Navigating National Convention

For many FFA members, this is your first time attending the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. You’re preparing for the legendary sea of blue that your agriculture teachers have told you about. You’re packing for the unpredictable weather of Indianapolis. Most of all you’re preparing for all the memories and experiences you’re going to make in one of the best weeks out of the year. But what are you supposed to do with all the amazing opportunities at National Convention? How do you decide which sessions to attend and places to tour. Here is a guide to help you navigate all the wonderful opportunities.

 

Attend the career expo

The career expo is a great way to learn about thousands of job opportunities while riding a mechanical bull. At the main convention hall, there are over 2 acres of booths and education that you should be sure to check out.

 

Get signatures in the back of the guidebook

Part of attending National convention is meeting people from all over the country. In the back of the guidebook, there is a section to get signatures from each state and some special signatures too. This is a great way to make new friends from dozens of states.

 

Attend multiple sessions

Whether you attend a session for your favorite national officers retiring address or because your chapter is receiving an award. It is always a great experience to attend multiple sessions and hear what the speakers have to say, and see how amazing chapters around the country are.

 

Check out the agriscience fair

The agriscience fair is a great way to learn about the advancements in agriculture and hear from the future of agriculture talk about their passion. You never know you might find a new passion.

 

Take a photo with a cowboy hat and lasso

There are many photo challenges that take place at National convention. But a vital part of gaining the full experience of convention is finding the cowboy hat booth at the FFA mall. Whether you get a crazy color or stick with the classic brown cowboy hat it is essential to take a photo wearing one.

 

Shop the FFA mall

Going along with the cowboy hat, the FFA mall is one of the most amazing stores there is. There are cowboy boots, phone cases, hundreds of different types of shirts, and so much more! If you’re obsessed with FFA apparel like I am, your little FFA heart will be overwhelmed.

 

Learn new accents

One of the coolest things to do when meeting new people is to play around with their accents. Coming from a very southern area, it is pretty strange hearing people call “coke” something like “pop” or “soda.”  So while you’re meeting new people ask them to say a couple of words to see if they speak differently.

 

Check out the hall of states

Hall of States is where representatives from each state bring crops and commodities from their state and teach you about the state. This is something like a mini cross-country road trip without spending all that money on gas.

 

Attend the rodeo and concert

How often do you get to go to a concert with a huge group of your friends and hang out and listen to some awesome music? That’s exactly what the concert and rodeo offer. You get to watch the worlds toughest rodeo and listen to the amazing Rascal Flatts and Runaway Jane. You get to experience these events without having to deal with all the other outside distractions.

 

Use the Everything Agriculture hashtag on posts

If you’re posting a pic of FFA way, Indianapolis Speedway, or some awesome pics of you and your chapter, we want to see them! At your time in Indy, we want to see how everyone experiences National Convention. So when you post use our hashtag #EAat90!

 

Have a great convention everyone, and stay safe!

 

-Lisandra Mejia

Vice President/Editor for Everything Agriculture

Hoo threw the party?

Agriculture teachers always surprise us every day whether it’s an amazing lesson plan or a surprise field trip; they always seem to make our day better. So how can we make their day better? Maybe help out in the class a little bit, bring a gift, or maybe even write them a thank you letter. The Carson Valley FFA chapter in Nevada decided to throw their Ag teacher a surprise party for her birthday.

The party started after school and was supposed to be a surprise, but being a wise owl she figured it out so it wasn’t really a surprise. Either way after school a group of passionate and caring students gathered in Mrs. Futch’s classroom and partied for nearly 4 hours after school. Through the planning and hard work of the officer team, Mrs. Futch was pleased with what she found in her room. The party was definitely something to remember. It showed Mrs. Futch that she was loved by her chapter.

If you ask most agriculture teachers why they do what they do they will say “To be a positive role model for students and teach about my passion.” Mrs. Futch has been that and more to the students of Carson Valley. “She’s not just a teacher or an advisor, she’s a mentor. She spends as much time as possible to allow us to thrive in the FFA. It was the least we could do” – FFA Officer. This action that they put into place is one of the small ways the chapter has used to show their advisor gratitude.

