INDIANAPOLIS — Fifty FFA chapters have received Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits as part of a collaboration between the National FFA Organization and Microsoft Corp.

For the FFA Blue 365 Challenge, chapters were asked to apply for the FarmBeats Kits by sharing how they would utilize the kits.

“The FFA Blue 365 Challenge and the use of the Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits are key components to transform learning and help with the development of essential digital skills,” said Christine White, director leadership, education, assessment and development at the National FFA Organization.

The easy-to-use FarmBeats kit includes preconfigured Microsoft Azure cloud services and a Raspberry Pi with soil moisture, light, ambient temperature, and humidity sensors to collect data. The data is then visualized in an online dashboard that provides insights to help students.

In addition to the kits, FFA and Microsoft are working together to create activity guides and resources to help chapters get started with using the technology.

“We are inspired by the innovative ideas from FFA students across the country and look forward to seeing how they utilize FarmBeats to help them drive innovation on their farms, sustain and renew our planet, and enrich their communities,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and lead for Microsoft Philanthropies.

The FarmBeats Kits are part of a collaboration announced last year between National FFA and Microsoft to bring innovative technology, science, research and entrepreneurship to the classrooms of the more than 650,000 FFA student members nationwide.

“Many of our students have a strong interest in agriculture, food security and sustainability but are suburban students,” Wes Crawford from Sutherlin FFA in Oregon said. “This technology will connect those students with those who are more production-focused and allow them to explore areas of interest.”

Several chapters that received FarmBeats kits have already integrated computer coding into their curriculum and are excited to see how the kits can complement their coursework and help build confidence as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

“Technology is shaping agriculture in several ways now, and it is only getting better every progressing day,” Larry Plapp, advisor at the Badger FFA Chapter in Wisconsin, said. “I applied for this kit because of a student who presented his supervised agricultural experience using a processor called a Raspberry Pi that watered plants. I had never heard of a Raspberry Pi until this semester. My student developed something very similar to what this kit does. He demonstrated how this small computer was able to turn off and change water flow rates to water a plant automatically. This got me thinking even more about the potential on a larger scale.”

Chapters who have received the FarmBeats kits are located in the following states:

Alabama

LeCroy Career Tech FFA Chapter

Alaska

The Palmer FFA Chapter

Iron Mountain FFA

Arkansas

DTSOI Springdale FFA Chapter

California

Ripon Christian FFA Chapter Surprise Valley FFA Chapter Colorado

Calhan FFA Chapter Roosevelt FFA Chapter

Georgia

Cambridge High FFA Chapter

Clarke Central High School Chapter

Newton College & Career Academy FFA Chapter

Hawaii

McKinley FFA Chapter

Idaho

Nezperce FFA Chapter

Weiser FFA Chapter

Indiana

Hope FFA Chapter

Iowa

ACGC FFA Chapter

Davis-Rodgers FFA Chapter

Maquoketa FFA Chapter

Kansas

Mission Valley Chapter

Smith Center FFA Chapter

Michigan

Montague FFA Chapter

Minnesota

Paynesville Area FFA Chapter

West Central Area FFA Chapter

Missouri

Elsberry FFA Chapter

La Plata FFA Chapter

Montana

Missoula FFA Chapter

Twin Bridges FFA Chapter

North Carolina

Perquimans County Middle School FFA Chapter

North Dakota

Kindred FFA Chapter

Nebraska

Arcadia FFA Chapter

Ohio

Arcadia FFA Chapter Triad-OHP FFA Chapter

Oklahoma

Collinsville FFA Chapter

Okmulgee FFA Chapter

Stillwater FFA Chapter

Wellston FFA Chapter

Oregon

Sutherlin FFA Chapter

Pennsylvania

Bermudian FFA Chapter

West Greene FFA Chapter

Texas

Marion FFA Chapter

Washington

Chiawana FFA Chapter

Pasco 49ers FFA Chapter

Sequim FFA Chapter

Wapato FFA Chapter

Wisconsin

Badger FFA Chapter

Darlington FFA Chapter

De Soto FFA Chapter

Elkhorn FFA Chapter

Green Bay East FFA Chapter

Owen-Withee FFA Chapter

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