Due to the unprecedented times in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri FFA in partnership with Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids is offering chapters an opportunity to take part in a $300 matching mini-grant.
After months of discussion and planning, Missouri FFA is excited to announce its new Vision 2020 Communication Plan.
Vision 2020 is a culmination of multiple media platforms including print, digital and video. Joann Pipkin, who has worked with Missouri FFA in a variety of communication capacities since 1996, serves as Missouri FFA’s director of communications. Former Missouri FFA State Secretary Brandelyn Martin Twellman is social media manager. Current Missouri FFA Mentor Kensi Darst joins the team as social media coordinator. And, Lacy Short, continues in her role as webmaster.
The new communication program officially kicks off in September with the Missouri Agricultural Education and FFA annual report. The printed coffee table-type publication will be distributed to chapters and program supporters across the state.
Beginning in October, the first digital newsletter will be published. Patterned after the Missouri FFA Today insert, which was previously distributed through National FFA’s New Horizons magazine, the bi-monthly publication will feature member- and chapter-driven content. In addition, Missouri FFA will continue its monthly eNewsletter, delivered through email to members across the state.
Highlighting the digital portion of Missouri FFA’s news communication protocol will be a stepped-up social media strategy. Members and supporters are encouraged to follow Missouri FFA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The communication team will work to bring Missouri agricultural education and FFA programs full circle with the organization’s website, missouriffa.org, servicing as the hub for everything Missouri FFA!
New to Missouri FFA’s communication strategy is a video component. Communication team members are developing a variety of visual content for agricultural education students including leadership development and SAE-based learning opportunities.
FFA members, agricultural education instructors and organization supporters are encouraged to get involved and submit their story ideas! Email them to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I reflect back on my FFA journey, I realize that the most significant personal growth and leadership development I experienced happened at Missouri’s State Leadership Camp at Camp Rising Sun in the summer heat. Just a few months ago, I was preparing to meet more than 1,200 FFA members at the Lake of the Ozarks for the opportunity to help them grow while spending time in the Rec Hall, playing volleyball, and swimming at the waterfront. I was heartbroken when I heard about the cancellation of Missouri FFA Camp in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I knew there was still work to be done to help FFA members develop those skills in leadership, teamwork and strategic thinking.
After countless hours of brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of FFA members, advisors, state officers and state staff, we created the Show-Me Summit: Missouri FFA’s Virtual Leadership Experience. Through the Show-Me Summit, FFA members across the state have the opportunity to interact with State FFA Officers and gain foundational leadership skills that will propel them towards success in the Missouri FFA Association and beyond.
Show-Me Summitis made up of six core leadership development workshops hosted by the 2020-2021 Missouri State FFA Officer Team on concepts like individuality, intentional leadership, teamwork, taking action, Missouri agriculture, and grit and resilience. These topics encapsulate the overarching concepts taught in the elective leadership sessions that typically happen at FFA Camp in the summer.
In addition to the six core leadership workshops, there are four supplemental modules: Don Koonce’s Speaker Series, the Missouri Agriculture module, the Living to Serve Project, and Teacher Resources, all designed to give students (and advisors!) a well-rounded leadership development experience from anywhere. For FFA members interested in earning their State Leadership Medal, the Living to Serve Project requires them to put those concepts they’ve learned throughout the Show-Me Summitinto action by performing some kind of community service activity and completing an application for consideration. Additionally, if participants complete the checklist featured in the Living to Serve module, they can list Show-Me Summitas a state activity on Missouri FFA award applications.
Workshops and supplemental modules are being released in phases beginning this month! Stay tuned for announcements on Missouri FFA’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can learn more about and participate in the Show Me Summit online at https://missouriffa.org/show-me-summit/. Questions can be directed to email@example.com.
Gather ‘round chapter officers! The annual LEAD Chapter Officer Training Program is being offered this year in virtual format. The free training resource can be completed at your own pace!
“Core Sessions” are facilitated using videos of this year’s LEAD instructors. These virtual sessions will walk you through exercises that will be foundational to your year serving as a chapter officer. Although the time needed to complete the training might vary among chapters, it is recommended reserving a two- to three-hour meeting with your chapter officer team to complete the training.
This year’s “Core Sessions” provide training on:
For details on how you can take part in LEAD, contact your chapter advisor!
While some go straight into the workforce after high school, others choose to pursue higher education. When deciding on the right program for you and your career goals, you have some options from which to choose.
