Zero. That's the funding amount Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed for agriculture education.
More than 1,000 FFA members were at the statehouse Tuesday meeting with legislators and fighting for funding. Without that funding, Ag education leaders say, important programs will be eliminated.
Some of our state's future farmers, engineers, biologists, and more have been put on a path towards agriculture by what they've learned in school.
"If I had not joined an agriculture class or the FFA organization, my bets are pretty good I probably would not have gone into the agriculture industry as a career choice," said Kade Hill, Illinois FFA state president.
But agriculture education is on the chopping block.
In recent years, state funding has been whittled down to just $1.8 million from the board of education's recommended $3 million.
Now Governor Rauner wants to eliminate funding altogether.
"That provides so many things for Ag education programs in Illinois such as mechanics labs, computers that students use," said Hill.
"It helps fund our greenhouse and our transportation. Right now we are waiting for our board to tell us if we will have transportation to go to state convention in June and for next school year," said Kaitlan Dinges, New Berlin FFA advisor.
Some lawmakers say cutting Ag education funding could deeply affect the future of our state.
"They're the ones that are going to go to college and get a degree that will somehow help them in agriculture. They may come back to the family farm or they may go farm somewhere else, but the time to spark their interest is one they're youth and without that program, there will be no spark of interest," said Rep. Sue Scherer.
Now FFA hopes sharing its message with legislators will encourage them to fight for Ag education funding too.
"The FFA truly helps them grow as leaders. So our message is to look at them and what it's done and that's the story we want to continue to be able to tell," said John Edgar, assistant director of the Illinois FFA Center.
Illinois FFA says zero funding would force it to also eliminate the Ag in the classroom program, and curriculum resources and professional development opportunities for teachers.