Capital Press | FFA http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Tue, 23 May 2017 15:33:15 -0400 en http://EOR-CPwebvarnish.newscyclecloud.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | FFA http://www.capitalpress.com Brown restores FFA, career tech funding after outcry from supporters http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170523/brown-restores-ffa-career-tech-funding-after-outcry-from-supporters http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170523/brown-restores-ffa-career-tech-funding-after-outcry-from-supporters#Comments Tue, 23 May 2017 11:56:54 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170529971 SACRAMENTO — After hearing an outcry from FFA advocates, Gov. Jerry Brown has reinserted funding in his budget proposal for high school agriculture education and career technical programs.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross reassured teachers that the $15.4 million for FFA and related programs zeroed out in Brown’s May 11 revised ledger has been put back in.

“Please be assured, Governor Brown remains committed to ongoing funding for these programs … through the California Department of Education,” Ross told educators in an email. “While one-time funding was used to support these programs in the current year, the governor is committed to ongoing funding for these programs for 2017-18 and beyond.”

The decision pleased Anna Canon, an agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Orland High School. The school’s ag program has 218 students, or roughly one-third of the entire student body, she said.

“When this came up with the budget cuts, we were asked to bring kids to the Capitol,” Canon said. “That (funding) is how we are able to do what we do. Now the governor’s office is supporting ongoing funding.”

The proposed cut was part of a plan to boost spending for community colleges by $160 million to, among other goals, improve students’ employment opportunities.

Whether the FFA allocation will be moved back from the community college fund or found elsewhere is yet to be determined by Brown and legislators, said Jim Aschwanden, the California Agricultural Teachers Association’s executive director.

“We have to work those details out,” he said. “I haven’t seen the details yet, but the commitment is there to fund it.”

Brown’s reversal came after parents, students and other FFA advocates took to social media to rally support for the programs. Last week, 65 legislators sent a letter to the governor and to budget committee leaders asking that the funding be restored.

The $15.4 million represents the state’s total contribution to FFA and other programs, including one for future business leaders, a family and consumer sciences program and SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization, Aschwanden said.

“What this money has enabled them to do is hold leadership conferences and bring state officers together to do leadership training for their chapters throughout the state,” he said.

Of the 114,000 California students that would have been affected by the cut, 86,000 are in FFA, which has a foundation to help raise money but relies on the $250,000 state allocation as “base funding,” he said.

“If there weren’t an FFA program, kids wouldn’t have the ability to develop leadership skills and a work ethic and (learn how to) manage money,” said Staci Alves, an agriculture teacher at Willows High School.

Budget negotiations at the Capitol have been ongoing since Brown presented his $124 billion revised ledger. The Democrat-controlled Legislature must approve a 2017-18 budget by June 15.

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FFA members help special-needs kids raise goats for county fair http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170523/ffa-members-help-special-needs-kids-raise-goats-for-county-fair http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170523/ffa-members-help-special-needs-kids-raise-goats-for-county-fair#Comments Tue, 23 May 2017 10:07:45 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170529981 ORLAND, Calif. — All her life, Amanda Houtrouw dreamed of raising her own goat and taking it to auction at her county fair.

This year, thanks to the mentorship of her fellow FFA members in Willows, Calif., she got the chance.

Houtrouw was one of six students with special needs who took part in her school’s first Mighty Honker Goat Project, which paired them with mentors who helped them raise, present and sell goats at the Glenn County Fair on May 18-21.

“I learned how to walk a goat and to clean his pen,” she said, adding that she and her mentor, Gina Amaro, will be friends forever.

The project was created by Willows High School senior Makaylee Lindsey, who saw a similar project at a fair in Southern California, she said.

“I went to the county fair in Santa Barbara and my cousin was a part of the program,” Lindsey said. “I decided to bring the program here.”

She rallied local businesses and agriculture boosters to donate materials and help with the cost, which was about $1,000 per student.

The students with intellectual disabilities were each given a goat purchased by donors in February, and they accompanied their mentors three afternoons a week to the high school’s farm to work with their animals.

The youngsters fed their goats, cleaned the stalls, weighed their goats and practiced showing the animals.

One of the students, Ryan Torres, and his mentor, Luis Garcia, raised the grand champion goat.

“It’s awesome,” said Staci Alves, an agriculture teacher at Willows High. “It kind of brought tears to everyone’s eyes.”

The students got to keep half the proceeds from the sale of their goats, while the other half went into a fund to continue the program.

The project has had an impact on the high school’s campus life, Alves said. Special-education students felt separated from the rest of the school, “but not anymore,” she said.

One of the students didn’t want to make eye contact with people, but now he can, she said.

“I think it has more of an impact on these kids,” the mentors, Alves said. “They’re not even trained (as teachers). It’s very natural.”

The parents of the special-needs kids said the experience taught them responsibility and gave them more confidence. Angelique Gomez said he daughter, Yolanda, has learned respect for animals and how to work with others.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids,” said Maria Rojo, whose daughter Alejandra participated in the program. “Alejandra is so happy. … This is the first time she could enter. She’s so happy and excited.”

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Washington FFA adviser departing http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170516/washington-ffa-adviser-departing http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170516/washington-ffa-adviser-departing#Comments Tue, 16 May 2017 17:25:06 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170519918 Rebecca Wallace, Washington state FFA adviser for the past four years, has a new job.

She is the new executive director of career and technical education programs in the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

She will continue as FFA adviser until a replacement is named.

“My roots are in ag, I’m a product of FFA, I’m a product of ag education,” Wallace said. “I’ve really, truly enjoyed working with the teachers, directors and the students across the state to advance agricultural education.”

Wallace hopes to lead by example in her new position.

“If you have the ability to impact on a greater level, then you have the responsibility to do your best to try,” she said. “We’ve been able to do some great things in agriculture. I’ve certainly appreciated the support from the ag teachers and ag industry in general.”

Wallace believes FFA has begun strategic planning for the future of agricultural education in the next 10 to 15 years. She also pointed to FFA’s relationships with Washington State University and the industry.

“I’m really proud of the team we’ve built,” she said. “I’m proud of being able to bring to light some of the great things we already had been doing and growing and starting some new programs.”

Wallace has had an “unbelievable” and “immeasurable” impact for FFA, said Abbie DeMeerleer, executive director of the Washington FFA Association.

“She has been an tireless advocate,” DeMeerleer said. “She’s been innovative, creative and very supportive of new initiatives of diverse growth in our organization, helping us look and grow forward.”

Wallace said she plans to continue to support FFA in her new capacity.

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Ag students shine at Oregon Envirothon http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170515/ag-students-shine-at-oregon-envirothon http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170515/ag-students-shine-at-oregon-envirothon#Comments Mon, 15 May 2017 10:15:18 -0400 Jan Jackson http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170519936 SILVERTON, Ore. — The 21st annual Oregon Envirothon, was May 5 at the Oregon Gardens in Silverton.

The five top winning teams were Logos Charter School, Medford; Newberg High School FFA; Amity High School; Sutherlin High School FFA Team 2; and Sutherlin High School Team A.

The Logos Charter School team will compete July 23-29 in the National Envirothon at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmetsburg, Md.

Newberg FFA, which placed second in the Envirothon and first in the FFA Division, will compete Oct. 25-28 during the 90th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Ind.

Bailey Field, FFA adviser and ag teacher at Newberg, spoke with pride about her FFA members taking a first in the FFA Division and scoring the highest in the agriculture soil and water conservation stewardship event.

“This was my first year at Newberg, and fortunately I had the help of long time biology, ecology and horticulture instructor and Envirothon trainer Pete Siderius,” Fields said. “Newberg was represented by a five-member FFA and a five-member freshman team this year. It is always exciting to see them put in all that effort and see it rewarded.”

Students train and test throughout the school year to compete in four hands-on natural resource categories — aquatic ecology, soils and land use, forestry and wildlife and one current environmental issue, which this year was ag soil and water conservation stewardship.

Envirothon was started by the Pennsylvania Soil and Water Conservation District in 1979. Oregon’s first Envirothon was in 1997 with five teams; 32 teams competed this year.

In 2003, the Marion County SWCD partnered with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute and moved the competition to the Oregon Gardens. OFRI will direct future Envirothon competitions starting with the 2018 event.

OFRI Senior Manager of Education Julie Woodward said 200 high school students competed this year.

“It started out as a very wet day, but students kept positive attitudes and we saw some amazing results,” Woodward said. “The advisers and instructors put a lot of time and energy into preparing students for the event and the test writers and judges routinely comment on how amazed they are with the skills and expertise of the students.

“We are looking forward to Envirothon 2018.”

Online

www.oregonenvirothon.org

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Washington FFA chooses new state officers http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170514/washington-ffa-chooses-new-state-officers http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170514/washington-ffa-chooses-new-state-officers#Comments Sun, 14 May 2017 16:11:12 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170519950 PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington FFA installed a new slate of officers to cap its annual gathering, which attracted 3,318 members and advisers.

The new officers will demonstrate the power of letting the student leadership organization truly be guided by students, the organization’s officials say.

New officers elected during the 87th Washington FFA Convention and Expo in Pullman, Wash., are president Seth Smith of Tonasket, vice president Mollee Gray of Medical Lake, secretary Taylor Enns of White River, treasurer Sydney Klaveano of Pullman, reporter Kelci Scharff of Cheney and sentinel Matt Rounsley of Tenino.

Smith said he hopes to talk about FFA’s possibilities for all students in the coming year.

“It’s really open for everybody,” he said.

Smith said he doesn’t have an agriculture background, but became involved in FFA through a novice parliamentary procedure leadership development event.

