Last week I had the opportunity to attend the NAAE Conference in St Louis. Farrah Johnson from Florida was elected President-elect for NAAE in St. Louis. Farrah has served as Region 5 Vice President and has attended many of our conferences. She will serve NAAE well.
One very important issue facing all agriculture teachers is the proposed labor law changes. If you have not, heard the Labor Department in Washington is rewriting the labor laws. If they do this, it will drastically affect our students and their SAE Projects. Also, kids will not be able to help grandparents, uncles, etc. in family agricultural operations. I urge you to go and make comments on this labor law. The NAAE Web site has all the information you will need at www. naae.org . On the web page you will see the word Urgent! , and under Urgent! you can click on Child Labor Law Information. The dead line for comments is December 1st.
Dr. Brown, National FFA Advisor, discussed the push for collection of hard data. No longer are the success stories of our students enough to account for the monies we receive from the federal government. Lawmakers want data. That is one reason for the new Ag Career Network. The same holds true for the state of Georgia. I know this is time consuming. We often wish those creating the budget would visit our programs and see for themselves. However, when dollars are few and needs are many, we need both numbers and testimonials.
After hearing the state reports from the presidents of other Ag teacher organizations in our region, I felt very blessed to teach Ag in Georgia. No other state is in the position we are with teachers on 12 month contracts, extended day, state staff, Young Farmer programs, FFA Alumni, or FFA Foundation. We are the envy of our region, if not the nation. Yes, funding cuts do come our way; but, even with cuts, Georgia still receives more than any other state. How did we get there? By the work of many people before us. We cannot become complacent about our blessings. Ag Ed in Georgia has not seen hard times as our neighbors.
Thank you for all that you do to help agriculture students and FFA members in Georgia succeed each and every day. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving. I leave you with these thoughts from Albert Barnes, “We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reason why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning”
Hugh Lanier - GVATA President
Agriculture Teacher/FFA Advisor
Bainbridge High School