Agricultural Education Town Hall Meeting Today

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is pleased to announce a special Agriculture Education Town Hall meeting

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

featuring Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, and Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, on Wednesday, April 18, at 12:15 p.m. Central Time at the Pioneer Farm.

The meeting will be webcast via the following link:

The event will take place before 300 invited high school and university students and educators at the Agriculture Education Pavilion at Pioneer Farm, located at 29200 College Farm Rd., Platteville.

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Alltech’s Farming Film Festival

Our friends at Alltech are hosting their 2nd annual Alltech Farming Film  Festival.  Grab a camera, and help tell a farmer’s story! You could win $2,000!

Here’s what they’re looking for, according to the contest website:

As we look to the future, we must revolutionize how we think about the business of food production.  What will the world look like for our children? How will we feed 9 billion people… and while we’re at it, how will we safeguard animal health, the environment and food safety?

We want to hear farmers’ ideas on how to be prepared for the future. If you are a farmer, tell us your ideas. If you’re not a farmer, find one and tell their story.

We hope to see an FFA member grab one of the top prizes! Good luck!

FFA Partnership Grows Chickens for Hunger Relief

Unity College Sustainability Monitor

During Spring Break, an unusual package arrived in the mail.  It was a shoe-box sized parcel, with several air holes on each side.  It filled the post office with a surprising amount of noise for its size.  Chirping to be precise.  That chirping heralded the beginning of a Spring project and an exciting new partnership.

In February of this year, the Waldo County Technical Center FFA chapter, in partnership Unity’s Collegiate FFA, was awarded a grant to complete a collaborative project  called “Pastured Poultry for Food Security.”

The support for this project comes from the National FFA Organization’s Food For All grant, which is funded by Farmers Feeding the World and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation as part of the FFA’s ongoing commitment to service learning as a means of both developing future farmers and positively impacting communities.  (Learn more about the FFA’s Living 2 Serve program here.)

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Unity FFA visits Waldo County Tech FFA

We are so proud of all of our Food for All grant recipients! Here’s another great project being conducted with Living to Serve funds.
If you’re interested in apply for a Living to Serve grant, check out the webpage for information about availability and deadlines.

Unity College Sustainability Monitor

From Shayne:

A group of Unity College students who are part of the College’s FFA club visited the FFA club of Waldo County Technical Center to collaborate on the current Pastured Poultry for Food Security project that was made possible by the National FFA Food for All Grant. The meeting started out by playing the icebreaker game  “Have You Seen My Goat” so that students from both schools would get familiar and  be open for discussion later in the meeting, then we moved on to a presentation by the Unity College FFA members that informed Waldo County FFA students about the project, some basic information on pastured poultry, and general chicken knowledge.   After this the students from both schools came up with some ideas on how to build chicken tractors and made recommendations for the structures.   The collegiate FFA students brought 2 of the chicks along for the…

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Apply today for National FFA Band, Chorus and Talent!

We all know that FFA members can run their own businesses, give knock-out speeches, and solve problems in their schools and communities. But, did you know that many of them can sing and dance, too?

Do you think you may have the chops to be a member of the National FFA Band, Chorus or Talent program?

Apply today! 

Happy Convention, South Dakota FFA!

The South Dakota FFA Convention started over the weekend… We hope everyone is having a great time, and learning new ways to inspire their classmates and communities!

Here are some interesting facts about agriculture in the Mount Rushmore State:

~Agriculture is the state’s second leading industry. It has a $19 billion impact on the state’s

~The South Dakota Legislature made Houdek (pronounced hoo-deck) the official state soil in
1990. Houdek soil is not found in any other state. It was chosen because it, and closely related
soils occur on more than two million acres across South Dakota.

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What is Deep in Your Heart?

Stepping off the plane in Dallas, I was greeted by a wall of ninety degree heat…a change for this Minnesota boy in April.  Wearing the blue corduroy in that heat, only gave me more pride toward our organization.  I happily greeted Alicia and Mr. Will Fett at the airport to begin our week-long trip.  We got in our rental vehicle and headed out to the countryside to Centerville, Texas.  The landscape was not typical of what I think of when I hear Texas: brown, desert, low brush and lots of rock.  This landscape instead was lush green with lots of grasses and trees dotting the horizon.   We visited on the car ride, and arrived at Dick and Patsy Wallrath’s ranch in early evening.