“It opened up all these doors and this new journey I’m on to learning about this industry,” he said. “I realized how passionate I was about it and how effective it was in our world.”

Smith hopes to attend law school and ultimately work in natural resources law or water rights law.

Outgoing president Alyssa McGee in her retiring address urged members not to get so distracted by their goals that they miss the beauty of living in the moment.

“Over the next few years, that (FFA) jacket will serve as a collection of both great moments as well as moments of struggle,” she said. “Hold on tightly to both.”

“I’m excited to hear from them what they envision Washington FFA to be in the next year,” Rebecca Wallace, Washington FFA state adviser, said of the new officers.

“I can’t wait to see what kind of expectations they set for themselves this year, and then surpass,” said Abbie DeMeerleer, Washington FFA Association executive director. “This is a dynamic new group of individuals, and I think they’re going to have some pretty innovative and exciting ideas for the association.”

DeMeerleer hopes the industry greets the new officers with open arms, to help them better understand the “ins and outs” of the industry and its trading partners.

“So that these six students, in all of their travels throughout the year, can best represent not only FFA, but Washington agriculture as a whole,” she said.

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Fresno leaders make new offer to keep state FFA convention http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170509/fresno-leaders-make-new-offer-to-keep-state-ffa-convention http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170509/fresno-leaders-make-new-offer-to-keep-state-ffa-convention#Comments Tue, 9 May 2017 14:51:47 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170509874 FRESNO, Calif. — Local leaders have promised more facility space, closer involvement by agricultural leaders and perhaps farm tours as a way to entice the FFA’s annual state convention to stay in town.

City and California State University-Fresno leaders sent a new proposal to the youth organization last week that included use of the Big Fresno Fairgrounds and bus transportation for students to activities there, university president Joe Castro said.

“Then we would enhance our partnerships with the ag leaders in the area and get them more involved,” Castro told the Capital Press. “Many have stepped up to say they’d help out with mentors and offered field trips on their own farms and tours if they (the FFA) were to stay. There’s a lot of support here for it.”

The local leaders’ overtures come as the California FFA is apparently close to an agreement with the Anaheim Convention Center to host the organization’s leadership conference in 2018 and 2019.

Josiah Mayfield, the FFA’s assistant state adviser, has declined to comment about talks he’s had with Fresno officials since the organization announced its plans to cut ties with the Selland Arena and its adjacent convention center. Fresno has hosted the FFA’s gathering for 24 years.

Mayfield argues that the organization’s growth is forcing it to move the convention, noting the gathering’s attendance has grown from about 1,000 to more than 6,000 students a year. Members are scattered at various hotels in downtown Fresno, prompting state advisers to search for larger venues with more concentrated lodging.

“Clearly Anaheim has an advantage in terms of hotel rooms in closer proximity to one another,” Castro conceded. “We’d have a number of different hotels in the Fresno-Clovis area to support that large number, but I would say that our location is far more strategically important to them.

“Almost half of the students in FFA come from the Central Valley, and it’s much more convenient for them,” he said.

The annual convention is a big event for Fresno State, which provides roughly 200 students and faculty members to help put it on. On the Sunday of each convention, members are bused over to the university for educational workshops and judging contests.

“In addition to the 200, there are literally many hundreds of people who are helping to make sure this whole program goes smoothly,” Castro said. “That would have to be re-created elsewhere. Our folks would not be in the position of going to Anaheim.”

Castro and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand have tried to rally local agricultural leaders to urge the FFA to stay, and the offers of farm tours and more mentors are a result of the outreach, Castro said.

Use of the fairgrounds would add about 89,000 square feet of activity space to the roughly 125,000 available at the Selland Arena and convention center, he said.

Castro has proposed using the 14-year-old SaveMart Center with its roughly 16,000 seats rather than the 51-year-old Selland Arena, which seats 7,200. But he said he understands the FFA likes Selland’s proximity to the DoubleTree Hotel, which is the main hotel the convention uses.

The conference is now slated to alternate between Anaheim and Sacramento every two years. Mayfield has said he expects an agreement with Anaheim to be finalized soon.

On the subject of volunteers, Mayfield has said he’ll try to engage all of the state’s major agricultural colleges — Fresno State, California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly-Pomona, CSU-Chico and the University of California-Davis — to help out.

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Meridian FFA members find success at leadership conference http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170504/meridian-ffa-members-find-success-at-leadership-conference http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170504/meridian-ffa-members-find-success-at-leadership-conference#Comments Thu, 4 May 2017 15:36:37 -0400 Loretta Lacy2016-2017 Meridian FFA Reporter http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170509930 On April 5, 53 Meridian FFA members and 13 advisors traveled to Twin Falls, Idaho to attend the Idaho State Leadership Conference (SLC) held on the College of Southern Idaho campus.

This conference is held annually and lasted four days, from April 5 to 8. During SLC, members from chapters all over the state compete in Career Development Events (CDEs), interview for Proficiency Awards and National Chapter Awards, attend many workshops and sessions, and listen to the state officers give their retiring addresses.

On April 5, Meridian members woke up early to participate in the Dairy and Livestock Judging Invitational contests. These contests are invitational and are considered practice, as they are not state qualifiers. The following members participated in Dairy Judging:

• Emma Sells (8th place individual) (RMHS)

• Cody Duff (RMHS)

• Hunter Patterson (RMHS)

• Dylan Peterson (RMHS)

• Kaden McCarney (MHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

The following members participated in Livestock Judging:

• Emma Sells (RMHS)

• Cody Duff (RMHS)

• Hunter Patterson (RMHS)

• Dylan Peterson (RMHS)

• Joe Wieting (MHS)

• Kaden McCarney (MHS)

• Trace Beaucannon (RMHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

On the evening of April 5, the Floriculture CDE was held in the Evergreen Building on the College of Southern Idaho Campus. Meridian FFA Floriculture team placed 8th in the state. The following members participated in this CDE:

• Lauren Barker (EHS)

• Caitlin Martin (EHS)

• Jordan Bettencourt (EHS)

• Kayla Schubert (EHS)

On April 6, four Meridian members participated in Proficiency interviews and two Meridian members attended the National Chapter Interview. To apply for a State Proficiency, members must have a strong Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), submit a quality application, and complete an interview. Members that win the Proficiency in their designated area then are able to compete at the regional level. The following members applied for a State Proficiency award:

• Caitlin Martin (Entrepreneurship – Small Animal; Gold ranking; 1st place) (EHS)

• Lauren Barker (Entrepreneurship – Equine; Gold ranking; 1st place) (EHS)

• Alexa Phillips (Placement—Small Animal) (MVHS)

• Loretta Lacy (Entrepreneurship—Equine) (CHS)

“Winning a Proficiency award for my horse project was amazing,” said Lauren Barker. “It helped me realize how important all of my record-keeping was. I have never gone through an interview before so the whole process was a really fun learning experience!”

The chapter president and vice president from each chapter will fill out an application very similar to the proficiency application, but will cover various chapter events held throughout the year. Two Meridian members, Loretta Lacy (Reporter) and Kyle Schmit (President), participated in the National Chapter interview and Meridian placed 9th with a Gold ranking. The National Chapter application will be sent to Nationals to be reviewed and scored again.

Also on April 6, Taylor Nelson (Idaho State Reporter) gave her retiring address entitled “Be a Friend.” At the end of her address, Loretta Lacy and Kyle Schmit accepted it and congratulated Taylor on a job well done over the past year. Spread throughout the six sessions, each State Officer presented a motivational and influential speech as a closing to their time of serving Idaho FFA as a state officer.

Members got the chance to participate in the Idaho State Parliamentary Procedure Exam. This examination covers basic to advanced Parliamentary Procedure rules. The member with the highest score is awarded the title of Conference Parliamentarian. Meridian FFA had eight members participate in this exam. The members are as follows:

• Ashton Shaul (1st high individual; Conference Parliamentarian) (MHS)

• Hayley Bowring (8th high individual) (MVHS)

• Sarah Miraya (9th high individual) (MVHS)

• Courtney Marshall (EHS)

• Rose Frazee (MVHS)

• Sydney Plum (MHS)

• Jonathan Muniz (MVHS)

• Madison Belanger (MVHS)

During the 4th general session on April 7, six Meridian members were awarded their state degrees. These degrees are displayed as gold emblems attached to gold chains that are hung off of the inside of your jacket. This degree is the highest degree that a high school member can achieve. Congratulations to these six members for their great achievement. The following members received their state degrees:

• Joseph Wieting (MHS)

• Lauren Barker (EHS)

• Mollie Hiscox (MVHS)

• Ashton Shaul (MHS)

• Kaitlin Muniz (MVHS)

• Ellie Higgins (MHS)

Besides the sessions and interviews, CDEs were also held on Thursday. Meridian members participated in Horse Judging, Farm Business Management, Job Interview, and Scrapbook Judging throughout the day. Horse Judging is a CDE in which a team of four members will judge, score, and present oral reasons on classes of horses. These classes can range from judging how a horse is built to judging how a horse moves and listens to its rider. Meridian placed 3rd in the State. The following members who participated in Horse Judging are as follows:

• Rachel Mansfield (3rd place individual) (MVHS)

• Michael Person (CHS)

• Ashlyn Schiers (MHS)

• Emma Carley (BKHS)

“I have been competing in horse judging through various organizations throughout the past five years,” said Rachel Mansfield. “I’ve always enjoyed the contest as a whole and giving oral reasons has really amplified my public speaking skills. Horse judging is a very subjective competition, so it’s a challenge to not let your personal opinions interfere with how you judge certain classes. I enjoy the challenge of not really knowing what to expect and the pressure of having to develop a set of oral reasons in a very limited amount of time.”

