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NEWS RELEASE

FFA Honors Farm Service Agency, CSREES Official for Outstanding Service to Agricultural Education

Kyle Jane Coulter, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and the Farm Service Agency Recognized by FFA

WASHINGTON, Nov. xx, 2002 – A U.S. Department of Agriculture official with the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) were honored by the National FFA Organization at its 75th National Convention, held Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, in Louisville, Ky.

FFA selected Kyle Jane Coulter, CSREES, to receive a special VIP Citation for making significant contributions to agricultural education. The Citation is one of the most prestigious awards a person may receive for supporting FFA and its programs.

“This nation’s greatest resource is its human capital and all of our hopes for a better world tomorrow rest upon our young people,” said Coulter. “FFA has a remarkable history of developing leadership and professional expertise to serve the world’s food and agricultural enterprise. I’m extremely honored to be recognized by the organization.”

Over the years, Coulter has led USDA’s campaign to promote excellence in agri-science and agribusiness education. In administering higher education programs at CSREES, her collaborative effort with key leaders at colleges of agriculture has been instrumental in advancing faculty competencies, strengthening curricula and attracting academically talented and multi-culturally diverse students into food and agricultural sciences degree programs. Nationally, her responsibilities have included designing and launching innovative programs that resulted in increased support for state and local agricultural education programs.

Awards such as the VIP Citation recognize that FFA contributes to the mission of success by impacting students through the hard work and cooperation of dedicated individuals. Without such strong and outstanding commitment, FFA would not be able to help build strong individuals of character in their members, who in turn build strong families, communities and industries.

In addition, Farm Service Agency Administrator James Little accepted a Distinguished Service Citation on behalf of FSA from the National FFA Organization, recognizing FSA’s contribution for outstanding service to agricultural education and FFA.

“FSA’s relationship with FFA is a strong bridge in helping our youth grow both personally and professionally in laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s farmers,” said Little. “FSA is proud and committed to creating student career success in agriculture.”

For 19 years, FSA and its predecessors have demonstrated strong support as a sponsor for the FFA Stars Recognition Program on the state and local levels. Adding to these efforts, FSA also sponsors the Stars Recognition Program video and provides valuable insight to the agricultural industry through participation in the FFA National Agricultural Career Show.

In September, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman awarded $8 million in grants from USDA for rural youth development. Of this amount, FFA was awarded $2.9 million to improve and expand leadership programs for small-town students. Money will be allocated to develop instructional materials, including CD-ROM and web-based learning modules. Continuous professional training for teachers will also be supported. Other grants went to the National 4-H Council and the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. to establish pilot projects to expand youth development programs in rural areas and small towns throughout the United States. These organizations were identified in the 2002 Farm Bill and applied for the rural youth development grants. CSREES administered the $8 million in grants.

FSA also makes loans to individual rural youths to establish and operate income-producing projects of modest size in connection with their participation in FFA and similar organizations. Each project must be part of an organized and supervised program of work. The project must be planned and operated with the help of an organization adviser, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience. Each year, many young entrepreneurs take advantage of these loans and gain valuable business experience in income-producing projects, such as livestock and crop production, lawn and garden services, repair shops and roadside stands.

To qualify for a loan, an applicant must: be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, which includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; be between 10 and 20 years old; live in a town of less than 10,000 people; be unable to obtain a loan from other sources; and conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work.

For more information about youth loans or other FSA programs, contact your local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.