ASTA Starts New Partnership With FFA

National FFA leaders provide information about the organization to ASTA members June 11 a Lightning Talk at ASTA's Policy & Leadership Development Conference. Pictured from left are Maryland State Vice President Cahlen Cheatham and Secretary Justin Arnold along with Virginia State President Tess Seibel and Reporter Melissa Ruhlman. (Chris Lusvardi photo)

Washington, DC (June 12, 2018) – The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) is embarking on a new partnership with the National FFA Organization after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed June 11 during ASTA’s Policy & Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.

The goal is to foster new learning and networking opportunities to prepare future leaders to take the reins of the seed industry, says Jerry Flint, incoming ASTA Chair and who leads Global Initiatives and Sustainability for Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

Flint, who is a member of the National FFA Foundation Sponsors' Board, was joined during the General Session by ASTA President and CEO Andy LaVigne, FFA Director of Corporate Giving Todd Greenwood and state FFA officers from Maryland and Virginia. Flint says it is a first-of-its-kind agreement with a trade association to chart future opportunities.

FFA members presented a Lightning Talk to share information about the organization, including its three-component model. FFA provides opportunities in the classroom, through supervised ag experiences, and leadership, the FFA leaders told ASTA members.

They say the partnership with ASTA will provide career opportunities in a constantly changing industry.

“We’re extremely proud to embark on this new partnership with FFA,” Flint says. “This Memorandum of Understanding is an important step in strengthening learning and collaboration opportunities between our two great organizations, as we work to prepare the next generation of leaders in the seed industry, and agriculture at large.”

According to additional information provided June 20, the memorandum will align ASTA’s strategic goals and resources with the three-component model of agricultural education, providing teacher curriculum and resources; supervised agricultural experience support and mentors; and leadership and career development.

“This Memorandum of Understanding helps stress the importance of the three-component model – agricultural education, FFA and supervised agricultural experience,” says Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization. “As we move forward in the 21st Century, we know it’s important to provide tools to our members to ensure they become tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture. This memorandum will help us sustain that growth in leadership.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 653,359 student members who belong to one of 8,568 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 344,239 alumni members in 2,051 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

For more updates and photos from the conference, be sure to follow Seed Today on Twitter and Facebook.

Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 653,359 student members as part of 8,568 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is supported by 344,239 alumni members in 2,051 local FFA Alumni chapters throughout the U.S. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at and on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.

The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees composed of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA Alumni, the foundation is a separately registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit

Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. ASTA is the leading voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. The association’s broad membership offers varieties from alfalfa to zucchini and all production types including conventional, organic and biotech. ASTA promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life. Learn more at