“With $1,500 to put toward their education, students will be better prepared to make a meaningful contribution that benefits themselves, their rural hometowns and the future of the agricultural industry,” said Elizabeth Vancil, Monsanto customer advocacy outreach manager.
About 25,000 agricultural jobs go unfilled each year due to the lack of qualified applicants. With a growing population the agricultural community needs talented, driven and passionate youth willing to commit to agriculture.
Monsanto recognizes and supports the role farmers play in the future of agriculture, so each Grow Ag Leaders applicant must have three farmers endorse his or her application. Eligible farmers can also help generate student interest in agricultural careers by spreading the word about this scholarship opportunity to eligible students in their communities and families.
America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is currently available in 36 Crop Reporting Districts in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Carolina. You can find a complete list of the 264 counties in the districts at AmericasFarmers.com.
Students interested in applying should visit the National FFA Organization to complete the application. Applications are accepted between November 15, 2013 and February 1, 2014. Eligible farmers interested in endorsing a student can also check out the National FFA Organizations website before February 8, 2014.
Rick Pitino told thousands of FFA members from across the country packed into Freedom Hall Wednesday that pressure and problems are good things.
Pitino opened the 2013 National FFA Convention & Expo, an event that in its 86th year has drawn more than 56,000 FFA members from all 50 U.S. states to Louisville for four days. His motivational address focused on the importance of interpersonal communication in achieving career and life success.
During convention, nine general sessions will gather FFA members together at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Students will have countless opportunities to engage exhibitors from more than 450 corporations, organizations and colleges through Friday at the Expo inside the center. Other events will be held at venues downtown, in suburbs and beyond.
News, features and more from the 2013 National FFA Convention & Expo will be published on FFA.org and on Twitter at #igniteFFA. Portions of the event are being streamed live on iHigh.com. The convention ends Saturday after national delegates representing FFA in all 50 states elect a new, six-member National FFA Officer team for 2013-14.
Analysts forecast that the world’s population will grow to 9 billion people by 2050. With global needs today to fight hunger and prepare for the expected population explosion, the agriculture industry needs educated, skilled and passionate people dedicated to sustainability.
Students are answering that call, evidenced by an explosion in FFA membership throughout the U.S, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the past year.
Membership in FFA today stands at 579,678 students in grades seven through 12. More than 22,300 new students joined FFA during the 2012-13 school year. The number of new, local FFA chapters throughout the country has grew to 7,570.
Founded in 1928, the National FFA Organization’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Today is National Teach Ag Day. One day out of 365 to celebrate school-based agricultural education and to encourage agricultural education advocates to share with others the great career opportunities in agricultural education.
The national ag holiday is for anyone who wants to share the story of agricultural education’s importance and effectiveness in the United States and also encourage students to consider careers as agricultural educators. Anyone who want to participate can find a variety of resources to help them talk about agricultural education at naae.org/teachag.
Many FFA chapters and state FFA organizations will host activities including capitol rallies, special lessons, community activities and much more. The Teach Ag website is a clearinghouse of resources to help teachers and advocates. These free resources include a video, suggested teaching activities, games and giveaway items.
Help celebrate the day and tune in to the celebration which will be streamed live from 1-3pm eastern. And don’t forget to participate via social media. On Twitter follow @Teach_Ag and use the hashtag #taglive13. You can also checkout their Facebook page.
It’s possibly one of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time … Dodge Ram Trucks’ spot featuring the voice of Paul Harvey, reading in his characteristic way the moving poem, “So God Made a Farmer,” set to stirring images of the people who make possible our daily bread (and milk and meat and fuel). At the recent National Farm Machinery Show, Case IH’s Dan Danford explained his company’s role in their sister company’s memorable commercial.
“It’s been amazing what kind of spotlight this has put on U.S. agriculture,” Dan said, adding that in just a short time, it helped raise $1 million in donations for FFA. He considers it an absolute gift for Case IH to be part of this successful program to highlight the importance of agriculture in 2013, what the company calls The Year of the Farmer. “They included us because of our long relationship with FFA… 65 years as a supporting partner. And we are taking this torch and running with it!”
Dan said there’ll be more to come, including possibly a photo book. And Case IH wants to be a part of it all. “We are working with them to say, ‘What can we do to keep this going?’ Because the more people ask questions, the more they’re going want to know and be involved.”
