The bright yellow emblem placed on the blue corduroy jacket is a time-honored emblem that is easily recognized. The FFA emblem represents 75 years of agricultural education, career development and premier leadership.
The week of February 16‐23, 2013 is designated as National FFA Week, and chapters across the state of Colorado celebrated this week with their schools and communities.
During FFA week, members educate the public about agriculture, and their local chapter. Members usually hold a teacher appreciate breakfast, have “Ag Olympics” games for students to participate in, speak to the public about ag, hold fundraisers and perform community service.
One of the chapters in the state to celebrate FFA was the Montezuma Cortez FFA chapter, located in Cortez, Colo.
“We had a different dress up day each day, and each class built a display about where food comes from to display in business windows along Main Street. We had a coloring contest for all the second graders, and we had our chapter creed speaking night as well,” said Amanda Ramos, FFA advisor for the chapter.
She continued, “We had a very positive response. The school embraced the dress up days, the local businesses were more than happy to give up their Main Street window space for the displays and the community came out in force for the creed speaking night. It’s been great to see and hear all the support.”
Teaching the community about agriculture is important to this FFA chapter. “It’s important because it affects everyone. The better educated people are about agriculture, the better their decisions will be regarding their food and fiber choices plus, an increased awareness will hopefully equate to more appreciation for the hard work it takes to produce the cheapest and safest food supply in the world,” Ramos said.
The Montezuma-Cortez chapter has around 85 members, and Ramos believes in what the FFA program offers her students. “It teaches them how to be successful in all facets of their life. The leadership and career training such as public speaking and teamwork skills are invaluable in the workplace, while organizational skills and content knowledge can help the students in their home life as well. It teaches students to be well rounded and prepared for any career. Plus I think it makes them better consumers because they understand the ag industry and processing so much better,” she said.
She added. “I think it’s important because agriculture and career training will always be important.”
Another chapter to celebrate National FFA week was the Hoehne FFA chapter, located in Las Animas County, Colo. “When high school students sign up to become an FFA member, they take the first step toward a commitment that can lead to future personal and professional success. Agricultural education, a supervised agricultural experience, and FFA form a solid foundation for students to develop leadership skills, global agricultural knowledge, and everyday life,” said Cydney Kreutzer, Chapter Reporter.
She continued, “The chapter will present an eighth grade recruitment program and distribute litterbags, pocket notebooks and pens to the school. The chapter will also present a Food for America program to Hoehne third grade. In addition, the chapter will host a petting zoo for the elementary students and a fire safety program. The chapter will also have a staff appreciation breakfast for employees of the Hoehne School.”
Kreutzer enjoys FFA, because of what it does for its members. “By expanding the traditional view of agriculture to include science, business, and technology, FFA has become a national icon in promoting the diversity of the agricultural industry. With more than 300 career opportunities available to students through agricultural education, FFA members have been labeled the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
A chapter in Northern Colorado who celebrated FFA Week was the Highland FFA chapter. “On Tuesday February 19 the Highland FFA Chapter was lucky enough to have Landan Schaffert a former State FFA Chapter Member and past National FFA Secretary, come and talk to the school as a part of the Highland FFA Week. He was inspiring, as always, and did a fantastic job. He talked about overcoming challenges and the ‘pillars’ in our lives that we might be facing. His advice was to ‘take a step forward’ and overcome your fears. His stories were not only comical but, meaningful,” said Bree Maag, Chapter Reporter.
She continued, “The Highland FFA petting zoo was a great success. We had the pre- school come over and the Elementary got to take a field trip to come see all of the animals. This year we had a diversity of animals. We had a pony, dairy cows, horses, heifers, chickens and turkeys, a pheasant, a wallaby, pot-belly pig, a yac, a llama, and some rabbits! It all went as planned and we hope to see more people there next year. The FFA Parade was also a success. We had a combine, and multiple tractors along with horses and the FFA Banner.”
In the Southeastern part of the state, the Wiley FFA chapter had several events that they held during FFA Week. This included a barnyard day with animals brought in by students, including a horse, donkey, pony, steer, cow/calf pair, goats, pigs, piglet and a puppy. They also had a Farm Bureau safety demonstration, which was put on by Regional Manager Tony Hass.
They also had a drive a tractor to school day, ag olympics, a hired hand auction and FFA Pride Day, where the students wore their FFA attire to school.
“We had a good response from the community and the school. They really liked our focus on the younger students, and many community members stepped up to help us out,” said Wiley FFA adviser Randy McEndree, He believes FFA Week is important to the students and the community. “It’s important to inform others about the FFA, because even in a small farming community such as Wiley, people have a major misconception about what agriculture education and FFA are all about,” he said.
He continued, “FFA teaches my students how to be more complete citizens of society, from leadership skills to experiences above and beyond the students peers who are not in FFA.”
Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization provides agricultural education to more than 557,300 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,498 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st U.S. Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture.
There are more than 11,000 FFA advisors and agriculture teachers, who deliver an integrated model of agricultural education providing students with innovative and leading-edge education, enabling them to grow into competent leaders, according to the National FFA Organization.
FFA classroom activities include math and science as well as hands-on work experience and the development of life skills, helping members discover their career path and realize success.
Agriculture is the nation’s largest employer, with more than 23 million jobs (17 percent of the civilian workforce) involved in some facet of American agriculture.
Dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education, the National FFA Organization’s motto gives members 12 short words to live by as they experience the opportunities in the organization - Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
“The FFA represents so much good that’s happening in schools in a time where budget cuts and test scores seem to dominate the news. It’s exciting to see the members so excited to promote the agricultural industry and share a piece of FFA with their friends in school,” said Ramos. ❖