The Farm Business Management CDE consists of four team members who will each take a test over practical math used commonly on a ranch or farm. Meridian placed 3rd at SLC. The following members who participated in Farm Business Management are as follows:

• Isaac Livesay (6th place individual) (MHS)

• Lyric Snurkowski (MHS)

• Kiara Wetzel (MVHS)

• Kobe Manzer (MHS)

“I love Farm Business Management because it was something I tried on a whim and I ended up becoming passionate about it,” said Lyric Snurkowski. “Not to mention it shows me that not all math sucks.”

Mallie Miller placed 1st in the state for Job Interview CDE and she will be representing Meridian FFA and Idaho FFA at National Convention this fall. This CDE consists of the member creating a strong resume and cover letter, undergoing an interview, and then completing up with a follow-up letter.

“I enjoy the Job Interview CDE because it is an independent competition,” said Mallie Miller. “I would recommend doing this CDE to every FFA member because it really prepares you for real life.”

Scrapbook Judging is an event where most Idaho FFA chapters submit their yearbooks or scrapbooks for judging. The Meridian FFA yearbook covers all of the major events from the past year and the articles that cover them; there are also a few “fun pages” that consist of “Senior Best” and some of our members’ interesting SAE projects. Meridian’s yearbook placed 2nd at the state level in our division. The following members created the 2016-2017 Yearbook:

• Ellie Higgins (Yearbook Chief) (MHS)

• Kiara Wetzel (Yearbook Staff) (MVHS)

• Sydney Plum (Yearbook Staff) (MHS)

On Friday April 7, the Nursery Landscape CDE was held in the CSI Greenhouse. Meridian FFA placed 5th in the state. The following members participated in this CDE:

• Mollie Hiscox (3rd place individual) (MVHS)

• Hailey Buffham (10th place individual) (MVHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

• Kaitlin Muniz (MVHS)

“I enjoy Nursery Landscape because it’s very hands-on and challenging,” said Mollie Hiscox. “I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun and useful CDE to participate in.”

The Days of Service event was held Friday afternoon as a way for FFA members to give back to the Twin Falls community. Members got the chance to choose from three activities: teaching about agriculture to children, volunteering at a thrift shop, or participating in a community service scavenger hunt.

Throughout the week, three Meridian members, Mallie Miller (MHS), Maddie Bennett (University of Idaho), and Alexa Phillips (MVHS), underwent vigorous interviews, extemporaneous speeches, and various tests as a part of the Idaho FFA State Officer sifting process. Every year at the State Leadership Conference, the past year’s state officers retire and the new officers are introduced.

“State officer sifting was an amazing experience because, not only did I get the chance to meet other members who were passionate and dedicated, but it will also prepare me for future interviews,” said Alexa Phillips.

Also going on during the week, Trinity Martin (MHS) and Cody Duff (RMHS) represented Meridian FFA as delegates. Both members attended many sessions to debate and vote on new rules and changes to Idaho FFA.

Meridian FFA would like to thank the College of Southern Idaho for hosting this event every year. We would also like to thank the Meridian Alumni chapter for lowering the cost of attendance for Meridian members. Meridian FFA would like to thank Mr. Alan Heikkila for driving the chapter from Meridian to Twin Falls. Thank you to all of the sponsors that made this year’s Idaho SLC possible: J.R. Simplot Co., D.L. Evans Bank, Wells Fargo, Lithia of Twin Falls, D&B Supply, Standard Dairy Consultants, Crop Production Services, Agri-Service, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Falls Brand, Idaho AgCredit, Tesoro Logistics, KeyAg, Pacific Northwest Farmers’ Cooperative, Idaho Farm Bureau, and Standlee Hay.

Good luck to Mallie Miller with Job Interview at National Convention, and best of luck to our proficiency winners Lauren Barker and Caitlin Martin in the next round of proficiency judging.

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Chelan FFA heads to state conference http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170504/chelan-ffa-heads-to-state-conference http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170504/chelan-ffa-heads-to-state-conference#Comments Thu, 4 May 2017 16:01:18 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170509929 Chelan, Wash., FFA members traveled east to Spokane to compete in the Washington State FFA Livestock Career Development Event and the last Meats Evaluation CDE before State next week.

Eleven members made the trip and competed well at the events held on Wednesday May 3 in conjunction with the Spokane Junior Livestock Show.

The Livestock CDE Team of Stephanie Olivera, Jessie Oules, Owen Oules, Aislinn Davis, Kenny Reeves and Ashley Sams had to complete a wide variety of the assessments on their way to an 8th place plaque and a trip on stage at State Convention next week.

They had to complete a 25 question objective test on the livestock industry, then complete a team activity on Genetics where using Bull performance data and estimated progeny differences (EPDs) analysis they had to select bulls for different operational scenarios around the state.

The team activity also included a video marketing scenario where they are given a number of lots of calves from a recent video auction catalog. Then based on a scenario and location, they have to select the best lot of calves based on transportation cost, calf breeding, size of loads, backgrounding, and vaccination history.

The final part of the team activity was to choose which four ewes out of eight to keep and which four to cull based on live evaluation and performance data. Then each individual evaluated 2 classes of beef, 2 classes of swine, 2 classes of sheep, and 1 class of meat goats. Then after the placing classes were complete they gave a set of oral reasons on beef replacement heifers, market hogs, and market lambs.

When it was all said and done they had judged and talked their way on stage with an 8th place finish for the second year in a row.

The meats team finished their last warm up of the year with a 9th place finish. The team of Obed Diaz, Max Nims, Richard Heimark, Henry Armstrong, and Carlos Vargas did well identifying meat cuts, quality and yield grading, placing retail and primal cuts, and completing a ground meat formulation problem. This young team has been working to prepare for a run at State FFA Meats CDE in Pullman with the 87th Washington State Convention.

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Fresno makes last-ditch push to keep state FFA meet http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170502/fresno-makes-last-ditch-push-to-keep-state-ffa-meet http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170502/fresno-makes-last-ditch-push-to-keep-state-ffa-meet#Comments Tue, 2 May 2017 15:38:28 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170509961 FRESNO, Calif. — City and California State University-Fresno leaders are making a last-ditch attempt to keep the FFA’s annual state convention from leaving town.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and Fresno State President Joe Castro told a local radio station last week they were taken by surprise by the California FFA’s decision to move its conference to Anaheim next year.

The two met with FFA representatives April 26 and floated several alternatives, including moving the conference’s main sessions from Selland Arena to the larger and newer SaveMart Center on the Fresno State campus.

“It was a very productive conversation,” city communications director Mark Standriff told the Capital Press. “We were relieved to know their final contract with Anaheim apparently hasn’t been signed yet.”

Brand and Castro have also tried to rally local agricultural leaders to urge the FFA to stay. Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said he was contacted by the mayor’s office and wants to be involved in any future talks aimed at keeping the convention in town.

“Obviously this convention has been very special to Fresno,” Jacobsen said. “Fresno has definitely enjoyed the opportunity to act as host for so long. I don’t think it’s an accident that the number of attendees dramatically increased in Fresno. … We have so many agricultural amenities that have helped make the convention a success.”

Josiah Mayfield, the FFA’s assistant state adviser, declined to comment about Fresno’s latest overtures.

He said last week that the organization’s growth had prompted the FFA to cut ties with Fresno’s Selland Arena and adjacent convention center after moving its state convention there from San Luis Obispo in 1994.

The convention had roughly 1,000 attendees when it moved, and now more than 6,000 of the state’s 79,500 FFA members attend the gathering. Members are scattered at various hotels in downtown Fresno, prompting state advisers to search for larger venues with more concentrated lodging.

The conference is now slated to alternate between Anaheim and Sacramento, with the Anaheim Convention Center the site of the 2018 and 2019 gatherings. Mayfield said last week he expected an agreement with Anaheim to be finalized within the next couple of weeks.

“We’re excited for what it’s going to offer our students in terms of opportunities for growth,” he said.

But Fresno leaders argue the conference’s attendance could suffer as it moves from the heart of California agriculture to Anaheim, where travel and hotel room rates could be more expensive.

They note that 144 of the state’s 317 high school FFA chapters are in the San Joaquin Valley, including some of the largest chapters in terms of membership.

“One of the other challenges that Anaheim is going to have is providing volunteers,” Standriff said. “We’re just a natural resource for people who are already in the agriculture industry and FFA alumni who look forward every year to coming to Fresno.

“Traveling to a location like Anaheim or even Sacramento is not something that is necessarily going to be in their plans, whereas we can naturally have a volunteer base that we’ve built up over the last 24 years,” he said.

The Fresno conferences have also received considerable help from Fresno State, which hosts an afternoon of workshops and has its students handle everything at the conference from set-up to publicity.

Castro has proposed using the 14-year-old SaveMart Center with its roughly 16,000 seats rather than the 51-year-old Selland Arena, which seats 7,200. But lodging near the university would still be scattered, officials concede.

On the subject of volunteers, Mayfield has said he’ll try to engage all of the state’s major agricultural colleges — Fresno State, California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly-Pomona, CSU-Chico and the University of California-Davis — to help out.

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Ag Fest sets record, honors ag education award winners http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170502/ag-fest-sets-record-honors-ag-education-award-winners http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170502/ag-fest-sets-record-honors-ag-education-award-winners#Comments Tue, 2 May 2017 13:46:25 -0400 Jan Jackson http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170509966 SALEM, Ore. — A record–breaking crowd attended the 30th annual Ag Fest April 29-30 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

Tami Kerr, executive director of Oregon Dairy Farmers Association and 2017 Ag Fest chair, was enthusiastic about the record-breaking results of this year’s event.

