Capital Press | FFA Capital Press Tue, 3 Mar 2015 16:20:38 -0500 en Capital Press | FFA Youths ponder options at career fair Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:22:53 -0500 Matw Weaver SPOKANE — FFA students didn’t need a crystal ball to see their futures at a career fair last week. All they needed was a firm handshake and an interest in agriculture.

Several businesses were at the Spokane Expo to talk with the 250 students. Among them were some of the largest ag employers in the region: the Papé Group; Washington Tractor; Northwest Farm Credit Services; CHS; Oxarc; Wheeler Manufacturing; Spokane Produce; certified public accountants Leffel, Otis & Warwick; agricultural law firm Carpenter McGuire & DeWulf; and Spokane Community College.

The career fair followed a presentation for FFA members at the expo.

Jensen Daily, a high school senior from Potlatch, Idaho, said he hopes to become a welder.

“It’s just something I enjoy,” he said, noting he plans to attend Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. “I like building stuff, taking a little and making a lot.”

Brandon Miller, another senior from Potlatch, plans to go into farming and was looking at his options at the career fair. He works for a hay farmer now, and is interested in farming for a while before attending college.

“(I’d) have some money then,” he said.

Jarod Garcia, a junior from Potlatch, hopes to go into logging, following in his family’s footsteps. He’d look for a job in Potlatch to get his foot in the door while he attends college, he said.

Garcia said the career fair gave him a wider range of opportunities to consider.

Haley Goodwin, a junior from Elma, Wash., has been interested in agriculture since she joined FFA.

“I want to know the opportunities that are out there for us,” she said.

After speaking with representatives at the fair, she said she is leaning toward a possible career in sales and marketing. She’s competed in related events through FFA.

Aiden Troy, a sophomore from Elma, said the career fair would help him figure out what he wants to do when he graduates. He joined FFA last year, and hopes to pursue a career involved in technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles.

BJ White, a senior at Lind-Ritzville High School, said the fair shows younger members in his chapter careers they can look forward to in agriculture. He wants to study crop and soil sciences, pathology or entomology.

Dinah Gadberry, a junior at the same school, said she is interested in crop and soil sciences.

Raeann Hoeft, a junior, wants to be a nurse, but she credited her time with FFA for preparing her for what lies ahead.

“Everything I’m doing in my FFA chapter is preparing me for real life,” she said. “It’s preparing me to apply for jobs, preparing me for the adult world.”

Speaker: Industry demand high for FFA students Mon, 9 Feb 2015 11:40:19 -0500 Matw Weaver SPOKANE — Two high-paying jobs are available for every agricultural graduate, a Washington State University instructor says.

James Durfey, manager of WSU’s Agriculture Technology and Management program, outlined the career opportunities in precision agriculture for more than 300 members of the Washington FFA during the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

“You are sought after in ways you can’t imagine,” Durfey told the students, who attended the expo from around the Pacific Northwest. “In agriculture, we need you desperately. There are at least two jobs for everyone of you that graduate from a two or four-year school.”

The recession was nonexistent in agriculture, he said, noting he often hears from representatives of agriculture companies who are looking for employees and interns.

Durfey noted that in 2006, 50 percent of John Deere’s employees were eligible for retirement, he said.

“If we took all of the ag graduates out of all the ag schools, we can’t even begin to fill the demand, the need, with one major multi-national corporation,” he said. The need extends to other companies like Case, Cargill and Bunge, he said.

Up-and-coming careers include precision agriculture specialists, who use technology like unmanned aerial vehicles, global positioning systems and geographic information systems, Durfey said.

Industries are at the beginning stages of realizing the potential applications for drones, including mapping and agricultural monitoring, Durfey said.

Jaden Fisher, a high school sophomore in Medical Lake, Wash., said she is leaning toward being a high school agriculture advisor, but said precision agriculture sounds like something she could do.

“I think it’s more the development of the technology and how that affects the world,” she said. “I like that they can pinpoint where the different problems are and fix them easier. It’s just a more effective method.”

“It’s the new era — it’s what we have to start thinking about right now,” said Kacee Gibson, president of Washington FFA District V and a high school senior in Reardan, Wash. “We’re the ones that are going to be doing it.”

Gibson said Durfey’s presentation opened her eyes to the possibilities, especially since she isn’t sure what kind of career she’ll pursue.

“I’m kind of a blank slate right now, deciding what I want to do in college,” she said. “The more I hear (about precision agriculture), it’s definitely a possibility.”

Hundreds of Idaho FFA members meet with lawmakers, ag leaders Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:24:54 -0500 Sean Ellis BOISE — More than 500 FFA members from around Idaho got a chance to learn how public policy is developed and meet with farm industry leaders Jan. 26 during the group’s annual “Cenarrusa Day on the Hill” event.

The event brings together FFA students, lawmakers and members of Idaho’s agricultural industry.

“It’s real important to connect both our students and lawmakers and the industry that helps run our state’s economy,” said Shane Stevenson, who teaches agricultural education at Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian.

The event also gives legislators a chance to learn more about FFA and the importance of secondary ag education, said J.R. Morrow, an ag science teacher in Genesee.

“The legislators also ask them questions,” he said.

The event is named after former Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, who started the first ag classes at Cambridge and Carey high schools and served in the legislature and executive branch of Idaho government for 51 years.

Cenarrusa, who passed away in 2013, is the longest serving public servant in Idaho history.

During a luncheon attended by about 600 people, Toy Smith, president of the Idaho Cooperative Council, presented friend of the industry awards to Sen. Jim Guthrie, a Republican rancher from McCammon, and Rep. Gayle Batt, a Republican farmer from Wilder.

The council, which represents agricultural co-ops in Idaho and sponsors the FFA event, recognizes two legislators each year who show outstanding dedication and leadership in support of agriculture, Smith said.

“What’s good for agriculture is good for cooperatives,” he said.

Batt is involved in her family farming operation near Wilder and has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management from Oregon State University.

She said she could think of no better group to be honored by than FFA, which she said consistently puts “out productive and committed students who become leaders in our community.”

Guthrie, who grew up on a family farm and ranch and is still actively involved with that operation, said he is always impressed with FFA members.

“When we look at investing in (education), the example you set makes it very easy to do that,” he said.

During the luncheon, Idaho FFA President Mitch Royer gave honorary FFA memberships to three lawmakers for their help in passing most of the 2014 Idaho Ag Education Initiative, which provides about $2 million more in annual funding for secondary ag education in Idaho.

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, a Republican rancher from Oakley; Rep. Marc Gibbs, a Republican farmer from Grace; and Sen. Dan Johnson, a Republican from Lewiston, were instrumental in passing the initiative, “which directly influences the lives of thousands of students,” Royer said.

Gov. Butch Otter has asked Idaho lawmakers to approve an additional $600,000 for secondary ag education this year.

“The most important issue this year in Idaho is education and (no one) epitomizes that more than the people in this room right now,” Lt. Gov. Brad Little, a rancher, told FFA members.

Mackay FFA Chapter Announces Breeding Livestock Project Participants for 2015 Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:14:54 -0500 Lilith Warble Every year the Mackay FFA Chapter has selected students to participate in the Breeding Livestock project via an interview process by community leaders.  This year’s recipients of the Breeding Livestock assistance program were Libby Moorman and Kristen Hardy who were selected to receive beef cows and Hailey Hampton, Nathan Hampton, and Tia Carlson who were selected to receive Ewes.  Students work with experts in the field to select a quality animal that is pregnant which will give birth before spring.  Students learn about delivery, newborn animal care, husbandry, and sire selection.  

Ann Rogers, Mackay FFA’s treasurer says, “Doing this program increases responsibility, also doing this program has brought much joy to myself and others.  Two years ago when I did this program I earned a reserved grand champion in showmanship. I’m super happy that this program was started and that other people will be able to have a chance to participate in this FFA program.”

Students sign a contract with the FFA chapter to use scientific practices to care for their breeding dams and offspring.  They continue to be active in the FFA, show their animals in various classes at the Custer County Fair, pay 60% of the loan back in the first year, and must retain possession of the dam for the duration of two years.  Students can receive their first animal at the beginning of the 9th grade year and receive an animal each year until graduation.  Over the years many students have built small herds and sold their herds to pay for most of their higher education.

This program has been instrumental in helping students learn about finances as they apply what they learn in the agriculture classroom.  Since it’s creation years ago by former agriculture educator Vernon Roche, the program has provided 294 cows, 52 ewes, and 5 sows to Mackay FFA members.

Mackay FFA Travels to Experience State Week Tue, 13 Jan 2015 15:42:07 -0500 Lilith Warble On Monday, January 5th the Mackay FFA Chapter participated in Experience State Week held in Blackfoot, ID.  Experience State Week was the only such conference in the nation as the six National FFA Officers came and presented speeches and workshops with chapters.  The Mackay FFA Chapter had ten representatives at the event.  Kaitlyn Warner, Mackay FFA Chapter Sentinel, said “this was a fun way to meet our National Officers and really connect with them.  They were really inspirational and reminded me of my goal to become a National Officer.”  This was the first time that the National Officers have traveled to Idaho for Experience State Week.   The Mackay FFA Chapter hopes to see them travel to Idaho again in the future.

The Mackay FFA Chapter Bakes Christmas Cookies for the Mackay Community Tue, 13 Jan 2015 15:39:34 -0500 Chapter Reporter Lilith Warble On Monday, December 15th the members of the Mackay FFA Chapter spent hours baking and wrapping over 600 cookies. The cookies were later delivered to teachers and other members of the community.  The activity was even more valuable as students learned while practicing safe food handling procedures.  Libby Moorman said, “this is a fun way to learn skills and show our appreciation to our community.” The Mackay FFA Chapter hopes to do this again next year and for years to come.

National FFA leaders visit Idaho schools Wed, 7 Jan 2015 09:42:56 -0500 John O’Connell AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — FFA’s national officers were received by an adoring crowd of younger members Jan. 6 here — the third stop on a week-long tour of eight Idaho high schools organized to test the leaders’ new workshops and speeches.

A national FFA officer attends each state’s convention, and sometimes state FFA weeks, and must be prepared with a workshop and keynote address. Never before, however, had all six national officers visited the Gem State.

The Idaho high school students say the chance to play guinea pig for FFA role models is an opportunity of a lifetime. The officers — college students chosen through a rigorous interview process who must take a year off school to focus on FFA duties — were scheduled to visit FFA chapters in Rigby, Blackfoot, American Falls, Burley, Kimberly, Jerome, Middleton and Kuna, rotating workshop and keynote address duties. FFA members from other regional schools were also invited at each stop.

“It’s a really big deal,” said Riely Geritz, American Falls High School FFA chapter president. “This is the first time that Idaho and American Falls High School have had anything this big, so we’re pretty excited.”

The FFA officers’ annual statewide practice event, called Experience State Week, had typically rotated between Tennessee and Arkansas. To increase interest, FFA opted to accept bids from other potential host states.

Casey Zufelt, Idaho FFA executive director, added a leadership conference and legislative breakfast to Idaho’s proposed itinerary to heighten its appeal. She expects 150 FFA students from throughout the state will attend the mini-conference, scheduled for Jan. 9-10 at Boise’s Red Lion Hotel.

Zufelt said the breakfast, scheduled for 7 a.m. Jan. 9 at the Red Lion, will give lawmakers who voted to increase agricultural education funding a chance to witness the benefits. FFA will provide a free bus to accommodate Northern Idaho students, missed by the tour of high schools. Zufelt said the Takasugi Family Foundation, representing the family of the late Idaho lawmaker and FFA supporter Patrick Takasugi, donated $15,000 to cover the majority of costs for the week.

“I wish I would have met a national officer when I was a freshman,” said Clancy Johnston, Idaho FFA’s state secretary who attends Boise State University. “It’s an incredible opportunity to inspire FFA members and to really put a spark on Idaho FFA.”

The slate of officers includes: Andy Paul, president, of Georgia; Victoria Maloch, secretary, of Arkansas; Ruth Ann Myers, eastern region vice president, of Kentucky; Kristen Schmidt, central region vice president, of Colorado; Stephen McBride, southern region vice president, of Tennessee; and Caleb Gustin, western region vice president, of New Mexico.

Some of the members, including Paul, the FFA president, are studying agricultural education.

“The average American citizen is around three generations removed from the farm,” said Paul, who considers improving agricultural literacy to be the industry’s greatest challenge.

Workshop activities and discussions emphasized teamwork, personal character and leadership.

FFA looks at big picture at Focus on Farming conference 2014 Fri, 2 Jan 2015 10:50:04 -0500 Sydney Lisk Cedarcrest FFA Reporter
County Executive Aaron Reardon opened the conference, titled “Back to the Farm,” thanked local farmers for their willingness to work with the county to continue building relationships and to improve the state of agriculture here. The conference feature keynote speakers, networking opportunities and 24 great workshop classes in six industry tracks. Participants also were treated to a gourmet lunch made wholly from locally grown and raised food – including country style beef and pork roulade, rainbow carrots and pear mousse with spiced pumpkin. Focus on Farming also included a 17,000 square-foot trade show that included displays of new tractors, greenhouse supplies, farm insurance, feed and fertilizer.

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.]]>
Vancouver Floral Design Competition Fri, 2 Jan 2015 10:48:44 -0500 Sydney Lisk Cedarcrest FFA /reporter
The Floral Design teams would like to extend a special THANKYOU to our parent chaperones Karen Mutch and Kim Lisk. Thank you for traveling with us, driving safely, and helping us anyway that was needed. The students competed in scenarios involving floral design, nursery repotting, plant identification, bidding and estimating, merchandising and sales amongst other categories. Students competed as individuals and as teams and were graded not only on the outcomes of their assigned scenarios but teamwork with one another. One member, Alice Ish placed fourth overall with 70 students competing. Cedarcrest team 1 placed first in practicums, which involved, making a corsage, floral arrangement, sales, customer complaint, and job interview. Also with a 20 question Problem solving sequence in which CHS took second.

They were engaged, inquisitive and respectful young adults. We look forward to hearing about their future accomplishments this season. They have competitions coming up in Kennewick, Mt Baker, and Snohomish. The state competition will be held at Arlington High School in March.

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.]]>
November North Idaho FFA District Career Development Events Fri, 2 Jan 2015 10:45:26 -0500 Kylie Ketcheson Genesee Chapter Secretary Baker High School students attend the FFA National Convention Fri, 2 Jan 2015 10:43:00 -0500

While there the chapter had the opportunity to observe Luke Coomer receive the prestigious American FFA Degree. Luke is the first FFA member from the Baker Chapter to receive this degree under the advisory of our new Ag Teacher, Mr. Bingham.
Additionally, the Oregon State Vet Science Team Champions represented Oregon well by bringing home a Silver Award from the National Competition.]]>
Chelan FFA Annual Toy Drive Fri, 2 Jan 2015 09:53:38 -0500
Donations can be made at the KOZI Studios, and at the High School Commons Foyer during any sporting or community event before winter break. Please help the Chelan FFA to create Happy Holidays for all of the children of our area. Photo Caption: FFA members sorting toys donated in last year’s toy drive as they prepared toys for over 120 kids from 27 different families.]]>
District VII Apple Evaluation CDE Fri, 2 Jan 2015 09:50:43 -0500
The Chelan Falls All Star team earned the second place banner and was made up Dane Schwartz who placed 2nd, Bobby Hanson who placed 3rd, Stephanie Olivera who placed 4th, Erick Straub, and Sarah Goyne. The Chelan Red team was Michael Tutino, Henry Suarez, Norma Cristobal, Simon Courtney, and Rhiannon Davis and placed 6th. The Chelan Fuji Team of Alex Gavin and Julia Horlebein placed 10th. The high four scores off of the team make up the team total.

The apple teams will travel to Kennewick for the Washington State FFA Apple Evaluation CDE on Wednesday December 3 held in conjunction with Washington State Horticulture Association Annual Meetings. Members will get the opportunity to interact with industry leaders and professionals and compete with FFA members from the other fruit growing regions of the state.]]>
Cashmere FFA performs well at National FFA Convention Fri, 2 Jan 2015 09:37:10 -0500
Hannah Asmussen placed 3rd individually winning $900 and Dani Kenoyer placed 4th out of 135 contestants winning an $800 scholarship. Other team members included Haley Martin and Kelley Simpson.

The girls had the highest score on the team activity and were the only team with multiple contestants in the top five individual rankings. We were only 17 points from a National Title and that comes down to just a few skills or decisions missed by the girls. I was really pleased with their team chemistry and dedication in preparing for the event. We'd like to thank the community for the support of our prime rib dinner fundraiser that allowed us the finances to cover the expenses of the trip.]]>
SUTHERLIN FFA TEAMS PLACE SECOND AT DISTRICT AG SALES Fri, 2 Jan 2015 09:20:37 -0500 District Job Interview and Ag Sales Contests Fri, 2 Jan 2015 09:02:36 -0500 Brooke Bezona, Ontario FFA Reporter On Tuesday, November 25, 2014, members from the Snake River District gathered in Ontario to compete in Job Interview and Ag Sales contests. In Advanced Job Interview, Quincy Pendergrass from Adrian took first, followed by Brooke Bezona from Ontario in second. Also from Ontario, Grace Hart placed third, and Kelsey Alexander placed fourth. Nyssa's Ryan Benjamin placed fifth. In Beginning Job Interview, Alicia Maldonado from Ontario placed first, while Jensen Kemble took second, and Alanna Stark took third place. Carlee Morton from Adrian placed fourth. Mallory Jensen from Nyssa placed fifth. In Ag Sales, the Ontario Chapter took first, followed by Adrian, and Nyssa took third. State will be held December 6th at Crater High School. Morgan Springer, Ben Wyborney, Jensen Kemble, Kelsey Alexander, Lacie Bacon, Levi Lewis, and Alexis Schwartz will all compete at state for the Ontario Chapter. It was a great experience for the motivated individuals to compete with one another. A special thanks to all of the chapter advisors, judges, Mrs.Gonzalez and the employment office, Jared Higby, Sandy Porter, and Treasure Valley Community College!

2015 Lake Chelan Horticulture Day Wed, 31 Dec 2014 15:05:40 -0500 January 19 is the date of the 2015 Lake Chelan Horticulture Day. The Chelan FFA Alumni hosts the Trade Show that accompanies this event. If your business or organization would like to present your products or services to the Horticultural producers and professionals in the tree fruit or viticulture industries in the Lake Chelan Valley, there is booth and outside space available for you. As profitability returns to the local tree fruit industry, growers and industry companies can more advantage of the products and services offered by you. Booths start at $125. For more information contact Horticulture Trade Show coordinator, Rod Cool at (509) 682-4061. The trade show opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 3:00 PM. Producers attend meetings and the trade show throughout the day and a luncheon is provided.   All the proceeds from this event are used to provide scholarships and support the members and activities of the Chelan FFA.  

Culver FFA soils team Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:29:24 -0500 Cassie Metzentine During the beginning of the month of October, Culver FFA has engaged their time in and out of many soil pits learning the fundamentals and unique qualities that something as common as “dirt” or properly known as soil and soil procedure. October 8th, 2014 Culver FFA traveled east of their hometown to Prineville, Oregon where the Crook County FFA Chapter volunteered their school farm to the Central Oregon District FFA Soils Career Development Event (CDE). During this event, Culver competed against close Soils rival North Lake FFA, Crook County, Madras, and Sherman County Chapters. This event consists of an A team and a B team provided by each chapter. The A team is open mainly to Juniors and Seniors who are enrolled in a higher advanced Agriculture class and the B team which is open to Freshman and Sophomores who are enrolled in more introductory Ag classes. Each A and B teams compete together where they apply their knowledge to identify the color, texture, structure type and grade, mottles, the percentage of course fragments, any visible special features, and the horizon name of each horizon inside the created ladder of the soil pit. Once those precise decisions are made, the contestant then has to key out on a provided Interpretation Card the effective depth of the pit, how much water can penetrate through the pit, wind and water erosion, permeability of the surface and subsoil's, calculate the slope, drainage feasibility, irrigation suitability, most intensive crops, erosion control, and limitations for septic tanks. Each individual must possess knowledge in knowing how to determine internal drainage for the site, site position, parent material, and Ph corrections before the competition.

