Alumnus helps make Minnesota’s first ag license plate a reality

It took several years, but Minnesota now has an agricultural license plate that will benefit the state’s 4-H and FFA programs, thanks in part to a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumnus.

The agricultural license plate was one of three specialty plates approved by the state’s 2021 Legislature as part of an omnibus transportation package.

Patrice Bailey (’01 MS agricultural education and studies), assistant agricultural commissioner for the State of Minnesota, was responsible for seeing the plate’s design through completion. In August 2021, a contest was announced, asking the state’s youth to submit designs for the new agricultural license plate. From nearly 100 submissions, Bailey led a group in choosing various aspects to incorporate into the final plate design.

With a passion for advocating for minority populations involved in the agricultural field, Bailey knew it was important for the license plate to represent the diversity of Minnesota’s farmers.

“We have to look beyond today. As baby boomers are retiring and more diverse farmers look to get into the field, we wanted people to be able to identify with the plate,” Bailey says.

The final license plate features a pair of hands holding a mound of soil with a seedling – a nod to a phrase in the 4-H pledge, “my hands to larger service.” The rising sun in the background represents a “token of a new era in agriculture,” honored in FFA ceremonies.

The specialty plates became available for purchase at the end of February. A portion of proceeds generated from the sale of these plates will help support Minnesota’s 4-H and FFA programs.

“As an Iowa State alum who was born and raised in Harlem, it’s a big deal to be able to see these plates on different cars,” Bailey says. “They send the message that even if you aren’t a farmer or if you don’t have agricultural land, you can still support youth involved in our agriculture programs through purchasing these specialty plates.”