“It was a record-breaking year in every way,” Kerr said. “The trade show filled faster this year than ever before, we had more local food producers selling cheese, salsa, pies and meat ... new cooking demonstrations from Bob’s Red Mill and there were more hands-on experiences than ever in both Ag Country and the animal barns.”

When she first joined the board 17 years ago, the even drew 7,000 and 8,000 attendees.

“This year,” Kerr said, “we nearly hit 22,000 — 21,964 to be exact. No other state that I know of has a premier agriculture education event that matches this one, and it is a thrill to see entire families learning together about where their food comes from.”

Part of the event was the presentation of the Oregon Ag Fest Agricultural Education Awards. Top award winners were members of the Echo, Ore., FFA, the Henley FFA near Klamath Falls and the Oregon Dairy Women.

To extend their mission beyond the annual two-day event, Ag Fest organizers decided to award student organizations, nonprofit groups and others who promote agriculture and educate Oregonians about it.

Echo FFA members — Echo is a small town 8 miles south of Hermiston in Eastern Oregon — took home the first place prize of $1,000 for their 2,333 “agricultural learning moments” they advocated between January 2016 and March 2017.

Those projects included presenting Ag in the Classroom lessons to elementary classrooms in the Echo School District, hosting a petting zoo for elementary- through high school-age students, teaching a lesson at Rocky Heights Elementary School in Hermiston and taking part in work stations at the Eastern Oregon Agriculture Field Day at the Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Center in Boardman.

The 10 Echo FFA members who attended Ag Fest to accept their award also spent the morning assisting with pedal tractor races, parking cars and the Ag Challenge scavenger hunt.

Henley FFA took home the second place prize of $600 for working with the local Klamath Falls Farm Expo, hosting an Ag Field Day for students at a local elementary school, participating in the Oregon Ag in the Classroom Spring Literacy Project, as well as other community service efforts that included working with PLAY — Promoting Lifelong Activities for Youth — and the Klamath County Forestry Tour.

Accepting the $400 prize for third place was 2017 State Dairy Princess Ambassador Kiara Single and Jessica Kliewer, state director of the Dairy Princess Ambassador Program for the Oregon Dairy Women. Since 1959, the volunteer organization has been telling dairy’s story to the public through the princess ambassador program and other efforts.

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Florida teacher accused of calling ag students ‘murderers’ http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170427/florida-teacher-accused-of-calling-ag-students-murderers http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170427/florida-teacher-accused-of-calling-ag-students-murderers#Comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:20:06 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170429898

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida teacher stands to lose his job after school officials said he bullied and harassed Future Farmers of America students who are raising livestock to be sold for slaughter.

Middle school teacher Thomas Roger Allison Jr., 53, has been placed on unpaid leave from Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks near Ocala for calling the students who are raising livestock “murderers,” according to a Marion County school district letter documenting the case.

In a written recommendation for termination, Superintendent of Schools Heidi Maier said that Allison “has engaged in a repeated, egregious pattern of mistreating, ridiculing, insulting, intimidating, embarrassing bullying and abusing FFA students, crushing their dreams and causing them to feel that they must discontinue FFA activities to enjoy a peaceful school environment.”

The Ocala Star-Banner (http://bit.ly/2oMCeaY ) reports Allison is also accused of harassing the group’s teacher adviser and encouraging his honors science students to harass FAA members.

A district investigation revealed that Allison is on a quest to end the animal agriculture program because of his animal rights beliefs. Maier said he’s also made it harder for FFA students to get good grades in his science class.

Allison told investigators he won’t stop speaking out on animal slaughter, and said he is innocent. He is on unpaid leave pending a hearing before the school board.

“I love working in Marion County and love my students,” he said. “I will fight for my job.”

Allison was named as one of the five finalist for 2016 Golden Apple teacher of the year honors.

Maier ordered the investigation on March 28. It looked into dozens of accusations from teachers, students and parents. The investigation lasted 10 days and resulted in a scathing report.

Allison told students that he was obtaining his certification in agriculture so that he could take the agriculture teacher’s job and stop animal projects, the report states. “This has upset and confused the FFA students, who do not want their academics to suffer because of their involvement with animal projects.”

One agriculture student told investigators that Allison makes her feel like she is doing something wrong.

According to the report, even after Allison was made aware of the investigation, he continued “addressing students antagonistically and cruelly, thus failing in his obligation not to harass or discriminate against any student.”

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California’s new FFA officers embrace growth http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170425/californias-new-ffa-officers-embrace-growth http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170425/californias-new-ffa-officers-embrace-growth#Comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:21:03 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170429922 FRESNO, Calif. — California FFA’s newly elected state officer team pondered a future of growth and opportunity as the organization bid farewell to its 24-year state conference home.

Luke O’Leary of San Luis Obispo, the 2017-18 state president, said he wants to focus the coming year on increasing diversity within the FFA while maintaining unity.

“We have a lot of challenges,” O’Leary told the Capital Press. “With just the size of the association, we have to find a way to serve everyone.”

The organization’s growth is why the FFA is cutting ties with Fresno’s Selland Arena and adjacent convention center after moving its state convention there from San Luis Obispo in the early 1990s.

The convention had roughly 1,000 attendees when it moved, and now nearly 6,000 of the state’s 79,500 FFA members attend the gathering. Members are scattered at various hotels in downtown Fresno, prompting state advisers to search for larger venues with more concentrated lodging.

The conference will now alternate between Anaheim and Sacramento, with the Anaheim Convention Center the site of the 2018 and 2019 gatherings, assistant state adviser Josiah Mayfield said.

“We’re excited for what it’s going to offer our students in terms of opportunities for growth,” Mayfield said.

The convention will have to do without as much help from California State University-Fresno, which hosts an afternoon of workshops and has its students handle everything at the conference from set-up to publicity.

Mayfield said he’ll try to engage all of the state’s major agriculture colleges — Fresno State, California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly-Pomona, CSU-Chico and the University of California-Davis — to help out.

“We’re grateful for everything that Fresno State has done for us,” he said.

The change of venue will be a key order of business for the leadership team headed by O’Leary, 19, a freshman at Texas A&M University who’s taking a year off college to handle his FFA duties. O’Leary is among the 3 percent of California FFA members who are already high school graduates.

He is joined on the 2017-18 state officers’ team by Vice President Jasmine Flores of Atwater, Secretary Genevieve Regli of Ferndale, Treasurer Armando Nevarez of Holtville, Reporter Hunter Andrade of Tracy and Sentinel Robert Marchy of Turlock.

The new officers were announced after each of the outgoing state officers had taken turns over the course of the April 20-25 conference in giving heartfelt speeches about their time in office. Each also had their parents and advisers on stage to thank them in moving tributes.

Outgoing President Andrew Skidmore of Atwater themed his speech on integrity and respect. He apologized for using an off-color word to describe himself during candidates’ speeches last year, and said the controversy taught him to value the respect of others.

“We need to hold ourselves accountable for our decisions,” Skidmore said. “Respect is the communication of values to others. … No acts of greatness have ever been achieved by people who do not care.”

Skidmore and his sister, Secretary Amanda Skidmore, were the first-ever twins to serve together at the state level. They and their fellow 2016-17 state officers — Vice President Lauren Milang of Woodland, Treasurer Sam Looper of Apple Valley, Reporter Conner Vernon of Nipomo and Sentinel Jace Neugebauer of McArthur — ceremonially retired their trusty blue-and-gold jackets amid wild cheers and tearful embraces.

In her farewell speech, Milang told of a moment that a butterfly landed on her shoulder and she thought later it was a divine message, as soon afterward she learned her best friend had passed away.

“Remember that there’s beauty in change,” she said. “You just have to find it.”

California has 317 high school FFA chapters and more than 760 FFA advisers and agriculture teachers.

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FFA students hone skills in science competition http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170425/ffa-students-hone-skills-in-science-competition http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170425/ffa-students-hone-skills-in-science-competition#Comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:17:02 -0400 Tim Hearden http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170429940 FRESNO, Calif. — For Kaitlyn McFarland, the agriscience fair at the annual California FFA conference didn’t really feel like a competition.

“You’re more developing skills related to the scientific process and properly writing a research paper,” said McFarland, an Exeter, Calif., student whose project was to test organic antiseptics on livestock bacteria.

Her classmates, Mia McCormick and Kaylee Raubaugh, studied pH measurement in egg wash for small farms. McCormick said her effort will be useful on her family’s farm.

“We want to make sure we’re washing the eggs safely,” she said.

But while the students were just trying to hone their skills, they proved adept at competing, too. They and their teammates from Exeter FFA took the top cooperative award as well as several individual honors.

More than 100 students enter projects in the science contests each year, competing at several skill levels in categories for animal science, environmental sciences, food products and processing systems, plant systems, power, structural and technical systems, and social systems.

The students presented their work to panels of judges and answered questions. Entries were judged on April 23, and other attendees were allowed to browse through the rows of project displays on April 24 before several dozen plaques and ribbons were handed out later that afternoon.

FFA member Preslie Hewitt, a sophomore from East Nicolaus, Calif., looked through the displays and jotted down notes to report to her adviser what she’s learned.

“It’s hard work I’ll bet,” Hewitt said of the projects. “It’s very cool to see what the other chapters and schools have to offer.”

Topics covered in the displays read like scholarly journal articles. Among the entries, students tested the effect of solar panel cellular waste on plant growth, compared erosion control methods, measured residual saline from drip irrigation systems and studied the British thermal units generated from eucalyptus burning.