FFA Week is in full swing as FFA members from across the country take part in activities promoting and past members reminisce about all the opportunities the organization gave them.
The National FFA Organization has been a part of my life since the day I was born. My dad was an ag teacher, so I was raised in the organization. Once I was old enough to zip up my very own FFA jacket I couldn’t wait to take in everything the FFA had to offer. The blue corduroy let a shy girl, who lacked confidence, blossom into a public speaker, leader and advocate for agriculture.
Later in life the National FFA Organization gave me the opportunity to share my passion with my students as a ag teacher. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your students hard work pay off as they walk across the stage to receive their State FFA Degree or an award for a Career Development Event.
Today, the FFA is more to me than just memories. National blue and corn gold bleed through me each day. The FFA Motto of:
Learning to Do
Doing to Learn
Earning to Live
Living to Serve
Is a motto we should all bring into our everyday lives. Everyday is a learning opportunity. Everyday hard work gives us the opportunity to provide for our families. Everyday we should live to serve our friends, family and community.
I was disappointed to find out the video, So God Made An FFA Member, has been removed from YouTube. I hope to get it posted as soon as it is back online.
Joshua Bledsoe was named chief operating officer of the National FFA Organization. Bledsoe will manage major FFA operations and lead the overall execution of the 557,318-member organization’s strategic plan, reporting directly to CEO Dr. Dwight Armstrong.
Bledsoe has previously served as the state agricultural education leader and state FFA advisor for North Carolina and has accumulated 15 years of progressive leadership and management experience within agricultural education. He has been a key member on numerous national and state FFA boards and committees, and is a member of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education, among other professional organizations.
As COO, Bledsoe will lead key FFA organizational units, including education; convention and events management; partner services; information technology; marketing, communications and brand management; and merchandising and customer fulfillment.
As the North Carolina State Agricultural Education Leader, Bledsoe provided leadership and overall coordination for agricultural education within the state. He was charged with leading an 11-member state agricultural education team and ensuring professional development opportunities for teachers. Bledsoe also developed and maintained close working relationships with local, state and national agencies and organizations. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Bledsoe earned both undergraduate and master’s degrees in agricultural education.
Bledsoe will relocate to Indianapolis with his family to begin the new role on Feb. 18.
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) submitted comments on behalf of its members today, Nov. 26, 2012, regarding changes that the DESE have proposed in a new version of the MSIP 5 that will impact CTE courses in high schools. The changes have direct implications on agricultural education and FFA.
The new wording in MSIP 5, in comparison to MSIP 4, does not emphasize CTE and student organizations such as FFA. It is important that the wording be clarified to keep these programs strong in the state of Missouri.
MCA is encouraging all cattlemen and cattlewomen to take action and submit a letter of concern. Comments must be postmarked by Nov. 30, 2012. Send comments to:
Margie Vandeven, Assistant Commissioner Office of Quality Schools
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
P.O. Box 480
In MCA’s call to action they also included a sample letter for people to use. It includes three key points that DESE needs to consider changing before MSIP 5 is finalized. I also encourage you to share your own personal story as to why career and technical education programs like the FFA have made a difference in your life.
This morning I spoke with Mike Deering, Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, about their support for the Missouri FFA and the importance of representatives in Jefferson City to listen to those directly affected by the changes in MSIP 5.
CTE is not limited to just the FFA. It also encompasses Family & Consumer Sciences, Health Sciences, Business & Marketing Education, Trade & Technical, Technology & Special Needs. Can you imagine high school without these programs?
Supporters of CTE need to be aware of the changes that have been proposed that may erode the CTE delivery system in Missouri. Interested groups and individuals would include business and industry along with their trade associations, community leaders, legislators, teachers, administrators, staff, parents and STUDENTS, both current and former. Think about whom in your community should be alerted and asked to take action.
DESE has proposed MSIP 5. This will replace MSIP 4, which has effectively been suspended by the DESE. The MSIP 5 proposal appears to remove the weight given to CTE programs in a school evaluation process and no longer specifically requires 4 program areas to be available with a minimum of 12 credit hours and 20 credit hours as the desirable standard for CTE.
Generate letters objecting to the proposed rule in it’s current form and ask for changes. Send your letters to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Attention: Margie Vandeven, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Quality Schools, P.O. Box480, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480. Be sure to reference the appropriate code of state regulation citation of 5 CSR 20-100.255. Send a copy of your letter to your legislator and follow up with a conversation regarding what is at stake. Comments must be received by Nov. 30, 2012.
