USDA Launches New Website for New Farmers and Ranchers

#NewFarmers_KidField

Farmers work hard. They work to produce food that will eventually be on our dinner plate, while dealing with unpredictable weather, long hours and countless risks. New farmers face more obstacles with starting their operations with acquiring land, equipment and capital as well as learning about regulations and insurance policies.

With these new challenges, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes to guide the next generation of farmers for their future careers. As FFA members are also preparing to be future leaders in the industry, USDA’s New Farmers website could be used as a valuable resource. Continue reading

ICAL 2014: Days 1-3 in Japan

Editor’s Note: The International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program travels overseas to learn about global agriculture and international marketing. The group of 12 Collegiate FFA members departed the U.S. on May 20 for a 10-day tour of Japan where they engaged U.S. Embassy officials and government leaders; toured feed mills, animal markets, small farms and livestock operations; and toured food processing plants, among other activities. ICAL 2014 is made possible through support from The Grains Foundation.

Day 1 – We’re in Japan!

The ICAL 2014 group prior to departure.

The ICAL 2014 group prior to departure.

Our flight went really well. It was about 12-hours and during the flight we flew over the Alaskan Islands, which was pretty cool! We were on one of United Airlines’ new planes called the Dreamliner and it was phenomenal. Even the food was tasty!

We met Tommy Hamamoto, Director of the US Grains Council in Japan, at the airport and drove about 1-hr to Tokyo from Narita. It was rainy and cloudy, which seems to be a common trend here in Japan.

We drove past Disneyland, Tokyo and over a couple of waterways that led to the Pacific Ocean. It’s strange to think that we’re now on the opposite side of the ocean from the U.S. Continue reading

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FFA Link: Your Way to Career Success

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Network with industry leaders and young professionals with new FFALink

By Hannah Kleckner, newsroom and media relations intern

LOUISVILLE – As a young professional and FFA member, a career within the agriculture industry may be in your not-so-distant future. It’s no secret, though, that landing an actual job isn’t always an easy process. But fear not; if a “connection to success” is what you’re looking for, FFA Link is here to help.

FFA Link is a newly established exclusive group of college students and young professionals ready to connect their passion for agriculture with real-world career skills.

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Intern Insight: On the Job Opportunities

Each summer, the National FFA Organization and its supporters offer internship opportunities for college students looking to gain experience in various roles. It’s a great fit for students looking to grow professionally in numerous areas while boosting their future qualifications. This summer, we’ll offer a chance for several of those interns to journal their experiences here in Intern Insight. This is the second entry from Ellen Reeder, a corporate communications intern for John Deere.

Ellen Reeder

Ellen Reeder

Last week, I spent several days out of the office traveling for my internship.

My first out of office visit was to a John Deere dealership in Dixon, Ill. I grew up going to the John Deere dealership in my hometown, but I was always the errand girl. Being the errand girl means one thing: something needs fixed and you’d better not waste any time. That consequently meant that I was never able to actually ask any questions of our dealer.

Last week, I got to sit down for a roundtable discussion with two other interns, a dealer, and a territory manager. I asked questions until I was blue in the face. Continue reading

Intern Insights: Week 7 With Jon

Each summer, the National FFA Organization offers internship opportunities for college students looking to gain experience in various roles. It’s a great fit for students looking to grow professionally in numerous areas while boosting their future qualifications. This summer, we’ll offer a chance for several of those interns to journal their experiences here in Intern Insight.

J_CalhounZip. Zero. Zilch.

We are done.

New Century Farmer 2013 is in the books – a surreal statement that has yet to really sink in with us here at the National FFA Organization. It seemed like yesterday when I was starting here in Indianapolis and was being briefed on all that we had to do for New Century Farmer.

Des Moines was all too good to us and words cannot describe the fantastic New Century Farmer class of 2013. I am still blown away by the size and scale of operations that these folks are running at my age, or even younger. It’s rather amazing in my book that these students are able to attend and excel in school as a full-time student, manage their farm operations, and are still able to join us for a week in Iowa to grow professionally. Continue reading

Intern Insight: Nathan’s “Stage Crew”

Each summer, the National FFA Organization offers internship opportunities for college students looking to gain experience in various roles. It’s a great fit for students looking to grow professionally in numerous areas while boosting their future qualifications. This summer, we’ll offer a chance for several of those interns to journal their experiences here in Intern Insight.

N_DaningerIt never occurred to me that at the end of every American Degree, proficiency, and agriscience fair project, there is a real, live person reviewing it. This summer has been my chance to hear the stories of the people who work on the other side of FFA. Though they may not wear the blue jacket, they certainly make an impact on our organization. Those who work behind the scenes at FFA may be largely faceless to the average member, but they make the events that happen possible. People with names like Rebecca, Marilyn, Jenna, Kiesto, and Blaze take the vision of FFA and turn it into reality.