The gratitude aspect is not the only thing that makes this an extraordinary chapter. This was also a great way to bond the chapter. From the food fight and playing “Just Dance” to fixing hotdogs this was a great experience for their chapter.  In that moment the members didn’t realize that those hours spent together goofing off would have such an impact on them. The time spent hanging out with their chapter helped them grow in communication skills and helped the whole chapter connect and build more friendships.

So throwing the party for their advisor not only made her day, but it actually helped the chapter in the long run. It included new members to come mingle with veteran members. It also gave the officer team a chance to plan something without the support of an advisor which for any officer team is a valuable and resourceful skill.  Many chapters can use the birthday party idea to make an impact in their advisors’ life and to maybe spark a passion in someone else’s.

-Lisandra Mejia

Editor and Vice President of Everything Agriculture

Elementary Equipment Education

This weeks chapter of the week is dedicated to the chapter that focuses on developing the next generation while making sure there is a next generation to teach. While in younger grades we are taught about fire safety and online safety there was something most of us were missing. That was farm and equipment safety. Monmouth Roseville FFA chapter in Illinois has devoted themselves to changing that.

While using the hands-on experience they taught 5th graders in the community how to handle farming equipment and what to do if the unexpected happens. One of the workshops took place with a fake grain silo that they had built. The workshop was that someone had fallen into the silo and the students had to figure out a calmly way to get them out. This used real-life scenarios to prepare students for the small possibility that something like this could happen and how to respond to it.

Monmouth Roseville also used their resources to teach the kids about proper ATV, tractor, railroad safety.  This among other are agricultural skills that the kids learned from the members.  The chapter said that they felt that there was a need in the community for the young people to know how to act around equipment and how to treat it. Teaching these students was just as impactful for the FFA members. It combined their passion for teaching, with their passion for the kids.

This was a great way to combine high schoolers with 5th graders and help build relationships between them. While also giving the high schoolers the experience of teaching and giving the 5th graders the information that could possibly save their life one day. All FFA chapters should be reaching out to younger communities around the nation to make sure that no careless mistake changes a students life.  It is the duty of FFA members to exert an influence in their home and community, and this FFA chapter is doing exactly that.

 

-Lisandra Mejia

Vice President/Editor for Everything Agriculture

The Future Of Agriculture Education

Have you ever had a job in mind that you thought was a great fit for you? You had never thought about this career before, but somehow it just magically appears. Once I came to high school I discovered agriculture education, I also soon learned that it is a lot more than meets the eye.There’s obstacles, stereotypes, shortages, constant rule and regulation changes, and not to mention insane amounts of stress. While I can overlook at the struggles and look towards the positives of the job not many people can. There are only a select few that can take on everything that comes with the title of agriculture educator. I had the opportunity to speak with multiple students that are attending college to be an agriculture teacher, or thinking about becoming agriculture teachers. All of these students have bright futures ahead of them in the career that believes in the future of agriculture. I asked a select few, some questions about agriculture education and here are their answers.

 

What is the scariest thing about going into Ag Ed?

The most daunting thing about ag ed for me is questioning whether you will be a good teacher or not. You might know the information, and you might be at a great program, but if you don’t know how to build relationships with your students, then you won’t be successful.-Layne

What worries me about when I become an Ag teacher is what if I don’t know how to teach every student. Since every student has a unique way of learning, what if I can’t reach all of them. What if they ask me something that I don’t know the answer to.-Debra

 

Why do you want to teach ag?

I knew that I wanted a career where I felt like I was making a difference in the world. When  I evaluated those two things, I came to agricultural education. I know that there is no other occupation that truly changes lives as much as an agricultural educator. -Mary Kate

Two things I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I love to teach people and see when they finally understand it and just get that warm fuzzy feeling.- Sadie

What do you think is the biggest stereotype about ag ed students and ag teachers?

