TransCanada’s support of FFA

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!

50 comments on “TransCanada’s support of FFA

  1. Letting TransCanada use your logo on their business cards that they are handing out to folks in our state gives the impression that you support their pipeline project. In Nebraska, family farms and ranches are being threatened by this pipeline with the risks of tarsands, eminent domain and much more. We ask that you do not let TransCanada use your logo at the very least…

  2. Trans Canada’s history is carelessly cutting corners to save money that cause leaks and create contamination. They bully citizens into signing over their land, and when that fails they take the land w/ the co-operation of our governments. For the FFA to be associated is a moral outrage. You are teaching youth that money trumps morals and values.

  3. TransCanada doesn’t care about you, FFA, or your noble goals of helping young farmers.

    Like Jane said, the least you can ask is that they remove your logo from their business cards. Because right now it looks like you are endorsing their project, which actually will bring great harm to future farmers.

  4. It is one thing to accept funding, it is another to let them appear to have your stamp of approval. Their tactics here and in Canada are not in support of anything but their bottom line. I would think future farmers would actually be concerned about the future of our water supply.

  5. TransCanada is just trying to look good by throwing money at something rural Nebraskans care about. By letting them put your logo on business cards, you appear to take a partisan stance. TransCanada is bad for Nebraska regardless of how much money they throw around.

  6. FFA has a long history of teaching students to care for the land and livestock they make their living from. TransCanada has used unethical tactics to gain right of way through my home state of Nebraska. They do not care about the land not the people or animals that live here. They want to make a profit. It is unfortunate that they are using FFA to shine up their image – although they desperately need a change of public image, it’s a shame they want to piggy back on a sterling organization such as FFA. Partnerships are important, aside from monetary donations, what will a partnership with TransCanada mean to you?

  7. None of our children should be subjected to the influence of a company that has displayed ethical lapses over & over again. TC $ should not be used to educate rural children…period.

  8. I come from a long line of farmers in Nebraska. The dead ones are rolling in their graves over Future Farmers of America accepting funding from a foreign oil company that doesn’t care one hoot about American land, our environment, or Nebraska’s future.

  9. FFA’s mission is to educate, encourage and support future farmers. TransCanada’s crude oil pipeline threatens the future of farming/ranching in our region and takes opportunities away from young people who dream of starting or continuing a farm/ranch along the proposed pipeline path.

  10. As a former member of the FFA, one of the last chapters out of the Omaha Public School district, I am appalled to see that Future Farmers of America (FFA), an organization I have always held in high esteem, to allow the rampant use of their logo to make it seem as if the FFA is endorsing something so politically-controversial.

    Please, let me know where I can send my jacket back and my national awards and medals to.

    Sincerely, Miss Janine M. Brooks

  11. If the FFA approved the use of their logo by Transcanada, I have no problem with it.

    Jane Kleeb and most of those posting on this site, as you probably know, represent Bold Nebraska. Mrs. Kleeb is not innocent in the use of the FFA logo and exploited the use your organization’s name, wearing an FFA jacket at a Keystone XL Nebraska state legislative hearing where she expressed her views against the pipeline. Mrs. Kleeb never has been a member of the FFA.

    Bold Nebraska is a far left organization who is anti-oil and is against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. They have a history of embellishing the facts. The believe oil can be immediately replaced by green energy technologies and oil & gas prices should sharply rise. They also fail to take into account geopolitical risks presented with oil supplied by countries hostile to the United States. Iran comes to mind. They fail to understand it is a global completive market and low cost structure is needed for producers to compete globally.
    They focus on a few pipeline leaks without doing the math, which is 0.00009% of all the barrels of oil shipped via pipeline in the last 30 years. None have had any lasting environmental impact. Pipelines are by far the safest mode of transporting crude oil.

    They fail to take into account the nation’s food supply and cost structure is driven by one key component, energy to power farm equipment and transportation of agriculture products. Farmers need a cost effective fuel to produce the nation’s crops and get them to market. Oil is that energy for the foreseeable future while green technologies mature and become cost effective. The green lobby fails to understand this in pursuit of their agenda. As young farmers struggle to be successful, exorbitant energy prices is the last thing they need.

    They would have you believe Transcanada is an evil rich corporation out to pollute our air and water, which is false. Please continue to take a neutral stance on this issue and keep up the extraordinary work the FFA does.
    .

    • To Brand all Bold Nebraska members as far-left and anti-oil is an outright lie! Many Farmers and Ranchers of NE support Bold and are far removed from any left leaning ideologies. What we do care about is the protection of the Auquifer, a Nebraska lifeline!

