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Empowering Young Leaders

Lessons found in the agriculture industry provide unique opportunities for youth to develop into strong leaders who will go on to lead local, state and national communities. The USDA is proud to partner with a number of student organizations and provide a range of programs to assist youth to meet and exceed their potential and unlock countless career paths.


4-H is USDA’s positive youth development and education program. The unique partnership with the Cooperative Extension System through land-grant universities and the National 4-H Council empowers young people to lead for a lifetime. 4-H uses experiential learning—learning by doing—as a primary teaching approach to learn life skills such as leadership, citizenship, community service, STEM education, and public speaking. Membership is open to all youth beginning at age 8 or 4th grade. Land-grant university extension 4-H offices deliver local programs. Additionally, military 4-H clubs offer quality educational experiences that allow youth to continue their 4-H work wherever they move when their parents are deployed.

Learn how to join or start a 4‑H club by contacting your local 4-H office.


The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of more than 650,000 student members and more than 8,500 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FFA seeks to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

The USDA and National FFA are collaborating on initiatives to motivate and prepare young people, connect them with opportunities in agriculture, food, and natural resources systems, and build appreciation for the reach and importance of agriculture.

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CYFAR marshalls the resources of the land-grant and cooperative extension systems to offer research-based educational programs that equip at-risk families and youth with the skills to lead positive, productive, contributing lives. Programs are based on the principle of working across the lifespan in the context of the family and community.


4-H badge

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) seeks to empower underrepresented students and professionals pursuing careers in agriculture, natural resources, and STEM-related industries. The national society consists of more than 65 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Individual chapter activities, regional events, and the annual national conference are designed to develop a partnership between students in agriculture, natural resources, and professionals from academic institutions, government agencies, and private industry.

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Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for young men and women in family and consumer sciences education in public and private school through grade 12. FCCLA seeks to promote personal growth and leadership development among its 164,000 members in more than 5,300 chapters in 49 states. Participants develop skills for life focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner, and community leader.

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Agriculture Future of America

Agriculture Future of America provides personal and professional development experiences for college students and young professionals in food and agriculture. AFA leverages relationships with universities and agriculture and food businesses to foster professional development opportunities and networks beyond the college campus.


Do you want to start a club or chapter?

Contact a youth organization near you. Some examples include:

  • 4-H is USDA’s flagship youth positive development and education initiative. Join or start a 4-H club by contacting your local 4-H office.
  • Jr. MANRRS encourages minority students in grades 7-12 to pursue STEM studies. Contact your local MANRRS chapter to learn more.
  • FFA develops youth leadership skills, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Find a chapter near you.
  • Agriculture Future of America (AFA) offers career development for college students and young professionals in the agriculture and food industry. Learn more at AFA.