As part of the Michigan FFA Association’s 91st annual convention, the organization—in partnership with Michigan Farm Bureau—recognized Representative Julie Alexander, Representative Daire Redon and former Senator Dave Hildenbrand this week for their support of agricultural education.
In an event held at the state capitol Thursday, nearly 200 FFA members from across the state gathered to tour the historic building and presented the trio of elected officials with corduroy blue and corn gold banners in appreciation of their efforts.
“These three individuals understand that agriculture is a major economic driver in the state of Michigan,” said Michigan FFA President Caitlin Henne. “They also understand the value of career and technical education, which of course includes agriscience education and FFA.”
Rep. Julie Alexander was recognized first for her sponsorship of legislationallowing teachers to use time spent engaging with local employers and or career and technical centers to count toward their teaching certificate renewal. She also shared some heartfelt remarks with the FFA members.
“This legislation came because as a former teacher I understood the value of listening to individuals that have knowledge in a variety of areas and was then able to inform my students of career pathways,” Alexander said. “It comes by building relationships, finding those around us that have insight and expertise that maybe we don’t, and we can capture that.”
Rep. Daire Rendon was honored for championing legislation directing the Department of Education to develop a model program for career exploration and job readiness, to be incorporated in all grade levels.
“As I look at all these young faces here, I see the future leaders of our country and also the future leaders in their communities,” Rendon said. “Each one of you has taken steps to prove that you have made your occupation, your knowledge base, so much more than just being a farmer.”
Former Sen. Dave Hildenbrand was commended for his work on legislation creating a $100 million grant program for improving career and technical education programming.
“The involvement and experience I had in the FFA and 4-H laid the foundation for me to have the honor to serve in this Legislature for 14 years,” Hildenbrand said. “Keep doing what you’re doing, being involved in this organization. You’re doing the right thing to pave a great path for your future whether you stay in agriculture, serve in government, or really any other career you chose.
“You’ll have the skills to be successful no matter what you do.”