    • Obviously Randy you have not done your research on Tar Sands Oil . Yes regular cude oil pipelines have been safe over the past 30 years, but take a look at Tar Sands Oils record and you will find a different outcome. Regular oil is transported through pipelines at 150 PSI to 300 PSI where as Tar Sands Have to be pumped at 1200 PSI and 40% of what is being pumped through at 1200% is toxins to allow the asphalt like Tar Sands to flow. The other thing Randy is you have not done your research on who is fighting this pipeline, because if you did you would find that most of us are lifetime Republicans and not the far left organization that you and other uneducated people on the topic think we are. I bet you live in the Eastern part of the state where you think this can’t hurt you. Maybe you should think about where you food and your drinking water comes from because unless you live in Omaha your water comes from the Ogallala Aquifer. If they want to move the Keystone XL pipline to the east side of HWY 77, I will be all for it and you should be too, Randy, since you think it so safe.

  12. Transcanada is trying to gain credibility with the rural community by displaying the FFA logo on their business cards. They are trying to give the impression that they care about the future of Nebraska’s rural economy, and the importance of youth in agriculture. If they truly cared about the rural economy, transcanada would not want to pipe petrolium products and other cemicals through our soil and dangerously close to our water source. Without healthy soil and clean water, what future can a young farmer look forward to? FFA should ask TC to no longer display their logo….it is misleading and insulting to FFA’s good name.

  13. FFA provides hands on and leadership skills for youth — techniques & strategies that will improve farming and ranching from generation to generation. The pipeline is built to transport a non-renewable, dirty source of energy. The strong arm techniques used to by Transcanada, threatening landowners with eminent domain to allow pipeline access, sets a poor example of ethics for our future farmers of America. Your statement says FFA doesn’t support Transcanada’s pipeline, but it sure looks like it. FFA logo should be removed promptly from their business cards.

  14. Randy Denius makes some valid points about the fact that our transition from fossil fuels can’t happen immediately, and that agriculture certainly needs a lot of petroleum, but I think he’s missing the point regarding FFA.

    FFA specifically stated above that “Even when we enter into agreements such as this one, we do not promote their products or services,…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.”

    I think that FFA should recognize that when they allow their logo to be included on official business cards carried by Trans Canada employees, they most certainly give the impression that FFA supports Trans Canada’s agenda. Although they have not formally endorsed Trans Canada’s positions, the implication is obvious, undeniable and clearly contrary to FFA’s official position on advocacy.

    What’s more, regardless of our current addiction to fossil fuels that Mr. Denius points out, it has been clearly documented that Trans Canada’s behavior toward individual farm families and land owners is completely contrary to what one would expect if they truly stood with groups like FFA.

    I understand that funding has become exceedingly scarce for non-profit groups, so I don’t fault FFA for accepting the cash, but I do find the use of their logo and image by Trans Canada as completely unacceptable based on FFA’s own standards.

    • Alex – Agreed. Transcanada shouldn’t be using FFA’s logo in keeping with FFA’s policy of not promoting products or services, or in this case the impression of their support of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. What we don’t know with certainty is did the FFA approve the use of their logo or not. I have serious doubts they did.

      However, one must remember many, many agriculture landowners have no problem with the construction of the pipeline and have signed easements to the satisfaction of the land owners. Many of these wish to remain silent and do not wish to be dragged into controversy or pitted against their neighbors. We only hear about a few vocal critics. I know this because I had a lengthy conversation with a landowner who joined other landowners in a legal review of the easement north of Ericson who all had signed an easement on the original route after their due diligent legal review. I suspect there are many others along the route who have done the same.

  15. Sorry to see your seal on TransCanada’s business cards. Understand why you accept their funding, but wish you wouldn’t let them “use” your organization. They are a threat to agriculture.

  16. Randy Denius loves to spread all sorts of misinformation about me and Bold online.

    Just want to make sure folks at FFA know that I did wear my father-in-laws jacket to a State Dept meeting in Nebraska. He asked me to wear it for him since he could not go to the meeting and he was the president in Broken Bow when he was a kid. I wore the jacket to honor him, to honor the Kleeb’s legacy of farming and ranching and to show my respect for landowners. He nor I knew as a non-FFA member that I could not wear a family member’s jacket.

    Once an older FFA member came up to me at the hearing and said something I respectfully took the jacket off. However, the NE GOP and AFP and extreme blogs keep portraying this as something its not and that is a shame, but says more about them than anything else.

    We keep fighting to protect our land and water from TransCanada’s risky pipeline. And just like Coach Osborne said no more ads from TransCanada in the football stadium, we are asking FFA to do the same. Separate your group from TransCanada.

  17. Not much changes but nothing is ever exactly the same. Truth is when I was an FFA member 45 years ago they had already drank from the Corporate well. This is a long time to have been drinking polluted water. It appears the devil got the sin laden soul of the FFA. Does not take much money to re-write ethics. tsk,tsk,tsk.

