Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Blog
Latest news and reflections by Missouri FFA officers.
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RISE: 90th Missouri FFA Convention

From special guest speakers to leadership workshops to the career show and career development event competition, FFA members from across the state will meet in Columbia, April 19-20 for the 90th Missouri FFA Convention.

 

Never give up. It’s a common phrase we often take for granted. But motivational speaker and Missouri native Carey Portell lives it every day. As she headlines this year’s state FFA Convention, Portell will inspire FFA members across the state to push their limits and, most importantly, never give up.

 

After Portell and her children were involved in a fatal drunk driving collision, she was left with partial disabilities, even after a four-year recovery. Connecting with agriculture and assisting on her family’s cattle operation has given Portell hope. She claims farm work as her physical and mental therapy.

 

Portell travels nationwide to share her story. Additionally, Portell shares how farming has given her a focus and a feeling of life again. She enlightens listeners with her sense of perseverance and persistence.

 

Themed “Rise,” this year’s state convention also features award presentations, career development events, workshops and the ever-popular FFA Career Show.

 

Missouri also welcomes National FFA Western Region Vice President Bryce Cluff of Queen Creek, Arizona, to the convention. Cluff credits the blue jacket as the foundation of his core values and beliefs.

 

“I often have seen my service-driven attitude come out in my everyday life,” Cluff said.

 

Hailing from an urban background, Cluff worried about creating a successful supervised agricultural experience program when he entered high school. On a whim, Cluff purchased a male Pekin duck from his local feed store. Quickly, he found passion and diversified his operation into a backyard full of poultry in every variety.

 

“I developed my business skills and learned how I could challenge myself to become a better agriculturist,” Cluff said.

 

“These skills and experiences have since translated into my life and have shaped me to be a successful student and employee.”

 

Cluff’s experiences in the National FFA Organization have inspired him to become an agriculture educator and FFA advisor in rural or Native American chapters. Throughout his year of service as a National FFA Officer, Cluff says he hopes to grow alongside FFA members from a wide variety of backgrounds.

 

In addition to these guest speakers, the 90th Annual Missouri FFA Convention will feature leadership workshops for members. The FFA Career Show also gives students and guests the chance to learn about agricultural businesses, organizations, colleges and universities and more. Additionally, Missouri FFA will recognize the State Star Farmer, State Star in Agribusiness and State Star in Placement as well as present more than 750 State FFA Degrees to deserving members statewide. More than 8,000 people are expected to be in Columbia at the University of Missouri Hearnes Center for the state’s largest FFA event.

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Celebrating FFA Week

FFA members across the state celebrated National FFA Week, Feb. 17-24. These state representatives and senators took time out of their schedules to join us.

Missouri FFA says “thank you” to all state legislators who support agriculture and FFA.

Pictured with their FFA jackets are:

 

Front row: Rep. Rusty Black, Chillicothe; Rep. Jeff Pogue, Salem; and Rep. Warren Love, Osceola.

Second row: Sen. Brian Munzlinger, Lewis County; Rep. Rick Francis, Perryville; Rep. Tom Hurst, Meta; and Rep. Jay Eggleston, Maysville.

Third row: Rep. Nate Walker, Kirksville; and Rep. Don Rone, Portageville.

Fourth row: Rep. Herman Morse, Dexter.

Fifth row: Rep. Bryan Spencer, Wentzville; and Rep. Allen Andrews, Grant City.

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Convention Advice

Mariah Fox, casual

Mariah Fox – 1st VP

Being a member of the Catholic church, one of the biggest events after the start of the new year is the beginning of the season of Lent. Members of the Catholic faith decide what they are giving up and what they are going to do better. When I was in high school, the beginning of Lent also had another strong meaning for me. When Lent began, that meant it was almost time for the annual Missouri FFA State Convention. The convention was the highlight of my year. Not only was I competing while in attendance, but I was also seeing old friends and making more memories in the blue jacket.

 

With the convention upon us, I want to give all of you FFA members three pieces of advice that I have found valuable over the years. First, get involved. There are so many activities at convention. Go to the career show, watch a session or even play a pre-convention game, but be involved at convention!

 

Second, do your best. Many of you have been prepping for convention for several months either on a Leadership Development Event, Career Development Event or in a proficiency area. When at the convention, do your best all the time. Show others that you put the time and effort into making your convention successful!

 

Finally, the third piece of advice is have fun! Convention happens only once each year. That’s why you must make the most of it while you’re there. Make new friends, compete against other FFA members and enjoy your time in the blue jacket.

 

Just like me, others experiencing the season of Lent challenged to do something better. Now FFA members, I challenge all of you to use these three pieces of advice while attending the up-coming state FFA convention and make the most of your time there. Convention is only two short months away! What are you going to do to make the most of the 90th Missouri FFA State Convention?

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I Won, I One

Elizabeth Knipp, casual

Elizabeth Knipp – VP

There’s only one game where players rival head-to-head, plan epic tactics and encode hidden obstacles: BATTLESHIP. This game is like no other and causes my sisters to go into complete competitive mode. As I sat on my grandma’s living room floor and watched a game unfold, I saw that Rosalee and Clara were in the midst of a classic heated battle as they maneuvered to try and outwit each other.

 

The game was headed toward the final showdown when all of a sudden Rosalee called out, “I won.”

 

Clara looked up at her and firmly stated, “No you didn’t, you haven’t sunk all of my ships!”

 

Rosalee looked up, smiled, and said again, “I won!” — proceeding with a firm “NO, you did not!!” from her irritated middle sister.

 

Slowly, for the last time, Rosalee stated, “I ONE, O-N-E!”

 

Clara finally understood what Rosalee meant, and everything became clear. She was no longer angry nor argued with Rosalee and resumed to play the game as she marked the ‘I one’ spot with her peg.

 

Oftentimes, these simple communication errors happen in our daily lives. Some are small, while others have damaging consequences. We think we are effectively communicating, when in reality our message is fuzzy, complicated and misunderstood. With the hustle and bustle of the spring semester — career development events, scholarship application deadlines and weather cancellations — the need for clear communication is essential. Every day, we need to be conscious of how we communicate to ensure we are relaying the correct message for others to hear.

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Missouri Agriscience Fair Set

FFA members interested in agriscience are invited to take part in the Missouri Agriscience Fair May 8 in Columbia. Projects must be preregistered by May 1.

 

 

Students may compete in no more than one group project and one individual project. If one student’s project is selected as the winner, that student must identify which project they will submit to the national competition. The non-chosen project will be recognized as runner-up and the second place project will be selected as the state winner. Schools may enter multiple projects in the same division and system.

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Leadership Opportunities Abound

Whether you’re an energetic Greenhand or a high school junior looking to step up your leaderhip game before graduation, Missouri FFA has two exciting opportunities for you.

 

Applications for HYMAX and HYPE leadership programs are both due March 1.

 

HYMAX — JUNE 15-17, 2018: Application due March 1, 2018

 

Helping Youth Maximize their Agricultural eXperience (HYMAX) 2018

Missouri FFA Agricultural Leadership Freshmen Academy

 

Click Here for Online Application

 

Are you a future leader in Agriculture, FFA, and your community? If you answered YES, the HYMAX Academy is for you! HYMAX is a youth leadership conference designed for promising ninth grade students to reach their full potential! These FFA members will be prepared for future leadership roles, agricultural career exploration, and advocacy for agriculture. In addition, you will gain key strategies for SAE development, written and verbal communication skills, and career development. Most importantly, you will bring home tools to help you and your chapter achieve greater success!

 

The HYMAX will further motivate Agricultural Education freshmen students during a weekend-long leadership conference. It will provide a foundation in agricultural leadership and prepare you to embrace agricultural and leadership opportunities throughout your high school career.

 

In 2018, the top FFA Greenhands (up to a maximum of 100 students) will be selected to participate in HYMAX through a competitive written application process. Advisors may nominate up to FOUR students (two girls and two boys) per chapter. Students need to submit a written application, academic transcript, and two letters of recommendation. One of the two letters must be from your Agricultural Education Teacher/FFA Advisor and the second from a community leader that knows you and your leadership experience. Academy members will experience this innovative agricultural leadership academy at the Missouri FFA Camp Rising Sun at the Lake of the Ozarks, June 15-17, 2018. A participant fee of $30 will provide lodging, meals, leadership materials, and Academy T-Shirt.

 

All applications must be submitted to the Missouri FFA office by March 1, 2018. There are five parts to the written application: 1) information and signatures, 2) student narratives, 3) Ag Educator/FFA Advisor recommendation, 4) community leader recommendation, and 5) high school academic transcript. Please make sure that the information is correct on the applications, especially e-mail address. Students will be contacted prior to attending HYMAX using this e-mail address.

 

  • FFA members will be notified of selection by April 2, 2018.
  • Registration fee will be due by May 15, 2018.

HYPE ACADEMY: GROWING ADVOCATES FOR MISSOURI AGRICULTURE

Sponsored by the Missouri Corn Checkoff

 

June 26-28, 2018

Application Due March 1, 2018

 

Are you a future leader in agriculture, FFA and your community?

Are you ready to be an active member of the agricultural community and tell the agriculture story? If you answered YES, the HYPE Academy is for you! HYPE is a youth leadership conference designed to challenge and equip the

TOP 30 incoming high school senior FFA members to be advocates for agriculture.

 

What is HYPE?

These 30 FFA members will receive hands‐on experiences to prepare them to communicate, lead and advocate for the agricultural Industry. In addition, you will gain strategies to continue strengthening your knowledge base in agricultural issues, sharpen your written and verbal communication skills and spark potential career interests.

Most importantly, you will bring home tools to help you and other members in your FFA chapter tell the agriculture story!

 

When, Where, and Why HYPE?

The HYPE Academy will challenge 30 Agricultural Education students during an intensive three‐day academy June 26‐28, 2018. Held at the University of Missouri‐Columbia, HYPE will build on other important FFA leadership conferences you have participated in up to this point. Expect this leadership experience to be a hands‐on, engaging academy that will provide you skills to communicate, lead and advocate for the agricultural industry.

 

How do you Apply?

In 2018, the top 30 entering high school seniors in 2018‐19 will be selected to participate in HYPE through a competitive written application process. Students need to submit a written application with five narrative responses, academic transcript, FFA member activity form, and three letters of recommendation. One letter must be from your Agricultural Education Teacher/FFA Advisor, the second from a school administrator (superintendent or principal), and the third from a community leader that knowsyou and your leadership experience.

 

All applications must be submitted to the Missouri FFA office no later than March 1, 2018.

There are six parts to the written application: 1) information and signatures, 2) student narratives, 3) Ag Educator/FFA Advisor recommendation, 4) community leader recommendation, 5) FFA member activity form and 6) high school academic transcript.

 

Please make sure that the information is correcton the application. Students will be contacted prior to attending The HYPE Academy using submitted e‐mail address. FFA members will be notified of selection by April 2, 2018.

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State Officers Address Missouri General Assembly

For the last 27 years, our state FFA president has had the honor of addressing the Missouri House of Representatives.  The theme of this year’s speech was Growing Leaders, Building Communities, and Strengthening Agriculture.

A Facebook Live post of your Missouri state FFA officers singing the National Anthem in the Whispering Gallery also took place on Mon., Feb. 5.  Missouri FFA is proud and honored to share that this video has generated more than 157,000 views and was picked up by Todd Starnes of Fox News that same afternoon. Check out the video on our Missouri FFA Facebook page. Other news on the annual Legislative Day can also be found there as well.

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The One You Feed

Sydnee Mason, casual

Sydnee Mason – Secretary

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was listen to my dad tell stories. I would sit cross-legged on the deep freezer in the corner of his meeting room and listen while he motivated and inspired college rodeo athletes from across the country. Not much has changed since those days — the stories are the same and the only differences are the athletes in his program. I still love to listen to these honest, tried and true tales. One of my favorites is the following old Cherokee legend: Two Wolves.

 

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

He continued, “Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. The same fight is going on inside you — and every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Embracing the changes and endless possibilities that 2018 promises to bring might seem like a daunting task. Hopefully, we have all settled into those familiar routines of school, chores and homework by now, and we are ready to tackle whatever the second semester has in store. FFA members, let’s remember the wise words of the Cherokee grandfather. Whether we’re studying for a Career Development Event, memorizing our speeches for spring contest or simply investing ourselves in the Ag classroom, let’s pledge to feed the good wolf in 2018.