Over the course of a ranch tour, bunk house introduction, and an amazing Mexican dinner we learned more about this great couple.  They shared stories, insights and words of wisdom with us for life and for the future.  After dinner we were invited into their home to watch the movie Deep in the Heart.  To be able to watch a movie, with the people who the movie is about, is a pretty cool deal!  The movie is the true Texas story of Richard Wallrath, whose personal demons caused him to hit rock bottom. With his sons, he went on to build a successful business and used his success to become the highest all-time individual donor to Texas 4-H and FFA providing educational scholarships. This is a story of finding lost faith, love of family, and ultimately redemption.  Both Dick and Patsy have such an inspirational and powerful story to tell and all three of us were blessed to get this wonderful opportunity to visit with them.

We continued to travel Texas the entire week, meeting many individuals who contribute to FFA at all the different levels.  Time and time again, each individual had a unique story and a unique reason for why they believe in and support FFA.  Alicia, Mr. Fett and I were constantly humbled by these stories and we are so THANKFUL for all the continuing support!

As the week finished up, I couldn’t help but begin to think what is it in my own heart that causes me to love FFA or for that matter to love anything?  What is that underlying reason?  It took me a while to put part of it in works, but I believe we live in a broken world; we have a broken relationship with ourselves, we have broken relationship with others, and we have a broken relationship with our environment.  FFA has the ability to help restore and build those relationships.  Maybe it is through instilling confidence in a student through an individual competition.  Perhaps attending a leadership conference and building a relationship with a new friend.  Or possibly exposing someone to aspects of the world on a trip they never would have imagined.  This is just one reason and my personal reason.  Each of us has our own special reason for giving.  So why is it, you believe in young people?  Why is it, you believe in agriculture? So why is it, you support FFA?   And what is it, that is deep in your heart?

Stationed by the ear of corn,

Jason Troendle – National Secretary



Give to FFA, and our Individual Giving Council will match your contribution

Eight people from throughout the country that comprise a special advisory council for the National FFA Foundation are issuing a challenge to FFA and agricultural education supporters everywhere: Give to FFA and we’ll match your gift.

Effective today, each new gift, regardless of the amount, or any increase in prior giving that allows an FFA contributor’s total gift to meet or exceed $1,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by Leadership Challenge funds up to $100,000.

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Greetings to our friends in the Granite State!

The New Hampshire FFA Convention starts today! Best wishes to all members, advisors, parents and supporters who are attending!

Here are some cool facts about agriculture in New Hampshire:

  • The chief commercial crops raised in New Hampshire are greenhouse and nursery products, Christmas trees, sweet corn, chicken eggs, and apples.
  • Various vegetables and forest products are also sold.
  • Hay is the chief field crop grown to feed livestock.
  • Many farmers tap the maple trees on their land to produce maple syrup and sugar.
  • Forest products are also produced in New Hampshire.
  • Dairy products account for nearly 1/3 of the state’s total farm income.
  • Other livestock raised includes beef cattle and hogs.
  • Chicken, cattle and calves and turkeys are also sold.

For more information about the New Hampshire FFA Association visit their website and Facebook page.

Let’s go, Idaho!

Idaho State Seal

Idaho State Seal

Today is the start of the Idaho FFA Conference. We hope it’s a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Here are some things we bet you didn’t know about agriculture in Idaho:

  • Idaho is known for its seed industry producing 80-85% of the sweet corn seed produced in the world; also a leading supplier for alfalfa, field and garden beans; Kentucky Bluegrass seed; and carrot, onion, turnip, lettuce seeds.
  • First grapes grown in Idaho date back to 1864 and Idaho now has over 1000 acres with 38 wineries.
  • Idaho ranks third nationally for vegetable (mainly potato) production in the United States.
  • The top agricultural commodities in Idaho in 2008 were: dairy products, cattle and calves, potatoes, hay, wheat, sugarbeets and barley.
  • There are more than 24, 500 farms in Idaho, with over 160 different commodities produced.
  • Idaho has a very extensive system of dams, reservoirs, canals and drainage ditches allowing water to be used many times in many different ways. There are 3.2 million acres of irrigated land within the state.
  • The McDonald’sFrench Fry was developed by Idaho Agriculture Leader J. R. Simplot who developed the dehydrated shoestring potato that could be quickly frozen.
  • Idaho ranks 21st nationally for agricultural production within the United States.

For more information about the Idaho FFA Association visit their website and Facebook page.