Cargill announced this week that it is investing $2.1 million over three years to help the National FFA Organization develop future leaders who are prepared to continue advancing sustainable agriculture. The funds will enable FFA's efforts to bridge the needs of the agriculture, food and natural resource industries.
"We need the best and brightest young minds to help create solutions that balance feeding a growing population with protecting our planet," said Ruth Kimmelshue, business operations and supply chain lead and chief sustainability officer for Cargill and former member of the National FFA Organization board of directors. "Through agriculture, young people have the opportunity to develop and use new technology and implement solutions to regenerate soils, build the economic success of farming communities, innovate supply chains, address the global issues facing our industry — such as climate change, deforestation and water conservation — and so much more."
FFA's sustainability leader development program will receive $300,000 of the investment, supporting the organization's efforts to re-evaluate programs and events to include educational resources, experiential learning and leadership development opportunities for future sustainability-driven influencers. The multiyear commitment also elevates support of:
- The state officer leadership continuum, affecting FFA members by developing leadership skills and personal growth for 375 state officers;
- The living to serve platform, supporting 57,000 hours of service to make a difference in local communities across the country through chapter service projects;
- The agriscience fair, developing students interested in and excelling in science and research, with more than 415 projects approved for competition at the national level (89% of students report having a better understanding of science's role in agriculture after competing in the fair), and
- Recruitment and retention of quality agricultural educators.
For nearly 60 years, Cargill has partnered with FFA to create innovative ways to inspire youth in agriculture, investing more than $16 million to foster innovative career education and support career development events, leadership development conferences, agriscience fairs and areas of service. Cargill and FFA have brought together corporate leaders, academics, FFA state officers and students around a shared vision for the future of agriculture.
"Cargill is proud to support the work FFA is doing to cultivate a better future for all by empowering young people to be leaders in agriculture, food and nutrition," said John Niemann, president of protein ingredients and international channel for Cargill Protein-North America and current chair of the National FFA Sponsors Board.
Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation, added, "National FFA values Cargill's longtime support through their sponsorship and partnership based on shared values. The nearly 60-year relationship has helped cultivate the talent pipeline for agriculture and continues to develop future leaders that positively impact the industry and the world."