Move from Salem a 'win-win' for school, organization
By MITCH LIES
Oregon FFA has moved its state office to Oregon State University, ending its long-time association with the Student Leadership Center and kindling what some say is a natural relationship.
"The relationship between FFA and the College of Agricultural Sciences goes back to the inception of FFA," said Sonny Ramaswamy, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.
"We're together finally on the campus of Oregon State University," he said.
Oregon FFA helps more than 4,600 students in 111 local chapters develop leadership skills and provides education on career opportunities in agriculture.
For several decades, the state office had been in Salem, alongside Future Business Leaders of America and DECA, a career development organization in marketing.
A steady decline in the Student Leadership Center's state funding dating back 15 years prompted FFA leaders to begin looking at a new business model last year. The Oregon Legislature allocated just $250,000 to the center for the two-year budget cycle that started July 1, a level below operating costs. That prompted the move, Reynold Gardner, Oregon state FFA adviser, said.
"OSU stepped forward," Gardner said. "For that I am appreciative."
"We think it will be a win-win for OSU and Oregon FFA in that we have a lot of students in the College of Agricultural Sciences with an FFA background," said Greg Thompson, agricultural education department head at OSU.
Oregon FFA joins Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom in Strand Hall, which also houses the dean's office. OSU is donating the office space.