Energy will have the opportunity to help thousands of young leaders explore career and educational opportunities in the biofuels industry. We will present information in a fun, engaging way and have created an outreach tool that allows FFA members to identify nearby ethanol plants and sign up for plant tours. That way, after learning about biofuels at our booth, students and their instructors will have the opportunity experience a plant first hand.

In total, the National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 629,367 student members who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I was once an FFA member, and so was Jeff Broin, the co-chairman of Growth Energy’s board of directors, along with many, many other leaders in the ethanol industry. I can say, without a doubt, that the programs and services FFA provides are invaluable and make a positive difference in the lives of students. We want the best and brightest to live and work in rural America, and we are proud to support FFA’s efforts to make that happen. 

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy