This Year’s Convention Delegate Committee Issues

Each year at the national FFA convention, up to 475 delegates convene to debate and vote on issues that effect FFA members across the country.

Here are the issues that will be considered at this year’s national FFA convention. They were decided upon this past week by officers in attendance at the State Presidents’ Conference.

  • Creation of a Discussion Meet
    Explore a discussion based career development event focused on topics related to agriculture.
  • Evaluation of Proficiency Award Areas
    Explore expanding current, or creating new, proficiency award areas inclusive of students engaged in urban agriculture or food service.
  • Agricultural Equipment Operation and Safety
    Explore the creation of a career development event which addresses agricultural equipment operation and safety.
  • Creation of an Agricultural Summit
    Explore the development of an experience that engages students in agricultural advocacy and industry.
  • Agricultural Education Career Development Event
    Explore the creation of a national agricultural education career development event based on the skills, competencies, and knowledge required for a career as an agricultural educator.
  • Aquaculture Career Development Event
    Explore the creation of an event that prepares students for a career in the aquaculture industry.

RFD-TV makes record $1M cash donation to National FFA Organization

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A record-setting, unrestricted cash contribution of $1 million was given by RFD Communications, Inc., to the National FFA Foundation during the FFA State Presidents’ Conference at U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington, D.C., July 26, 2012.

Patrick G. Gottsch, founder and president of RFD Communications, Inc., Omaha, Neb., presented the check to National FFA President Ryan Best, who accepted the contribution on behalf of the 540,379-member agricultural student organization and the foundation. Joining Best were his five fellow national FFA officers and 104 state presidents and officers representing 52 state FFA associations including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The officers were participating in a weeklong conference discussing major issues and preparing for the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis this October.

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New Century Farmer – Day 5

After a week of listening to amazing speakers, touring agricultural facilities in Iowa, and interacting with future leaders of the agricultural industry, the New Century Farmer conference came to a close. The potential of the students who attended this year’s conference was phenomenal. Fifty young agriculturalists representing twenty four states came together with the same passions and interests to plan for the future of their operations. During their time in Des Moines, the students also created a vision for their operations. Their visions encompassed how they plan to succeed in the industry as the demand for agricultural products continues to increase. The knowledge gained at the New Century Farmer conference planted a seed for all the participants, which will challenge them to grow and be successful as emerging leaders in the agricultural industry.

American Star Award Finalists

We’ve selected 16 finalists for the organization’s top awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience!

These awards recognize students who have accomplished amazing things through their FFA activities and agricultural education courses.

Each star finalist receives $2,000 from the National FFA Foundation and earns the opportunity to participate in an international experience tour to Costa Rica.

A panel of judges will interview the finalists and select one winner for each award at the 85th National FFA Convention, October 24-27, in Indianapolis, In. Winners will receive an additional $2,000 award.

The finalists are…

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Champions of Change

We are thrilled to announce that the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have selected FFA and 4-H to be the focus of their Champions of Change program!

Champions for Change highlights the contributions of people who serve as change agents in their local communities. According to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, FFA and 4-H  are being singled out because of their longstanding legacies of making a difference.

This September, the White House will honor 12 Champions of Change–4-H and FFA members who are helping America win the future with unique projects that move their communities forward–at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Please share this great news with your family and friends, and visit the White House website to nominate qualified FFA members for this outstanding honor. You can nominate both FFA members and adult leaders.

The nomination process is open until August 3.

New Century Farmer – Day Four

This week, students attending the New Century Farmer conference will be blogging about the lessons they’re learning and the friends they’re making there. The conference is taking place on the Pioneer campus in Des Moines, Iowa.  Topics covered include the global agricultural marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management. 

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Today was a very informative and exciting day for those of us that have the privilege of being at the New Century Farmer Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. We started the day off with an excellent presentation by Farm Credit Services representative Gary Matteson, followed up by a very intense round of discussion.

The information Gary Matteson provided us with was excellent. It related perfectly to the situations most of the attendants are dealing with. Basically, he explained to us the different opportunities there are for young and beginning farmers to borrow money for farm investments and expenses. One thing that was really amazing was the amount of young people in the room who have already successfully borrowed substantial amounts of money for their operations.