Something we experience on a personal level, is people don’t think that we are a teacher. My title is agriculture educator, just because our classes go outside and we don’t have to teach in front of a board all day, doesn’t mean we are any less of a teacher then say a math teacher.- James

The biggest stereotype is the mindset that the agricultural industry is removed from our modern society. This creates stereotypes of these two parties as incompetent and unable to contribute to the general welfare of the public. However, the backbone of our general welfare is agriculture and agriculture education.-Clark

 

Despite all of the challenges of being an ag teacher what are you looking most forward to?

I look forward to seeing my students achieve and grow. Whether it’s learning the creed for the first time or winning a state competition. The joy you feel when seeing someone you’ve helped is incomparable. If I can help just one student learn something new or grow as a person then all the struggles will be worth it.-Lisandra

I can’t wait to see my students fall in love with this organization and see them swell with pride when they zip up their very own blue jackets.- Mary Kate

 

If you could thank your advisor from high school what would it be?

Clark- I can not thank my advisors enough for all that they have sacrificed for me. They saw something in me that I could not see in myself. It is because of their unwavering support and encouragement that I am where I am today.

Mary Kate- I would thank her for never-ending support. Throughout high school, she would never tell me no when I proposed my crazy ideas, but rather would do everything in her power to help me achieve them. Because of her selflessness, I have memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Layne- I would thank him for teaching me what it’s like to work with people who are very different from you. He and I are very different people, but through our time together. I truly learned the definition of working through differences and conflicts to be effective in my roles in FFA.

Sadie-If I could thank her for one thing I would thank her for making me who I am. Most of the credit of who I am goes is because of the experiences and opportunities through FFA. My advisor is the reason I had the experience and she’s the reason I am who I am.

Lisandra-If I had to thank my Ag teacher for one thing I would thank her for never giving up. Never giving up on the chapter, teaching ag, and for never giving up on me. For pushing me and nagging me every day to join until I did. So I would thank her for her persistence and stubbornness.

Debra-I would thank my advisor for being my rock and always having my back. She reached out to me and forced me to talk and then gave me an office and I didn’t want it. After my years in FFA, she had put me on the spot and from doing that she made me into the person I am.
James- I would thank them for pushing me to do more than I thought I could. They saw my insecurities and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I would thank them for encouraging me and pushing me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. They taught me to find something and stick with it. I would thank them for that impact.

Happy National Teach Ag Day Owls!

-Lisandra Mejia

Vice President/ Editor for Everything Agriculture

A Community of Support

As most of us have heard by now the United States has been devastated by hurricanes that have come through and left a long trail of devastation and destruction. Something wonderful about our nation, on the other hand, is when some are struggling, as a nation, we pull together to reach out a helping hand. You’ve heard of volunteers traveling to the disaster areas but what do people do if they can’t drop everything and go help. You donate, whether it’s blood, money, food, donations are always needed. This weeks chapter of the week does exactly just that. The Centre FFA chapter of Alabama are living the last line of the FFA motto; “Living to Serve.”

 

The chapter itself was impacted by Hurricane Irma but was not as affected as the counties around them. They received heavy rain and strong winds. Once they found out about how harmful the hurricanes were to surrounding counties and surrounding states they decided to take action. They knew that they wanted to take donations to help out the families, but was faced with a problem. How would they deliver everything they collected. After planning and contemplating how to overcome this obstacle they came to the conclusion of reaching out to some other groups in the community that was also working on relief efforts. When partnering with the local Boy Scout Troops they found a way to get the supplies to the people that really need them. They have been able to collect canned foods, cleaning supplies, school supplies and much more.

 

From the kindness of the hearts of the members, they hope to help anyone in need. They are willing to help anyone in need which is a great example of how FFA members need to present themselves. Whether the people that they help wear the blue jacket or don’t they are making a difference, and helping build a community back after such havoc. As one of the officers said, “I hope they know that even though we weren’t affected, we do care about them and we want to help them out in any way we can.” The Centre FFA chapter is a great example to all other chapters, that as an FFA community we need to help wherever help is needed.

 

-Lisandra Mejia, Vice President/Editor for Everything Agriculture

Dear Ag Teacher,

Dear Ag Teacher,

I want you to know everything you have done for me throughout the years, it’s truly amazing. You have given me a plan, a purpose, a support, and a creed.

When I say you’ve given me a plan I’m talking about the next 20 years of my life. I didn’t understand what that would be until I met you. Since I’ve met you I now know what I want to do, where I want to go, and what I want to be within my life. Yes, you have taken me down various paths among agricultural life, what I mean by this is most of the CDEs you’ve introduced me to. Through these, I’ve considered careers using the skills I learned. All the LDEs too, who would have thought I would memorize five paragraphs for a contest until you made me stand in front of the class and repeat it every day.

You gave me a purpose when you took me to my first state convention. Where I sat with people I had met, seen, and competed against the whole entire year. You made me want to be a better leader than I was. Instead of carrying around a backpack with pencils and study materials to be the designated holder of everyone’s stuff of every group competition. I wanted to be the leader who also took a leadership class, wanted to be FFA president and ASB president, planned fundraisers and events all while keeping my life in order. You made me strive to be better.

Your support came through with all of the right quotes, gestures, and your own personal sayings. You gave me a place to be, and things to do when my mind was in the clouds about everything else around me. It always seems like you know more about me than I know about myself. Which is probably true considering you always ask the right questions to help. I mean when you’re stuck in the car for more than ten minutes with a group of teens it’s impossible not to know what’s happening with everyone. The truth is my life has dramatically improved since I started going on trips and winning ribbons… doing things I never thought possible in a million years!

My creed is a little different from the one E.M. Tiffany wrote all those years ago but you told me I needed one. In short, it sounds a little like Family, FFA, and then everything else. I’m still revising mine as you can tell. Soon enough I’ll have it down.

The thing is you won’t know this until much later. Well, because I’m one of the kids who just walked into your classroom for the first time for my first day of eighth grade.

For now, you won’t remember scaring me with your enthusiasm for a couple weeks, how many times that one song came on during our car trips, driving around that empty cul de sac near the railroad tracks wherever we were or laughing at how silly we could be. But most of all… for now you won’t remember how proud of us you get every single time we did something amazing. That will always be because of you!

                   Sincerely,

             The kid sitting in front of you

-Haleigh Meeks, Everything Agriculutre Writer

 

Overcoming The Stereotype

As our first chapter of the week article starts out, we start with one close to the Everything Agriculture team. This week is the Watauga FFA Chapter located in Boone, North Carolina. Watauga FFA was started back in 1965 after the combination of multiple high schools in the county. The reason Watauga is being featured this week is due to their outstanding meeting focal point. The objective of the meeting was to dismember the idea of the “FFA stereotype.”

While Watauga is based in the city that holds Appalachian State University, the culture of the school is very diverse. From people coming from the edge of Tennessee to people from the historical Blowing Rock, there are all different types of students that attend the school. With diversity also comes stereotypes. If you’re a part of this club you are set to fit the cookie cutter image of what most people picture a member of that club to be. For Watauga FFA that image is the “redneck, or country kid”.  I’m sure that most chapters are stuck with this title because, when people hear FFA the only word they seem to comprehend is farmer. What sets Watauga apart from other chapters is how they chose to handle the stereotype.

The meeting started out with students drawing what they thought an FFA member looked like. As you can imagine that was the “farmer standing out in a field, or a redneck with boots and overalls.” (Watauga was sure to stress that these are members of The National FFA Organization, but they do not make up the entirety.) Continuing with the meeting, officers presented North Carolina FFA members from around the state. At State Leadership Conference they selected a few members varying from around the state to interview them so that they could show their chapter that not everyone fits the “FFA stereotype.” The ending of the event included a section of past national officer; Joenelle Futrell’s retiring address. She states that anyone can wear the blue jacket. With using that as the backbone, Watauga found a creative way to show whether you wear a jersey, or a band uniform there is something for you in the FFA.