Also known as a vocational or tech schools, trade schools typically focus on job-specific areas of study. Many offer certificates or diplomas upon completion of classes teaching hands-on skills. Some trade schools also offer two-year associate degree options.
Community colleges are more likely to offer two-year associate degree programs. They provide a broader education in addition to job-specific skill training. Students who graduate from community colleges either enter the workforce with an associate degree or transfer to a four-year university.
While the sizes of universities vary, they are typically larger than other colleges or schools. Universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, and some offer graduate degrees as well. They offer a wider variety of classes and degrees, and they can either be public or private.
Overall, your choice of higher education is up to you. Size, location and program offerings may determine which type of school best fits your needs, so do your research and consider your options after graduation.
– Brandelyn Twellman
The 2020-21 Missouri State FFA Officers were confirmed June 16 during the business survey announcements segment of the 2020 virtual State FFA Convention.
Justin Eddy, Columbia FFA Chapter, will serve as the State FFA President. First Vice-President is Archie FFA member Mackenzie Porter. And, State FFA Secretary is Jenna Perry, Liberal FFA Chapter.
Serving Missouri’s nearly 26,000 state FFA members as vice presidents are: Rachel Holt, Chillicothe; Anna Milazzo, Grundy Co.; Erin Heinecke, Paris; Lauryn Robnett, Audrain Co. R-VI; Colin Wilburn, Van Far; Kiersten Helm, Lexington; Kaylee Lower, Weaubleau; Cade Shepherd, Mt. Vernon; Felicity Cantrell, Seymour; Lauren Gilbert, Chadwick; Dakota Pemberton, Richland; Madison Moll, Perryville; and Ricanna Spargo, Naylor.
This year might just be remembered as the year of firsts—including the first-ever virtual Missouri State FFA Convention. While state proficiency award winners, star finalists and national chapter activity awards were announced virtually in April, the official Missouri FFA Convention was held through a series of online video sessions June 16-18.
During the convention, Ms. Diane Olson was recognized with the Distinguished Service Citation. Olson has been involved with the promotion and advocacy of agriculture through the Missouri Farm Bureau and worked with the Missouri FFA for more than 35 years. She began her role with Farm Bureau in 1985 as the director of promotion and education. Her outstanding service has garnered her recognition as a state and national leader in the promotion of agriculture.
In the National Chapter Activity Awards area, Marshall FFA Chapter was tapped Top Chapter in the state and was named the Premier Chapter in Growing Leaders. These designations were selected from the 35 chapters recognized with a Missouri FFA Gold Emblem, a Top Chapter award. Marshall’s Growing Leaders activities included a program called Bacon SAEs Happen. As part of the activity, freshman FFA members were given the opportunity to create, market and sell an agricultural product for their first supervised agricultural experience program. Students divided into groups to develop individualized marketing plans and cure pork bellies. They then promoted their product through the chapter’s social media.
Also in the National Chapter Activity Awards area, Ashland FFA was honored as the Premier Chapter in Strengthening Agriculture. Ashland’s chapter activities in the strengthening agriculture category included Educating in the Barn, an interactive barnyard that allowed the community to learn more about FFA and agriculture through hands-on activities.
In the Building Communities awards area of National Chapter Activity Awards, Centralia FFA was honored as Premier Chapter. Centralia’s building communities activities included a program called Floods of Compassion. In the summer of 2019, rising flood waters threatened community members, land and structures. During the flooding, Centralia FFA filled sandbags for placement around the community. Afterward, members collected donations for Missouri and Nebraska Farm Bureau federations, and financially helped Centralia FFA members who lost their supervised agricultural experience programs.
During the Stars Over Missouri program of convention, Megan Schneider, Herman FFA Chapter, was named State Star in Agribusiness. Schneider’s SAE started with showing pigs. Eventually she started breeding and raising show pigs and feeder pigs. As her business grew, Schneider started selling a variety of pork meat products at local farmer markets and other outlets. Over time, Schneider has expanded her selection to include various beef and poultry products.
Eldon FFA member Destinie Tunis was selected as the State Star in Agriscience winner. Tunis’ supervised agricultural experience program involves the testing of cattle, horses, cats and dogs to determine if nitrates and histatins within the saliva can stop the growth of Escherichia coli k-12 and Staphylococcus epidermidis. This study is titled “The Antimicrobial Effects of Histatins and Nitrates Found in Saliva”.