 

 

 

“Two Wolves” Cherokee Legend sourced from: http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TwoWolves-Cherokee.html

 

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Footprints in the Snow

Elise Bailey, casual

Elise Bailey – VP

January has arrived and so has the snow. When I look out my window at a field of freshly fallen snow, it makes me want to freeze that landscape in time. I know in a couple of days that this field will not have perfect untouched snow on the ground; instead footprints will market its perfectness.

 

When I take a step in the unblemished snow, I quickly realize that every step I take will show. This image is a good reminder for us in life. The paths we make and the destinations that we reach are evident to those watching simply by the steps that we take.

 

As I look back on my trek through the snow, it is clear to see not only the distance that I have traveled, but also where my journey began.

 

Whether in our FFA careers, our educational adventures, or our journeys in life, this image holds a powerful meaning. It is important to be reminded that others are watching, and maybe even following, in the path that we’ve paved. At the end of the day, it is imperative that we look back on the lengths we have traveled and recognize the place where our journey commenced.

 

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Western Farm Show

FFA DAY IS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Attention all FFA Members & Advisors! Plan to attend the Focus on Agriculture Careers event.

 

Here are a few details:

  • FFA day will be held Friday, February 23rd.

  • Kansas State FFA and Missouri State FFA leadership are eager to share a message about how your students can become advocates for Agriculture and Hunger Awareness; making a difference in their communities and schools.
  • We encourage Advisors and Students to make a special visit to the OSU booth this year.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, where students can learn about educational opportunities in Agriculture. Featuring their Equipment Technician Training Program for students looking to earn a degree in equipment maintenance and repair. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the program and OSU-IT. www.osuit.edu

  • FFA Canned and Nonperishable Food Border Battle at the Western Farm Show!

In support of the 2018 National FFA Week and FFA Day at the 2018 Western Farm Show, FFA members from Missouri and Kansas are encouraged to gather and bring canned and nonperishable food to donate to Harvesters Community Food Network. Your chapter could win $500 for bringing the most canned and nonperishable food items!

How do I register?

  • Complete the form below with the number of students your chapter plans to bring to the Show submit via the website or print and fill out the form and FAX the form back to us. You will receive your complimentary tickets in February, along with a letter providing details about parking and other information.
  • Please be sure to fill in your Western Farm Show FFA ticket request form below.

 

Ticket Request orders received after February 2, 2018 will not be mailed, but left in “will call” at the ticket office at the American Royal. The ticket office will open the morning of Friday, Feb. 23.

For questions, contact Ken Dean (kdean@westerneda.com).

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Mark Your Calendar

Mark your calendar for these up-coming leadership development programs and scholarship application deadlines.

 

Check with your FFA advisor about State Degree, Proficiency Award, State Chorus, State Talent and State Officer deadlines.

 

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Save the Date – Drive to Feed Kids

The first ever Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Service Day was held last August during the 2017 Missouri State Fair, and plans are already well underway for this year’s event.

 

Set for Aug. 14, this year’s project hopes to package 100,000 meals for food banks across Missouri.

 

Missouri FFA teamed with Missouri Farmer’s Care for the first Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Service Day. On Aug. 15, 2017, more than 350 FFA students and volunteers spent the day packing 52,032 meals to feed families of up to six people.

 

In an effort to combat childhood food insecurity in the state, Missouri Farmers Care has launched a summer of service with Drive to Feed Kids, a program that leverages existing food bank and distribution networks to deliver kid-friendly meals to youth. Food is delivered through backpack programs and in-school food pantries to help children in food-insecure households.

 

Dr. Alan Wessler, chairman of Missouri Farmers Care, said the Missouri State Fair is an appropriate venue to celebrate the best of Missouri agriculture as well as address the food-security challenges that too many Missourians face.

