Sacramento Scene, January 2020

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Call to Action

California FFA will receive $21,000 less this year from the CalAgPlate program than it did last year. Overall, the program is down nearly $40,000 from its highest point in 2017. This year’s reduction in funding will result in less money going towards offsetting student costs for the State FFA Conference and the Sacramento Leadership Experience. These reductions will directly result in increased expenditures for students, which equates to reduced access for some.

Thank you, Nipomo FFA, Minarets FFA, and all the chapters across the state that have given away ten or more specialty agriculture license plates in the last year. A shout out goes out to Sam Meredith for visiting car dealerships in the Merced area to encourage them to put plates on newly purchased vehicles. To all the ag teachers who put CalAgPlates on their personal vehicles, trailers, and motorcycles (Fishman, talking to you), your efforts are greatly appreciated. Special thanks to the California Farm Bureau for putting plates on all their company vehicles.

It took registering 7,500 plates to get this program started. California FFA spent $273,000 to purchase plates to give away and ag teachers made that happen. Without the hard work of the CATA membership, this program would have never materialized. Because of those efforts, FFA students of California have received over $1.2 million to make all programs more affordable and accessible.

Numbers for the program are down and we are in jeopardy of losing it. The reality of the situation is that the only group that is going to solve the problem is the ag teachers of California. No other group or organization has the resources or resolve to give away the required 3,000 plates to continue the program. If every ag teacher in the state of California gave away one plate the problem would be solved. If every FFA chapter in the state of California gave away ten plates the situation would be rectified. This is a plea for the agricultural education community to make things happen once again.

A Jacket for Those in Need

During Giving Tuesday, because of the generous support of donors, California FFA Foundation and Blue Diamond Growers are proud to announce that Giving Tuesday donation efforts raised enough money for 890 FFA jackets, which is the equivalent of $66,750.

There is an opportunity for FFA students in need to be recommended to receive an FFA Jacket free of charge. Identify students from your chapter to receive a jacket. Every chapter is eligible for at least two free jackets. Jacket applications in excess of this will not be funded through the California FFA at this time. Applications in excess of available funds will await funding through the Give the Gift of Blue program.

Jacket redemption will be handled through the National FFA Give Blue program. Working with National FFA allowed us to secure a jacket and a tie or scarf at $75, which included shipping to your FFA Chapter, tax, etc. To redeem your chapter’s jacket, please follow the instructions below. Applications will be processed in batches.

1. Select a student to complete the application, or you can complete the application on their behalf.

2. Whoever completes the application needs to log into their National FFA account. Visit

3. If the student is not already on your national roster, please email Jennifer Stockton at She can assist in getting them added.

4. From there, follow the application directions. It is advised to have the following information ready and accessible when you start the process.

  • You will need to know the member’s state, chapter, and full name to select the student from the chapter roster. In Step 1, fill in the first and last name of the member you are nominating. Then select the state and chapter from the dropdown list. Next, look at the list of members and select  the student from the list using the students first 3 initials of his/her last name and the first initial of their first name. This will be used to verify the student is an official member of this chapter and provide the advisor reviewing the application with all the student’s information.
  • You will need to know what size standard jacket you want to order for your nominee and what style tie or scarf. To see the tie and scarf options please click on the link “Shop FFA” and click on “Official Dress.”
  • You will also need to write a “Nomination Statement” explaining why this member should receive a jacket from the Give the Gift of Blue program. This program was designed to gift jackets to members who will take full advantage of the opportunities offered in FFA. Funding is limited, so make sure your nominee fits this requirement.

Please be sure to complete the application process to redeem jackets for your chapter. Jackets will be shipped directly to your FFA chapter, via the address included on the application.

Thank you again for your role in making this program become a reality. If you have any questions, please email Matt Patton at


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Matt Patton, Executive Director, California Agricultural Teachers’ Assn.,, 209 744-1605

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit


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