Capital Press | FFA Capital Press Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:04:01 -0500 en Capital Press | FFA Washington FFA students attend leadership conferences Mon, 19 Feb 2018 08:00:48 -0500 Washington FFA students attended the 212 Degrees and 360 Degrees Leadership Conferences Feb. 10-11 in Randle, Wash.

The conference based on 212 degrees — the temperature at which water boils — focuses on taking students to the “boiling point of leadership,” according to a Washington FFA press release.

“At 211 degrees water is extremely hot, but just one more degree gets us to the next level,” the press release states.

The two-day conference was focused on student development and helped FFA members become aware of their personal growth. FFA members attended sessions on making positive decisions and setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time (SMART) goals.

360 degree conference takes students “full circle” in terms of chapter leadership. The two-day conference focuses on the importance of influence and how to become an influential leader. Students conducted chapter needs assessments, crafted influence plans for their chapters and developed strategies.

More than 8,000 students across the country will participate in a 212 Degrees or 360 Degrees leadership conference, an activity of the National FFA Organization, sponsored by Syngenta.

Four Washington FFA state officers tour South Africa Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:37:03 -0500 Four FFA leaders from Washington state recently returned from a 12-day educational and cultural experience in South Africa.

State reporter Kelci Scharff of Cheney, treasurer Sydney Klaveano of Pullman, vice president Mollee Gray of Medical Lake and secretary Taylor Enns of White River participated in the 2018 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers, an annual international opportunity through the National FFA Organization.

The trip allows FFA members to experience a foreign culture, learn about international agriculture and become more knowledgeable about the global marketplace, according to a Washington FFA press release.

Seventy-four past and present state FFA officers representing 24 states left the U.S. on Jan. 4. The group traveled throughout South Africa while surveying the agricultural landscape. FFA officers met with U.S. Embassy officials to learn about U.S. and South African trade relations; toured crop and livestock operations; met with business and industry leaders; and explored a private game reserve that is home to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo. The group also met with fruit exporters, abalone producers and others.

The experience was truly once in a life time, the officers reported.

“It was interesting to see how extra virgin olive oil was made — I use it often to cook, but never realized how complex the process is,” Klaveano said.

The trip included opportunities they would not get to see in Washington.

“Getting to see the different types of animals on the safari was truly thrilling as I’ve only ever seen them in the zoo,” Gray said.

“The embryo transfer facility that we visited interested me as it is a potential career option for me,” said Scharff, who raises cattle.

“The indigenous plants in South Africa were extravagant, as we use many of them here as medicine,” Enns stated.

“We hope that through a structured experience like ILSSO, students will not only see the importance of agriculture on an international level but understand it is essential to feeding the world,” Eric Nelson, program manager with the National FFA Organization, said. “This seminar exposes students to culture and food production practices beyond what they are accustomed to in the United States.”

Before departing the U.S., the students completed eight weeks of online coursework related to cross-cultural adaptability. The program was made possible by corporate sponsors Bunge North America and John Deere. Students shared their experience throughout their trip on Twitter and Instagram.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 653,404 student members who belong to one of 8,568 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 345,812 alumni members in 2,051 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Meridian FFA students ‘Speak Up!’ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 14:02:35 -0500 Ellie Higgins2017-2018 Reporter Public speaking may be difficult, but eight Meridian, Idaho, FFA members recently rocked their speeches!

These members competed in three different speaking competitions over a period of six days. Whether it’s prepared speaking or extemporaneous, Meridian FFA took the gold in speaking competitions. Members that competed in these events learned personal skills such as public speaking, quick thinking, confidence and sportsmanship.

On Jan. 18 at the Meridian High School Career Technical Center, the Farm Bureau Prepared Speaking contest took place. Eight Meridian FFA members competed, including Landon Bartlett, Madigan Grigsby, Grace Haws, Amy Heikkila, Ellie Higgins (5th place, $50 prize), Courtney Marshall (2nd place, $150 prize), Cassidey Plum (3rd place, $100 prize) and Ashton Shaul (1st place, $200 prize). Each member delivered a self-written speech following the topic of “Agriculture: The Engine That Pulls Idaho’s Economy.” Every participant did a fantastic job with their speeches, and Ashton Shaul will be continuing on to compete in Boise Valley District (BVD) Prepared Speaking Career Development Event (CDE). She is representing the Meridian FFA Chapter because of her outstanding 1st place speech, and Courtney Marshall will additionally be competing in the Farm Bureau District event.

At the Kuna Grange Speaking competition on Jan. 22, two Meridian FFA members participated in different events at the Kuna Grange event hall. Amy Heikkila competed in Prepared Speaking, while Ashton Shaul competed in Extemporaneous Speaking. Ashton won her event and the Amanda Reynolds Memorial Award. She will represent the Meridian FFA Chapter in the BVD Extemporaneous Speaking CDE. Both of these ladies did a fantastic job!

Finally, at the first annual Nampa Chamber of Commerce prepared speaking contest, three Meridian FFA members gave their prepared speeches. Amy Heikkila, Ellie Higgins and Ashton Shaul competed with three other FFA members from other chapters for the chance to give their speech at Ford Idaho Center. Ashton Shaul placed 1st and received a $100 prize. She also received the honor of presenting her speech at the Ford Idaho Center on Feb. 6.

Prepared speaking is a difficult skill that not many people are willing to try. The dedication of these individuals is definitely noticed, and the biggest congratulations should be given to all participants. We hope to see these members (plus more!) back next year to try their hand at public speaking again.

Thank you to the several panels of judges for each competition, the organizations who provided monetary donations, the advisors who dedicated their time to coaching students, and the members themselves who spent hours preparing their speeches. We hope you all compete again next year!

Qunicy FFA members attend leadership workshop Tue, 13 Feb 2018 14:15:23 -0500 Camp Cispus Learning Center near Randle was the site of the 212 Degree National FFA Leadership Workshop.

The 212 workshop is designed for 9th and 10th grade FFA members and 360 for 11th and 12th graders.

The Quincy FFA had 6 members attend the 212 workshop. The members worked from 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to noon on Sunday.

They worked through the topics of Growth and Personal Habits, Mental Growth, Emotional Growth, Physical Growth, Social Growth and Life-long Growth with about 100 other younger FFA members from all corners of Washington state.

In all, just under 200 FFA members attended the two-day training on Feb. 10-11 in the shadow of Mount Rainier.

The members said they really enjoyed the opportunity to explore how to improve their character, leadership abilities and networking skills, and they did it all without cell service or wi-fi. It was a unique opportunity for students to go technology-free and have to talk to each other the old-fashioned way without Snapchat, Instagram, and tweets.

The members will put on a workshop for the rest of the Quincy Chapter later this spring with what they learned at the conference.

Rodeo champion offers message of inspiration to FFA members Fri, 9 Feb 2018 10:22:40 -0500 Matw Weaver SPOKANE — In January 2010, Amberley Snyder made a decision that would change her life forever.

A rodeo champion, the then-18-year-old was on her way from Utah to the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo, and decided not to wear her seatbelt after a stop at a gas station in Wyoming.

“I wear my seltbelt all the time, my truck will ding at me if I don’t have it on,” she said during her presentation at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum. “But this morning I had a stomachache all morning. I thought, ‘I’m going to take it off just for a minute.’”

