Emblazoned with the words, “Supporting Agriculture for All,” the design of Minnesota’s first-ever farm-themed specialty license plate was unveiled in February 2022 and has taken off since then. With more than 2,300 registered for passenger-class vehicles and a little over a dozen on motorcycles last year, the specialty plates benefit the Minnesota FFA Foundation and Minnesota 4-H through the state Extension Service.
“We’re excited to have this new license plate that highlights the diversity of Minnesota’s ag economy,” said Thom Petersen, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, at the time of the plate’s unveiling. “This is an opportunity for Minnesotans to show their commitment to agriculture while supporting our young leaders in FFA and 4-H.”
The cost for the plate from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services is $15.50, plus a minimum $20 contribution, which is due when the plate is purchased and each year afterward at vehicle registration renewal.
Each of the youth organizations gets an even split of the proceeds. The monies are intended to be used to broaden and deepen young people’s knowledge and involvement in agriculture so that they act on their ability as agricultural learners, leaders, innovators, global citizens and agents of change.
Agricultural youth played a significant role in creating the design. It was inspired through a contest of roughly 100 sketches from 4-H’ers and FFA members, ultimately drawing upon imagery from both organizations.
“The hands holding seedlings symbolize the 4-H pledge of ‘my hands to larger service,’ while the rising sun is a ‘token of a new era in agriculture’ honored in FFA ceremonies,” the Minnesota FFA Foundation explained on its website.
Approval for the plate was passed by state lawmakers in 2021.
“We all need food, whether it’s animal-based or plant-based. And we want young people to really be at the forefront and to be thinking about agriculture as a field that they can go into in the future, and really make a change,” Jennifer Skuza, associate dean for Youth Development at University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota 4-H State Director, told TV news outlet KARE11.
According a 2022 report by Farm Progress, more than a decade had gone by since the idea of creating such a plate was raised with state lawmakers. In March 2011, former state Sen. Gary Kubly of Granite Falls authored a bill that sought to create a special license plate to represent Minnesota farmers.
The outlet noted that connecting it to provide support of 4-H and FFA programs was then proposed in 2018 legislation.
“Agriculture is woven into 4-H’s past, present and future, and it’s open to all youth in Minnesota. We plan to broaden and deepen young people’s knowledge and involvement in agriculture so that they act on their ability as agricultural learners, leaders, innovators, global citizens and agents of change,” Skuza said.
This is part of a state-by-state series from AGDAILY that highlights agriculture-themed license plates across the nation. Read more articles from the series here.