Past projects by students have included how well different feed additives worked on hogs and genetic research on different varieties of animals, said Josiah Mayfield, the assistant state FFA adviser.

“We’re fairly competitive at the national level,” Mayfield said. “All of these state winners have a chance to submit (their projects) for the national competition.”

As science and technology are seen as key fields in guiding the future of agriculture, many chapters encourage their members to do projects, Mayfield said.

“It’s definitely an area that we have teachers who focus on, and they’re pretty competitive in it,” he said.

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FFA members engage youngsters to boost ag literacy http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170410/ffa-members-engage-youngsters-to-boost-ag-literacy http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170410/ffa-members-engage-youngsters-to-boost-ag-literacy#Comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 15:17:49 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170419981 TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Photosynthesis, pollination, seed dispersal — might seem like pretty heady topics for kindergarten and first-grade students, but it’s never too early to start learning about the workings and importance of agriculture.

In fact, the earlier the better, according to Idaho FFA members involved in an ag literacy event at Boys and Girls Club on Friday.

The Idaho FFA State Leadership Conference was winding its way to Saturday’s climax when hundreds of FFA members swapped their formal attire for blue T-shirts and jeans and spread out across Twin Falls for some 30 service events to thank the community for hosting the conference.

A few chapters chose to educate children on agronomy, forestry, livestock production and career opportunities in agriculture, and Boys and Girls Club was a perfect, if noisy, venue.

Ag literacy and knowing where food comes from is really important, said Shawna Siver, an FFA member from Bonners Ferry.

There’s only so much space in the world to grow food, and people need to know it’s important to develop and manage that, she said.

Having knowledge about agriculture and where their food comes from will hopefully foster support for agriculture, said fellow chapter member Mary Fioravanti.

“Maybe one day when their older, they’ll want to be a part of that, too,” said Bailey Myers.

But they don’t necessarily have to be a farmer to support agriculture and future food production, said Brittany Spangler.

“I think it’s really important to do these fun activities to spark an interest so they remember it,” she said.

Teaching the future generation so youngsters have a general understanding that ag is an aspect of every part of their life is critical to keeping ag viable, she said.

The Bonners Ferry members gave about 90 youngsters an agronomy lesson — compliments of Dr. Seuss Books and the Cat in the Hat — explaining everything involved in growing food from seed, answering questions and helping the children plant seeds in cups bound for their own windowsills or gardens.

In another room, FFA members from Salmon were helping youngsters construct eggs from Play-Doh, explaining each part of the egg and its function and how eggs are produced.

Katie Cooper, ag education instructor and Salmon FFA adviser, said hands-on activities are a good learning tool for young students and eggs are a food they’re familiar with.

Ag literacy events are meant to help youngsters understand where their food comes from to help urban communities understand why it’s important to support agriculture, she said.

Ag literacy programs help expose children to agriculture and FFA, and it’s really fun to teach kids about both, said Hunter Davis of Highland-Craigmont FFA.

As long as they’re having fun and learning a little, the event is hitting the mark, he said.

Boys and Girls Club Program Director Garren Moreno welcomed FFA and the ag literacy event, saying the Club embraces educational partnerships.

Boys and Girls Club is not just a place for children to hang out and it’s definitely not a babysitting service. It’s a youth-development and mentoring program providing a safe place for youngsters to learn and grow, he said.

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Kuna FFA chapter does well at state leadership conference http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170410/kuna-ffa-chapter-does-well-at-state-leadership-conference http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170410/kuna-ffa-chapter-does-well-at-state-leadership-conference#Comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 14:48:25 -0400 Savannah StroebelKuna, Idaho, FFA Reporter http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170419982 This year at the annual Idaho FFA State Leadership Conference held at the College of Southern Idaho campus in Twin Falls, the Kuna FFA Chapter climbed to mountains of success.

It is a great honor to be recognized at the state level for achievements and hard work. This year, senior member Taylor Stephenson was elected to serve as the 2017-2018 Idaho FFA State Reporter. Only 6 students in the entire state are selected to serve the 4,500 FFA members of the state of Idaho. In addition to Taylor’s great success, 61 Kuna students proudly represented the Kuna FFA Chapter through competitions, interviews, awards and scholarships.

Leadership and Career Development Events are competitions that teach students to think critically, communicate clearly and perform effectively in a competitive job market. These contests focus on demonstrating their abilities in public speaking, decision making and knowledge of agriculture.

• Danny Schiffer: 10th High Individual in the Dairy Cattle Judging Invitational.

• 4th Place Floriculture team consisting of Hailey King, Wyatt Bell, Ty Noble and Jeni Ball.

• 1st place Conduct of Meetings Team consisting of Abby Johnson, Olivia Border, Taylor Dixon, Carter Moore, Katelyn Whittaker, Faith Vander Woude and Emily Blattner. They will go on to represent Idaho at the National Contest this fall in Indianapolis.

• 1st place Parliamentary Procedure Team consisting of Savannah Stroebel, Shyla Flavel, Katie Hettinga, Emberly Stroebel, Jeni Ball and Mason Roberts. Each team member received a $500 scholarship to attend the University of Idaho. They will go on to compete at the national level this fall in Indianapolis.

• Top 5 Parliamentarian Exam Brady Robinson and Ethan Weaver.

• 1st place Chapter Scrapbook CDE made by Jeni Ball and Luci Ashley.

• 2nd place Farm Business Management team consisting of Samuel Simper who placed first high individual, Ashton Christensen who placed 8th high individual, Ethan Weaver and Nick Brodin.

• 5th place Horse Judging Team consisting of Kailey Ludwig placing 10th high individual, Grace Wigger placing 5th high individual, Page Kretzschmar and Kayla Olson.

• 11th place Landscape/Nursery team consisting of Danny Schiffer, Hannah Berger and Makenzie Corona.

• 2nd place Agriscience Fair Project by Brady Robinson and Grace Berheim.

• Gold Ranking and 5th place National Chapter Award by JoAn Arnold and Savannah Stroebel.

• Ross Blattner won 4th place in the Prepared Speaking Contest.

• Katie Hettinga won 3rd place in the Extemporaneous Speaking Contest.

• Emily Blattner won 6th place in the Creed Speaking Contest.

• Idaho FFA State Star Farmer went to Ross Blattner.

Proficiency Awards honor members who, through their SAEs, have developed specialized skills that they can apply towards future careers.

•Ross Blattner won 1st place in Sheep Production Proficiency.

•Ty Noble won 1st place in Forage Crop Production Proficiency.

• Wyatt Bell won 1st place in the Ag Mechanics Proficiency.

•Ethan Weaver won 2nd place in the Small Animal Proficiency.

The State Degree Award is the highest award a member may apply for given by the state of Idaho. This year there were 254 out of 4,500 FFA members who received their State Degree, 12 of them were from the Kuna FFA Chapter. These students took a FFA knowledge test, parliamentary procedure test, and were interviewed based on their SAE projects.

• Luci Ashley.

• Jeni Ball.

• Ross Blattner.

• Nick Brodin.

• Jacob Fisher.

• Madeleine Fleming.

• Tahya Hughes.

• Naomi Kallmeyer.

• Talya Kessinger.

• Kailey Ludwig.

• Savannah Stroebel.

• Grace Wigger.

Scholarships by the Idaho FFA Foundation are a high honor to receive. All of the selected winners sent in applications and were judged on their SAE projects, character, grades and leadership abilities. The following students were selected to win scholarships:

• Savannah Stroebel: Sara Braasch Schmidt Washington Leadership Conference Scholarship.

• Ross Blattner: Idaho Grower Shipper Association Scholarship.

• Mason Roberts: Betaseed Scholarship and University of Idaho Kindschy-Lawrence Scholarship.

• Shyla Flavel: Idaho FFA Foundation Tractor Raffle Scholarship.

• Annie Bass: University of Idaho John & Marty Mundt Agricultural Education Scholarship.

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Idaho FFA officers ready to meet new challenges http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170410/idaho-ffa-officers-ready-to-meet-new-challenges http://www.capitalpress.com/Idaho/20170410/idaho-ffa-officers-ready-to-meet-new-challenges#Comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:05:35 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170419991 TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Idaho’s new state FFA officers aren’t exactly sure what’s in store in the coming year, but they’re excited about the proposition of serving the organization.

On Saturday — newly elected and all smiles after a week of State Leadership Conference frenzy — they first wanted to eat, sleep and share their excitement with family and friends.

Lindsey Stowell, 17, from Vallivue, said becoming state president “feels amazing.”

“I’m super excited and extremely humbled they (members) gave me the opportunity to serve,” she said. FFA is an ag-based youth-leadership organization that gives members an opportunity to serve their community and helps them prepare for the future. While the leadership aspect is important, it’s also important to remember FFA’s roots run deep in agriculture, she said.

“As a team, I hope we reach out to as many chapters as possible and branch out from ag classes and visit more core classes,” she said.

She plans to study dairy science and nutrition at the University of Idaho and eventually run her own dairy.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” said Austen Thomason of Weiser, 18, the new state treasurer.

The interview process was long but a great experience. The candidates were the best of the best, and any one of them could have been chosen, he said.

“I’m really grateful. It really hasn’t set in fully yet, but it was an amazing experience and it’s going to be a great year with a great team. I’m really looking forward to what it has in store for us,” he said.

His main mission is to make sure FFA members and guests feel welcome — and to move the organization forward, he said.

He plans to major in agribusiness and minor in political science at the University of Idaho.

