This allows every student enrolled in ag to have an FFA membership
By Diego Flammini
The Illinois government is making Future Farmers of America (FFA) memberships more accessible to students in the state.
The Department of Agriculture announced $550,000 in funding to cover FFA membership dues for every student taking agriculture education classes starting this fall.
This news couldn't come at a better time," Illinois FFA Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer said in a statement. "Illinois' number one industry touches so many beyond traditional family farms. FFA continues to expand its mission to prepare our Ag leaders for tomorrow.”
In 2022, about 37,000 Illinois students were enrolled in ag classes but only 23,000 students had FFA memberships.
A national FFA membership is $7, but states and local FFA chapters have the authority to charge higher prices.
In Ohio, for example, memberships are $17 per member. In Indiana the cost is $14 per member and at Buna High School in Texas, the cost of an FFA membership is $25 per year.
The $550,000 allocation divided by the number of students enrolled in Illinois ag classes equals an average of $14.86 per student.
Covering the FFA dues in Illinois ensures every student has an equal opportunity to be an FFA member, said Governor JB Pritzker.
"In Illinois, we're making it so students can choose their extracurriculars based on what interests them the most, not what they can afford," he said in a statement.
State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield) spearheaded the funding idea.
Supporting youth in agriculture helps ensure a healthier and prosperous ag sector, she said.
"I am proud to support the next generation of Illinois agricultural enthusiasts by helping alleviate the financial burden of membership dues," she said. "The more bright minds we can bring in to help solve the agricultural problems of tomorrow, the better we all will be in the future."