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NEWS RELEASE

Veneman Awards $8 Million in Grants to Youth Organizations

Press Release No. 0387.02

Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2002--Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced today the awarding of $8 million in grants from USDA for rural youth development. Grants will go to the National 4-H Council, the National FFA Organization 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 farm bill and applied for the rural youth development grants.

“USDA welcomes the opportunity to assist outstanding organizations like the National 4-H Council, the FFA and the Girl Scouts in offering youth development programs in rural areas,” said Veneman. “Each organization has a remarkable track record in helping youth to develop their talents and to become model citizens.”

These grants will fund projects across the country that support the goals of USDA’s ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ initiative to inspire the next generation of leaders by encouraging community involvement, careers in public service and learning about agriculture, one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy.

The National 4-H Council will receive $3 million for a number of projects including one called “Engaging Youth, Serving Community”. In addition, the money will partially cover expenses of conducting the “National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century” events that began last October. The majority of the grant will be used to develop and implement pilot programs in rural communities across the nation and to engage more rural youth in all levels of decision-making.

The FFA is awarded $2.9 million to improve and expand leadership programs for small-town students. Money will be allocated to develop instructional materials including the use of CD-ROM and web-based learning modules. Continuous professional training for teachers will also be supported.

The Girl Scouts will receive just over $2 million to implement the Girl Scouting in Rural Communities Initiative which provides girls in rural locations with significant girl scout experience. On the national level, the group will develop and manage a system of grants to selected rural Girl Scout councils and provide ongoing technical assistance to those councils in carrying out rural development projects.

The $8 million in grants are administered by USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES).

CSREES also supports the National Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) initiative. CYFAR provides leadership and funding to state extension services in land grant universities for community projects which focus on at-risk audiences. CYFAR also funds a broad array of technical assistance, training and program resources for community programs.

The Secondary and Two-Year Postsecondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grants Program promotes and strengthens secondary education and 2-year post secondary education in agriscience and agribusiness to help ensure the existence in the United States of a qualified workforce to serve the food and agricultural sciences system.