State Secretary Sydney Anderson, 17, of Nampa said being a state officer is surreal. She was feeling a rush of emotions and not sure just yet what to expect next.

Her mission, however, is to use her experience to help members rise to their potential, to shoot for more than they think they can achieve and be successful, she said.

She plans to study equine science or agribusiness at the College of Southern Idaho.

State Reporter Taylor Stephenson, 17, of Kuna said she was a little in shock but being with the other new officers was bringing reality closer.

“I just gained a whole new family, so it’s starting to sink it,” she said.

The officers’ mission will be pushing members to think outside the box, past what they think are their limits to find themselves along the way, she said.

“I’m excited to serve Idaho FFA; it’s going to be awesome,” she said.

She plans to pursue animal and veterinary science at the University of Idaho.

State Sentinel Peter Towne, 18, from Kendrick said he was wiped out Saturday morning but the adrenalin kicked in with the new officer announcement. The interview process was mayhem but fun at the same time, he said.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been life-changing,” he said.

While he was still somewhat in disbelief, he said his goal will be to make sure everyone knows there’s a place to go and opportunity to grow in FFA and agriculture, he said.

He plans to pursue ag education at the University of Idaho.

“It’s the best way for me to be involved in FFA the rest of my life. FFA is a family; I just want to be involved with my FFA family forever,” he said.

State Vice President Randy Clements, 16, of Clark County said the election process was interesting with unexpected aspects. He became good friends with all the candidates and it was hard to see most get cut in the process, he said.

His goal is to interact with members and help them grow, as well as raising interest in ag education and FFA, he said.

He plans to major in ag education at the University of Idaho.

“I want to be able to help students get involved in the organization I love and also be able to teach students about the industry I love,” he said.

All of the new officers will graduate from high school in May — including Clements, who will graduate a year early.

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Meridian FFA welcomes spring and lots of CDEs http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170405/meridian-ffa-welcomes-spring-and-lots-of-cdes http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170405/meridian-ffa-welcomes-spring-and-lots-of-cdes#Comments Wed, 5 Apr 2017 15:58:08 -0400 Loretta Lacy2016-2017 Meridian Chapter Reporter http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170409938 Spring is always the busiest time of year, especially for members of the Meridian, Idaho, FFA chapter. Members spend the warm spring days studying for upcoming Career Development Events (CDEs) and preparing for the Idaho State Leadership Conference, held at the beginning of April. During the past few months, many Boise Valley District CDEs were held.

On Feb. 8, at Meridian High School, six Meridian FFA members ran for their State Degrees. The State Degree is very prestigious; 3 percent of Idaho State FFA members receive theirs. FFA members must have substantial record books, be highly active in the chapter, and have at least one strong supervised agricultural experience (SAE) to be eligible to receive this degree. This is the highest degree a member can receive in high school. Members are excused from school for one day to take FFA and Parliamentary Procedure knowledge tests, and undergo a record book examination and interview. Members who pass the process are awarded their new pin and participate in a ceremony at the Idaho State Leadership Conference. Meridian FFA members who received their State Degrees this year are as follows:

• Joe Wieting (MHS)

• Lauren Barker (EHS)

• Mollie Hiscox (MVHS)

• Kaitlin Muniz (MVHS)

• Ellie Higgins (MHS)

• Ashton Shaul (MHS)

“Going through State Degree sifting was nerve wracking, but incredibly worth it,” said Ellie Higgins. “Studying for both the Parliamentary Procedure and the FFA Knowledge tests have benefited me with a greater knowledge of this organization, and completing the interview process gave me a sense of fulfillment. Receiving my degree was just the icing on the top!”

Also on Feb. 8, Boise Valley District (BVD) Prepared Public Speaking, Creed Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking CDEs were held at Meridian High School. Meridian had one member compete in each event. Members that place 1st in these events will then go on to compete at the state level in April. The members that participated in these speaking events are as follows:

• Kyle Schmit (3rd place Prepared Public Speaking) (RMHS)

• Olivia Sells (Creed Speaking) (MHS)

• Ashton Shaul (2nd place Extemporaneous Speaking) (MHS)

On Wednesday, March 1, the BVD Agricultural Sales and Floriculture CDEs were held at Kuna High School. Agricultural Sales is a CDE team made up of four members that each participate in a different event. One member participates in customer service, one participates in prospecting and the other two members participate in prepared sales, but do not compete against each other. In the customer service event, the member is given a situation in which they must handle a disgruntled customer in the best way possible.

In prospecting, the members are allowed 20 minutes to understand their product and then sell that product to a judge. In prepared sales, members create a booth for a product of their choice and after long weeks of practicing, they then showcase their product and try to make a sale with the judges. This year, Meridian FFA placed 2nd in the district. The following Meridian FFA members that participated in this CDE are as follows:

• Cassidey Plum (2nd in Prepared Sales) (MHS)

• Kyle Schmit (2nd in Prospecting) (RMHS)

• Sydney Plum (4th in Customer Service) (MHS)

• Loretta Lacy (1st in Prepared Sales) (CHS)

“Agricultural Sales is a great CDE for members who are looking to get out of their comfort zone,” said Kyle Schmit. “It teaches you to be confident and persuasive when talking to people.”

Floriculture is a CDE that consists of four team members. This CDE tests members over their knowledge of basic math, floral arrangements and bouquets, and flower types and tools. This year Meridian placed 5th at districts, and because it was not a state qualifying competition, Meridian will be competing at the state level in April. The members who participated are as follows:

• Jordan Bettencourt (EHS)

• Kayla Schubert (EHS)

• Lauren Barker (EHS)

• Caitlin Martin (EHS)

“I really like floral because, well, I’m obsessed with plants,” said Lauren Barker. “Also, it’s really fun because there are a lot of different aspects. It’s really fun to create an arrangement and see how pretty it turns out, and then you go and make a rock garden next which is totally different. I really enjoy making corsages because we can make them for ourselves for prom and I got to sell some for Sweethearts this year!”

On March 15, both Novice Parliamentary Procedure and Advanced Parliamentary Procedure were held at Middleton High School. Both of the Meridian teams placed 2nd at the Boise Valley District contest. In this CDE, a team consists of a chairman, a secretary, and four members demonstrating a meeting situation using Parliamentary Procedure rules. The members who participated in Advanced Parliamentary Procedure are as follows:

• Kaitlyn Steppe (High Secretary) (MHS)

• Ashton Shaul (2nd High Chairman) (MHS)

• Cassidey Plum (MHS)

• Sydney Plum (MHS)

• Trinity Martin (MHS)

• Logan Deim (MHS)

“It’s one of the hardest, but definitely the most fun CDE,” said Kaitlyn Steppe. “It gives you the opportunity to learn how formal meetings run. Parliamentary Procedure is extremely beneficial and this CDE will help you in many aspects of your life. I highly encourage all members to participate.”

The members that participated in Novice Parliamentary Procedure are as follows:

• Rose Frazee (MVHS)

• Miranda Trent (MVHS)

• Michael Varin (MVHS)

• Madison Belanger (MVHS)

• Sarah Miraya (MVHS)

• Jonathan Muniz (MVHS)

• Courtney Marshall (EHS)

Also on March 15, the Nursery/Landscape CDE was held at Middleton High School. This CDE has members identify plants, tools and diseases in plants, present proper techniques of transplanting, propagating, measuring and pruning plants, and participate in a math and a general knowledge test. This year Meridian placed 3rd at the district contest. This was not a state qualifying contest, so Meridian will be participating in the state contest at the Idaho State Conference in April.

• Mollie Hiscox (5th place individual) (MVHS)

• Kaitlin Muniz (MVHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

• Hailey Buffham (MVHS)

“I enjoy Nursery/Landscape because it’s a challenging CDE that also is very hands-on,” said Mollie Hiscox. “I would recommend this CDE to anyone who enjoys their horticulture class or just wants to learn something new and useful.”

Boise Valley District officer sifting was also held on this date. Members from chapters all over the district are encouraged to apply and run for office. To run for a district office, you must complete an application, undergo an interview, and take a FFA knowledge test. This year two of Meridian’s members ran for and received a district office: Cameron King of MVHS (BVD Sentinel) and Ashton Shaul of MHS (BVD Treasurer). Congratulations to both of these members for their hard work and passion for this organization!

“It was a great learning experience and from the sifting alone I became a better leader,” said Ashton Shaul. “I am very excited about the upcoming year with my new officer team, and look forward to meeting with all of the chapters in the district. I know that I speak for the BVD officer team when I say that we are hoping to have a huge positive influence on the members of the Boise Valley District.”

Meridian FFA would like to thank the Kuna FFA, Middleton FFA, and Meridian FFA Advisors for hosting these district CDEs this year. Meridian FFA would also like to thank all judges that determined results of these CDEs over the past months. Thank you to Dr. John Mundt, Ms. Jessie Kellogg and Mrs. Samantha Parrott for judging the speaking CDEs. Meridian FFA would like to thank Mrs. Amy Nichols and Mr. Dave Daniel for judging Parliamentary Procedure, Ms. Kaylene Hoyt for judging Ag Sales, and Mr. Mike Martin and Mrs. Erica Cowman for judging Novice Parliamentary Procedure.

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Sutherlin FFA posts unprecedented success at state convention http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170330/sutherlin-ffa-posts-unprecedented-success-at-state-convention http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170330/sutherlin-ffa-posts-unprecedented-success-at-state-convention#Comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 17:54:15 -0400 Tristan VincentSurlin, Ore., FFA Reporter http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170339977 Thousands of FFA members from across the state traveled to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Ore., for the March 24-27 weekend to the 89th Oregon FFA State Convention with purpose.