Less than 10 miles down the road, Snyder looked down to check her map. She looked up and realized she had gone into the other lane. She overcorrected and her truck slid off the road and rolled. She was thrown from it and slammed into a fence post.

She later phoned her father.

“This is how this phone call goes to my dad,” she recalled. “‘Hey, Dad?’ He says, ‘Hey.’ I said, ‘So I got into a car accident.’ He said, ‘OK, how bad?’ I said, ‘Pretty bad. I rolled my truck.’ He said, ‘Are you OK?’ I said, ‘I can’t feel my legs.’ He said, ‘Amberley, are you paralyzed?’ I said, ‘Dad, I don’t know, I’m just telling you I can’t feel my legs.’”

Today, Snyder competes in rodeo professionally. She’s even beaten her barrel racing times from before the accident, she said.

During her Feb. 8 presentation to 487 FFA members and guests, Snyder wore the first buckle she won while riding the first horse she trained after her accident.

“Now keep in mind, I won 70-something buckles before my accident,” she said. “It wasn’t if I was going to win one in the year, it was how many I was going to win. And I don’t say that in a boasting way, I’m just telling you that’s how it was. This buckle took me six years to win. ... Even though I may not be like I was before, I can still compete and win with the best out there. Maybe not the way I planned, but definitely still possible.”

She described revisiting the locations she was at before her accident with her mother several years later.

“So I was telling her, ‘Mom, this is the last place I ate, this is the last place I filled my truck up at. Mom, this is the last place I was walking. And this span of fence, well Mom, that’s where my life completely changed,’” she said. “Of course, this was pretty rough on both of us.”

About 20 minutes later, she stopped at a gas station and noticed a sign hanging on the wall: ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

“With the right attitude, we can move forward and make our firsts better than those lasts ever were,” she said. “Our attitude makes a big difference.”


FFA member discusses proposal to require 2 ag ed credits to graduate Wed, 7 Feb 2018 09:06:26 -0500 Sean Ellis BOISE — Idaho lawmakers have been briefed on an impending bill that would require all high school students to complete at least two agriculture education classes to graduate.

Anna Peterson, an Idaho FFA member and self-described “advocate for agriculture,” provided members of the House and Senate agricultural affairs committees with an overview of her proposed legislation, which she plans to introduce this year.

Armed with a large binder containing all the research she has done on the proposal, Peterson, a recent high school graduate, sketched out her plan in broad details.

Asked whether she envisioned the required ag courses being incorporated into already available classes, she said she “would see this as a completely new course with a full emphasis on agriculture.”

Peterson, vice president of the Nampa FFA chapter, said she did not grow up on a farm but fell in love with agriculture through her involvement with FFA and while milking cows on a dairy.

Rattling off facts about agriculture’s importance to Idaho’s economy, Peterson said it’s important that all students have at least a basic appreciation of the state’s farming industry before they graduate.

“We really excel at agriculture” but “students aren’t learning about the jobs and careers that are available in agriculture,” she said. “We learned about math, we learned about literature, but we were never mandated to learn about something that we consume on a daily basis and that’s our agriculture products. There is a lot to agriculture that people don’t know.”

A curriculum that Peterson has developed for her proposed course would include an introduction to food production and it would teach students about animal and plant science and such things as food safety regulations, the difference between conventional and organic production, the science behind genetically modified crops and the different careers available in the agricultural sector.

“Congratulations. You’ve done an excellent job,” Rep. Christy Zito, a Republican farmer from Hammett, told Peterson. “I’m so proud of what you’ve done here.”

Idaho FFA State Secretary Sydney Anderson, who grew up with Peterson and also did not have a farming background, spoke in support of the proposal and told legislators her love of farming was sparked by FFA and agriculture education classes.

“When I was enrolled in an intro to agriculture class, it really opened up so many windows for me,” she said.

“I find it amazing how may students don’t have the respect for Idaho agriculture and agriculture as a whole,” Anderson said. “Our students need to be made aware of the career opportunities that are available to them.”

Quincy FFA kicks off spring competition season Tue, 6 Feb 2018 11:27:08 -0500 Quincy, Wash. — The Quincy FFA kicked off the Spring CDE/LDE Season in fine fashion at the Sub District Creed and Employable Skills Leadership Development Event in Wilson Creek on Monday, Feb. 5. This is the first of a string of competitions that wrap up the second week of May at the Washington State FFA Convention in Pullman.

The Creed Speaking LDE requires first year members to recite the 5 paragraphs of the FFA Creed and then answer 3 questions about its meaning. It is the foundation contest to build the rest of the leadership skills on. For freshman it is a way to conquer their nerves and learn to stand and deliver. The top five competitors at Sub District move on to District to compete for the 3 slots allotted to District IX in state level competition. Quincy had 3 competitors, and all 3 advanced to District. Dave Sulisto placed 3rd, Maria Elias 4th, and Rosey Combs 5th to all move on.

In Employable Skills, members have complete a resume, write a cover letter and create a job description for a job that they are qualified for. These materials are turned in 2 weeks prior to the competition to be scored by the judges. At the event members went through a personal interview with the judges. At District competitors will also have to add a job application and follow up letter. Then at state they will add a phone interview and networking opportunity to their practicums. Gavin Sahli placed 2nd and was joined by Zach Westra who placed 3rd to advance. Noah Nielson also competed but did not move on.

Quincy FFA members will compete in a wide variety of CDE and LDE in the next few months. Leadership events include Prepared Public Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Creed Speaking, Employable Skills, Parliamentary Procedure, Conduct of Chapter Meetings, Agriculture Issues Forum, and First Year Member. Career Development Events include Horse Evaluation, Livestock Evaluation, Meats Evaluation, Agriculture Sales and Food Science.

Idaho FFA Foundation receives $100,000 gift Wed, 31 Jan 2018 08:53:39 -0500 Sean Ellis BOISE — The wife of Idaho’s late Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, known during his day as a champion of agriculture, has donated $100,000 to the Idaho FFA Foundation in honor of her husband.

The donation was announced Jan. 29 during Idaho FFA’s annual “Day on the Hill” event, which is named after Pete Cenarrusa, who died in 2013. He started the first agriculture classes at Cambridge and Carey high schools and was a strong supporter of Idaho agriculture.

His wife, Freda Cenarrusa, raised the money by selling a piece of property near Carey the couple lived on during their sheep ranching days.

“I just want to say I’m happy, you’re happy and Pete is ecstatic,” she told hundreds of FFA members, legislators and members of the state’s agriculture industry after the gift was announced.

The money will be used to establish the Idaho FFA Foundation Pete and Freda Cenarrusa Endowment Fund, which will provide financial support annually to help fund leadership and career development programs for FFA members.

“This $100,000 gift from Freda Cenarrusa in honor of Pete Cenarrusa is an amazing legacy gift for Idaho FFA,” Idaho FFA Foundation Executive Director Laura Wilder told Capital Press. “This gift will help fund Idaho FFA career and leadership development activities for Idaho FFA members, forever.”

The annual dividends generated by the endowment will go to the Idaho FFA Foundation’s general fund and will be allocated by members of the group’s board of trustees to the areas of greatest need, she said.

