In the news recently, you may have seen some debate about the Keystone Pipeline System, proposed by TransCanada. The pipeline would transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States.
The U.S. Department of State in 2010 extended the deadline for federal agencies to decide if the pipeline is in our national interest, and in November, 2011, President Obama denied the permit, because he did not feel that there had been in enough time to conduct a thorough review. Last week, TransCanada reapplied for a permit to build the pipeline, and it is currently under review.
Since TransCanada and the Keystone Pipeline are back in the news, we have been getting some questions about their connection with the National FFA Organization.
In June, 2011 TransCanada signed a five-year agreement to financially support the National FFA Organization with a total investment of more than $1.1 million to help fund FFA initiatives to educate, train and develop students pursuing agriculture-based careers.
Annually, TransCanada will provide $223,000 through the National FFA Foundation to help FFA provide leadership development programming, award competitions, classroom-based curriculum and the planned Agricultural Career Network, our comprehensive, online tool that students can use to record and plot their education careers, apply for awards and scholarships and search for employment.
We are aware that, at any given time, one of our sponsors or donors may be the subject of public dispute or criticism. FFA is not in a position to evaluate and take sides in these disputes.
Even when we enter into agreements such as this one, we do not promote their products or services, nor pass along information to our members or supporters to serve political, commercial or social platforms. We have long enjoyed funding relationships with all sorts of businesses and organizations, but we have never acted as an advocate for their issues or agenda.
We have also consistently declined to take partisan positions on issues in local, state and national political debates. Our role is to support the critical examination of issues by teachers and students so that they have opportunities to reach independent conclusions.
We believe that FFA members and agricultural students are not served by refusing funding that creates educational and developmental opportunities for their advancement. We look forward to maintaining the same impartial relationships with all of our future sponsors.
If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments below. And, as always, thank you to everyone who continues to support FFA and agricultural education!