Hopefully, what members got from the presentation is when they encounter the “You’re in FFA, so you want to be a farmer,” they can have the valid response of “That’s just the stereotype, come to a meeting and see the real thing.” Whether we realize it or not everyone is stereotyped. Each one of us is put into the mold that we are supposed to fit. Some may conform to the mold that they are given, but there are people who don’t want to fit the mold. These are the people looking for a change, they are the ones that break the mold and pave the road for others that don’t fit the stereotype. Watauga FFA is full of these people.

-Lisandra Mejia, Everything Agriculture Vice President/ Editor

 

Follow Watauga FFA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat

If you want to have your chapter entered to be featured for upcoming weeks fill out the application below.

https://goo.gl/forms/710ZMo3gGBBvdMvI2

 

 

Hurricane Harvey’s Impact on Agriculture

photo creds: https://foodtank.com/news/2017/09/hurricane-harveys-agricultural-impact/

 

There’s a lot going on in the news today, but I want to bring an important topic to your attention This topic is Hurricane Harvey. As you may know in Texas there has been one of the biggest hurricanes ever. Many lives have been lost and this is a tragic time for many families. The hurricane has also been a big impact on agriculture. Many things including gasoline and many kinds of animals. So what can we do to help with this.  What impacts does it have on agriculture?      

 

One of the the biggest things about this hurricane is that this storm has taken 44 lives and it’s not over yet (at the time i’m writing this). Families have been stranded on and in their cars. People were not expecting or warned about all the rain that was coming their way. So some decided to stay and ignore evacuation warnings.

 

The second biggest thing would be the animals in Texas. Since they did not evacuate in time many animals perished when the storm hit.This has not been covered greatly in the news. This is a truly sad thing to see how  many have died. Many pets have been abandoned and  will not survive. As many cattle and food animals have died this will affect all of us. There has been an estimated $150 million dollars worth of agriculture commodities that have been lost due to the hurricane. This impacts America’s economy and the consumer. That’s us, we are the consumer. So that means that some food prices are going to go up a lot because of the crop loss. Our grocery store isn’t the only thing that will be impacted so will our gas pumps.

 

As noticed by many Americans gasoline and diesel prices have gone up. This is due to the storm stopping some of or imports. Since some of the biggest producers of oil is in Texas then that means that there isn’t as much fuel in the US as there normally is. With means the demand for gasoline goes up. When demand goes up so does prices, this is affecting every person who drives a car, and the majority of transportation agencies. Hopefully soon prices will drop as we clean up and get imports and trucks moving in Texas.

 

I’ve told you the problems that are happening because of this hurricane, but how can we help. We can donate to help with the cause either it being our time or labor. A big light on this topic is all of the attention this topic is getting. With a lot of famous people are noticing this tragic event. And are going down with boats to help save people. This event has shown that we can all come together and work together to make the world a better place.

-Noah Bennett Everything Agriculture Writer

If you want to donate follow these links to help provide relief

https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

https://www.habitatforhorses.org/support/fy17hurricaneharvey?utm_source=1708hurricanehpslider&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=fy17hurricane

https://muttnation.com/foundation/#

 

The Biggest Lesson FFA Has Taught Me

All of us have learned from our time in the FFA. Some have learned to judge cows or speak in front of people. We’ve all gained knowledge that we didn’t have before.For some of us though the biggest lessons that we have learned aren’t what we are tested on or we use in a competition, the lessons that help us in life. This is the biggest lesson FFA has taught me.

 

The school year has either started, or we are counting down the days. This means that binge watching season is for the most part over. Grey’s Anatomy, 13 Reasons Why, and if you are a D.C. Fan; like me maybe The Arrowverse is what you’ve been watching. In every single one of these shows is a timeline. As we all know Newton’s third law states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Going back to 13 Reasons Why the tapes are the reaction to what each one of the characters did to Hannah. Or any change in the past in the “Legends of Tomorrow” has an equal effect on every individual’s present and future lives.

