Feenstra cosponsors bill to advance agriculture at community colleges

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) on June 5 joined as a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill that would authorize capacity-building grants for community college agriculture and natural resources programs.

The congressman joined the eight original cosponsors of the Community College Agriculture Advancement Act of 2023, H.R. 3425, which U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) sponsored on May 17 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA).

If enacted, the bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to offer competitive grants to community and technical colleges, and to consortia and alliances of community and technical colleges supporting agriculture advancement, to assist in maintaining and expanding their capacity to conduct workforce training, education, research, and outreach activities relating to agriculture and renewable resources, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

Specifically, H.R. 3425 would create new opportunities for community and technical colleges through Capacity Building Grants for Community College Agriculture and Natural Resources Programs, and Centers of Agriculture Advancement, the summary says.

“Our exceptional community colleges have an important role to play in expanding and promoting agriculture education in Iowa,” Rep. Feenstra said. “From increasing crop yields to lowering input costs, there is a wealth of information available to new and beginning farmers as they prepare for the future.”

Additionally, H.R. 3425 would equip the next generation of farmers and producers with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the field and beyond, he said.

“Born and raised in rural Iowa, I will always be a strong advocate for agriculture education and its priceless benefits for our rural economy,” said Rep. Feenstra. “I hope to see this legislation pass the Congress — either in the Farm Bill or independently — and be signed into law because agriculture education remains a vital investment for rural America.”

Iowa Central Community College, Northwest Iowa Community College, Western Iowa Tech Community College, and the Iowa Valley Community College District support the bill and thanked Rep. Feenstra for cosponsoring it.