Sutherlin FFA students took 4 of the 11 state leadership-based Career Development Events held at the convention. Lee Wesenberg also became the third consecutive individual from Sutherlin FFA to be elected to an FFA state office.

Sutherlin FFA placed first and qualified for nationals in the Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Advanced Public Speaking, and the Beginning and Advanced Parliamentary Procedure competitions. These four very competitive events receive much participation from the 100-plus state chartered FFA chapters.  

For a single chapter to win all four is unprecedented; retired ag teacher John Dimick, who has over 40 years in ag education including several national livestock judging titles with the Crater FFA chapter of Central Point, posted on Facebook in response to the news.

“In all my years I’ve never heard of a chapter accomplishing so much. Everyone that played a role in this deserves to be very proud,” he wrote.

This also brought the total number of state-winning teams from Sutherlin for the year to six, and 18 individuals have qualified for national events this fall in Indianapolis.

To achieve this success, students have put in many hours of practice out of class and made these events a priority in their schedule. Led by their FFA Advisor, Wes Crawford, students had the direction and guidance needed to establish themselves as a threat in all events they competed in.

At the state convention, students have the opportunity to engage in workshops, travel and experience a new part of the state, compete in Career Development Events, compete with their Supervised Agricultural Experiences in proficiency areas, receive their state degrees, run for district and state offices and meet new friends and members.

Having experiences like state convention shows members just how large the great organization is and gives a sense of community seeing individuals from across the state in the same official dress and the signature blue corduroy jacket.  

Esten Harington, Sutherlin FFA member and Advanced Parliamentary Procedure participant, says, “State convention was a huge success. Both parliamentary procedure teams ranked first in state, which was a first for Sutherlin (and first by any chapter in a decade). I admire everyone who put in the hard work to make this a reality.”

Bryson Price, a Sutherlin FFA graduate, retired from his position of Oregon FFA State Sentinel at the conclusion of the convention. He spent the past year traveling all over Oregon, presenting to nearly 10,000 students in leadership development, advocating for FFA and agricultural education, as well as traveling the nation and to South Africa representing Oregon FFA.

Lee Wesenberg was elected Oregon FFA State Reporter for 2017-2018, and will take the same journey over the next year. It is the third year in a row Sutherlin FFA has had one of the six state officers, and the fifth in seven years.

Other FFA members from Douglas County also found success, with Brooke Hopfer of Days Creek FFA winning the state Co-op Quiz, a competition based on knowledge of agricultural cooperatives. Fellow Days Creek FFA member Sarah Michaels claimed the State Star Farmer Award for her work on developing her own agricultural entrepreneurship projects. Members from Elkton, Oakland, Glide, Roseburg, South Umpqua and Glendale all attended, participating in leadership development and service activities.

Full CDE Results:

STATE EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING - Mackenzie Price, Sutherlin - 1st Place

STATE PREPARED PUBLIC SPEAKING - Lee Wesenberg, Sutherlin - 1st Place

STATE BEG PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE - Sutherlin (Regan Leatherwood, Nolan Carson, Grace Matteo, Hailey Boehm, Sydnee Tilley, Zach Lor) - 1st Place

STATE ADV PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE - Sutherlin (Cassidy Leatherwood, Lee Wesenberg, Mackenzie Price, Esten Harrington, Madelyn Higgins-Porterfield, Tristan Vincent) - 1st Place

STATE CREED SPEAKING - Regan Leatherwood, Sutherlin - Top 8 Finalist

STATE AG MARKETING - Oakland FFA, participant

Ag Processing Proficiency Award - Mackenzie Price, Sutherlin - State Winner

National Chapter Award - Sutherlin FFA, Gold Ranking

Umpqua FFA District Officer Team Election Results - 2017-2018:

President - Emily Nix, Oakland

Vice President - Mackenzie Price, Sutherlin

Secretary - Hannah Maxwell, Elkton

Treasurer - Taylor Moser, Sutherlin

Reporter - Mackenzie Ankey, South Umpqua

Sentinel - Kylee Crossland, Oakland

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Being tapped state president a dream come true for Baker City FFA member http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170328/being-tapped-state-president-a-dream-come-true-for-baker-ffa-member http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170328/being-tapped-state-president-a-dream-come-true-for-baker-ffa-member#Comments Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:36:06 -0400 Marina Riker http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170329871 REDMOND, Ore. — When 18-year-old Kourtney Lehman made the nearly five-hour trek from Baker City to Redmond for the 89th Oregon State FFA convention last week, she never imagined she would return as the organization’s state president.

“You always dream to get to this point, but it’s hard,” said Lehman. “It definitely feels like I’m in a different world right now.”

Lehman, a senior at Baker High School, was named president of the 2017-18 Oregon State FFA officer team on Monday, the final day of the convention held at Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center over the weekend of March 24-27. More than 2,000 FFA members and hundreds of other attendees, judges and sponsors flocked to the event — along with a few horses, ducks and sheep.

During the weekend, thousands of students decked out in blue-and-gold corduroy participated in events ranging from debates on hot-button agricultural topics to marketing contests. Depending on how they fared, they were hand-picked by judges to lead the organization for the next year.

“My biggest goal is just serving the members,” said Lehman. “They’re all so passionate about making a difference in their communities.”

Just minutes after Lehman was named president, her social media accounts exploded with congratulatory messages and blue-and-gold heart symbols. Even though she won the state job interview contest and placed third place in a public speaking competition earlier in the weekend, she was shocked to learn she’d been named the state’s FFA leader.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Lehman, whose father, brother and sister were also FFA members.

Over the next year, officers such as Lehman will be responsible for holding events including educational workshops and leadership camps, as well as governing thousands of members statewide.

Emma Rooker of the Bend FFA Chapter was selected as state vice president, while Wade Rynearson of the Union FFA Chapter was named treasurer.

Lee Wesenberg of the Sutherlin FFA Chapter was chosen as state reporter and Gaby Santa Cruz of Hood River Valley High School is sentinel.

After three long days of interviews with judges, Jensen Kemble of Ontario High School was picked for state secretary. Kemble, 17, said he was overwhelmed by the “whirlwind” that came before the announcement of the new officers — especially on Monday morning, when the judges’ votes were tallied.

“The process leading up to the announcement is very intense,” said Kemble. “It takes several minutes to calculate the votes and the entire time you just grab onto the other candidates for support and hope for the best.”

The convention’s theme was “Don’t Back Down,” a concept that was weaved into many of the weekend’s events ranging from debate challenges to marketing competitions.

On Sunday, Sevana Patrick, a senior from the Hermiston FFA Chapter, spent the entire morning preparing materials for the convention’s marketing competition finals.

The 18-year-old said her favorite part of participating in the organization is learning leadership skills and being supported by peers. After high school, she plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where she wants to further hone her skills as a leader and team member.

“It’s about being accepted and having that family, and having something that’s greater than yourself,” said Patrick, whose team placed third in the marketing competition.

The weekend was 18-year-old Sebastian Powers-Leach’s second time attending the FFA convention. The North Marion High School senior raises market sheep and wants to work in agriculture, but his favorite part of the FFA is competing in debate contests.

Powers-Leach and his peers were tasked with researching and debating agricultural issues that ranged from whether to label genetically modified foods to the perks of state farm-to-school food programs. Last year, the students debated immigration issues — a heated topic — in addition to less controversial ones such as whether to hold the convention at a single location each year, Powers-Leach said.

“A lot of it is opinion-based to an extent,” said Powers-Leach. “But there are others where you really need the facts to back it up with research.”

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Chelan FFA hosts District VII leadership development event http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170327/chelan-ffa-hosts-district-vii-leadership-development-event http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170327/chelan-ffa-hosts-district-vii-leadership-development-event#Comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:15:21 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170329882 March 22 marked the 37th year in a row that the Chelan, Wash., FFA and Chelan High School played host to the District VII Leadership Development Event.

At stake were the four berths in the Washington State Leadership Development Events to be held at the Washington State FFA Convention May 11-13 in Pullman.

FFA Members from all over North Central Washington converged on CHS to compete in Creed Speaking, Prepared Public Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Conduct of Meetings and Parliamentary Procedure Leadership Development Events.

Chelan had three speakers in the Creed LDE and one in the Prepared Public Speaking LDE. The Creed LDE involves reciting the five paragraphs of the FFA Creed and then answering a series of three questions. The 10 freshman members who competed shook off the nerves and did a great job of representing their chapters. When it was all said and done, Ella Tshetter of Chelan came away with a 2nd place banner and a spot in state level competition. Dee Lysiak also punched her ticket to state with a 3rd place finish. Ashlyn Sanderson placed 6th.

In the Prepared Public Speaking CDE members have to research and write a manuscript on an agriculture-related topic. The manuscript is scored for grammatical correctness, APA Style, organization and topic. They then deliver a six- to eight-minute speech to a panel of judges followed by five minutes of questions.

Ashley Oswald rose to the occasion and earned the first-place banner and a date with the State LDE on Thursday morning of State FFA Convention.

In the remainder of the spring, Chelan FFA members will compete in the Livestock CDE at Moses Lake Jr. Livestock Show, Asotin Co. Fair, St. John Community Fair, and the State CDE at the Spokane Jr. Livestock Show.

The Meats CDE team will compete at Moses Lake Jr. Livestock Show, Spokane Jr. Livestock Show and the State CDE.

Other CDE and LDE teams that will compete this spring are First Year LDE, Agriculture Issues Forum LDE, Employment Skills LDE, Farm Business Management CDE and Hall of Chapters.

