What is the FFA federal charter?
A federal charter was granted to the National FFA Organization in 1950 when Public Law 81-740 was passed by the U.S. Congress. The Charter serves as National FFA’s articles of incorporation and as the organization’s governance document. Public Law 105-225, passed in 1998, provided technical revisions to the original federal charter.
Congress has chartered around 100 organizations over time, and six of them have affiliations with a federal agency. National FFA is the only chartered organization that has stipulations within the charter mandating that the U.S. Department of Education selects or approves a majority of its members of the board of directors, including the national advisor, board chair and other board positions.
Why is National FFA revising the FFA federal charter?
The need for change originates with issues National FFA has faced with seats left open by the U.S. Department of Education on the National FFA Board of Directors. Two board seats remain unfilled currently after numerous rejections by the Department. In light of the difficulties, both FFA and the Department have agreed the relationship as it stands is not working optimally and needs to be addressed via the FFA federal charter. While opening up the document for revisions, FFA has also chosen to finally add language that confirms the integral nature of FFA in the agricultural education classroom.
What changes are being made?
Through this charter revision, National FFA is seeking to accomplish many objectives that will sustain the future of the organization and place responsibility for the organization in the capable hands of the National FFA Board of Directors. Changes include:
- The U.S. Department of Education will select one employee to serve as a member of the National FFA Board of Directors.
- The charter will more clearly explain and strengthen the integral nature of the three component model of agricultural education, leadership development through FFA, and work-based and experiential learning for students.
- Formalization under the law of the longstanding focus of FFA and agricultural education on preparing students for traditional farming careers and the wide range of unique modern careers available in agriculture, food and natural resources.
- An opportunity for FFA to increase self-governance and the flexibility to select and install a board of directors that reflects the integral relationship of FFA with school-based agricultural education, along with the diverse priorities and career areas of interest to FFA members.
- New opportunities for FFA to work collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies to strengthen FFA and school-based agricultural education.
- Modernized communication methods that provide opportunities to reach more students with the message of FFA and youth leadership development.
- Flexibility for National FFA to have a minimum of six national officers, providing the option of expanding the number of national officers to increase membership reach as the organization continues to grow.
How will this amendment process work?
The National FFA Organization’s Federal Charter Amendments Act has been introduced to the 116th Congress. Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and GT Thompson (T-PA) introduced H.R. 439 on January 10. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Doug Jones (D-AL), James Lankford (R-OK), and Christopher Coons (D-DE) introduced S. 112 on January 15.
After the introduction, the bills were referred to the judiciary committee on each side of Congress. National FFA will continue to seek additional support and legislative co-sponsorship from other members of Congress for the passage of the charter amendments. The desired result would be for the judiciary committees to review the bill and refer it on for passage. The bill will require passage by the full House of Representatives before heading to a similar process in the Senate. When both sides have passed the bill, it will then be submitted to the president to be signed into law.
Were National FFA delegates involved in the decision to revise the charter?
National FFA delegates have the power to discuss the charter and did so during new business at the 2017 National FFA Convention & Expo. No recommendation was offered to the board of the directors as a result of the discussion. Governance decisions such as this fede