Smithsonian welcomes famous former FFA jackets

Former president Jimmy Carter stands with 2003 Georgia FFA Vice Presidents Rachael McCall and Alex Tolbert.

Former president Jimmy Carter stands with 2003 Georgia FFA Vice Presidents Rachael McCall and Alex Tolbert.

In the past few months, we’ve asked you to help the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History with your story of agricultural education. They’ve also been seeking old FFA jackets to add to their collection — but not just any FFA jacket.

Friday, all of your help came to fruition. Continue reading

Day By Day: 2014 FFA Costa Rica Travel Seminar

The Costa Rica Proficiency and Stars Travel Seminar empowers FFA leaders by providing them with a global perspective. Through this experience, participants gain knowledge by visiting farms and agribusinesses. This travel seminar is available to proficiency finalists and star finalists.

Day 1 – Friday, June 13

A three hour flight from Miami to Costa Rica took 63 national FFA Proficiency Stars and finalist, accompanied by advisors and national staff, to the start of their Costa Rican adventure.

After a dash through customs and to two charter buses, the group was headed toward InBioparque, an ecological park created by Costa Rica’s institute of biodiversity. Every member of the group enjoyed an ethnic Costa Rican lunch, fruit fresher than ever, plus some rice and beans. Once finished with lunch members were briefed on Costa Rica’s unique environment. Members then had the chance to explore the four different forest types found in Costa Rica, encountering a number of animal species native to the tropics. Continue reading

I-CAL 2014: Days 8-10 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.

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Day 8 – Albert’s farm

5/28/14

Today we had the opportunity to visit a rice farmer named Albert.

Albert showed us a friend’s rice farm that is located on a mountain side. Planting in the mountains requires terrace paddies – or multiple flooded fields built in step on a hillside that requires water to filter down from other fields. Terrace paddy farming is high risk because farmers depend upon other fields out of their control for irrigation. The limited space on the terrace makes planting and harvesting with equipment near impossible. The price of rice is continuing to drop here, making it more difficult to make it ones only source of income. However, rice from the mountains often tastes better because of the cold water used from the mountains. Continue reading

I-CAL 2014: Days 4-7 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 4 – Tokyo, Hama-rikyu Gardens, Ginza Street

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5/24/14

Today we had the opportunity to sight-see around Tokyo and learn more about their cultural heritage. Japan’s culture is very unique and rich in history. We started the day off by walking from the hotel to the Emperor’s Palace which was in the center of Tokyo. The Palace was extremely beautiful surrounded by trees and colorful gardens. We walked to the hill located on the palace grounds which gave us a scenic view of Tokyo. It was exciting to be able to see an overview of the city and its many sights. 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