The 2012 American Royal runs from Sept.9 – Nov. 17 and is chalk full of events for friends and family to partake in all promoting the wonderful world of agriculture. This event has such a rich history founded on the agricultural industry. In 1899 the very first American Royal took place in a tent at the Kansas City Stockyards as a National Hereford Show. Today, it has evolved into a place where people come to show livestock and horses, attend rodeos and concerts, and even come to taste award-winning barbecue.
The overall purpose for this historic event is, “To provide scholarship, education, awards and competitive learning experiences that reward hard work, leadership skills and agrarian values.”
“As an organization dedicated to youth and education, the American Royal reaches over 20,000 students annually with educational programs and events yearlong through the American Royal Museum, School Tours, Ranch Camp, KALF (Kids Agriculture Learning Fest) and various other programs. In 2011, the American Royal granted over $1,400,000 towards its purpose in the form of scholarships, competitive prize monies and educational awards.”
The past two weeks people from across the country have flocked to Kansas City, Mo. to exhibit their cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. I can’t tell you the last time I have missed showing at the American Royal. I started out there exhibiting cattle as a junior and creating memories with my family. Later as a college student I traveled there cultivating skills while working for others. And now I attend with my husband while promoting and exhibiting our own cattle. Each time developing life-time friendships and building a foundation for our future in the agriculture industry.
It is always inspiring to see our FFA members in their blue coats. Here are Shelby Riley (left) and Brandan Bergdall holding the flags that they presented to start off the 2012 American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers Annual Meeting and AgroNomics – Vision 2013.
I asked both FFA’ers how their convention went since both attended and what they were looking forward to in the next year.
At the conclusion of the 2012 National FFA Convention the new officer team was elected. UF Gators student Clay Sapp was elected to serve as National FFA president. How ’bout them Gators!
“It will be my mission to activate change and growth in the National FFA Organization,” he said. “I plan to develop strong relationships, be a champion of FFA and agricultural education and seek new ways to strengthen student experiences within FFA.”
Joining Sapp on the 2012-13 National FFA Officer team are Kalie Hall of Georgia as national secretary, Joenelle Futrell of Kentucky as Eastern Region vice president, Lindsey Anderson of California as Western Region vice president, Brennan Costello of Nebraska as Central Region vice president and Wiley Bailey as Southern Region vice president.
For the next year, the group will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country to engage top leaders in business, government and education. The national officers will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.
Young agvocates will get some social media training at the 2012 FFA Convention. I’ll be some of them could teach the teachers! What do you think?
FFA members will learn how to apply their technology skills to advocate for agriculture by hosting at social media training during the 85th National FFA Convention and Expo on Monday, Oct. 22.
Two two-hour sessions will teach participants how social media play a role in leadership on a global, national, state and local level. Students will learn more about the need for advocates in agriculture and how they can authentically tell their story using social media.
“Last year’s inaugural social media training resulted in FFA leaders engaging in relevant, meaningful conversations about agriculture and food,” said Shane Jacques, education specialist with the National FFA Organization. “This year’s sessions will focus on developing new leaders who are confident to communicate on behalf of the industry they love.” Continue reading →
The White House this week recognized 12 members and leaders of FFA and 4-H as Champions of Change, a program to honor ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities
“The members of 4-H and FFA are shining examples of the positive change young Americans are bringing across the country, said Jon Carson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement. “Today we are not only celebrating the work of students having an impact on their communities, but we’re also honoring the mentors and teachers who are fostering these leadership skills in the youth of today.”
The honorees were:
Ridge Howell, Checotah, Oklahoma
Jessica McAtamney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jacob Dickey, Champaign, Illinois
Neeta Patel, Princeton, New Jersey
Kea Norrell Boyd, Lansing, Michigan
Bill Jimmerson, Bozeman, Montana
Kaydn Ence, Saint George, Utah
Jordan Paine, Oxford, Nebraska
Chamonix Mejia, Laredo, Texas
Samuel Roberson, Prairie View, Texas
Andrea Kneer-Rice, Frederick County, Maryland
Pete Dreisbach, Hardinsburg, Kentucky
The role of young people involved in agriculture is a true focus for GROWMARK. During their recent annual meeting State FFA Officers from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin and representatives from the Ontario Cooperative Young Leaders spoke to members on the role of young people in agriculture and their future roles in the industry.
