Illinois FFA President, Franklin Native Pushing For Line Item Increase For Ag Education

By Benjamin Cox on March 19, 2024 at 6:16am

Illinois FFA President Thaddeus Bergschneider of Franklin is making the most out of his last few months in office.

Bergschneider spent Illinois Ag Legislative Day last week in Springfield lobbying General Assembly members to increase line item money for ag education.

Bergschneider tells RFD Illinois that he’s seen remarkable growth in schools’ ag education and FFA participation while he was a high school student: “We’ve seen a lot of growth in agricultural education over the past year. Our members, our educators, and our chapters are growing. Then, the responsibility falls on us to take that growth and keep its momentum moving, and to make sure that all of our students in FFA are participating and taking advantage of all the opportunities that we have.”

Bergschneider says a line item increase from 7 up to $10 million is due to a specific grant aimed at ag educators: “The main change that we are seeing with the line item and the need to increase from $7 million to $10 million is because of the 3 Circles Grant. Agriculture teachers in Illinois do not teach a regular teacher’s year. They’re not teaching during the school year. They have hours in the summer. They go to state conventions. They help students with their record books. They work outside of the classroom more than anyone. And so, when the state can help agricultural education by giving those teachers extra compensation – that’s what allows ag education to keep on going. With the line item, we need the increase from $7 million to $10 million so that 3 Circles Grant can keep on going and ag teachers can be compensated for the work they do.”

Bergschneider will finish his term as Illinois FFA President in June.