2014 National Finalists: Agricultural Proficiency Awards, National Chapter Awards and National FFA Agriscience Fair

The news many of you have been waiting for is here!

Friday we announced the 2014 national finalists for several award areas in three programs: Agricultural Proficiency Awards, National Chapter Awards and National FFA Agriscience Fair. These awards, listed below, honor the best and brightest of FFA nationwide in so many different areas, and we could not be more proud to celebrate your accomplishments at the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo this fall in Louisville! Continue reading

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

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