I had the chance to talk with Darren Riskedal, State FFA President from Illinios, and Marley Burgess, Ontario Cooperative Young Leader Representative, before they took the stage. You can find their complete interviews below.
GROWMARK also recognized forty-one college students from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with scholarships aimed to promote higher education in agriculture and business. GROWMARK has been supporting college students since the early 1960′s and strives to provide $44,000 in scholarships annually.
The National FFA Organization has announced a first-of-its-kind formation of partnerships to assist its members’ efforts toward career success. Through the Agricultural Career Network (AgCN), FFA will work in collaboration with Career Cruising, a provider of age-appropriate career planners, assessments and other resources; and AgCareers.com. These partnerships will provide valuable tools and assistance for students in their pursuits of more than 300 careers in agriculture.
Launched last December, AgCN is a nationwide system designed to help FFA members document their educational achievements, create robust portfolios and pursue award, scholarship, internship and employment opportunities. The network will provide a database of students who are interested in particular career fields within the industry.
Through the National FFA Organization’s relationship with Career Cruising, members will have easy access to career information within selected fields of interest. Career Cruising will provide online career exploration tools that lead to recommending classwork and hands-on learning opportunities while guiding members along a path tailored to their abilities. With its ccInspire platform, Career Cruising connects individuals to career mentors and employers in their community
The partnership with AgCareers.com will allow members to search for career opportunities within their particular field of study or within a selected geographic area through a very robust job board. By including these tools on AgCN, FFA members will have a convenient home for career exploration. The partnership will continue to provide members with job placement access throughout their postsecondary educations as they pursue internship and career options.
Wrapping up our tour at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, I had the opportunity to chat with one of five agriculture education instructors at Locust Trace, Mr. Todd Harp. He had the students eating out of the palm of his hand as he discussed artificial insemination and quizzed them on reproduction in dairy cattle. This hands-on approach to learning is just one of many things that sets this school appart from other institutions.
Check out my interview with Mr. Harp as he shares his passion for agriculture education and the importance of molding our future agriculturalists. Listen to my interview with Todd here: Interview with Tod Harp
Thank you Alltech for introducing us to Locust Trace AgriScience Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
Locust Trace AgriScience Farm is full of students on the road to a successful career in agriculture. I had the opportunity to sit down with a few of them as they told their story on why they have chosen to attend this state-of-the-art school focused on agriculture.
Meet Camila Modica, Sr. at Locust Trace and served as the chapter FFA president this past year. Listen as she shares her story about beating the odds and how she credits this unique school. Interview with Camila Modica
Meet Danielle Milbern, Jr. at Locust Trace. Check out how Danielle is planning for a future career in agriculture education and what courses she is taking to help prepare her for it. She also would love to do her student teaching at Locust Trace and maybe even teach there in the future. Interview with Danielle Milbern
Meet Travis Mink, Jr. at Locust Trace. I caught up with him as he was leading one of the schools dairy cows in to be bred through artificial insemination. Listen as he shares what sets this school apart from a traditional education. Interview with Travis Mink
Locust Trace AgriScience Farm is the newest career and technical high school in Lexington, Kentucky with energy and environmental being key factors in the facility design and agriculture being the educational focus.
Locust Trace features spacious classrooms with adjoining labs, 6.5 acres for gardening, a state-of-the-art greenhouse with an aquaculture area for raising native fish, a soaring auditorium with a garage door for brining in livestock and machinery, an expansive equine barn and arena and an on-site veterinary clinic.
Students study in one of five programs: Intro to Agriculture, Environmental and Wildlife Science, Agriculture Power Mechanics, Equine and Vet Science, and Small and Large Animal Science.
The school is designed to be net-zero in energy through the use of photovoltaic solar panels and net-zero in waste disposal through the utilization of constructed wetlands. The school is also minimally hooked up to water municipalities. All the rain water is collected from the classroom building and the equine barn/arena to be utilized for all crop irrigation and livestock watering. An on-site well has been accessed to back up the rain water collection system in case of a drought. Sustainable agriculture is a focus in all programs.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Sara Tracy, who serves as the Community Lesion for Locust Trace, Brian Miller, Administrative Dean, and Danielle Milbern, Jr. at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm. They explain what it is like to work for and attend such a unique high school as well as a perspective into the diverse set of opportunities students can take part in.