“We have so many opportunities for our students to develop career and leadership skills and this really helps us use the money to benefit the most students with the greatest need,” Wilder said.

Hundreds of FFA members, wearing their iconic blue jackets, descend on Boise every year for the Day on the Hill event, where they meet face-to-face with lawmakers and experience first-hand how laws are passed.

They also meet with leaders of the state’s agriculture industry and members of Idaho’s farm commissions.

“It’s good to see them interact with legislators,” said Rep. Scott Bedke, a Republican Rancher from Oakley and speaker of the house. “It reminds these legislators that represent suburban districts how important agriculture is.”

Bedke, a former FFA member, said lawmakers attend a lot of functions during the legislative session “but there are none more important that this one.”

Tom Clifton, an FFA adviser in Jerome, said the event is the first chance a lot of younger FFA members have to participate in a major leadership event and for the older ones, “it’s sort of a reinforcement of what they’ve learned, what they’ve been going through the last three or for years. It’s a wonderful event for these kids to keep them on the right track.”

He said the forum is also a great reminder to legislators of the important role agriculture plays in Idaho’s economy.

“They know what the lifeblood of Idaho is and it’s agriculture and it’s good that the kids reinforce that,” Clifton said.

Idaho FFA speech winner will speak at Nampa Ag Forum Tue, 30 Jan 2018 11:05:13 -0500 Sean Ellis NAMPA, Idaho — A Meridian High School FFA member won a prepared speech contest with a presentation about how genetically modified crops can help Idaho farmers continue to feed the world despite the continuing loss of farmland.

Ashton Shaul, a senior, memorized her entire 8-minute presentation and was the only one of the six competitors not to use notes.

She has been invited to repeat her presentation Feb. 6 during the Nampa Chamber of Commerce’s 5th Annual Ag Forum, which will feature a panel discussion about the steady disappearance of farmland in southwestern Idaho.

A catalyst for this year’s Ag Forum theme was a recent Boise State University study that projected rapid development growth in the Treasure Valley of southwestern Idaho would result in the loss of between 110,000 and 240,000 acres of farmland by the year 2100.

Some groups have started thinking of ways to help stem the loss of farmland in Idaho through the use of such methods as a voluntary statewide farmland easement program.

But Shaul argued that the use of genetically modified crops, known as GMOs, was the best way to help Idaho farmers produce more food on less land.

She said “the solution is right in front of us, yet it’s still rejected by society based on unfounded fears” and anti-GMO claims “are exaggerated to demonize agriculturists who are trying to feed the same population that condemns them.”

The use of biotech crops allows farmers to produce more food on less land, “which is specifically relevant to Idaho, seeing as we are now one of the fastest growing states in the country,” Shaul said.

As an example of how fast the Treasure Valley is growing, she said, the West Ada County School District is projected to have 70,000 students by the year 2050, double it current amount.

As most people understand, she added, “more people equals less farmland.”

“Biotechnology is not our enemy,” Shaul said. “Through the use of biotechnology, we have seen amazing advancements in the agriculture industry as a whole....”

“Urbanization doesn’t have to be the death of our agriculture industry but it could be the birth of a new era in Idaho agriculture,” she said. “One where we’re ... (known) as the pioneers of new agricultural technologies and the state that fought to feed the world.”

The purpose of this year’s Ag Forum is to educate Canyon County’s business and agriculture communities about the heavy pressure on farmland, said Nampa Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Amy Bowman.

“As farmers execute their private property rights to sell their land, and agricultural lands turns into asphalt, the neutral role of the Nampa chamber is to bring the community together to become educated and engaged around the topic of agricultural land and planned development,” she said in an email.

Meridian FFA’s winter of accomplishment Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:25:14 -0500 Ellie HigginsMeridian FFA Reporter The Meridian, Idaho, FFA chapter has recently participated in several district competitions, completed many service projects and held a unique chapter meeting. From selling produce, to bringing home a district award, the chapter has held many successes in the recent months.

On Nov. 29, 10 chapter members attended Boise Valley District (BVD) Career Development Events (CDEs) at Vallivue High School. Members Rene Coddens (1st high individual Electricity & 1st high individual Arc/MIG Welding), Brian Regner (1st high individual Small Gas Engines & 1st high individual Tool ID), Brett Osborne (1st high individual Oxy/TIG Welding), and Cody Duff (2nd high individual Metal ID & Tool Sharpening) competed in the Agricultural Mechanics CDE, placing 1st as a team. This difficult and practical contest requires a thorough knowledge of welding, tools and engines.

Freshmen members Amy Heikkila (8th individual), Nani McKague, (17th individual), Grace Haws (20th individual), Natalie Vennell (27th individual), and Connor Medema (29th individual) attended to compete in the Greenhand Knowledge test. These eager freshmen have already received their Greenhand FFA Degrees, and studied valuable FFA knowledge to compete in this CDE.

Finally, Ellie Higgins attended to compete in the Employment Skills Leadership Development Event (LDE). This contest centers around the real world skills of applying for a job effectively. Completing a resume, cover letter, job application, personal interview, and follow up letter are the vital portions of this contest. Ellie placed 1st, and will be continuing on to represent the Meridian FFA Chapter at State Leadership Conference in April. Thank you to Miss Liz Russell, 2017-2018 BVD Advisor, for putting on this event, to the BVD Officers for assisting with the competitions, and to Mr. Alan Heikkila for driving the school bus.

The Meridian FFA annual Produce Sale took place from December 6th through the 14th in the Meridian Career Technical Center (CTC). Chapter members began selling produce to family, friends and local businesses even weeks before the sale took place. High quality apples, grapefruit, oranges, potatoes, and onions were grown, both from out of state and from local producers. The Meridian chapter raised a profit of approximately $10,400, which will be used to fund chapter activities, and assist members in paying for jackets, conference costs, and travel expenses. In addition, 66 donation variety boxes were sold and then donated to needy families in the Meridian area.

Finally, on Dec. 14, the Meridian FFA Chapter Christmas meeting was held at the Meridian CTC. Chapter members attended to give back to their community, and celebrate the holidays with fellow members. Making holiday cards for veterans in our area allowed attending members to show their support of our country and our veterans, while packaging the 66 holiday donation boxes gave them a chance to give back to families in need. These service projects, along with the baking contest and games at the Christmas meeting provided members with a unique and fun chance to participate in FFA.

Overall, the Meridian FFA Chapter has completed many amazing projects. With the season of giving in full swing, Meridian FFA has fully embodied that spirit. Giving back to others is incredibly important to the member of the Meridian FFA Chapter, as it allows them to express their gratitude to others who support the FFA. Thank you to everyone who bought from and helped plan the Produce Sale, and those who planned and attended the Christmas meeting, and everyone that donated their time to make these events possible. It really was a wonderful winter for the Meridian FFA Chapter!

Quincy FFA member chosen for range management forum Wed, 10 Jan 2018 17:23:48 -0500 Quincy, Wash. — Erin Brisbine, a senior FFA member at Quincy High School, has be selected by the Pacific Northwest Section of the Society of Range Management to participate in the High School Youth Forum at the society’s annual meeting.

This year’s meeting is Jan. 28-Feb. 1 in Sparks, Nev. The meeting theme is “Empowerment through Applied Science.”