Culver FFA's 2015 A team consisted of Raeanne Slaght, Johnny Espeland, Cassie Metzentine, Lynze Schonneker, and Desiree Bergstrom who together placed second and earned the chapter a red banner to be exhibited on the classroom wall. The 2014 Culver B team consisted of Josh Keas, Brogan Alegre, Faith Jones, and Tanner Towell who were awarded a white third place banner to be hung next to that of the A teams.

The next step in the success of Culver FFA soils team is state competition. In the past years Culver FFA has taken three days travel time to explore different pits around the state before giving their all to the competition which is hosted in a different town each year. This year Culver FFA traveled as far as their own backyards and hosted the 2014 Oregon State Soils CDE. The state level competition operates the same as districts with a little added extra stress. Culvers advanced A team consisted of Raeanne Slaght, Taylor Roberts, Devin Krasznavolgyi, and Desiree Bergstrom. These hardworking individuals placed second, earning a red banner against an overall of twenty six teams. The beginning B team consisted of Johnny Espeland, Brenden Lacy, Tanner Towell, and Faith Jones who together placed sixth in the competition.

Spring of 2014 Culver FFA will travel with close friends of North Lake FFA to Oklahoma and participate in the National Competition.

Culver FFA would lastly like to extend a great thank you to all the community members and everyone who made hosting the Oregon FFA State Soils CDE possible and allowing FFA members to continue the legacy of displaying well-earned banners throughout the classroom.


Sutherlin FFA Places at State For Soils Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:23:11 -0500 On October 13-14, Sutherlin FFA members competed in Culver, Oregon for the State Soils CDE (Career-Development Event). Soils is an event that FFA members can participate in that involves many different skills. This includes finding the texture of the soil, special features, irrigation of the land, wind and water erosion, and much more.

Soils was a great opportunity for the members of the Sutherlin FFA Chapter. There were over 100 competitors from all over the State of Oregon. A lot of tough competition was present, but Sutherlin members did their best. As Joe Matteo put it, “State Soils was a great experience to see a different part of the state and also to see everyone represent our Chapter in such a great way.”

Sutherlin FFA Results:


2nd place B-Team

3rd place A-Team


7th - Joe Matteo

10th – Kalana Granger

13th – Taylor Brooke

16th – Bryson Price


About Sutherlin FFA: Sutherlin FFA is a student-led organization, and is part of the National FFA Organization.  FFA teaches students leadership skills.  It is an integral part of Agriculture Education, combining agriculture with high school curriculum, as well as teaching students the skills they will need for the rest of their lives.  Sutherlin FFA strives to help students develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.

Ione FFA Soils Contest and Rituals Contest Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:19:03 -0500 District Soils:  Ione FFA Chapter participated in its first ever soils judging contest last week in Irrigon.  The entire horticulture class attended and the advanced team earned 4th place respectively. 
Rituals Team:  Ione FFA earned its first ever banner at the District FFA Leadership Camp this past weekend!  Rituals are the official opening and closing ceremonies were students are responsible for memorizing a number of parts and be able to synchronize their standing and sitting during gavel calls.  The officer team comprised of 8 students grades 9-12 participated in the advanced contest and performed in front of state FFA officers who then scored their performance.  10 schools participated.  Officer team partipants: Babali Peterson (Parliamentarian), Miranda Taylor (Sentinel), Emily Taylor (Historian), a district FFA officer, Brianna Snyder (Secretary), Morgan Orem (Reporter), Daniel Holtz( President), Joe Doherty (Vice President), Sam Gilbert (Treasurer)

Ione FFA Chapter makes it's livestock judging debut Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:15:01 -0500 The Ione FFA Chapter made it's livestock judging debut at the Pendleton Junior Livestock Show this past weekend.  The chapter is off and rolling with lots of activities and community service planned!  Pictured L-R:  Emily Taylor, Ivy Sandford, Morgan Orem, Daniel Holtz, Jake Heideman, Matt Orem and Joe Doherty.

