The trend in the willows.

Finding ways to use renewable resources is the name of the game these days. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill FFA in Verona, N.Y., became part of this movement with their Willow Biomass Project.

The chapter’s environmental resources committee contacted Larry Smart of Cornell University to ask for his advice about a test plot for the project. FFA members then got to work under the tutelage of both Cornell University and the Syracuse University School of Environmental Science and Forestry.

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Changing Conversations

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By Kelsey Kennedy

Thursday morning, a meeting room at the Indiana Convention Center was full of FFA members, staff and members of Connecting cultures in FFA the Native American community. They had traveled from all over the country to discuss the future of Native American students in FFA and how to help other FFA members learn more about their culture. While Flores and Moore expected around 30 people to come, more than 100 people made their way to the round table over the course of the morning.

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Celebrating Cultures

By Kelsey Kennedy

Dazzling colors, swirling flutes and Native American dance took over the national convention stage after the last opening session on Wednesday night. The award-winning Native American musical group Brulé performed while dressed in traditional regalia. For Paul LaRouche, a member of the Lower Brule Sioux tribe and the founder of Brulé, their performance at national convention was “combination outreach, combination education and part rock concert.”

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Connecting Cultures in FFA

Brule performance, 2011 National FFA Convention

By Kelsey Kennedy

For Josh Moore, it all started his senior year of high school with an essay contest sponsored by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, an organization that promotes the conservation, development and use of agricultural resources for Native Americans. Soon, Moore was elected state vice president of the Arizona FFA association and was traveling all over the country to spread his message: Native Americans and their contributions to agriculture are important and these students need something like FFA in their lives.

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Gone fishin’.

Have you ever wondered how a fish hatchery works? Mount Baker FFA in Deming, Wash., is well versed in the subject after raising steelhead trout in a hatchery and then releasing them.

The steelhead trout is similar to a salmon in that it migrates to sea as a juvenile and returns to fresh water as an adult to spawn. Pacific salmon die following spawning, but the steelhead trout may spawn more than once and return to the water source after each spawning.

Twenty-two FFA members helped manage the McKinnon Hatchery for six months, feeding the fish, calculating water flow to the hatchery, recording density ratios and water quality, and weighing the fish to calculate their food-to-weight ratio.

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Turkey Creek Poultry Farm

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans which capitalize on them. Awards are available at the chapter, state and national levels.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

All Agri-Entrepreneurship Award applicants will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or national winner. Ten National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award winners are selected annually. Each winner receives a $1,000 award and is recognized onstage during the National FFA Convention. The winners’ projects are also featured in a booth at the National FFA Agricultural Career Show. The winners’ FFA chapters also receive a $500 grant to help them promote entrepreneurship in their agriculture programs.

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Here is a profile on one of this year’s 10 winners…

Name: Wesley Davis
Age:
17
Chapter:
Mason County Vocational FFA
Parents:
Sonya and Danny Davis
Advisor:
Samuel Nibert

Wesley Davis of Point Pleasant, Va., has always loved animals. In fact, for a few years, he and his family showed market lambs and rabbits. But when that ended, he found he missed raising animals – until he visited his local county fair. He bought a small, black chicken to raise. That single chicken soon led to the creation of Turkey Creek Poultry Farm, a successful business venture for Davis.

Davis attained nine more chickens and found himself dealing with a surplus of eggs, which he began selling in his community. Demand for his eggs grew quickly.

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Shane’s Produce

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans which capitalize on them. Awards are available at the chapter, state and national levels.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

All Agri-Entrepreneurship Award applicants will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or national winner. Ten National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award winners are selected annually. Each winner receives a $1,000 award and is recognized onstage during the National FFA Convention. The winners’ projects are also featured in a booth at the National FFA Agricultural Career Show. The winners’ FFA chapters also receive a $500 grant to help them promote entrepreneurship in their agriculture programs.

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Here is a profile on one of this year’s 10 winners…

Name: Shane Greenwell
Age:
16
Chapter:
Spencer County FFA
Parents: Dwight and Angie Greenwell
Advisor: Darryl Matherly

Shane Greenwell of Taylorsville, Ky., knew he wanted a supervised agricultural experience that involved fruits and vegetables but he also knew he wanted to do something that was unique and different.

Accompanying his parents to the local grocery store, he realized that tomatoes, cucumbers and other standard garden crops were plentiful. Trying to find his niche, he continued to research and soon came upon his idea – canary melons. With a unique taste, this melon is a cross between a honeydew and cantaloupe that one doesn’t often see in the store. It held just the right appeal for Greenwell.

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Paying respect to the past.

Shields Valley FFA in Clyde Park, Mont., sought to help people in their community who may not have had the financial resources to provide proper grave markers for their deceased loved ones.

FFA members found out the names of 21 deceased citizens without grave markers and had a local sign company create metal plates to attach to cement headstones. The senior FFA members found scrap wood and built five forms to use for the headstones. They coated the wooden forms with oil so the cement would loosen easily. The students mixed each bag of concrete, and some students worked on smoothing the surfaces of the headstones.

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Minerdale Farm Farrow to Finish

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans which capitalize on them. Awards are available at the chapter, state and national levels.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

All Agri-Entrepreneurship Award applicants will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or national winner. Ten National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award winners are selected annually. Each winner receives a $1,000 award and is recognized onstage during the National FFA Convention. The winners’ projects are also featured in a booth at the National FFA Agricultural Career Show. The winners’ FFA chapters also receive a $500 grant to help them promote entrepreneurship in their agriculture programs.

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Here is a profile on one of this year’s 10 winners…

Name: Raymond James
Age:
18
Chapter:
Walton FFA
Parents: Mark James and Tina Miner-James
Advisor:
Tina Miner-James and Penney Tweedie

Raymond James of Afton, N.Y., has always been active in the local 4-H program. But over the past few years, he noticed that it was difficult to find quality market hogs for show and sale. As the years progressed, he saw the cost for piglets continue to increase, making it difficult to afford. To help alleviate the issue of finding a quality piglet in February, he decided to farrow piglets on his family farm and Minerdale Farm Farrow to Finish was created.

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Jason’s Free Range Poultry

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans which capitalize on them. Awards are available at the chapter, state and national levels.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

All Agri-Entrepreneurship Award applicants will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or national winner. Ten National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award winners are selected annually. Each winner receives a $1,000 award and is recognized onstage during the National FFA Convention. The winners’ projects are also featured in a booth at the National FFA Agricultural Career Show. The winners’ FFA chapters also receive a $500 grant to help them promote entrepreneurship in their agriculture programs.

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Here is a profile on one of this year’s 10 winners…

Name: Jason Mendes
Age: 17
Chapter: Modesto FFA
Parents: John and Heidi Mendes
Advisor: Scott Layne

When Jason Mendes watched Food Inc. in his history class during his sophomore year, it made him stop and think. Seeing the need for more organically produced agriculture products, he asked his advisor what it would take to launch a free-range poultry project. After spending much time researching regulations and meeting with the Modesto Junior College poultry instructor, Mendes realized it would be possible and very popular, as many people were interested in all-natural, free-range birds.

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