FFA Chapter Aids Community Hit by Wildfire

In July, the largest wildfire in Washington history struck the state. Named the Carlton Complex fire, it burned out of control after being ignited by lightning strikes. One town — Pateros, Wash., — took on extensive damage.

That’s when the Battle Ground FFA chapter went in to action to help Pateros, a community more than five hours away. Continue reading

Earth Day 2014: Vernon FFA (Fla.) Tackles River Cleanup

Editor’s Note: FFA members care about their education, their community and their environment. On Earth Day 2014, here’s one story about an FFA chapter making a difference in all three areas. This story is adapted from an article appearing in the winter 2014 edition of New Visions — the official newsletter of the National FFA Alumni Association.

Holmes River

Holmes River

At the heart of Washington County, Fla., is the Holmes River. Locally called “Holmes Creek,” the natural waterway is the center of community activities for boaters, fishermen, canoers and kayakers and swimmers. It flows for miles through the county, beginning as a tiny stream and continuing to grow as it is fed along the way by several springs.

Holmes Creek is often filled with boaters, fishermen, kayakers and swimmers, depending on the season. ‘Going to the creek’ is probably the favorite recreation for most of the youth in and around the town of Vernon. It also draws visitors from surrounding counties. Continue reading

National Ag Day: 8 agriculture facts you probably didn’t know

national ag day

Happy National Ag Day!

Today, March 25, we’re celebrating along with the Agriculture Council of America a day geared to recognize the abundance provided by agriculture. National Ag Day is all about celebrating and recognizing the contributions agriculture makes to our everyday lives.

Why celebrate and recognize? Well, the organizers explain that pretty well:

Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training.

By building awareness, the Agriculture Council of America is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture.

Obviously, these goals fit in perfectly with the mission of FFA to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

In the spirit of National Ag Day, we developed a list of agriculture facts that you may not know. Check them out:

Continue reading

Answer this: How will you help feed the world?

Celebrate_the_Borlaug_Centennial_2A24EADFAF66E

As we celebrate both National Ag Day and the Norman Borlaug Centennial, The World Food Prize has a question for people everywhere: How will you help feed the world?

It’s a critical question for people of all ages as we confront what World Food Prize President Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn calls “the single greatest challenge in human history: whether we can sustainably feed the 9 billion people who will be on our planet in the year 2050.”

That’s quite the task, but we know FFA members and supporters have answers to this question.

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Vote FFA in Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Film Festival

Video is a stirring communication tool, and it’s one that the Boston College Center for Corportate Citizenship wants to recognize as a way to show the difference people can make around them. National FFA Foundation platinum sponsor CSX took that challenge to heart and produced a beautiful video featuring FFA members making a difference at last fall’s 86th National FFA Convention & Expo.

Watch here:

Now, CSX is hoping to spread the message of FFA members playing a pivotal role in supporting National Safe Place (with the assistance of City Year and Dignity U Wear) in the BCCCC Film Festival. You can help by voting for the video now: www.bcccc.net/FilmFestival2014

Voting ends February 7.

The project, held as part of National Days of Service at the 2013 convention, was not an easy one for the FFA volunteers. Continue reading

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FFA Joins Other Organizations for Clothing Drive

As one of the ten National Days of Service sites at this year’s Convention, 360 FFA members joined National Safe Place, CSX Transportation, City Year, and Dignity U Wear to hold a clothing drive for kids around the country in need of brand-new clothes.

As one of the ten National Days of Service sites at this year’s Convention, 360 FFA members joined National Safe Place, CSX Transportation, City Year, and Dignity U Wear to hold a clothing drive for kids around the country in need of brand-new clothes.

By Becca Harrison, Newsroom and Media Relations Intern

“You’ve clearly never been in the shoes of someone with only one pair of clothes, have you?” one young FFA member asked her peer, who was not taking their clothing drive volunteer opportunity seriously. “We’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna do it right,” she told him, as they began their assigned duty of sorting through boxes of men’s pants.

This attitude of determination and motivation echoed throughout the opening activity of the National Safe Place session of the National Days of Service celebration. A record high 1,500 FFA members will participate in this year’s National Days of Service, held at ten different sites throughout the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo.