The SRM is an international organization that strives to promote public awareness of the importance of sound management and use of rangeland, the world’s largest land base. In 1966 the SRM recognized the need to involve youth in the range-related activities and education provided at this annual meeting. Since that time, the youth forum has been a highlight of the annual meetings. Volunteers of the SRM Student Activities Committee conduct the program.

High school delegates to the HSYF are chosen by each of the 21 individual sections of the parent society throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, based on their high degree of interest in the range and natural resources field as well as their exemplary dedication and effort to learn more about these areas.

While at the HSYF, they will have the opportunity to meet people from many countries and get a firsthand view of what SRM is all about including its organization, goals and the role it plays on a world-wide basis.

The goals of the HSYF are: 1) provide insight for these students concerning the function and working of a professional society; 2) provide opportunities to meet society members; 3) provide a format that encourages thinking and enhancement of communicative skills; 4) provide an opportunity to learn about range and natural resource management and future careers through interaction with society professionals; 5) provide an opportunity to learn about the ecology and natural resources of the annual meeting site; and 6) provide an atmosphere that fosters camaraderie and lasting friendships.

As one of the more important activities, each delegate to the forum competes in a scientific paper presentation, with the content covering a range-related topic. All presentations will be judged by a diverse panel of judges, with the top five papers being recognized at the SRM awards ceremony. The top paper winner is invited to next year’s meeting to help with the forum and present their paper to the general membership of the society. Other activities will include a local ecological field tour of the meeting site and a program to enhance communication skills.

Since the number of delegates that attend each year is limited, selection for this activity is considered a high honor for those students selected.

Erin’s paper is titled “Obstacles to Opportunities: Cattlemen of the Quincy Valley” and covers the changes of the Quincy Valley from native grassland to irrigated paradise and how the local cattlemen have had to adjust their operations and grazing practices over the past 130 years. The obstacles that they have overcome and the opportunities they have created for themselves.

For further information regarding the Society for Range Management log on to For more information about the High School Youth Forum contact Barron S. Rector, co-chairman of the HSYF subcommittee, at the Extension Ecosystem Science and Management Office at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

Washington FFA state adviser looks to evolve program Tue, 9 Jan 2018 09:07:48 -0500 Matw Weaver Denny Wallace says FFA has always been in his blood.

“It’s all about leadership, citizenship and cooperation,” he said. “The thing about agriculture is you’re working with the soil, nature and animals. You’re getting to see what your responsibility and care can do in the real world.”

Wallace started in FFA as a student in 1967 and served as a state officer in his senior year of high school. He became an agriculture teacher in 1976 in Eatonville, and taught in Yelm until 2010.

Wallace became state FFA adviser in July, replacing his daughter, Rebecca Wallace. He is also program supervisor for agricultural sciences in career and technical education in the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia.

FFA takes students, no matter their background or belief system, and teaches them to be successful in business and life, Wallace said.

“You get to see unmolded clay coming into the education system that has a lot of potential and you get to find out what they can actually do, just by giving them the self-confidence and training they need,” he said.

In the legislature this year, the Washington FFA Association, with the support of the AgForestry Leadership program participants, is seeking $500,000 in state funding annually. The money would fund the FFA association’s executive director position and establish a grant program to provide resources for low-income students.

The request would help provide a consistent source for the state association’s expenses. Right now the position is funded using state and national sources and donations, Wallace said.

FFA also hopes to incorporate agricultural subjects with the state Core Plus program, which offers training in the skilled trades, so students can receive academic credit.

“We have an uphill battle,” Wallace said. “There’s a lot of districts that think the only science is theoretical science taught out of a textbook. They don’t see how irrigation or soils or some of the things we teach in agriculture is science, and yet, for those in agriculture, you know that it’s all science. We’re teaching it in an applied manner.”

Wallace is also looking to “evolve” FFA’s programs to remain relevant to students’ needs.

“What skill set is relevant for today’s future, which ones do we need to cut, and what do we need to replace them with?” he asked. “You’ve got to stay relevant, you’ve got to be fresh and yet you want to respect where we came from. Teaching kids how to lead, how to work with others and how to be good citizens is at the root of all of this.”

FFA collects 350,000 pounds of food for needy families Mon, 18 Dec 2017 17:18:38 -0500 Geoff Parks PERRYDALE, Ore. — It was a windfall of good news this fall for Perrydale High School’s ag education and FFA programs.

In addition to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Food For All drive benefiting families in need with a record collection of 350,000 pounds of food, the Perrydale FFA Chapter adviser, Christina Lorenz, recently brought home a national ag award and helped secure a substantial state-funded grant for the school’s ag education program.

Perrydale’s ag program was awarded $372,286 in Revitalization Grant funds from the Oregon Department of Education and fourth-year teacher Lorenz was awarded a Turn the Key Scholarship during the recent National Association of Agricultural Educators convention in Nashville.

The grant will be used to upgrade the school’s ag education program and Lorenz’s award is meant to be “a means of encouraging young teachers to remain in the profession and recognize their participation in professional activities,” according to the NAAE.

Perrydale’s iconic Food For All program has evolved into a concerted effort by the FFA students in all of the Lower Willamette FFA District — including Central, Dallas, Willamina, Sheridan, Perrydale, Amity, Dayton and Yamhill-Carlton high schools — in making a massive effort in gathering, packaging and distributing donated produce to needy families.

The vegetables and produce collected and distributed range from local rutabagas, beets, parsnips and other root vegetables to pears from the Hood River area, potatoes from Hermiston and even oranges and fruit from area distributors.

Food For All was begun in 1998 by former Perrydale FFA adviser Kirk Hutchinson with one donated tote of potatoes. In 2015, over 260,000 pounds were collected and last year the students collected and distributed 320,000 pounds.

All of Perrydale School District’s students, from preschool to 12th grade, participate in the Food For All program’s activities each year, Lorenz said. What they get out of the effort is much more than just a chance to do some hard work.

Students make about eight to 10 trips to reach out to partners prior to collection efforts, Lorenz said.

“The trips are beneficial for a number of reasons,” she said. “Students are getting out from a school environment and into a business setting and are able to see how those businesses operate and to make a sales pitch to them.

“They get to translate what they learn in the classroom to real life.”

Food For All works with community outreach groups to identify families in need and distribute 40- to 50-pound bags of food to them each year. Food banks, local organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the Elks Club and churches that adopt families in need are all put into the distribution mix.

“This project is amazing in so many ways,” Lorenz said. “But the most obvious way is that it gives to families in need and teaches students to serve their communities and pay it forward.”

Community college instructor to lead National Association of Agriculture Educators Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:19:39 -0500 GEORGE PLAVEN Nick Nelson, an animal science instructor at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, is set to become the first teacher from Oregon and first from a postsecondary institution to serve as president of the National Association of Agriculture Teachers.

Nelson was chosen during the NAAE annual convention Dec. 5-9 in Nashville. The group represents more than 7,800 members and 12,000 agriculture teachers across the country.

As NAAE president, Nelson said his primary focus will be working to solve the agriculture teacher shortage nationwide. According to the association, there were 770 open teaching positions in 2016, and 98 schools were forced to eliminate their agriculture programs due to budget cuts, low enrollments or inability to find a qualified instructor.