Youth Still Seek Futures in Farming Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:09:27 -0500 BURLEY- While most teenagers were savoring their last days of summer, Craig Wright, 15, was harvesting his barley field on Friday. Craig is an incoming sophomore and current FFA member at Burley High School. Earlier this year, he approached his ag teacher, Jaysa Fillmore, about growing barley for his FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. The previous year, he grew six acres of beans in a field next to his home and wanted something more challenging this year. Wright didn’t grow up with parents that farm for an income. His mom, Janet, came from a farming background, but his dad, Wayne, is a dentist in Burley. Craig’s mom and grandpa introduced him to farming and he discovered he loved the lifestyle.

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, only 6% of principle farm operators in the United States are under the age of 35. While that number increased 10% since the last Census in 2007, the largest age group of farmers in the U.S. are age 55-64 years old. Young people like Craig Wright, although interested in farming, will face hurdles entering the industry from a young age. High land and equipment costs are just one obstacle Wright will see if he chooses a future in farming. By learning and exploring farming at a young age, he will have valuable experience that some young farmers lack. Many older farm operators are staying on longer and longer because of financial reasons. Not as many children of farmers are coming back to the farm, either. Some of this is due to the fact that older farmers aren’t retiring as early and social perception of farming also has an impact. In 2012, Yahoo listed agriculture as one of the top 10 useless college degrees, but Jaysa Fillmore says that’s just plain wrong. “Students who pursue a career in agriculture have a bright future. The need for food, fuel, and fiber is not going away. In fact, because our population is increasing and the number of farms is decreasing, there is a larger need for farmers now than ever before.”

When Craig told his ag teacher about his project, she suggested he contact the McGregor Company in Twin Falls about the possibilities of performing a scientific seed treatment trial as part of his project. Mike Erickson and Richard Fillmore of the McGregor Company along with Kirk Carpenter of AgriSource helped Craig make the project happen. Because Craig wanted an experience as close to real-world farming as possible, he didn’t seek donations or free inputs for his farming project. But, because of the enormous support for agriculture and youth in the community, several offered their services free or at a reduced cost. Mark Moosman helped Craig plant his crop in the spring, Ryan Samples donated custom harvest work, and AgriSource went to extra effort to create the best contract possible with Craig. The McGregor Company also offered many hours of consultation and the seed treatments for the trial.

Craig worked hand-in-hand with the industry professionals to purchase all inputs, treat 1,000 pounds of seed, scout his fields for pests and weeds, and collect all data throughout the project. He also took full responsibility for all of the labor involved in raising the crop, although he received a lot of support and help from his family.

During harvest on Friday, Craig was already talking about what he wanted to do next year. He hopes to find a 40 acre plot close to Burley. He’s not looking for a hand-out, though. He says he’ll pay rent and be a good steward of the land. At 15, Craig has three more farming seasons left in high school and he hopes to gain as much experience that he can in that time.

Craig’s work won’t be done when the last truck dumps its load at the Beetville station. He plans to use the data collected in his seed treatment project to compete in the FFA Agriscience Fair. This entails writing a detailed report, compiling a log book, and creating a research poster. He will head to the Idaho FFA Convention in April and if he wins first place in his category, his project will be forwarded to the National FFA for judging. He could potentially be selected to compete at the National FFA Agriscience Fair in October of 2015 in Kentucky.

The McGregor Company will potentially use Craig’s data to influence sales and educate their customers about the seed treatment products’ effect on yield and disease protection. Richard Fillmore from McGregor says, “Involving youth in this research benefits all of us. Craig received farming advice and learned a lot about his crop and we were able to collect data on our products without having to spend the hundreds of hours required to actually farm the crop. Our company motto is “Pioneering Modern Agriculture” and the only way this will be possible is to ensure the future of farming. By helping Craig, hopefully we can influence his decision to pursue a career in the agricultural industry.”