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FFA Members Serve in Downtown Louisville

Mum was certainly not the word as FFA members from Kentucky and Indiana gathered in downtown Louisville Wednesday for an event to beautify the new convention host city and rev up excitement for this month’s return of the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo. The FFA members planted mums in various locations around downtown and then met with city officials including Louisville mayor Greg Fischer at the event.

Check out this video to see the great community service efforts in action and hear why Mayor Fischer was so honored to have FFA members in his city.

The convention returns to Louisville Oct. 30 for the first time since 2005 with the Kentucky Exposition Center and the KFC-Yum! Arena playing host to major convention events. Continue reading

FFA Member Grows Pumpkins for a Cure

Pink Pumpkin Project

Maggie Roth hopes there will be as many pink pumpkins adorning doorsteps this fall as orange ones.

The sophomore member of the Holcomb FFA Chapter in Kansas has been working with the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation to help raise awareness and join in the fight against breast cancer. Roth says breast cancer research is an important cause to her, and once she found the foundation’s website, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

“I believe that at some point in life, everyone is affected by cancer,” she says. “Whether it is someone they know, a friend of a friend or themselves, it’s a big deal.”

Continue reading: Pumpkins for a Cure

Brennan Costello: “It’s All Going to Be O.K.”

Walker FFA at the 2013 Louisiana State FFA Convention.

Walker FFA at the 2013 Louisiana State FFA Convention.

The 84th Louisiana State Convention wrapped up last month, but not before we “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (French for ‘Let the good times roll.’) While we did have some good times celebrating Louisiana FFA, the Walker FFA chapter chose to not only have good times, but to use convention to serve others – the recent tornado victims in Oklahoma.

The Walker FFA chapter set up a booth in the convention career fair to take donations to support the Oklahoma tornado victims with the slogan “It’s all going to be O.K.” — a truly creative line that fit the situation perfectly.

Chapter members worked the career fair to raise funds and handed out stickers to identify who had donated. The stickers were a great way to see all the members who had donated throughout convention! The funds will go to a family in Oklahoma that the chapter became connected with through a state staff member. They also have plans to get the state association involved.

Continue reading

Bonjour a Burkina Faso!

The team takes a break from orientation to relax on the National Mall in Washington D.C. From left to right, the participants are: Laura Frazee (Montana), Kirby Schmidt (Minnesota), Whitney Barnes (Wisconsin), Nicole Liles (Florida), Tessa Ries (Minnesota) and Bradley Coleman (Louisiana).

The team takes a break from orientation to relax on the National Mall in Washington D.C. From left to right, the participants are: Laura Frazee (Montana), Kirby Schmidt (Minnesota), Whitney Barnes (Wisconsin), Nicole Liles (Florida), Tessa Ries (Minnesota) and Bradley Coleman (Louisiana).

The 2013 FFA Global Outreach: Africa (FFA GO: Africa) program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for six college-age students to travel to Burkina Faso, a small country in West Africa, June 22 – July 7, 2013. While there, the participants will learn how smallholder farmers fight hunger and poverty through sustainable agriculture. The group will experience firsthand the reality of food insecurity, agriculture and conservation issues in a Sub-Saharan African country where the average annual income is at or below $1,500.

Day 1

The FFA GO: Africa team has arrived in Burkina Faso! After 25-and-a- half hours of travel from Washington D.C., we slept well last night in Ouagadougou and woke refreshed and ready for our first day in-country with Catholic Relief Services.

This morning we were welcomed at the CRS headquarters in Ouagadougou by Adjavon, Amidou and Bangre, as they taught us about their work in Burkina Faso. They have worked hard to coordinate our visit and are taking great care of us. They, along with other CRS staff, explained their programs and helped us visualize what we learned at our Baltimore, Md., orientation. As we learned more from the ones who are actively implementing the programs,  we had the opportunity to ask questions before hitting the field.

Adjavon left us with powerful words when he said, “As you put your foot in our country, you become our ambassador.” Continue reading