The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the National FFA Organization will work together to promote awareness of the importance of agricultural education and agricultural career opportunities.

The AEM/FFA agreement covers activities of FFA as well as its partner groups: National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization (PAS) and National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE).

AEM is a longtime supporter of FFA-related programs. The association is expanding its participation in conjunction with growth of its workforce development initiatives for the off-road equipment industry.

“The practical, hands-on efforts of students and educators active in FFA, PAS and NAAE will have a long-lasting, beneficial effect on the continued vitality of agriculture. AEM and its member companies are proud to lend support that assures the strength of the agricultural community not only in America but also globally,” stated Charlie O’Brien, AEM’s vice president of agricultural services.

Ryan Tate, FFA senior regional director, noted that enhanced liaison with the manufacturing community through AEM helps FFA better fulfill its mission of preparing students for leadership, personal growth and career success.

“There are many rewarding careers related to the manufacture, repair and maintenance of agricultural equipment, and AEM’s active involvement gives students and educators a close-up look at the real-world opportunities available.”

Under the new agreement, AEM will co-sponsor the FFA Agricultural Mechanics Energy Systems Proficiency Award (with New Holland) and co-sponsor the PAS Agricultural Machinery Service Technician Award (with John Deere and GM Powertrain).

The FFA award recognizes student achievement in Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs involving the adjustment, repair and maintenance of agricultural power systems, including mechanical, electrical, chemical, wind, solar and/or water power. The PAS award recognizes the proficiency of agricultural machinery service technicians in areas including engines, power trains, hydraulics, electrical, air conditioning, and monitoring and accessories.

AEM will also provide agricultural career development training to the future workforce through national FFA and NAAE convention workshops and exhibits, NAAE professional development webinars and PAS Career Planning/Career Program Area (CPA) input.

FFA offers a wide range of agricultural education activities for students in grades 7-12 through programs at the local, state and national levels. While 30 percent of FFA participants come from farming communities, 70 percent are from rural non-farm, urban and suburban areas.

PAS focuses on postsecondary agricultural education outreach, and it is one of 10 career and technical student organizations approved by the U.S. Department of Education as an integral component of career and technical education. NAAE members are educators that advise and teach students in agricultural programs.

“FFA and AEM share a dedication to the future of American agriculture, which our new partnership will enhance by developing a superior workforce in the essential careers related to food, fiber, fuel and natural resources,” stated FFA’s Tate.

“FFA is an ideal partner because of its proven track record of educational programs in the agricultural arena. It has a longstanding reputation of connecting with youth that we admire and want to support,” noted David Bannister, AEM’s workforce development manager.

For more information, contact Bannister at (414) 274-0657 or dbannister@aem.org.