#myAGstory: Donnie Smith tells FFA members to share their story of agriculture

By Kendall Herren

LOUISVILLE – Telling our ag story; that is the message of Tyson Inc. President and CEO Donnie Smith. His mission is to inspire FFA members to tell their agriculture story and build consumer support. Continue reading

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

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

FFA Members Honored at 2014 White House Science Fair

Celine Patrick and Ashlee Tarro of the Sumner FFA Chapter in Washington were honored Tuesday at the White House.

Celine Patrick and Ashlee Tarro of the Sumner FFA Chapter in Washington were honored Tuesday at the White House.

Two FFA members who solved a plant infestation problem in their high school greenhouse were honored Tuesday at a White House event for students who excel in science.

Celine Patrick, 15, of Lake Tapps, Wash., and Ashlee Tarro, 15, of Auburn, Wash., are members of the Sumner High School FFA chapter in Sumner, Wash. Both were invited to the 2014 White House Science Fair that celebrates the accomplishments of student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions throughout the U.S.

This year’s event includes a specific focus on girls and women who have excelled in STEM and inspired the next generation with their work. Continue reading

National Ag Day: 8 agriculture facts you probably didn’t know

national ag day

Happy National Ag Day!

Today, March 25, we’re celebrating along with the Agriculture Council of America a day geared to recognize the abundance provided by agriculture. National Ag Day is all about celebrating and recognizing the contributions agriculture makes to our everyday lives.

Why celebrate and recognize? Well, the organizers explain that pretty well:

Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training.

By building awareness, the Agriculture Council of America is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture.

Obviously, these goals fit in perfectly with the mission of FFA to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

In the spirit of National Ag Day, we developed a list of agriculture facts that you may not know. Check them out:

Continue reading