WGVA 106.3FM 1240AMMix 98.5101.7 The WallWFLR Finger Lakes Country Classic Hits 99.3The Lake 100.1/104.5 WAUB 96.3FM 1590AM

Governor Highlights NY’s Growing FFA Programs


There has been significant growth in New York State’s agriculture education and FFA Programs. That’s according to Governor Kathy Hochul who made the declaration on Friday at the end of National FFA Week.

Since 2016, the number of agricultural teachers has grown to 412 in 2023, a more than 75 percent increase from 2016. In addition, New York’s FFA chapters and membership continue to grow, with 36 new FFA chapters created since 2022 and 89 since 2016, making for a total of 200 FFA chapters established across New York today. The Governor said her 2024 State of the State and FY 2025 Budget both prioritize agricultural education, with the creation of a youth agriculture leadership conference and the dedication of $1.25 million to support the FFA, an increase of $250,000 from last year.

As a former 4-H kid, I know firsthand how important agricultural education is to developing a generation of leaders that understand where our food comes from, value the work of our farmers, and are committed to supporting our agricultural communities,” Governor Hochul said. “There are endless opportunities for our students to build a career in agriculture, from farming to food science, biotechnology, engineering, veterinary medicine, and so much more. New York will continue supporting our passionate educators and grow these critical programs across the state.”

The increase in agricultural teachers, through programs such as Cornell University’s Agriculture Education and Outreach Program, New York Agriculture in the Classroom, and the New York State FFA Association, is allowing more schools and students to participate in a formal agricultural curriculum, providing a direct boost to the pipeline of students who will go on to enter into the agricultural industry as a future career.

Alongside this growth in teachers, the number of FFA charters and members has also increased. With 200 chapters established in 53 of New York’s 62 counties, there are now nearly 12,000 FFA members in New York State, an increase from 9,300 in 2022. In 2016, State Agriculture Commissioner challenged the FFA to increase its number of charters across the State by 100; the FFA is nearing that goal with 89 created since then.

The New York FFA Association is a youth organization that helps middle and high school students become leaders in a variety of career fields, including agriculture. In the FY 2024 Budget, $2 million was invested to support the New York FFA, Association of Agricultural Educations, and New York Agriculture in the Classroom, and $50,000 was allocated to support the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) program.

National FFA Week, which is celebrated from February 17 – 24, honors the positive impact that FFA and agricultural education programs have on students across New York and the nation. 

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our agricultural teachers and FFA leadership are so passionate about building the future of this industry. They are the driving force behind these powerful programs that are helping our young people to learn about the industry and obtain the skills they need to be successful in agriculture and its related industries. When I look at our schools’ ag programs and our FFA students, I’m optimistic and excited about the future of our industry. I want to thank our existing ag teachers and FFA leaders for their dedication and welcome our newest teachers, who are embarking on this significant work of educating our young people. I also want to thank our Governor, and our Legislature, for their continued support of these critical programs that are making a lasting impact on agriculture and will continue to for generations to come.”

New York State FFA Director Juleah Tolosky said, “Whether it’s chapters starting in new communities or students starting their journey toward relevant, personal success, the story of New York FFA is growth. I am so proud of the work of our teachers to cultivate environments where students have the opportunity to thrive. We know just how much work it takes to go beyond the classroom and beyond the school year to move our communities forward through agriculture.”

New York State FFA President Ella Underberg said, In New York FFA, we are offered the opportunity to witness so much growth within our members, communities, and chapters. FFA has helped me see new perspectives on what it means to lead and truly be passionate.”

Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ronald P. Lynch Dean Benjamin Z. Houlton said, “For more than 150 years, Cornell CALS has been focused on developing the next generation of leaders in agriculture. It’s exciting to celebrate the growth of agricultural sciences education throughout our state’s rural and urban communities, expanding knowledge and skills in young people who will translate this knowledge into future action for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”

Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Director of Agricultural Education Outreach Shari Lighthall said, Agriculture teachers are the foundation of every FFA chapter in the state. These teachers prepare students for careers, provide opportunities to develop agricultural literacy and open the door for student growth and opportunity every day starting in local classrooms. For every blue jacket you see, there


Get the top stories on your radio 24/7 on Finger Lakes News Radio 96.3 and 1590, WAUB and 106.3 and 1240, WGVA, and on Finger Lakes Country, 96.1/96.9/101.9/1570 WFLR.