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

Katie Pratt Tells FFA Members to Lead in Agricultural Advocacy

Katie Pratt

By Caroline Weihl, National FA Convention & Expo Newsroom Reporter

“Be the spark” were the words left lingering in the minds of the audience members. This challenge was placed upon them by a fellow FFA alumna and agriculture advocate. It is up to them to share their stories, just as she shared hers.

American farmer Katie Pratt dared the FFA members at the third general session of the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo to be on the cutting edge of food and agriculture dialogues because of their advantage in education and experience.

“I think FFA members have a real unique opportunity to share what they learn in the classroom setting with their community,” Pratt said. “FFA members are going to be on the forefront of communicating with their peers about what agriculture is.” Continue reading

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FFA Link: Your Way to Career Success

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Network with industry leaders and young professionals with new FFALink

By Hannah Kleckner, newsroom and media relations intern

LOUISVILLE – As a young professional and FFA member, a career within the agriculture industry may be in your not-so-distant future. It’s no secret, though, that landing an actual job isn’t always an easy process. But fear not; if a “connection to success” is what you’re looking for, FFA Link is here to help.

FFA Link is a newly established exclusive group of college students and young professionals ready to connect their passion for agriculture with real-world career skills.

Continue reading

Lindsey Anderson: “Pleasant as well as challenging”

Cranberries ready for harvest

Credit: Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association

In September I got a fresh reminder of the values illustrated by the FFA creed, specifically in the second paragraph:

“To live and work on a good farm or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits can be pleasant as well as challenging.”

I was fortunate to spend a few days with the Wisconsin State FFA Officers on tour throughout their state, visiting agriculture businesses as well as a sectional leadership workshop each evening. We enjoyed seeing industries ranging from equipment manufacturing, to food processing and more. Continue reading

Brennan Costello: We Must Tell Our Story

FFA members compete in the Poultry Evaluation Career Development Event at the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

by Brennan Costello

A recent video by a food retail chain has launched a lot of dialogue around the way our food is produced in the United States. The theme of the video promotes locally grown food – a great part of American agriculture – but it also paints an often inaccurate picture of modern American agriculture.

As a student who has goal of a future career in the agriculture industry, this is concerning. Everyone needs to eat, meaning everyone is affected by our agriculture industry. This connection makes it imperative that the general public both trusts and supports what we do. But this trust and support isn’t something that just happens magically. We have to bring the story to the public.

How can you help this?

We need to tell the story of agriculture that is clear and honest. We need to tell the story of agriculture that we’re rightfully proud of. We have to demonstrate the measures that agriculturists across the country and across the globe take to ensure food safety and bountiful supplies.

I recently had the chance to see firsthand an agriculture education program taking strides to inform its students – all students, not just the agriculture students – about how food goes from farm to fork. Continue reading