As for the future of farming, if more young people get involved like Craig Wright, we can ensure quality food, fuel, and fiber will be produced in our country for many years to come. Getting involved in a 4-H or FFA chapter is a great way to make that happen.

Sutherlin FFA Does Well At Douglas County Fair Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:03:35 -0500 The 2014 Douglas County Fair provided a great opportunity for Sutherlin FFA members to participate and place in many competitions. Fair was held on August 6-9 and served as a showcase for all of the livestock, produce, and displays FFA members shared with the community.

There were much more than just animals FFA members offered to view at fair, but educational displays and presentations too. Some examples of educational displays included posters and diagrams of different animals or other agriculturally related things that members put together. Also, landscape displays were a beautiful part of fair that the local FFA chapters worked on.

On the whole, the Douglas County Fair was a great place for the contenders of the Sutherlin FFA Chapter.

Sutherlin FFA Results:

Class Winners:  Wryland McKnight, Gabby Cornelia (swine conformation)

Dairy Showmanship Champion – Jessica Freeman

Premier Dairy Exhibitor – Jessica Freeman

Landscape Exhibit – Sutherlin FFA 1st

Ag Mechanics Premiere Exhibitor – David Beck

Champion Large Construction – Ambrose Brower, David Beck, Zach Miller

Livestock Judging – Sutherlin FFA, High Scoring Douglas County Team

Champion Presentations – Bryson Price

Educational Displays – Premier Chapter, Sutherlin FFA

Champion Informative Display – Jessie Campbell

Res Champion Informative Display – Ben Stanphill

Champion Persuasive Display – Joe Matteo

Res Champion Persuasive Display – Jessica Freeman/Travis Hopkings

Champion Agriscience Display – Keaton Jones/Tommy Ghasedi

Res Champion Agriscience Display – Leilani Vidaurri/Autumn Eddings

Herdsmanship, Beef – Sutherlin FFA

Herdsmanship, Dairy – Sutherlin FFA

Other Beef Exhibitors:  Tessa Franklin, Priscilla Medina, Colby Hobgood, Kirstin Riley

Other Swine Exhibitors:  Dustin Eakin, Braxton Beerbohm, Bryson Price, Chantelle Smith, Cheyenne Cunningham

About Sutherlin FFA: Sutherlin FFA is a student-led organization, and is part of the National FFA Organization.  FFA teaches students leadership skills.  It is an integral part of Agriculture Education, combining agriculture with high school curriculum, as well as teaching students the skills they will need for the rest of their lives.  Sutherlin FFA strives to help students develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.

Emmett FFA Prepares for Nationals Wed, 31 Dec 2014 15:54:18 -0500 Two members from the Emmett FFA participated in the Idaho State Horse Show Association Fall Judges Clinic in preparation for the national contest. T was held October 4 at the Spencer Arena just outside Emmett Idaho. The clinic provided a live judging opportunity learning about pleasure classes, halter classes, and trail. Before the live judging, there was a morning session of classwork to learn about different classes as well as how to judge a horse class, giving the members an educational opportunity on the point systems for the classes. The FFA National Convention is held October 27-November 1 where the Emmett FFA horse team will compete representing the state of Idaho.

Emmett FFA Soils Team Wed, 31 Dec 2014 15:49:49 -0500 Emmett FFA competed in the District Soil Competition against five other teams around the district. In the soil competition teams are asked to preform different tasks and different evaluations. Students are instructed to evaluate erosion loss, depth of soil, and place the site into a class as well as evaluate the slope and surface runoff, know the permeability of the soil, and identify various textures of the soil. Individuals also compete and determine whether the climate and if it is good, fair or poor and students have to work in two different types of pits; land evaluation pits and homesite pits. The Emmett FFA Soils team will advance to state after placing second in the competition. Individual placings are as follows.

Suzy Davis- 2nd Place Individual

Garrett Schofield-7th Place Individual

Allie Brown-17th place Individual

Abby Buckley-20th Place Individual

Courtney Renauld- 21st Place Individual