It’s Leap Day!


February 29 is a date that usually occurs every four years, and is called leap day. This day is added to the calendar in leap years as a corrective measure, because the earth does not orbit around the sun in precisely 365 days.

Use this extra 24 hours to think about just how much happens every single day, and different ways to quantify a day.

For example, how money does an agricultural engineer earn on a daily basis? How much does the average American spend on food each day?  How much milk is produced by your nearest dairy farm in one day?

Questions like these can really help give you a better perspective on what a day really means!

Check out more Leap Day learning activities like these from the New York Times Learning Network.  

A crash course in driver safety.

It’s difficult to focus on tragedy, but after many fatal car accidents in Freedom, Wis., over the years, Freedom FFA members decided to create a Mock Crash to educate the student body about the dangers of drinking and driving.

The event was held just prior to prom and graduation, so students would have the lesson fresh in their minds.

Working in cooperation with 10 local emergency response teams, the mock crash was conducted on May 5, 2009, in the parking lot at Freedom High School. More than 500 high school and community members were there to witness the “crash.”

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FFA Week Round-up

We were so proud to see our chapters in action during National FFA Week! Here are some highlights from around the country:

We believe… in Teamwork.

Let’s face it. We can’t be good at everything. That’s why it’s important to rely on teamwork. Teamwork allow us to take advantage of different individuals’ strengths and talents while working to achieve an important goal.

Check out this inspirational video of ants building a farm for more thoughts on teamwork:


We believe… in Respect.



It seems that these days, we’re surrounded by incivility. We see people shouting insults at each other on T.V., and we see rude, hurtful comments exchanged via Facebook, IM and text messaging.

In order to improve our communities, our country and the world, we have to have healthy debate. It’s impossible to  agree with everything and everybody. And, it’s important for you to stand up for what you believe in and value. But, in order to help tackle issues facing our communities and move forward, we have to work to find common ground. We do that by listening carefully to others, and treating them with dignity and respect, even when we disagree with them.

Here are some great tips for fostering civility in your schools and communities from the Speak Your Peace Civility Project (Duluth, Minnesota):

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We believe… in Growth

We believe that all FFA members have the potential to make important contributions to society. Discover your talents. Seek out new experiences and learning opportunities.  Always work toward becoming an even better version of yourself. Use your skills and knowledge to serve others.


Compassion and class.

Kindness and compassion go a long way. This much was plainly evident when Waupaca FFA in Wisconsin created an Adaptive Agriculture course to bring cognitive disability borderline/severe (CDB/S) students into a classroom setting to nurture their academic, social and personal successes.

An agriscience teacher created a class with the assistance of two CDB/S instructors, two aides and 20 Waupaca FFA members, who provided one-on-one instruction to 16 CDB/S students. A curriculum and a syllabus were developed using fourth-grade state agricultural education science and math standards. FFA members assisted students with reading, sign language and math, and 12 interactive activities were used to enhance the students’ problem-solving and sequential skills.

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We believe… in Integrity.

According to Wikipedia, integrity is…

…a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy.

Here’s an even simpler definition:








Integrity might be the single most important trait in a good leader. If you want to make a difference in the lives of those around you,  base your decisions on honesty and compassion and earn their trust.

Aloha, Hawaii FFA!

The Hawaii FFA Convention starts today!

In honor of our tropical pals, here are some facts about Hawaiian agriculture:

~ Greenhouse and nursery products are the top commodities in the state. They account for almost a million dollars annually.

~ Hawaii ranks sixth nationally for the sale of tree nuts.

~ The island of Hawaii has several large cattle ranches. Cattle and calves are the fifth most important commodity in the state.

~ The other top commodities in the state are sugarcane, macadamia nuts and coffee.

~ On the island of Oahu, dairy and egg farms are a major source of farm income.

~ Pineapple is the most important crop on the island of Maui.

~ The islands of Maui and Kauai also raise cattle and hogs.

~ Farmland accounts for 27% of Hawaii’s total land usage.

~ Hawaii has 152 certified organic farm operations.

~ The average farm operator in Hawaii is 59 years old.


We Believe… in Innovation

Careers in agriculture sometimes get a bad rap in our society. Many people see farming and the pursuits related to it as “quaint” or “rustic.” They often say that farmers and ranchers live “the simple life.”

But the truth is that, every day, farmers and agriculturists are tackling and solving some of the world’s most complex problems;  and, these problems are often related to the very survival and well-being of all humankind.

Take Norman Borlaug, for example. Dr. Borlaug was born on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, where as a child he often pestered his parents and grandparents with questions. He’d often wonder aloud why the grass was greener in some areas of the farm than others.

This curiosity led him to become an expert in plant pathology. His expertise eventually helped him to prevent mass, worldwide famine in the 1960s.

Dr. Borlaug was tasked through the Rockefeller Foundation to take a job in Mexico trying to help farmers improve their crops. Upon seeing the desperate situation Mexican farmers were in at the time, he wrote in a letter to his wife:

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