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

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

#Borlaug100: Who was Norman Borlaug?

Dr. Norman Borlaug is a popular name this week. But who exactly is Dr. Borlaug?

Before we get too deep into his biography and impact, just consider this: Dr. Norman E. Borlaug is one of only three Americans ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Only Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Elie Wiesel join Dr. Borlaug on that prestigious list.

Dr. Borlaug — he passed away in 2009 — is at the forefront of conversation this week for a few reasons.

Continue reading

Educators Predict Rapid Growth in Renewable Energy Careers

Wind Turbine

Wind energy, biofuels and methane digesters may sound like daunting subjects, but careers in the fast-growing industry of renewable energy go hand-in-hand with agriculture.

Renewable energy comes from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, rain, crops and geothermal heat. Today’s farmers are utilizing these natural resources for renewable energy in the forms of wind power, solar energy and biomass energy to help reduce pollution, generate electricity and produce fuel for cars and tractors.

Continue Reading: Educators Predict Rapid Growth in Renewable Energy Careers

Eight Career Pathways of the FFA Expo

FFA members in the National FFA Expo.

FFA members in the National FFA Expo.

If you’ve been to the National FFA Expo—you know, that incredibly large show of more than 400 exhibitors that makes up half of the National FFA Convention & Expo name—you’ve seen the incredible array of displays featuring leaders from across the agriculture industry.

But did you know that FFA has placed those exhibitors into eight different groups that allow FFA members to explore opportunities and companies in an organized fashion? Continue reading

New grant program provides agriscience educators with training and funds

agscienceDuPont and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) has awarded $200,000 in grants to provide agriscience educators with training and classroom resources to implement advanced curriculum that will better prepare students for future careers in agriculture and food.

DuPont Pioneer is working closely with the National Association of Agricultural Educators to award grants to teachers who are implementing Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE), but need additional funding.

“Feeding the world will require that more students understand agriculture and become future leaders in food and agriscience,” said Michelle Gowdy, director of Community & Academic Relations for DuPont Pioneer. “We are working with others in education and in agriculture to ensure teachers have the best tools at their disposal to get more kids excited about agriculture and careers in agriscience.”

CASE is a multi-year approach to agriscience education with rigorous educator training requirements and hands-on, inquiry focused learning activities. The collaboration with DuPont Pioneer and CASE is a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Continue reading

Ag Students in Rowan County, N.C. build a better tomato

Students in Rowan County, North Carolina are conducting important agricultural research in their school’s greenhouse with the help of North Carolina State University professor Jeremy Pattison.

Get the full story from local news station WBTV in Charlotte:

tomatoes

http://www.wbtv.com/story/21289940/growing-a-better-tomato-right-inside-a-high-school-classroom

Bringing back native pollinators

Traditional honeybee hives are facing threats from a condition called “Colony Collapse Disorder.” While its causes are still unclear, the disorder has killed millions of bees and adversely affected pollination of many fruit and vegetable crops.

Find out what habitat conservationists in Orange County, California are doing to help bring native bees back in this episode of America’s Heartland:

Capture

Watch 816 on PBS. See more from America’s Heartland.

SAE: Opportunity

There are no more inspiring agriculturalists in America than FFA members. Last week was the 83rd Kentucky FFA State Convention. While it was the tenth and final state convention for me this year, the FFA experience in Kentucky was far from over. For the next few days we were getting out of our FFA jackets, out of downtown Lexington, and visiting Supervised Agricultural Experiences firsthand.

SAE programs are a huge part of the overall agriculture education experience. We take our knowledge from inside the classroom outside to forests, agricultural fields, barns, laboratories, animal clinics, or any agricultural pursuit we desire. Then the work begins, that’s right, work.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

- Thomas Edison

Over the course of our time in Kentucky, I met FFA members like Garrison Thompson who takes on opportunity, and enjoys the work. He has a large SAE program that employs three of his classmates, while also serving as the SAE chairman for his FFA chapter. Garrison has those qualities of leadership we should all possess. Watch this video from our time in Kentucky visiting SAE’s, and put some thought into how you might improve your own SAE, or help other chapter members start their program. SAE opportunities abound, and those who put in the work, reap huge rewards.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/44198642″>SAE Opportunity</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user11384007″>Seth Pratt</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

By Seth Pratt

Low-tech biotech: Mushrooms engineered into eco-friendly packing material

Here at FFA, we continue to be amazed by the creativity and innovation we see in the world of agriculture.

Mike Groll | associated press
Gavin McIntyre, left, and Eben Bayer, co-founders of Ecovative Design, demonstrate some of their eco-friendly packaging forms made from mushrooms at their company in Green Island, N.Y.

Recently, The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) featured two young entrepreneurs who figured out how to make eco-friendly material from mycelium – the hidden “roots” of the mushroom that thread beneath dirt and wood.  Their company Ecovative Design, is growing rapidly inking deals with companies such as Sealed Air Corp. which is famous for Bubble Wrap.

And, where did the inspiration for their ground-breaking product come from? The farm, of course:

Bayer noticed mycelium’s “stretchy” properties as a kid growing up on a Vermont farm. As students, he and McIntyre started with mushroom-based insulation, but they switched to packaging material because it seemed a better business bet.

So, FFA members, as your working on your Supervised Agricultural Experiences on farms and in gardens, laboratories and classrooms everywhere, remember that you may be the one to discover the next great agricultural product!

Read the full article:

Mushrooms engineered into eco-friendly packing material