FFA Week: On the road with Jason Wetzler

Kristy Meyer, a member of the National FFA Organization’s communications team, is in Florida this week with National FFA Vice President Jason Wetzler as he makes visits during National FFA Week. These are stories from his visits in the state. 

Monday, February 17, 2014 

FFA members from the Chipola FFA Federation spent their Presidents Day giving back to the community. Comprised of schools within the Chipola College district, the Chipola FFA Federation strives to support all FFA members through a variety of activities.

On Monday, members lived out the Living to Serve portion of the motto when they worked on completing the Covenant Hospice Yard Angel Project.

“Getting to help someone is really a wonderful experience,” said Faith Downthit, of the Grand Ridge FFA Chapter. The eighth grader said that she would absolutely recommend the opportunity to someone else if they wanted to lend a helping hand. Continue reading

Students use National FFA Week to share value of agricultural education, history of FFA

More than a half-million students in all 50 U.S. states this week will share the importance of agriculture in our daily lives, spread their passion for agriculture and host community-wide events to help others in need.

It’s National FFA Week and a host of activities are planned to raise awareness about the role the National FFA Organization plays in the development of the agriculture industry’s future leaders and the importance of agricultural education. Continue reading

Jason Wetzler: In Japan, communicating is connecting

Editor’s note: This blog by Jason Wetzler, 2013-14 National FFA Western Region Vice President, tells a story of his recent time in Japan with the rest of the National FFA Officer Team. It was originally posted on his personal blog, Life’s Secret Missions.

Jason Wetzler FFA member in Japan with host family 2014The door of the Toyota Prius closed, symbolizing my complete detachment from anything familiar in a country halfway across the world. I didn’t realize it then, but I was now a part of the Komatsu family.

For the next two days it was me, my host brother Takuma, his parents and their little dog “Loco”. The short 20 minute drive to my new home felt like two hours as we struggled to get acquainted with each other, blending two distinctly different languages and cultural upbringings. Though the app iVoice helped with some of the translation, explaining things like how to use a bidet on a Japanese toilet without using words simply can’t not be awkward.

At that point, I assumed that communication was going to be challenging, if not nearly impossible. I assumed I would remain a stranger in this families home, that it would be uncomfortable (if not unbearably awkward) and that they would be hospitable. But I in no way thought I would be able to connect with them. To be utterly transparent: I was apprehensive, nervous and merely trying to survive this part of my Japan experience.

And I was especially worried about the meals. Continue reading

National FFA Organization, National FFA Foundation consolidate leadership

crest_logoINDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014/National FFA Organization) – The National FFA Organization Board of Directors and National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees have approved a new consolidated management structure that unifies both organizations’ executive management through a joint governance committee of the two boards, a common chief executive officer and a common chief financial officer.

The plan, approved unanimously by both boards and the 2013-14 National FFA Officer team, includes implementation of an integrated management team to increase collaboration and communication across both boards.

“We believe these steps will strengthen FFA and agricultural education,” said National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve A. Brown, who serves as chairman of the National FFA Organization’s board. “By consolidating our executive and financial management, we expect better resource alignment, greater performance accountability, improved financial stability and transparency and speedy resolution of conflicts of interest.” Continue reading

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Talks Farming Future With National Officers

2013-14 National FFA Officers meet with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

Continuing a week full of impressive meetings and amazing experiences, the 2013-14 National FFA Officer Team met another member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet this week: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The meeting, at the USDA Whitten Building in Washington, D.C., followed time that the team spent with Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Vilsack asked the national officers to “keep farming on the front burner” during the visit, according to the official USDA Blog:

“We are excited by the challenges you presented to us,” said FFA National Secretary Mitch Baker at the conclusion of a half-hour meeting of National FFA officers with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the USDA Whitten Building earlier this week. Continue reading