“Ag teachers are truly dynamic individuals that wear numerous hats,” Nelson said in a statement. “They teach in the classroom, serve as the FFA advisor and then make project visits to students’ homes all year long.

“They are also very active in the community, doing numerous tasks, all the while raising a family and farming on the side,” Nelson said. “It is no wonder why we are seeing an increase in the number of schools that want ag programs, but not enough ag teachers to fill the positions.”

Nelson said the biggest thing is to get more states participating in the NAAE Teach Ag campaign, which helps to recruit, retain and mentor more young agriculture teachers.

Nelson is a second-generation teacher, whose father, Veril Nelson, taught agriculture in Roseburg, Ore. Together, they also raise Red Angus cattle and market bulls through the Lorenzen Red Angus program.

Before arriving at BMCC, Nelson taught high school in Clackamas and Hermiston. He will serve one year as NAAE president, and travel to Washington, D.C., for board meetings as well as the National Policy Seminar, hosted by the Association for Career and Technical Education.

“It’s a service job, and the Western states really pushed me to continue that on,” Nelson said. “That’s really why I did it, to represent them.”

Cedarcrest FFA Landscape Team competes at national convention Mon, 4 Dec 2017 10:25:23 -0500 Kendra MutchCedarcrest FFA Reporter DUVALL, Wash. — On Oct. 25-26, the Cedarcrest nursery/landscape team competed at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. The nursery/landscape competition included a team activity and skills event, knowledge exam, landscape estimating calculations, written and verbal customer assistance, propagation and identification of plants, plant diseases/disorders, pests, beneficial insects, and tools.

The team placed 16th overall with team members earning individual recognition as well. Kailea Alves earned bronze level placing. Megan Reid placed in the silver level. Ben Benson and Kendra Mutch received gold level awards. Out of nearly 150 competitors, Ben placed 20th and Kendra placed 10th individually. Competing at national level allowed each team member the opportunity to discover personal areas of interest in agriculture, and learn more pertaining to horticulture, landscaping and plant sciences.

The opportunity for the landscape team to compete at national convention was made possible by the following sponsors:

• Cherry Valley Horticulture Club

• City of Carnation Fourth of July Committee

• Civic Club, Duvall, Wash.


• Flower World, Maltby, Wash.

• Jo’s Fleece Fields. Don and Jody Stanwick, owners of Jo’s Fleece Fields, provided opportunity for the team to work for their farm/feed distribution business.

• JP Landscape, Duvall, Wash.

• Kim Klingenberg, Keller Williams, Kirkland Wash.

• King County Farm Bureau

• Paradise Lake Nursery, Maltby, Wash.

• The Ross Family

• Sally Grimes, who employed the landscape team to assemble a greenhouse.

• Washington Crop Improvement nonprofit agricultural organization.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cedarcrest High School horticulture program, contact the Cedarcrest FFA advisors at:

FFA tractor raffle has raised awareness of the importance of ag education Fri, 1 Dec 2017 08:59:37 -0500 Sean Ellis CALDWELL, Idaho — A simple tractor raffle that set out to raise some scholarship money for Idaho FFA members has turned into something much bigger.

The raffle is a program of the Idaho FFA Foundation and the tractors are hauled around the state each year to generate interest and boost ticket sales.

The tractor is usually accompanied by FFA members who act as real-life advocates for agriculture education and the FFA program.

The tractor raffle has become a visual symbol of Idaho’s FFA program and has raised awareness of the importance of agriculture education across the state, supporters say.

The foundation was able to award $51,000 in college scholarships last year and the tractor raffle was a big reason why, said Idaho FFA Foundation Executive Director Laura Wilder.

“The tractor raffle has had a huge impact on the overall support to FFA and helped raise awareness about the need for scholarships,” she said. “The tractor raffle is really what started our scholarship program.”

The tractor raffle was started in 2011 by Middleton farmer Sid Freeman, past president of the Idaho FFA Alumni Association, and his wife, Pam.

Farmers and agribusinesses have donated the tractors, which are professionally restored by the Freemans with help from people involved with the farming industry.

Fifty percent of the money raised by the raffle tickets goes to fund scholarships, 40 percent goes to the foundation’s general fund and local chapters to help support FFA programs and the rest is used to cover the raffle program’s costs.

Since it began in 2011, the raffle has raised $120,000 through ticket sales, $35,500 in banner sponsorships by dozens of agricultural businesses and $60,000 from in-kind contributions, Freeman said.

The money has been used to award $107,000 in scholarships and another $22,000 will be awarded in April.

Idaho FFA Executive Director Clara-Leigh Evans said the raffle not only raises money for scholarships for FFA members, “but as the tractor travels the state with tractor raffle volunteers, it raises visibility and awareness of the Idaho FFA Foundation and its important work.”

Besides raising general awareness of the importance of agriculture education, the campaign has also resulted in many agricultural businesses partnering more closely with the Idaho FFA program, Freeman said.

“The awareness campaign that the tractor raffle became was unintentional,” he said. “But it was big. It was really big. We were just trying to get rid of a tractor and raise some money for scholarships and this whole awareness thing became way bigger (than imagined).”

While FFA members sell tickets for the annual raffle, they are acting as advocates for agriculture education, said American Falls High School ag teacher Mark Bietia, who has had several students receive scholarships through the raffle program.

“It has increased ag education literacy and awareness throughout the state,” said Bietia, co-chairman of the Idaho FFA board of directors.

California FFA’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser nets nearly $45,000 Thu, 30 Nov 2017 11:15:31 -0500 GALT, Calif. — Donors to the California FFA Foundation’s jacket fundraiser stepped up in a big way on Nov. 28, as they teamed with Blue Diamond Growers to raise enough money to purchase nearly 600 blue jackets for members who can’t afford their own.

At $75 for each jacket with a tie or scarf, that’s nearly $45,000.

The organization nearly met its goal of raising enough for 668 jackets, or two for each of California’s 334 FFA chapters, the foundation explained on its website.

That’s a big jump from the $6,500 goal the California FFA set and reached on Giving Tuesday in 2016. A big reason for the increase was Blue Diamond Growers, which matched individuals’ donations.

The push started last year as FFA advisers realized some members didn’t have the means to purchase their own trusty blue-and-gold jackets and had to borrow them for competitions and other events.

The FFA held its first jacket fundraiser in conjunction with the Sacramento area’s Big Day of Giving in May 2016, during which local residents and businesses donated more than $22,000 to support FFA and agricultural education.

Giving Tuesday is a United Nations Foundation-sponsored movement to encourage philanthropy at the beginning of the holiday season. Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday always falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

California has about 88,000 FFA members statewide and is led by more than 760 advisers and agriculture teachers.

Meridian FFA has a fantastic fall Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:16:16 -0500 Ellie HigginsMeridian, Idaho, FFA Reporter In the months of September and October, many huge events have taken place for the Meridian FFA chapter. Recruitment and agriculture education was present in many forms, and for many different ages! From our first meeting, to the return of the Agriculture Exposition, the Meridian FFA chapter started off the year with a bang.

The annual Luau chapter meeting took place on Sept. 18 from 6 to 9 in the evening at Rocky Mountain High School. This meeting is the first one of the school year, and is the biggest recruitment event for the Meridian FFA Chapter. Many students attended to learn more about FFA, try on and order their jacket, pay their dues, and meet existing chapter members and officers. Attendees ate a luau-style pig, listened to reports, and played games with other members.

