SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill that will make it easier for members of 4H and FFA to participate in the Illinois State Fair without fear it’ll affect their school work.

The bill, House Bill 3814, will allow FFA and 4H students to be excused from school for such events. The idea is that the students have worked all year and should be able to show their exhibits without worries that their coursework will be impacted.

It’s become an issue over the years as school districts are starting earlier and earlier in August and overlapping with the state fair.

The new law amends the state’s School Code to allow students who miss traditional classroom days for events in work-based learning programs to have those events counted towards overall school attendance. The student’s parent or legal guardian are to be responsible for obtaining assignments missed while the student was participating in an eligible program.

In 2022, Pritzker announced all students enrolled in an agriculture class would have their FFA dues paid by the state, resulting in an increase in membership from 23,000 to over 41,000 participants., his office said.

“Agriculture is our number one industry, and it’s the pride of Illinois. But in order to ensure its prosperous future, we must invest in the next generation of agricultural leaders,” the governor said. “House Bill 3814 will allow students attending agricultural learning events to count that towards their school attendance. These learning opportunities cultivate professional development and responsibility in our youth, and their hands-on experiences ought to count towards their education.

“This new law is a major win not just for our students—but for the future of our agriculture industry,” said Pritzker.