On Wednesday, the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture teamed up to enhance ag education and related programs that promote postsecondary and career pathways, including teaching, according to an interagency agreement. The announcement was made during a Rural Council meeting with local educators at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Both Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack were on hand for the announcement. "Agricultural education is central to the future of American prosperity," says Duncan. "Many members may not realize that agriculture supports one in 12 jobs across the nation. For the U.S. economy to continue to rebound and grow, agriculture has to help lead the way."
The agreement calls for the Departments to exchange a variety of information and participate in joint activities, including webinars, conferences, outreach materials, and helping each other identify industry-validate standards, assessments, best practices, accreditations, and certifications. The Departments also will work jointly to find and use pathways and career programs of study that can prepare students for rewarding careers related to agriculture, food and natural resources.
"American agriculture makes incredible contributions to health of our economy and the strength of our nation as a whole. That's why it's so important to recruit the best and brightest of the next generation to pursue careers in agriculture," said Vilsack. "USDA works each day to help educate, train and support the scientists, farmers and ranchers we'll need to provide America's families with the food and energy they need. This partnership with the Department of Education will help us offer even greater opportunities for young people who want to dedicate their lives to agriculture, food and natural resources."