 

Let’s think back, do you remember what you wanted to be when you were seven? Maybe you wanted to be a doctor, fireman, or a spy, but as we all know plans change. For every action we have on this earth we get an equal and opposite reaction. Whether that’s positive or negative. Most of us believe that we create our futures. Be that as it may, maybe our future is already planned for us.

 

This means that every person, place, thing, and idea we visit, see, or think of was exactly where we needed to be in that piece of our timeline. I know it sounds crazy because that’s exactly what it is. Without the certain events that happen in our lives we would never end up where we are right now. Every success, failure, and experience we have become a part of the story that changes at the least one person’s life in our future!

 

We always end up right where we are supposed to be. I wanted to be a graphic designer until my ag teacher took me to a forestry camp… then I wanted to be a forester. Let’s say that didn’t last for long. I have the next fifteen years of my life planned out all because one person walked into my life and told me “Every man must have a code and a creed to live by.” That was my ag teacher. Now I want to become an Ag Teacher and even though I’ve planned out my life. We all know that life shakes up a couple times along the way, but what’s meant to be will happen. If anything this is one of the biggest lessons FFA has taught me!

 

Haleigh Meeks

Everything Agriculture Writer

The Comfort Of A Cow Named Dudley

The story of Dudley the Hereford steer starts out at an auction house in Tennessee and a farmer. The farmer had seen that Dudley’s left back leg was wrapped in baling twine, this caused him to lose his foot. The farmer took him in and called The Gentle Barn. Dudley had gotten a second chance at life. The Gentle Barn originated in 1999 based in California but expanded their rescue to Knoxville, Tennessee just for Dudley.

 

The farmer who had rescued Dudley farmed cattle for a living. He had to keep Dudley and treated his foot with antibiotics for 10 months before they had found The Gentle Barn. He turned Dudley over to The Gentle Barn. Since he could not afford to have medical care or a prosthetic foot made. The farmer drove three hours with Dudley to a veterinary hospital. Dudley had a long road of recovery ahead.

 

Dudley had suffered tendon damage from hobbling around on 3 legs. It caused him major pain to have to walk on his amputated leg even though his main reaction was trying to use it. Dudley had to undergo surgery to fix his leg for his prosthetic which went very successfully. Afterward was a whole different story, they needed to keep Dudley laying down so he would not cause any further injury. It had taken awhile but they were also successful in that as well. They spent well over 60 hours creating a prosthetic for missing parts below his hook. At first, like all cows would, he was not all for the idea of having a prosthetic. He would kick his leg out of the hands of the handler, but eventually, he got used to his prosthetic leg. After several months of therapy, Dudley got to be a cow again. He got to run and live a fulfilled life.

 

When they finally got to pull Dudley out of the animal hospital, he was filled with joy bouncing and bucking around the field he was released into. From then on he has been able to lead a happy life. He has even gotten married! Dudley got married to a female bovine named Destiny. You can read an article about Destiny’s rescue here. To tie into my article about equine therapy, Dudley was also a therapy cow. He helped people with amputations of their own feel more confident and comfortable with it just as he was with his. Dudley was a strong young steer and very playful. Dudley visited schools, helped foster children learn more about themselves. Dudley has made a huge impact with his story and thousands love him!

 

Unfortunately, Dudley passed away when a stomach ulcer ruptured and was irreparable. The Gentle Barn staff deeply misses Dudley since he was the reason for the expansion of their operation.

 

To read more about Dudley

Dudley’s life:

http://www.gentlebarn.org/animals/stories/dudley-cow-tn

The Dudley Story:

http://www.gentlebarn.org/the-dudley-story

Dudley on USA Today:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/21/dudley-steer-prosthetic-foot-and-mascot-gentle-barn-tennessee-has-died/417901001/

Destiny’s Story:

http://www.gentlebarn.org/animals/stories/destiny-cow-tn

Cover photo:

http://www.pawmygosh.com/dudley-cow/

 

Kelcie Lynn, Everything Agriculture Writer