 

“Hunger isn’t an issue that only happens somewhere else,” Dr. Wessler said. “It is a pervasive concern across Missouri’s rural communities.” A recent study from Feeding America revealed that food insecurity exists in every county in the nation, from a high of 38 percent in Jefferson County, Mississippi, to a low of 3 percent in Grant County, Kansas. The study also showed that:

 

  • Children are at greater risk of hunger than the general population. Across all counties, 21 percent are food insecure, compared to 14 percent of the general population.

 

  • Food-insecure individuals are often ineligible for federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and free and reduced-priced school lunch programs, underscoring the importance of not only the charitable food assistance sector but also a strong and effective safety net of public nutrition assistance programs.

 

  • 76 percent of counties in the top 10 percent of food-insecure counties are rural. Predominantly rural counties have higher rates of food insecurity than urban counties.

 

“All of us in agriculture are focused on doing our best to produce food,” Dr. Wessler said. “But we’re also focused on making our communities the best place they can be. When our youth face uncertainty about access to nutritious food, it presents challenges in coming to school ready to learn and thrive. It is time to consider what we can do to help. The good news is that our partner through Drive to Feed Kids, Feeding Missouri, has a proven and efficient way to deliver food to those who most need it.”

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Living to Serve

Interested in serving other FFA members?

Consider sharing your skills and talents by becoming a Missouri State FFA Officer?

Check out the state officer application procedure at state convention here.

 

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Be Better

Abby Bertz, casual

Abby Bertz – President

2018 has arrived. Hopefully 2017 brought you much love, sacrifice and success. With 2018 we find new beginnings and the opportunity for better than we might have had last year.

 

As most of us find ourselves doing, I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed. On this social media platform, I have friends from my hometown, around the state, nation and even world. Every day, the app provides me with opinions, pictures and memories from each of these people from all kinds of places. Yesterday, however, this app provided me with a special kind of motivation, motivation from a very special lady right from my hometown.

 

This favorite history teacher of mine pledged a word for 2018, something many have begun to do in place of a New Year’s Resolution. This word is meant to be a constant reminder, a solid aspiration, and a theme for the year. Her word? “Better.”

 

Ms. Stever pledges to be better. Not better than anyone, she says, but a better her—a better her for everyone. Every day, she will strive to “eat better, get better, think better, and love better, on and on.”

 

Just like Ms. Stever, we can embody “better” by thinking about how we can better ourselves, get better at being ourselves, and hold ourselves to a standard of better. We can be better friends, FFA members, siblings and students. There is, and always will be, room for better.

 

Better is progress. And, our starting points and progress will differ from every single person around us. That, friends, is the beauty part of “better.”

 

This year, let’s find what makes us better and what makes us want to be better. I know the organization we call home is a stepping-stone in this adventure. Allow it to by helping a friend with his or her upcoming Career Development Event, signing up for your first public speaking contest, going to FFA Camp, or even encouraging others to do the things that you found benefit from.

 

A better you for a better us, and ultimately a better organization, industry and world.

 

Like Ms. Stever, I pledge myself to be better. Will you?

 

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The Christmas Cow

Justin Belew, casual

Justin Below – VP

The holidays are for spending time with friends, family and for those in production agriculture — for continually caring for our livestock as colder weather seeps into the landscape. This colder weather means our livestock will normally stick closer to the feed and water supply that becomes increasingly more necessary as lower temperatures set in.

 

This is normally the case for my family’s small commercial beef cattle herd, but this year, one cow in particular decided to change things up. A mature and easy-going cow managed to find her way out of our pasture’s fence THREE times over Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after. It seemed that she was on a mission to discover every failure in the fence. At the time, it seemed extremely inconvenient to be fixing fence and dealing with a loose cow around Christmas. However, when looking back on the experience, I began to reevaluate the situation. Many times, whether in FFA or in life, we will encounter failures just like that cow found the failures in the fence. Instead of focusing on the negative effects, it is just as important to keep a positive attitude and look for the opportunity to grow.

 

Although it was stressful to safely re-secure the cow, we were able to fix the fence before a larger problem could have occurred. Without a doubt, we will make mistakes in our lives, but it is how we react and learn from our mistakes that allow us to improve. Remember, the next time a failure strikes us down, look on the up side, there might be more hidden benefits than we realize.

 

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