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New Century Farmer – Day Three

This week, students attending the New Century Farmer conference will be blogging about the lessons they’re learning and the friends they’re making there. The conference is taking place on the Pioneer campus in Des Moines, Iowa.  Topics covered include the global agricultural marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management. 

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To start off the third day of the New Century Farmer conference, we heard from Matt Erickson who spoke with us about the importance of the Farm Bill, Budgeting, and Risk Management. As the next generation’s producers of the world’s food, fuel, fiber, and natural resources we need to educate ourselves about the policies and financial status of our government and how it directly affects us and our farming operations.  Further, we explored the significance of becoming involved with sharing our story with legislators and taking charge of our own financial decisions.

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New Century Farmer – Day Two

This week, students attending the New Century Farmer conference will be blogging about the lessons they’re learning and the friends they’re making there. The conference is taking place on the Pioneer campus in Des Moines, Iowa.  Topics covered include the global agricultural marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management. 

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On Tuesday, July 10, we kicked off the day by visiting commodity groups, both crop and livestock based. During the livestock tour, Corey Geiger from Hoard’s Dairyman and Jeff Muchow from Iowa Premium Beef shared many points about  trends and issues in the beef and dairy industries.

On the crop commodity tours, we engaged with the Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Corn Growers.  Our discussions ranged from global communication and trade efforts to issues facing beginning family farmers transitioning from one generation to the next.

Peter Woltz of Timber Ridge Cattle Co. shared his knowledge of marketing and niche marketing from the standpoint of his own flax-fed beef cattle operation. From Peter, we learned that we have to think outside of the box for new opportunities and enterprises.  We must realize that our enterprises may take us down many avenues and that we must keep an open mind to expansion or alternate avenues.

The highlight of the day was having the privilege of touring the research plots, labs, and state of the art greenhouses at Pioneer Hi-Bred International. We gained valuable insight into what goes into the crop development phase to make our hybrids as vigorous as possible. It was very clear that research and customer satisfaction are Pioneer’s leading priorities. Their dedication to the American and global consumer will continue to allow them to make strides in yield innovation. Their support of this program is invaluable!

The theme of today at NCF was “Planting the seed for your vision!” We took some time out of the day to work on the first draft of our visions, and what we foresee for our operations in the future.  It was a very eye opening experience to take a look at the foundations of our operations and think about what it is currently and what we would like to see it become.

Once again, we wrapped up the day with “Ag in a Bag.” We each brought 5-6 significant items that uniquely defined us and shared these with the group. This allowed us to gain a slight glimpse into the present, and as we hear each others visions near the end of the week, we may get to share in each others passions and excitement for the future of our operations!

~Chelsea McFarland – Kentucky

~Nathan Sahr- Minnesota

~Seth Menefee- New Mexico

The New Century Farmer program is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business; Case IH; CSX Corporation; and Farm Credit; with media partner Successful Farming as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The program is designed to provide participants with valuable skills and knowledge applicable to their own farming operations. In addition, they will build a network of colleagues that will benefit them throughout their careers.

New Century Farmer Conference – Day One

This week, students attending the New Century Farmer conference will be blogging about the lessons they’re learning and the friends they’re making there. The conference is taking place on the Pioneer campus in Des Moines, Iowa.  Topics covered include the global agricultural marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management. 

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We began the morning bright and early by traveling to Pioneer where we had the opportunity to hear from Dr. David Kohl. He was a very energetic speaker who was full of  valuable information. First he spoke of our “Swiss cheese economy” which is related, connected, and dependent on every other country in the world to prosper.

Then, he talked about the  importance of setting goals. He said that 80 percent of all people have no goals, 16 percent have mental goals (those that are not written down), and the remaining 4 percent have goals that are written down. The 16 percent who have mental goals  will encounter profits three times higher than those without goals. The elite 4 percent with goals written down will make nine times more than those without goals. He encouraged us all to set our own goals in order to become successful.

Next, Dr. Kohl gave us a list of things to watch for in global economics to help  us market our own commodities and make  our operations  more profitable.

He ended his presentation by giving us ten golden rules that we can use in our operations. These rules varied from business and profit rules, to employee management, to setting our missions and goals.

One thing Dr. Kohl said made a particular impression on the group: “Better is better before bigger is better.”  That really hit home, and helped us start thinking about the directions we could take our own operations in and still be profitable.

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