  18. FFA is a part of all us country kids’ memories and the life we led as we grew up.

    It is a real shame to see that it has sold the use of the logo to a company that has bullied farmers and continues to lie about what it does.

    A correction: you say, “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.” This pipeline will almost certainly turn out to be a link in the export process, which means that while Canadian forests are torn up and this particularly nasty crude is spilled in the USA, somewhere else will be getting the benefit. Why not examine that issue, rather than just repeat what the corporate “communications” department prints?

  19. I am sorry to see that an American FFA program can be swayed by money like our politicians, cities, counties and organizations that are being used by TransCanada to further their efforts to put their dirty oil pipeline through America. They want to put the pipeline over our precious water supply. our important farmland and water with no regard for the fact that it will leak and very possibly totally ruin our land and water.
    FFA please do not fall victim to the use of the almighty dollar for the sake of greed of a foreign company. Stand up and do what is right and patrotic as an American and your fellow farmers and just say NO to TransCanadas money.

    • Philip K. Verleger makes many assertions in the article but doesn’t provide any hard evidence or references to support his claims. The trade impact for this resource from Canada is estimated at 4 billion dollars is how I interpret it. He spins it as a scheme to fleece farmers. It’s a thing called supply & demand. The article is one man’s opinion and appears to have a healthy dose of spin on the facts.

      Here is the opinion of Nebraska’s foremost expert on the impact to the Ogallala aquifer. Jim Goeke is a research hydrogeologist and professor emeritus in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It appears his 40 years’ experience studying the Ogallala aquifer carries no weight in the debate.

      http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/article_40586032-0597-5375-815a-8f91284a5fbf.html

  20. From Randy Denius: “They focus on a few pipeline leaks without doing the math, which is 0.00009% of all the barrels of oil shipped via pipeline in the last 30 years. None have had any lasting environmental impact.” –Randy, you failed to mention the Kalamazoo spill of tarsands in the Enbridge pipe, and a river which so far, after nearly 2 yrs and something like $700M spent, has not, and cannot, be cleaned enough to be considered safe.

    From Alex McKiernan: “FFA specifically stated above that ‘Even when we enter into agreements such as this one, we do not promote their products or
    services,…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.’

    I think that FFA should recognize that when they allow their logo to be included on official business cards carried by Trans Canada employees, they most certainly give the impression that FFA supports Trans Canada’s agenda. Although they have not formally endorsed Trans Canada’s positions, the implication is obvious, undeniable and clearly contrary to FFA’s official position on advocacy.” –I agree wholeheartedly with Alex.

    When even the U of NE decided not to air the ads in the stadium, it sent a clear message that the $$ was not as important as remaining impartial and standing in support of Nebraskans.

    I find it disappointing, and even disgusting, that TransCanada would even try to manipulate opinion by engaging in this type of “purchasing loyalty”. The very nature of their project will most certainly endanger our water and farmland which the FFA is pledging to help young farmers be stewards of now and in the future. TransCanada’s own statements have noted they expect the pipe to leak.

    Please, end your affiliation with this company. Do not let your fine organization be forever tainted by seeming to endorse a private, for-profit, corporation that may affect your futures in ways difficult to comprehend.

  21. Also per Randy Denius: “Many of these wish to remain silent and do not wish to be dragged into controversy or pitted against their neighbors. We only hear about a few vocal critics.” —-There are more than just a few, Randy. There is a reason many of those who signed cannot speak

    Please go to the NE Legislature’s website where you can read testimony from landowners who were unable to discuss the “agreements” they felt they had to make. This was NOT necessarily their wish; they were bound by legal agreements NOT to speak of their dealings with TransCanada.

    FFA: We don’t think you would wish to support that kind of deal.

  22. So are you teaching the kids its OK to look the other way as long as they are well paid to do so? And that it is acceptable for people to destroy the environment as long as they have the money do a few nice things to make up for it? No matter how you try to white wash it I think your ethic’s stink!
    You’r all wrong if you believe it’s just Bold or Jane Kleeb causing trouble with Trans Canada. All tho she is doing a mighty fine job making sure TC can’t pull the wool over every ones eyes. There are many other groups in Nebraska and a crossed the US working to protect Nebraska and their own state from the harm that will come with this pipeline. Citizens from all walks of life, all ages, political backgrounds, even many who never got involved much with issues before are working to stop Trans Canada from doing such a stupid thing. They are not looking the other way!
    It shouldn’t even be questioned if Future Farmers of America standing with us. I can’t think of any reason good enough for future land owners and stake holders in our aquifer to be sitting on the sidelines. For their own benefit and self protection they should be involved. Not told by their organization its best to be neutral or we will have to give the money back.

  23. I don’t represent Bold Nebraska. I spoke to your marketing director. Perhaps this sad excuse for dialog is his response. As a farmland owner in Nebraska, and a local FFA supporter…I must demand that you stop this insult to an overall solid program that I support. They are using you as a tool. As for any future funding from our farm’s pocket to FFA…unless you change…you can forget it.