The Boise Valley District leadership workshop took place on Sept. 11 from 6 to 8 in the evening at Ridgevue High School. Over 35 Meridian FFA students attended the workshop to learn more about leadership. The workshop was facilitated by the District Officer team, including Cameron King and Ashton Shaul from the Meridian Chapter and District Advisor Ms. Russell. Those who attended went to four different stations, and participated in activities to meet other members and learn new leadership skills.

The Meridian FFA Agriculture Exposition (Ag Expo) took place from Sept. 26-28 in the Meridian High School Career Technical Center. Every first grade class in the West Ada school district attended this event between 9 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon on one of the three days it was held. There was a total of approximately 3,000 first grade students that attended the Ag Expo, all of which went to many different “stations” including tractors, different livestock and small animals, commodities, and much much more. Our members served as both tour guides and speakers, effectively helping to plan and run this huge event, and to teach kids about agriculture.

The district competitions for the Range and the Soils Evaluation Career Development Events (CDE’s) were held at Allied Seed in Melba on Thursday, Sept. 28. Participants in the district Range CDE workshop included Hailey Buffham, Cameron King and Miranda Hruska. Participants in the district Soils Evaluation CDE included Kyleigh Davis, Kennedy Cox, and Jadia Wilson, with the team placing 3rd overall. The Range team later competed at state, on Oct. 11 at Burley. The team placed 6th overall, with Hailey Buffham placing 10th individually and Cameron King placing 14th individually. These CDEs taught competing members more about different land uses and plants that are found in Idaho.

Finally, at the 90th National FFA Convention that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana from Oct. 25 to 28, 18 Meridian FFA members attended to compete, grow their leadership skills, and experience FFA at the largest FFA convention in the nation.

From Oct. 23 to 24, members were able to tour at three different equine venues, including Churchill Downs, KESMARC Rehabilitation, and Juddmonte Stud Farms. Two teams and one individual attended to compete. The Veterinary Science CDE team, composed of Courtney Chambers (9th individual), Ashlyn Schiers, Kiara Wetzel (gold rankings), and Alexa Phillips (silver ranking), received gold and placed 8th in the nation with advisor Mr. Steve Wilder.

The Food Science CDE team, composed of Rachel Mansfield (8th individual), Courtney Marshall (gold rankings), Isaac Livesay, and Carly Connery (silver rankings), received gold and placed 9th in the nation with advisor Ms. Liz Russell.

Mallie Miller competed individually in the Employment Skills CDE. She received gold and placed 2nd in the nation with advisor Mrs. Renee Peugh. Additionally, Kaitlin Muniz attended as a part of the National FFA Chorus, and Caitlin Martin attended to apply for a National Proficiency award.

Members that attended to experience the convention were Ellie Higgins, Mollie Hiscox, Cameron King, Dani Turnbough, Trinity Martin, and Kaitlyn Steppe, with Joe Wieting and Ashton Shaul presenting our National Chapter award. Overall, every member was able to grow their personal skills because of this event.

On Nov. 6 was the annual Meridian FFA Alumni Auction at the Meridian High School Career Technical Center. The money that our Auction raises goes towards senior scholarships, FFA jacket scholarships, and making state and national trips affordable for our members.

Overall, the months of September and October were incredibly successful for the Meridian FFA chapter. We would like to thank the host schools for each of these events, the generous sponsors that make these events possible, and the parents and advisors that help us to achieve great things like this.

Quincy FFA competes in potato, tractor CDEs Thu, 30 Nov 2017 08:32:34 -0500 Seventeen members of the Quincy, Wash., FFA traveled to Columbia Basin Tech in Moses Lake to compete in the 2017 Washington State FFA Potato Grading CDE and Tractor Operators CDE. The students competed well and brought home state hardware in both competitions.

The Tractor CDE team members had to complete a 50-question tractor safety and maintenance exam, complete a team tractor parts identification practicum and then an individual driving practicum. The driving practicum requires members to drive a tractor and trailer tandem through a slalom course through 5 cones in reverse then forward through the same five cones and then back the trailer into a parking spot with 6 inches of clearance all the way around — and all in a 2 minute and 30 second time period.

Competitors are penalized for riding the clutch, changing directions, rubbing a cone, knocking over a cone, excess speed, and 1 point per second for going over the allotted time period.

The team of Chase Schuler, Gavin Sahli and Chase Morgan brought home the sixth place team plaque. Also driving for the Quincy team were David Cozar and Nate Gonzalez.

The Potato CDE team members had to Grade 100 russet potatoes as US No. 1, US No. 2 or Culls, evaluate 4 classes of seed potatoes, identify 10 samples of blemish potatoes and then grade 10 potatoes and give oral reasons as to why they graded as they did.

When all the points had be tabulated the team of Eli Westra, Erin Brisbine, Dave Sulisto, Sierra Reynolds and Jordan Clark brought home the 3rd place team plaque. Eli was the 7th place individual and Erin the 10th place individual, each earning a State Award.

The team of Taran Brown, Jane Kennedy, Ryan Smith, Rosey Combs, Noah Nielson and Cody Main placed 17th in the 32 team field. Other standout individual performances were Dave Sulisto in 14th place, Sierra Reynolds 15th and Taran Brown 16th out of 147 individuals.

The Tractor team would like to thank Washington Tractor for their assistance in the team training. The Potato team would like to thank Blakal Processing, Jones Produce and Boorman Farms for their help in preparing the team.

Next up on the CDE trail for the Quincy FFA is the Apple Evaluation CDE.

Meridian FFA plans three-day Ag Expo Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:30:56 -0500 Ellie HigginsMeridian FFA Chapter Reporter Little kids, big education! At the Meridian FFA Chapter Agricultural Exposition (Ag Expo), every first-grade student in the West Ada School District attends to learn what agriculture is really about.

The Ag Expo is a three-day-long event, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. on the Sept. 26-28. Each first-grade class spends on average of 2 hours at the Ag Expo, and travels to 26 different stations. These stations range from tractors to live animals, dairy products to livestock feeds, tack to camping safety, and much more.

Members of the Meridian FFA Chapter put on a huge portion of this event. Tour guides lead each first-grade class, making sure that every student is comfortable and having fun. Speakers run each station, sharing their own knowledge about the species or topic they are teaching.

Finally, many dedicated members work to put on this event by setting up items, loading and unloading supplies, and working together to ensure that the best possible event is being put forth.

Community members and family are welcome to attend the Ag Expo open house that will take place 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27. We hope to see you there!

2014 Idaho initiative has benefited ag ed, FFA programs Wed, 29 Nov 2017 10:08:55 -0500 Sean Ellis BOISE — An initiative designed to shore up the state’s ag education programs has provided significant benefits since it was approved during the 2014 Idaho Legislature, supporters say.

The Idaho Ag Education Initiative garnered more than $1 million in additional ongoing state funding for agriculture education programs.

It was backed by the Idaho FFA Association, Idaho FFA Alumni Association and Idaho FFA Foundation and was supported by the state’s farming industry.

The Legislature approved an annual $25,000 start-up grant for ag education programs and created common Idaho quality standards for all ag education programs and $10,000 incentive grants based on those standards.