On a day-to-day basis I work with State Officer Programs under Shane Jacques. I engage sponsors in conferences, help prepare for State Presidents’ Conference, and generally do small things that contribute to the larger picture of State Officer resources. As I work at the center, I see more and more how FFA is the contributions of many people, over decades, who have realized a million small goals. These goals form the collage of our organization. FFA employees are kind of like the stage crew at a Lady Gaga concert. They aren’t the focus of attention, but they sure make a difference in how the show turns out. Continue reading

Intern Insights: Ellen Reeder, John Deere

Each summer, the National FFA Organization and its supporters offer internship opportunities for college students looking to gain experience in various roles. It’s a great fit for students looking to grow professionally in numerous areas while boosting their future qualifications. This summer, we’ll offer a chance for several of those interns to journal their experiences here in Intern Insight. This week’s entry comes from Ellen Reeder, Corporate Communications Intern at John Deere.

I grew up in a family where jackets are blue, trucks are red, and tractors are green. Agriculture is our livelihood, hard work builds character, and supporting each other creates success.

Ellen Reeder

I guess you could say that I learned everything I need to know at the kitchen table. I learned that things work better when they’re passed down, that you’d better clean your plate, and that trying new things is a good idea.
When I think back to my time as an FFA member, my days growing up on a family farm, and those lessons I learned at the kitchen table; I am eternally grateful. It’s these lessons and reminders that have helped me to create career success as a college student.

I’m now six weeks into my second internship with John Deere. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned since last summer, but it’s those three lessons I learned at my family’s kitchen table that remind me of what’s important.

Lesson One: Things work better when they’re passed down. Continue reading

Intern Insight: Weeks 4-5 With Jon

Each summer, the National FFA Organization offers internship opportunities for college students looking to gain experience in various roles. It’s a great fit for students looking to grow professionally in numerous areas while boosting their future qualifications. This summer, we’ll offer a chance for several of those interns to journal their experiences here in Intern Insight.

Jon C. Calhoun – Week 4 – 7/10/13

J_CalhounWith the New Century Farmer Conference just around the corner, we here at National FFA Organization in Indianapolis are in full-swing working out all the logistics. Whether it is the National FFA Convention & Expo, the New Century Farmer Conference, or the Washington Leadership Conference, the amount of preparation work, planning, hustle and bustle here is always amazing to me. This definitely isn’t a one man show; it takes an army to put on any type of event put on for some of the brightest and best in the agriculture industry. And I could not be more excited about it!

As part of Collegiate FFA Programs, we have a pretty stellar crew to work with. Between Ryan, Lindsey, Jenna, and myself, there are not too many dull moments in the office. Whether it is the pranks, hysterical YouTube videos, daily work tasks, meetings, or getting ready for travels, these are simply some good people. Oddly enough, our geographic reach is very similar with two of us being from the West Coast and two others from Ohio, but our working habits are very diverse. We all came from different facets of agriculture and ways of life, that is apparent – but this works in our favor when it comes to projects and utilizing the skill sets of one another. The leadership, charisma, and positivity of this group is just, plain, awesome.

Continue reading

Intern Insight: Weeks 2-3 With Jon

Each summer, the National FFA Organization offers internship opportunities for college students looking to gain experience in various roles. It’s a great fit for students looking to grow professionally in numerous areas while boosting their future qualifications. This summer, we’ll offer a chance for several of those interns to journal their experiences here in Intern Insight.

Jon C. Calhoun: Week 2

J_CalhounIt is still hard to believe that the second week has already passed us by out here in Indianapolis and that I have moved from Washington, D.C. into the mighty Midwest! Now that the dust has settled and I am starting understand the ins and outs of the office, I have met some amazing people inside and out of the headquarters, as well as diving into real and worthwhile projects.

As we near the break of summer, that means it is time for National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador interviews and selection process. Through phone interviews, we heard from all the applicants in less than one week and I was certainly blown away – their dedication, belief in the industry, and fueled passion to strive for something greater than themselves was truly moving and inspirational.

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2013 New Century Farmer Conference Starts July 14 in Des Moines

Fifty students have been selected to attend the National FFA Organization’s 2013 New Century Farmer Conference July 14-20 in Des Moines, Iowa.

FFA members selected for this year’s conference represent 23 U.S. states:The conference helps prepare FFA members committed to careers in production agriculture by providing them specialized training in entrepreneurial leadership, practical knowledge, vision, global perspective and personal growth.

 ALABAMA: Brady Peek of Elkmont

CALIFORNIA: Thomas Fantozzi of Patterson, Jeffrey Quaglino of Arroyo Grande and Lauren Friend of Tulare

COLORADO: Preston Talbert of Wray

DELAWARE: Jake Jones of Milford

FLORIDA: Andrew Land of Live Oak

Continue reading