House Reps introduced the Growing Opportunities in Agriculture Act
By Diego Flammini
U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle are supporting a piece of legislation to provide more opportunities for ag learning.
Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson, who represents Pennsylvania’s 15th district, and Iowa Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, who represents Iowa’s first district in the House of Representatives, together introduced the Growing Opportunities in Agriculture (GO AG) Act on Tuesday.
Republican Congressmen Blaine Luetkemeyer from Missouri’s third district and Anthony Brindisi from New York’s 22nd district cosponsored the bill.
If passed, the legislation would create a $5-million grant program to help U.S. high schools cover costs associated with starting ag education programs.
Schools would have to apply to receive grant money. Accepted uses of the funds include paying for items like teacher salaries and curriculum development.
Investing in ag education is one way to inform high school students about agriculture and the career possibilities the industry can provide for them.
“Farming is an important tradition as well as an essential economic engine in our state,” Finkenauer said in a statement. “That’s why it’s incredibly important to recruit and educate the next generation of Iowa farmers. I am proud to be joined by Congressman Thompson in introducing the GO AG Act to make sure that high schoolers are considering careers in agriculture and have access to the experiences and opportunities to do so.”
Industry educators support this bill.
Teaching students about agriculture can cover a wide breadth of topics, equipping them with the tools necessary to make a difference in the sector, said Parker Bane, president of the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Farms.com has reached out to industry groups and to the federal department of education for comment.