More than 600 Missouri FFA members representing 57 chapters across the state turned out Aug. 14 for Missouri FFA’s Food Insecurity Day at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.
As part of the 2018 Drive to Feed Kids, FFA members packed100,800 meals that were distributed to five of the six Feeding Missouri Food Banks in the state. Those food banks are Second Harvest, St. Joseph; St. Louis Food Bank, St. Louis; Southeast Missouri Food Bank, Sikeston; Ozark Food Harvest, Springfield; and Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, Columbia.
The event raised $144,000 in conjunction with packing the meals. Funds will be used by the food banks for their backpack programs in each respective region.
Food Insecurity Day Sponsors include: MFA, Inc., Missouri Department of Agriculture, FCS Financial, the National FFA Organization, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri State Fair, John Deere Financial, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Farmers Care, Nutra Blend, Protect the Harvest, Monsanto, Brownfield Network, Boehringer Ingelheim, Missouri Soybean Association, Country Vet, American Family Insurance and Missouri FFA Association.
According to the latest data from Feed America’s “Map the Meal Gap,” more than 240,000 children in Missouri don’t know where their next meal comes from. Missouri counties with the highest reates of food insecurity are disproportionately rural, where one out of every three children faces food insecurity.
Austin Stanton, a member of the Centralia FFA Chapter, has been named one of four finalists for American Star Farmer. Stanton and his brother, Dustin, co-own Stanton Brothers, a free-range poultry operation that supplies eggs to a number of grocery outlets, university dining halls and restaurants across mid-Missouri.
Some 13,000-hybrid chickens roam the Stanton’s Boone County farm while another 7,200 are kept inside an automated poultry barn complete with feed, water and temperature control. Cageless, those housed birds are still considered free range. Eggs are laid in a central nest before being carried by conveyor belt to an adjacent room where they are washed, sorted, graded and packaged for shipping. More than 500-dozen eggs are distributed daily.
Stanton’s operation includes egg production as well as growing milo and soybeans, which are both used to feed the chickens. Sales, marketing and transportation are other components of the business, which allows Stanton to control as many of his inputs as possible.
A senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Stanton will graduate in May.
The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. Finalists for the award have mastered skills in production, finance, management and/or research. American Star Farmer recognizes the FFA member with the top production agriculture SAE program each year. Four national finalists vie for the star award. Considered the highest recognition in the nation for an aspiring young farmer, the award recognizes achievement in both career and leadership development.
The American Star Farmer award will be presented during the 91stNational FFA Convention, Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The National FFA Board of Directors has approved the 2018 American FFA Degree recipients, and a record number are receiving the distinguished honor this fall. Only FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences are eligible for the American FFA Degree.
At the 2018 National FFA Convention & Expo to be held Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis, a record 4,255 FFA members will be recognized on-stage as American FFA Degree recipients. Are you on this year’s list? Who from your chapter will receive the award?
Just as crops are growing in the field, Republic FFA members are inside the classroom learning what it takes to run a sustainable row crop operation. An opportunity cropped up when school administrators reached out to the FFA chapter for help.
“Our administrators were looking for a better way to take care of the land in front of our new high school,” said David Mareth, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Republic High School. “They came to us for help.”
For years, the FFA chapter had taken hay off of the extra land, Mareth said. However, administrators within the district were looking for more. Yet, if the FFA chapter was going to spend time restoring the land, they wanted it to be self-sustainable and profitable.
With 45 acres of open ground, Republic FFA began by no-tilling wheat into the soil to enhance the landscape surrounding the high school. Mareth explained how the students are working to manage the project and will eventually reap the benefits of what they sow.
We are nearing the end of August, and that means it’s back to school time. Starting school can be an amazing, yet scary, time. Some of us might have started sports practice while others of us just wrapped up the 2018 Missouri State Fair.
When I was in high school, this time of the year was always the most hectic for me. I would be wrapping up my showing at the fair while having volleyball practice, and on top of that I would be starting my next adventure in my blue corduroy jacket. So many scheduled tasks at one time challenged me to keep my focus on what I what I wanted my end result to be.