The complete results of the District VII LDE are as follows

Conduct of Meeting:

• Tonasket H

• Cashmere K

• Tonasket C

• Cashmere B

• Cashmere C

• Cashmere G

Extemporaneous Public Speaking:

• Summer Schoening, Cashmere

• Bailey Covey, Omak

• Sydnee Mungeon, Cashmere

• Hunter Swanson, Tonasket

• Jessica Burkett, Tonasket

• Brenda Berglin, Cashmere

• Madison Schoening, Cashmere

• Seth Smith, Tonasket

Prepared Public Speaking:

• Ashley Oswald, Chelan

• Lauren Ellis, Tonasket

• Reilly Schoening, Cashmere

• Madison Schoening, Cashmere

• Dani Monroe, Cashmere

• Ally Mershon, Tonasket

• Zach Clark, Tonasket

• Chandra Shipley, Omak

Creed Speaking:

• Hayley Gilman, Eastmont

• Ella Tschetter, Chelan

• Dee Lysiak, Chelan

• Emman Alexander, Tonasket

• Regan Timm, Tonasket

• Ashlyn Sanderson, Chelan

• Annie Weber, Cashmere

• Cody Clark, Tonasket

• Kristina Torres, Tonasket

• Maritza Orozco, Cashmere

Parliamentary Procedure:

• Tonasket N

• Bridgeport A

• Tonasket M

• Bridgeport B

• Tonasket J

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Chelan, Wash., FFA has greenhouse blooming for annual plant sale http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170323/chelan-wash-ffa-has-greenhouse-blooming-for-annual-plant-sale http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170323/chelan-wash-ffa-has-greenhouse-blooming-for-annual-plant-sale#Comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:12:06 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170329916 A sure sign that spring has arrived is beautiful blooms and busy kids in the Chelan, Wash., Agriculture Education Department Greenhouse.

Even though the snow just left the valley floor and still remains on the protected ridges and draws up the sides of the Lake Chelan Valley the gorgeous colors popping out inside the Chelan High School greenhouse let us know that spring is here.

The bedding plants and vegetable starts will be available at the Annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, April 29, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bedding plants are starting through their first blooming cycle, and the peppers and herbs have been out of the ground for a couple of weeks.

The 10 varieties of both heirloom and hybrid tomatoes are planted and the other starts will get planted the week after spring break — all to be just right for the Annual Spring Plant Sale.

FFA members enrolled in the Agriscience and Biological Systems II course are responsible for planting, tending and selling this year’s greenhouse plant crop.

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Sandy FFA chapter tunes up skit for state competition http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170320/sandy-ffa-chapter-tunes-up-skit-for-state-competition http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170320/sandy-ffa-chapter-tunes-up-skit-for-state-competition#Comments Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:20:48 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170329988 Seven members of the Sandy, Ore., FFA chapter stopped by the Capital Press offices in Salem on Monday as they prepared to present their Ag Issues skit at the organization’s state convention this weekend.

The skit, called “The Conversation,” spotlighted on-farm food safety regulations, including GlobalGAP and the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, and offered opposing arguments between the international and national regulations and how they impact farmers.

“This issue of on-farm regulations was brought to our attention by a long-time area berry farmer,” said Becky Sintek, assistant to the Sandy FFA advisor.

Sophomore Kadi Atiyeh spoke on the issue last October and helped develop it into a skit, Sintek said.

In addition to Atiyeh, the following FFA members participated in the skit: Anna Persell, sophomore; Jennifer Kitchen, senior; Beulah Russell, senior; Kayley Anderson, senior; Fallon Marshall, sophomore; and Cailey Ellzey, junior.

The FFA chapter has also presented the skit to the Multnomah County Farm Bureau, Kiwanis Club, FFA alumni, Boring Grange and planned to present it to U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader’s staff.

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Legacy award winner to younger farmers: Volunteer your time http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170215/legacy-award-winner-to-younger-farmers-volunteer-your-time http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170215/legacy-award-winner-to-younger-farmers-volunteer-your-time#Comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:12:33 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170219922 “You need to find an organization and volunteer some of your time,” said Suess, a retired Colfax, Wash., wheat farmer, former chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates and a former member of the Washington Grain Commission.

Farmers represent less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, he said.

“Who’s going to tell those other 99 percent what we do in our industry, how we produce the safest, cheapest and most abundant supply of food in the world?” he asked. “It doesn’t matter what organization you join up with, there’s lots of good organizations out there. If you could do that, that would greatly help all of us out in our industry.”

Twenty wheat farmers went to Olympia this year to talk with legislators, Suess said.

“Can you imagine if we took 200 farmers over to Olympia, the impact we could have?” he said. “I know a lot of young farmers say, ‘My kids are involved in school and we don’t have the time to do all this,’ but I’ve been there, done that, and I never missed any of my kids’ stuff. There are just so few of us any more, somebody’s going to have to do this work.”

Suess retired in 2015 after 30 years of farming.

It was the first time Greater Spokane Inc. gave out the Legacy Award as part of the Excellence in Agriculture Award ceremony. Suess was honored for his “lifetime commitment” to educating the public about the Washington wheat industry and agriculture in general, said Dick Hatterman, chairman of the award committee.

Kara Kaelber, education director for Franklin Conservation District in Pasco, Wash., received the Individual Award for her work running Wheat Week, a weeklong agricultural educational program for fourth- and fifth-graders statewide. Wheat Week, now in its 10th year, involves 16 educators around the state.

The program reaches 20,000 students each year and explains why farmers and agriculture are important, Kaelber said.

“I guess it validates a program I’ve always thought was wonderful and the (Washington Grain Commission) has put their money behind,” she said of the award.

Luke Moore, of Colton, Wash., received the Agricultural Youth Award. Moore graduated last spring and is state sentinel for Washington FFA.

“This young man has and is involved in a long list of FFA and career development events,” Hatterman said.

Moore recently returned from South Africa as a member of the International Leadership Seminar for state officers, Hatterman said.

Moore said the award was a highlight of his school career, as an FFA member and advocate for agriculture.

He plans to become an agricultural education teacher, attending either Washington State University or Oklahoma State University.

His father teaches agricultural education in Colton and his mother teaches agricultural education in Pullman.

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Ada County 4-H Club Idaho state champions http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170214/ada-county-4-h-club-idaho-state-champions http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170214/ada-county-4-h-club-idaho-state-champions#Comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:09:19 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170219939 On Jan. 14 members of the Crafty Critters 4-H Club competed at the 2017 State Skill-a-thon contest in Jerome Idaho.

Crafty Critters competed as the Ada County representative team. We had five teams, each containing three to four members each. Two senior teams, two junior teams and one was a mixed team, consisting of both junior and senior members.

Skill-a-thon is a competition that tests every aspect of livestock knowledge. From identifying animal breeds to judging the quality of feed as well as other sometimes more difficult events. The members who compete must learn these skills to further their own agricultural projects as well as their everyday lives.

We are very fortunate to have such wonderful faculty at the University of Idaho to host this competition, and every year make sure that our 4-H members have a fantastic time.

The members of the Ada County first senior team consisted of Caleb Twait, Kyleigh Davis, Annie Jansen Van-Beek and Brianna Flansburg who placed 1st overall and will move on to represent Idaho and compete in the National Skill-a-thon Competition.

Nationals are held in Louisville, Kentucky, this fall.

The second senior team, Will Jansen Van-Beek, Olivia Sells, Matthew Twait and McKenna Craig placed 2nd overall. With Will Jansen Van-Beek placing first overall individual, Annie Jansen Van-Beek placing second, Oliva Sells coming up in third and Kyleigh Davis taking fourth place overall individual. Caleb Twait was 5th overall individual, and Saydee Henning was 3rd in identification.

The first junior team consisting of Shelby Johnson, Trenton Flansburg, and Nani McKague placed fourth overall, with Nani McKague placing fifth overall individual and third overall in identification.

Our team members did incredibly well and we are proud to have them representing Ada County and Crafty Critters 4-H Club at the State Competition.

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‘California Agriculture’ T-shirt to raise money for FFA http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170209/california-agriculture-t-shirt-to-raise-money-for-ffa http://www.capitalpress.com/FFA/20170209/california-agriculture-t-shirt-to-raise-money-for-ffa#Comments Thu, 9 Feb 2017 10:46:27 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017170209858 CalAgJobs and the California FFA have teamed up to create a T-shirt showcasing the crops California agriculture has to offer.

The T-shirts will be gifted to those who donate $15 or more at the California FFA or CalAgJobs booth at the World Ag Expo. The shirts will also be available online during the month of February. All proceeds from the T-shirt sale will be donated to California FFA Foundation.

“The California FFA Foundation is excited to be partnering with CalAgJobs and connecting our members to resources that will support keeping them employed and engaged in the agriculture industry in California,” said California FFA Foundation Chair, Dennis Albani, in a press release.

The T-shirt features nearly every crop grown in California, fit into the shape of the Golden State, along with the phrase, “We Grow It All in California,” and the FFA and CalAgJobs logos.

The shirt is being offered in adult sizes S-XXL in both men’s and ladies’ styles.

Miranda Driver, the marketing and communications director for CalAgJobs, created the design for the T-shirt.

“These T-shirts are a great way to advocate for California agriculture and give back to an amazing organization that promotes and inspires the next generation of agriculturalists,” said Shannon Douglass, the director of outreach at CalAgJobs.

The World Ag Expo is Feb. 14-16 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif. The California FFA will be in booth 7102 in the Ag Careers and Education-World Ag Women Pavilion. CalAgJobs will be in booth 1410 in Pavilion A. T-shirts can be obtained online at www.paulamaita.com

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