The State Star in Agricultural Placement award was presented to Clint Bailey. As part of his supervised agricultural experience program, Bailey worked on this family’s commercial cow-calf operation. He then was hired to work at his cousin’s pumpkin patch. When his cousin went to college, he turned the pumpkin patch over to Bailey. As a sophomore in high school, Bailey began working at the Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic. After initially caring for dogs and the clinic’s kennel, he was charged with providing veterinary services at the Eastern Missouri Commission Company, a livestock market in Bowling Green. His duties then expanded to making large-animal farm calls.
Missouri FFA’s State Star Farmer was presented to Jacob Dierking, Santa Fe FFA Chapter. Dierking’s supervised agricultural experience program began in 2015 when he rented a 10-acre field from a neighbor to grow field corn. In 2019, his row-crop operation expanded to 306 acres of corn and soybeans. In addition, he does custom field work, lays drainage tile, and grows sweet corn, green beans, and Indian corn. Throughout Dierking’s SAE, to increase productivity, he purchased three tractors and numerous farm implements.
The 2020 Missouri FFA Convention can be viewed online at missouriffa.org.
—By Joann Pipkin
At a time when the agricultural industry is constantly growing, shifting and innovating, schools offering degrees in agriculture must do the same. The Richwood Valley Campus and Agricultural Training Center are allowing the Ozark Technical Community College’s (OTC) agriculture program to do just that.
“Our program is blessed to have the opportunity to relocate from an urban downtown campus to an 84-acre rural setting in Christian County,” says Rob Flatness, department chair and agriculture instructor. “The Richwood Valley Campus is only a few minutes south of Springfield between Ozark and Nixa on Highway 14. The campus is perfect for a diversified agriculture program in that it has open grassland perfect for pasture and turfgrass activities, several acres of timber for forestry classes, a live spring and a creek bottom with deep rich soil for agronomy stations.”
The campus is a new development in a long line of growth in OTC’s agriculture program.
“For many years, our agriculture department was focused on turf and landscape management, offering a two-year associate degree and a one-year certificate,” Flatness says. “We saw that many of our students were graduating from our program and transferring to a four-year university to obtain a bachelors’ degree in agriculture. It was at that time that we expanded our agriculture course offerings and developed an associate degree in agriculture.”
Further filling the needs of its students, the program began working with university partners to develop “2 + 2” plans allowing OTC agriculture students to complete their two-year program while preparing to transfer and graduate from a university in an additional two years.
More recently, the agriculture program shifted its degree offerings again to accommodate for changing needs of students and the industry.
OTC previously offered an associate degree and certificate in turf and landscape management as well as an associate degree in agriculture. Students pursuing a degree in agriculture could choose from animal science, plant science or general agriculture, but their transcript and diploma would only reference a degree in agriculture.
“Beginning next semester, our students will be able to receive a degree in the specific area of their interest instead of just agriculture,” Flatness says.
In response to industry needs for more trained technicians, the program also added a one-year outdoor power and powersports technician certificate program in the 2019-2020 school year.
As OTC’s agricultural degree and program offerings are evolving, so are its hands-on opportunities for students.
“The new facilities give students a very hands-on, real-life, practical education for a price that they cannot get elsewhere,” says Heather Eberlin, agriculture instructor and farm/lab manager. “It has really stepped up the level at which we can prepare students for their next step, whatever that may be.”
These opportunities include hosting livestock on campus with modern livestock handling facilities, greenhouse experiences, equipment operation, wildlife management activities, topography, forestry and more.
Eberlin runs the greenhouse on campus and says students have already experienced some added benefits of the new facilities.
“The new greenhouse offers students the ability to do plant labs year-round while also producing seasonal crops,” she says. “This past semester, we had a very successful first-ever OTC poinsettia crop. It is currently filled to the brim with annuals, hanging baskets and vegetables.”
Today, students are enjoying the expanded opportunities the new campus provides.
“Our current students are excited to be on the ground floor of development of the new facilities,” Flatness says.
Even students without a background in agriculture can benefit from the development.
“This campus means experience, opportunity and growth for me,” says MacKenzie Lathem, an OTC agriculture student. “I think the campus is unique because it allows us to explore our agricultural interests and it allows students who do not come from agricultural backgrounds to safely experience the industry.”
The OTC ag program plans to continue its diversification and innovative growth to provide for future students as well as the future of the agricultural industry.