Lawmakers increased “added cost” funding — money provided by the state for costs associated with certain programs that are above normal classroom costs — for ag education classes from $10,260 to $15,000 per full-time instructor.

They also approved funding for a full-time FFA Association executive director. That position had been part-time.

“There has been significant growth in the program since” the initiative passed, said Steve Wilder, an FFA instructor at Meridian High School. “The number of FFA members and teachers has gone up, there has been great reward from those grants and the full-time FFA coordinator has had some definite benefits.”

According to Idaho FFA Executive Director Clara-Leigh Evans, there were 3,965 FFA members and 81 chapters in the state in 2014 and there are now 4,708 members and 95 chapters.

During 2014, there were 120 agricultural and natural resource teachers in Idaho and there are 148 now.

There were 45 applications this year for the $10,000 incentive grants and 30 were awarded, and four new programs were started this year, said Marc Bietia, co-chair of the Idaho FFA board of directors and an ag education teacher at American Falls High School.

“The initiative has been successful. FFA membership has increased and so has overall enrollment in ag education classes,” he said.

But Bietia said the real success of the initiative, in his opinion, is increased communication with the local community and agricultural industry that has resulted from the review process that is part of the incentive program.

In his American Falls ag education program, up to 50 local businesses have input into what students are taught and the ag industry directly influences the curriculum.

“I think that the most valuable part of the whole process is the line of communication developed between the program, our administration and our stakeholders,” he said. “That was the intent of the (incentive program) all along.”

The incentive grants have helped increase the quality of ag education programs, said Shawn Dygert, who teaches ag education classes at Kuna High School.

“We’re rewarding programs for pushing toward excellence,” he said.

His program is using an incentive grant to help fund a major capital improvement on its greenhouse.

“It’s really helping,” he said of the initiative. “We’re seeing program improvement and enrollment increasing.”

Bietia said initiative supporters will meet with other stakeholders to discuss the possibility of seeking additional ag education funding.

Washington FFA Evergreen Leadership Tour kicks off membership year Tue, 28 Nov 2017 15:40:38 -0500 Seth SmithWashington FFA State President PULLMAN, Wash. — On Sept. 18-22 the Washington FFA State Officers, along with Tye Taylor, the Washington FFA national officer candidate, completed the annual Washington FFA Evergreen Leadership Tour.

The 2017-2018 state officer team traveled to all nine Washington FFA districts in five days, along with Abbie DeMeerleer, the Washington FFA executive director and Dennis Wallace, the new Washington FFA state advisor.

The tour started Monday morning at the Stanwood-Camano Fairgrounds. Later that afternoon the team headed south to Castle Rock High School for their second stop on the tour. By the end of day one the team had interfaced with 208 students.

Day two included stops at Elma High School and at Enumclaw High School. Wednesday the state officer team did presentations for 314 students at Ellensburg High School and Manson High School.

The fourth day of the tour started off at Quincy High School and ended at Deer Park High School. By the end of day four the state officers saw 357 students. On Friday the tour concluded at Colton High School.

Overall the Evergreen Leadership Tour impacted approximately 1,345 students at 82 different high schools across the state of Washington.

The state officer team facilitated workshops on leadership and FFA that were handcrafted by each state officer. The topic areas of a few of the workshops were: FFA basics, diversity, power of positive thinking, setting standards, commitment and conflict resolution. At each of these stops the Washington FFA national officer candidate gave a “stand and deliver” presentation, as well as facilitated workshops for Washington FFA members.

Throughout the 1,375 miles the state officer team traveled in that one week, they all shared unique memories. When asked about his experience on the tour, Matthew Rounsley, Washington FFA state sentinel, said, “I felt like this marked the start of our year. It was our first time facilitating to and being with members.”

Kelci Scharff, Washington FFA state reporter, said her favorite part of the tour was “getting to see and meet the different members of our state.”

Sydney Klaveano, Washington FFA state treasurer, said, “I loved being able to really get a first-hand look at how diverse Washington agriculture is and how it varies around the state.”

The Washington FFA Evergreen Leadership Tour was also where the state officer team revealed the theme for the state association for the upcoming year, WAtch Me: Grow.Lead.Serve.

The Evergreen Leadership Tour is a chance for the new state officer team to help FFA chapters across Washington kick off the new membership year. The tour has been occurring annually for more than 20 years and was formerly known as State & National Officer Tour or Blue & Gold Tour.

How Washington FFA members did at national convention Tue, 28 Nov 2017 15:54:05 -0500 These individuals/teams represented Washington FFA in the National CDEs/LDEs:

• Ag Communications: Elma (Kershaw, Wamsley, Renz, Finfrock, Macy) — 8th in the Nation; Gold team

• Ag Issues: Pomeroy (Matthews, Kimble) — Silver team

• Ag Sales: Yelm Blue (Hull) — 9th in the Nation; K. Johnson 12th high individual nationally

• Ag Technology and Mechanics: Mount Baker (Rightmire) — 7th in the Nation

• Agronomy: Connell (Shattuck, Thonney) — 11th in the Nation; Gold team

• Creed: Ferndale (Torretta)

• Conduct of Chapter Meetings: Asotin (Landrus) — 2nd in the Nation; Gold; C. Clovis selected as top chair in the nation.

• Dairy Cattle Evaluation 2017: Lynden (Grubb/Shumway) — 8th in the Nation; T. Abercrombie Silver Dairy Handler

• Environmental and Natural Resource: Cashmere (Finch) — NATIONAL CHAMPIONS; J. Jaspers = 1st high individual nationally; I. Hall = 4th high individual nationally; H. Duke = 8th high individual nationally

• Extemporaneous Speaking: Chiawana (Cousley) – Silver award

• Farm & Agribusiness Management: Lynden Christian (McKee) — 11th team in the Nation

• Floriculture: Richland (Jelnick) — Silver team

• Food Science and Technology: Cashmere (Finch) — 2nd in the Nation; Gold; R. Schoening 6th high individual nationally; D. Monroe 10th high individual nationally

• Forestry: Colville (Nelson) – Silver team

• Horse Evaluation: Ellensburg (Russell) — 37th in the Nation

• Employment Skills: Yelm (Mounts) — 4th in the Nation; Gold

• Livestock Evaluation: Meridian (VanDyken, Feller) — 10th in the Nation

• Marketing Plan: Lind-Ritzville (Williams, Klindworth, Palmer) — Silver team

• Meats Evaluation and Technology: LaCrosse (Baser) — 3rd in the Nation; Gold team; N. Harder was 6th high individual nationally.

