Agricultural Education A Sum Of Its Parts

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director


Agricultural education in California is a complex and diverse coalition of entities working to better serve the students and teachers at its center. Below is a summarized breakdown of the primary groups that collectively drive agricultural education forward. Many other tertiary groups also contribute to the overall strength of agricultural education in California.  


The California Agricultural Teachers’ Association (CATA) is a professional non-profit organization, which has over 1,000 agricultural teachers from across the state. Members include educators from middle school, high school, community college, and university. Members can also include student teachers, associate members, and corporate members. Membership is voluntary, and so are dues to the organization. 

CATA was formed in 1920. The purpose of the organization is to promote and improve the teaching of agriculture in California and foster the welfare of those engaged in agricultural education. 

In the early 1980s, CATA members recognized the need to improve their voice in state policies affecting agricultural education. As a result, members voted to increase the level of dues paid to the organization, create the position of Executive Director, and establish a State CATA Office adjacent to the State Capitol in Sacramento. Shortly after the increase in dues, CATA expanded to include the role of an Executive Assistant. Current CATA employees include Executive Director (Matt Patton), Executive Assistant (Kerry Stockton), and two Administrative Assistants (Jennifer Van Conett/ Cari Brown).  

CATA is governed by the Executive Committee that is composed of individuals elected by the membership. 


The Association Adult Board was organized and created in 1997 to set fiscal policy and oversee the fiscal operations of the California Association, Future Farmers of America student organization, working in conjunction with the State FFA Advisor. The Association Adult Board employs a Financial Services Director (Maria Maberto), who manages the financial activity of the California FFA Association and reports directly to the Association Adult Board. The Association Adult Board annually approves the operating budget of the California Association FFA and the operating budgets for each of the respective regions.


The California Association FFA is an American 501(c)(3) youth organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, based on middle and high school classes that support agricultural education. The California Association FFA is a student-run organization chartered on November 20, 1928. Currently, the organization is composed of over 93,000 students from 340 chapters across the state. Chapters are chartered at public, private, charter, and middle schools. The leadership of the Association is based on a State, Regional, Sectional, and Chapter elected officer model. The California Association FFA conducts the business of the organization and has four employees. Current employees include the Financial Services Director (Maria Maberto), Leadership Coordinator (Hannah Garrett), Membership Services (Trisha Chapman), and two Administrative Assistants (Jennifer Van Conett/Cari Brown).  

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s