“Just this semester we applied for and won a $10,000 grant through the college to start a Farm to Table Beef Program,” Eberlin says. “Students will be able to evaluate, purchase and care for livestock while evaluating daily gain and eventually carcass information.”
Innovative offerings like the Farm to Table Beef Program are allowing students to learn about agriculture in a way like never before.
“This campus means opportunity for incoming and future students,” Lathem says. “It is a great campus to experience new things for the first time.”
“Incoming students will have the advantage of facilities and labs that are fully developed and continue to expand,” Flatness adds. “We will continue to work with our advisory committee and community to offer a curriculum that is relevant to community needs.”
—By Brandelyn Martin Twellman
Following in the footsteps of her dad and older brother, Janet Adkison hit the ground running the moment she put on her first blue corduroy jacket. Having grown up on a beef cattle farm in Houston, Missouri, Adkison had a deeply rooted passion for agriculture she was ready to expand upon in FFA.
“I tried to be involved in as much as I could in FFA,” she said. “I have to attribute that to my family because they encouraged me and also helped me to do so.”
Her involvement led to many leadership roles, including serving as an officer on both the chapter and state levels. But before she could take off in the organization, Adkison was first tasked with memorizing what most greenhand members do: the FFA Creed. Those five paragraphs taught Adkison more than she could have ever anticipated.
“There were two of us in my chapter who wanted to compete in the Creed,” she says. “After they brought in three judges to decide between us, nobody could decide. So, they decided to flip a coin, and I ended up losing that coin toss. That day I learned not to depend on luck for something you really want to do.”
In addition to this lesson learned, the experience also opened many doors that would lead to Adkison’s future involvement in FFA and, eventually, her professional career.
“Having the Creed under my belt led me to feel comfortable and opened the door for me to participate in public speaking,” she explains. “Freshman year, I participated in the Farm Bureau public speaking contest and ended up getting third at state. That really warmed me up to public speaking, and I used those skills in judging contests like livestock and dairy judging. I still call on those skills in my career now.”
In addition to her speaking ability, Adkison also learned a great deal of agricultural content she calls upon today.
“The agricultural lessons serve me well day in and day out in my career path,” she says.
Starting her college career as an animal science major at Missouri State University, Adkison says it wasn’t long before she realized that path wasn’t for her.
“I had organic chemistry, and organic chemistry and I were not made to be together,” she says with a laugh. “So, that was a quick lesson that animal science and pre-vet were not for me. The agricultural communications program at MSU was still pretty new. It was still building up at that time, but I jumped on board and ended up graduating with my degree in ag communications.”
Today, Adkison is a news anchor and reporter for RFD-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. She says her time in FFA helped guide her toward this career.
“FFA led me to my career path,” Adkison says. “From participating in agricultural activities to public speaking to people I interacted with, it opened my eyes to the opportunities that were available.”
She works behind the anchor desk and in the field reporting on anything relating to agriculture or rural areas, which allows her to call upon the ag knowledge she gained in FFA.
“Those outside of agriculture think it’s a pretty narrow window,” she says. “But, when you talk about rural and you talk about agriculture, the window is actually wide open. Lessons on agriculture gained from participating in livestock and dairy judging allow me to better understand those industries.”
In addition to skills and agricultural content, Adkison says FFA also gave her connections in the industry.
“Honestly, a lot of people I met in FFA I still know to this day,” she says. “I got my foot in the door of my first two jobs through Missouri FFA connections.”
Thinking back on her years in FFA as a high schooler, Adkison remembers how fast the time went by.
“Our tendencies are to test the waters slowly, but you only get four years to test the waters in high school,” she says. It’s amazing how fast that four years goes by.”
Her advice is to jump in feet first to take advantage of every opportunity possible.
“There are so many avenues you can test along the way,” Adkison says. “Don’t be afraid to test them all. It’s even so much more now than when I was in high school. FFA is so broad now that you can truly try your hand at so many different careers along the way. I’m a little jealous of the members coming through it now.”
Principles learned in FFA can also be of benefit in the future.
“Take the work ethic you learn when you’re in FFA, whether it’s in serving the community or working on your own SAE project, and apply it in the future,” Adkison says. “And remember you may not always be the smartest person in the room or the most eloquent speaker, but you can certainly outwork a lot of people. Don’t be afraid to do so.”
—By Brandelyn Martin Twellman