• Milk Quality and Products Evaluation: Lynden Christian (Van Weerdhuizen) – 11th team in the Nation

• Nursery Landscape: Cedarcrest (Thomas) – Silver team; K. Mutch = 10th high individual nationally

• Parliamentary Procedure: Prosser (Devore) – Silver team; K.Greene tied for top test score in the


• Poultry Evaluation: Elma (Kershaw, Wamsley, Renz, Finfrock, Macy) — 13th in the Nation; Silver team

• Prepared Public Speaking: Rosalia (Petershick) – Silver award

• Veterinary Science: Ferndale (Torretta) – 9th in the Nation; Gold team

• Hall of States: Rochester (Studeman)

These individuals/teams represented Washington FFA in other National FFA areas:

• National Chapter – Model of Excellence National Finalist: Goldendale FFA (Krieg)

• National Chapter – Growing Leaders National Finalists: Omak FFA and Tenino FFA

• National Chapter – Strengthening Agriculture National Finalist: Omak FFA

• National Chapter – Star Chapters: Cedarcrest FFA-Two Star; Centralia FFA-Two Star; Elma FFA-Three Star; Finley FFA-Two Star; Goldendale FFA-Three Star; Kamiakin FFA-Three Star; Mount Baker FFA-Three Star; Mount Vernon FFA-One Star; Omak FFA-Three Star; Rainier FFA-Two Star; Shelton FFA-Two Star; Sumner FFA-Two Star; Tenino FFA-Three Star; Waitsburg FFA-Two Star; Winlock FFA-Two Star; Yelm FFA-Three Star

• National Proficiency Finalist – Diversified Livestock: Nicole Harder, LaCrosse FFA (Baser)

• American Degree – 39 recipients from the following chapters: Asotin, Centralia, Chelan, Clarkston, Colton, Deer Park, Elma, Ferndale, LaCrosse, Lynden Christian, Lynden, Moses Lake, Omak, Prosser, Toutle Lake, Selah, Shelton, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sumner, Tonasket, Waitsburg, Walla Walla, Wilson Creek, Winlock, Yelm

• National Band: Mary Belle Buck (Liberty FFA)

• Honorary American Degrees: Gerrit VanWeerdhuizen, Curt Greenwalt and Curt DeHaan

• National Officer Candidate: Tye Taylor (Prosser FFA)

• National Convention Workshop Presenters: Maya Wahl (Lind-Ritzville FFA), Rebecca Foote (Yelm FFA), Luke Moore (Colton FFA)

• National FFA Teacher Ambassadors: Tamara Whitcomb (Mt. Baker) and Nathan Moore (Colton)

• Agriscience: Sumner = 10 Gold awards (top 6) including a 2nd place nationally and a 3rd place nationally; 1 Silver award (11th); Walla Walla = 1 Silver award (12th place individual)

Washington FFA state officers visit 100-plus chapters during fall sweeps Tue, 28 Nov 2017 15:50:35 -0500 Matt RounsleyWashington FFA State Sentinel Pullman, Wash. — Washington FFA state officers take a year off of college and employment for a “year of service.” This year is filled with many amazing opportunities to interact with fellow members and agricultural education students. The state officers spend a large amount of this year in agricultural education classrooms completing FFA chapter visits.

Chapter visits began in late September when state officers started traveling in pairs around the state. These visits cover both sides of the state, all 39 counties, and all nine regional Washington FFA districts. From Omak to Pullman, Richland to Ellensburg, from Stanwood to Sumner, Rochester to White Salmon, and so many FFA chapters in between, the state officers travel for approximately 45 business days over 2.5 months and will sweep 95 different chapters during that time.

Success can mean many different things to different people. That is just one of the topics that the state officers focus on in workshops that they present to students in agricultural education classrooms. Other topics include: strength development, communication skills, and opportunities available in the FFA. These workshops are not only presented to FFA members but all potential members since all students enrolled in an agricultural education course have the ability to become members.

State officers will present workshops to as many as 7 classes in one day and as many as 5 days a week. The Washington FFA state officers visit some small schools such as Sprague High School, which only has 28 students and 26 FFA members, to larger schools like Prosser High School, with 900 students and 400 FFA members.

Chapter visits also provide the opportunity for FFA members and Agricultural Education students who are considering joining FFA to speak with to officers and ask questions about their own experiences, since they graduated from high school and their FFA program in June.

Washington FFA State Reporter Kelci Scharff said one of her favorite memories was when State Sentinel Matt Rounsley and she were attending Oakesdale FFA Chapter Visit, a 150 student K-12 School located 45 minutes outside Pullman. While we were at their school it was Homecoming Week, and they got to see all of the festivities. The kindergartners and seniors all came into one room and their school pride was incredible, not a single student wasn’t dressed up. “That’s not even the best part, they then had a dance competition and they let Matt and I compete in it, and with the amazing support for FFA this school has, we even won. After some school wide Zumba dancing we went back to the classroom and finished up the day with some workshops.”

State officers visit during homecoming season, Halloween and during the holiday season and the school festivities come right along with it. Washington FFA State President Seth Smith and State Secretary Taylor Enns were embraced by the Thanksgiving spirit. When they visited Hudson’s Bay FFA chapter in the Vancouver area, they were greeted with a Thanksgiving potluck. The members brought their favorite thanksgiving food and the advisor cooked the turkey.

“I enjoyed getting to experience the members favorite meals while getting to know what they were excited to participate in during this year,” said Enns.

There is the opportunity for chapters to invite officers for chapter visits in early spring as well. Chapter visits are not only an opportunity for growth for the students but also a chance for officers to meet with many of the 11,000 Washington FFA members. Visits to FFA programs, as well as to request the State Officers at other agricultural events, please complete the request form at:

High school senior proposes bill mandating ag education Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:29:24 -0500 Sean Ellis NAMPA, Idaho — A high school senior will propose a bill during the 2018 Idaho legislative session requiring high school students to complete at least two agriculture education classes.

If it passes, that means every student in the state would have to take at least two semesters of classes that teach them about agriculture.

In other words, they would emerge from those classes with at least a basic understanding of the farming and ranching industry and where their food comes from, said Anna Peterson, 17, an FFA member at Skyview High School in Nampa who is proposing the legislation.

Peterson’s proposal was her senior project but she told Idaho FFA Alumni Association members last week during their regular meeting that she is in it for the long haul, even if it takes more than one try to get the bill passed.

“I want to see this effort all the way through,” Peterson told Capital Press. “I think it’s important and I’m passionate about it. I just want to make sure students know where their food is coming from.”

Peterson said she wants the classes to cover animal and plant science as well as agriculture’s importance to Idaho’s economy and teach students about some of the many career opportunities involved with the industry.

Peterson, who will major in ag economics and ag education at the University of Idaho, was born in southwestern Idaho and was not raised on a farm.

However, she fell in love with agriculture after working on a dairy as a milker and learning more about the farming industry.

“I was born with a green heart,” said Peterson, who has sent emails to all 105 of the state’s legislators informing them of her plan.

Idaho FFA Alumni Association Past President Sid Freeman, a farmer, said the group was impressed with Peterson’s proposal and is discussing helping to cover some of the expenses that will be involved with her effort.

“Agriculture education is not just for farm kids; it is for the majority of other kids who are not from the farm,” he said. “It may even draw their attention to career opportunities in agriculture as well.”

Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, chairman of the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee, said it might be a tough sell to require all students to have two ag credits to graduate but he likes the thinking behind Peterson’s proposal.

“It’s an impressive idea,” he said. “I think what she’s doing has the potential to be extremely useful. The question is, what’s the best way to do it?”

Peterson said the biggest question that popped up during her research was, “What do you do about the schools that don’t have ag programs?”

She said there are alternatives, such as certifying teachers to also qualify them as ag instructors, or online courses.

“There are a lot of (options) and it’s just figuring out which one is best,” she said.