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Fellow Ag Teachers,

Here is an opportunity to Ag-vocate for not only AgEd and FFA, but for the entire agriculture industry. Please see the email below from Dr. Armstrong of National FFA.

I am planning to follow the steps detailed below to advocate for keeping agriculture related TV programming available to the public through independent television programming networks by providing my comments to the FCC. I hope you will see the value in this and take time to do the same.

As always, I am proud to be associated with the best group of teachers in Georgia - the AG Teachers.
Chip

John (Chip) Bridges
Program Manager, Agricultural Education
Georgia Department of Education
1752 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
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"Educating Georgia's Future"



From: Armstrong, Dwight [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2016 10:41 AM
Subject: Help Keep FFA and Ag Broadcasting on the Air

Dear State Agricultural Education Leaders,

I'm writing to ask for your help in responding to an important issue. It concerns the future availability of independent television programming serving rural communities, agriculture and agricultural education.

The Federal Communications Commission has opened a "Notice of Inquiry" to accept public comment regarding "the principal challenges independent video programmers face in gaining carriage of their content on both traditional and emerging distribution platforms." The FCC action is partly in response to cable companies eliminating or curtailing such programming in their packages. A case in point involves the cable company Verizon FiOS that in the last year dropped the Weather Channel, the Outdoor Channel, the Sportsman Channel and RFD-TV from its cable offerings, primarily in northeast urban markets.

National FFA sees this as a disturbing trend and a threat to continued availability of broadcast coverage of agriculture and rural interests. We believe it vital that this content is available widely to urban areas just as it is to rural and suburban ones. These are the independent channels that carry the live broadcast of the National FFA Convention & Expo, the FFA Today television program, America's Heartland and a number of news programs focused on agriculture.

Attached is a letter of comment I submitted last week to the FCC on behalf of National FFA. The points made include:

*         We are concerned about possible discrimination against independent and rural-serving programmers in the cable television industry.

*         Agriculture is one of our nation's largest, most productive economic sectors, and rural-serving programming is important to the industry of agriculture and to rural and urban communities alike.

*         To attract a talented and well-prepared workforce, it is essential that information about American agriculture reach rural, suburban and urban audiences.

*         It is critical that issues vital to rural communities are shared and explored with urban audiences. Toward this end, television, radio and online programming that delivers that messaging is essential to local, state and national interests.

Providing comment to the FCC is a simple process. It can be done electronically and only takes a few minutes. RFD-TV has provided a helpful link on its website with step-by-step instructions here:  http://www.rfdtv.com/story/31286442/submit-your-comments-to-the-fcc, or it can be done directly with the FFC at THIS LINK<http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display;ECFSSESSION=LyQnWYpQw9qyD0GTJLJsS9KKB80ttvG0VzL8Wrn0nzKFQgFmpybf!-1988419839!1951721665>.

The key is to submit your comment before the FCC closes the window Mar. 30. Sooner is better as the comments are being tallied and a growing number will begin to influence perception of the issue. Please feel free to pass this along to your teachers.

Ensuring information about agriculture, agricultural education and FFA is available to the public through broadcasting is important to us all. I hope you will add your voice in support of this goal.

Thank you,

Dwight

W Dwight Armstrong, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

P    317-802-4412    |    C    317-605-7296    |    F    317-802-5412    |    E    [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

National FFA Organization
6060 FFA Drive, P.O. Box 68960, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960
FFA.org<http://FFA.org>


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