  24. Part of your logo says living to serve.I think you lie when you say that.I think money means more than the hard working ranchers,farmers, and people of Nebraska whos land and the tarsands, eminent domain are at such high risk.You are giving the impression that you dont care and that greed is more important.You deserve the bad name you are getting if you care and want to clean up your image than drop the pipeline and stand with the people of Nebraska! Have the guts and brains and grow a backbone and stand up to the pipeline who is a huge risk taker and bully to innocent hard working people and drop them!!!

  25. Seriously, is this the kind of lesson you want to teach your young farmers and ranchers of the future? That if some foreign multi-national company comes to town with a million or two, pocket the money, and ask no “real” questions about the company’s motives, tactics and record. Perhaps this is an opportunity for a “teaching moment” for the national leaders of FFA. Please re-examine your affiliation with this corporation and do the right thing.

  26. Makes me wonder who the fool was that accepted the rather large donation at the Nat’l FFA office? Bet it would be a differant story if it wasn’t the all mighty million dollar love me donation….hmmm. Someone’s gonna burn in hell besides TC.

  27. From the FFA webpage–
    The FFA Creed

    Creed Resources

    ​Printable version of the current creed.
    Version valid prior to the 38th convention.
    Version valid from the 38th through the 63rd conventions.
    Spanish version of the current creed.

    I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

    I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

    I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

    I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

    I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

    The creed was written by E. M. Tiffany, and adopted at the 3rd National Convention of the FFA. It was revised at the 38th Convention and the 63rd Convention.

  28. Disappointing that the FFA has let money sway them rather than actions. TransCanada’s treatment of landowners and people in the states they cross in general should have been telling to you.

    But money talk when it comes to you, just like lobbying in Washington I guess.

    ” FFA is not in a position to evaluate and take sides in these disputes.”

    That is a dishonest cop-out.

  29. If the US had tried to give that land to Exxon-Mobil there’d have been a hue and cry that would have stopped it dead in it’s tracks. This is the nature of “free trade” laws. Namely, that they’re a scam designed so people who want to steal land can… even if not in their own country.

    Wait and see. There will be giveaways to Us companies in Canada too, and likewise between both Canada and the US and other countries.

    It’s just a big shell game. Stand up and don’t let it happen.

    Let your legislators know that if they weren’t representing you when they approved “deals” (dirty, every one of them) then as far as you’re concerned the deals aren’t legitimate.

    That’s the kind of thinking they’re really afraid of, or didn’t you notice how a lot of the “anti terrorist” stuff has meanings that are way too broad?

    • I am a farmer/rancher in South Central Montana. I believe oil / gas exploration and production is something we should embrace for our country’s benefit. We just dealt with an oil company and had a well drilled on our ranch. It turned out not to be produceable, but the company and the people were very good to deal with. We are reseeded and reclaimed PLUS we made enough money on the surface and use and lease to pay off our ranch. I believe the Keystone Pipeline would benefit our country and keep people supplied with cheaper fuels. Oil companies have stringent ecological standards that I think ranchers would be impressed with if they took the time to understand what the scenario would be….I know I was. The standards they adhere to are governed by both Federal and State statutes.

      Every day farmers/ranchers use the resources God gave us…why shouldn’t we help out the oil companies get the resources under the ground? There are safe procedures, and natural “fracking” materials such as flax seed, and sand that are safe for the environment. There is pre and post testing of water sources….

      The farmers and ranchers that are not in favor of the pipeline must be doing okay financially. Oil companies pay for the surface damages and reclaim when the pipeline is buried so that it looks better than it did before. I’m not understanding the criticisms. I have dealt with the oil companies, and I am proud to help out our country get the resources under the ground.

      I also did not get that the FFA supported the pipeline from the articles, but I think farmers and ranchers should! Many oil companies support many different kinds of organizations….there is nothing wrong with that.

    • We had an oil well on our ranch and our water is still clean :) You need to understand the technology and testing that goes on. It is very good. We need to deal with facts. Today oil and g as exploration is done in a very different way than in the past. I believe pipelines are safe and provide a necessary service to keep our cost of fuels as low as possible.

  30. I like the FFA am not going to make any comments about supporting the pipeline or not but if it is true that employees are using business cards with the FFA logo on them that needs to be looked at seriously. FFA has in the past allowed business supporters to use the FFA logo on various print materials along with the words “proud to support the FFA”. That is a little different than printing on business cards. FFA must have a corporate engagement policy that looks at the institutional risks of accepting money no matter how much from an organization or individual. What if Playboy sent the FFA a check for $2 million? I am sure they would not just accept it without looking into the risks of being associated with such an organization.

  31. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems
    of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

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