Meet Your 2016-17 Nebraska State FFA Vice President: Manuel Acosta

Manuel (Manny) Acosta has lived in Bayard for the past thirtIMG_1489een years with his parents – Juan and Mary,  brother Gordon, and sister Martha. He attended Bayard Public schools. He is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in agricultural economics. His goal is to work in production agriculture management in the future.

While growing up in a rural town, becoming involved in agriculture was not a difficult task. Starting in fifth grade he began breeding, raising, and showing rabbits and chickens. His passion for agriculture grew stronger when he entered the agriculture classroom as a freshman. Taking agriculture classes has allowed him to gain a better insight on the agriculture industry, and has allowed him to grow in his Supervised Agricultural Experience program as well.

His placement SAE of diversified agricultural production includes working at Kildow Farms, a local farm and ranch. He works during the summer and part time throughout the fall. His SAE consists mainly of irrigating and he also sprays crops, works cattle, and helps with harvest. Working at Kildow Farms has made him want to further his education to pursue a career in the agriculture industry.


Meet Your 2016-17 Nebraska State FFA President: Kaitlyn Hanvey

Kaitlyn Hanvey grew up in Verdigre with her mother, Kelly, IMG_1543and two younger brothers, Cody and Jake. She will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she will major in agricultural education so she can follow her calling to teach and share with others her passion for the industry as a high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.

In high school agriculture classes she learned about many of the different aspects of the ag industry. She enjoyed classes that focused on topics like livestock management, mechanized agriculture, agronomy, and economic or financial impacts of our industry. She participated in FFA events such as parliamentary procedure, public speaking, veterinary science, livestock evaluation, and livestock management.

She has multiple components within her SAE program. Through her diversified livestock production program, she raised and operated a flock of crossbred ewes that she lambed out every spring. She also has a small share in her family crossbred Angus cattle herd. She started out with one heifer that her grandpa gave her and from there she has grown her herd by keeping replacement heifers that she has shown at the county fair. She also has two horses that she uses around the ranch sorting and herding cattle as well as riding trails with them. More recently, she purchased a few bantam chickens.  She has also added an agriculture business component through her work at Bomgaars in her hometown.

FFA Jacket Impacts Teach Ag Intern

 By Nebraska Teach Ag Intern Miranda Paitz

When I enrolled in my first agricultural class my freshman year of high school, I had no idea what FFA was; all I knew was that there were a large amount of kids that showed under FFA at my county fair. It didn’t take me long to get involved in my FFA chapter at Wilcox-Hildreth and see just how much FFA had to offer.

My freshman year, I was able to attend the State FFA Convention as a participant in the Agriscience untitledcontest, and I was able to earn a ribbon while I was there. It was very inspirational to be able to go to the convention and see all of the other FFA students as well as the agricultural businesses that support FFA. I was then able to go to the National FFA Convention my sophomore year and I was amazed by the amount of blue jackets, FFA emblems, and positive atmosphere that I was surrounded by. At our first session, the National FFA Chorus was there to perform; they were incredible! I looked at my advisor and said “Mr. Johnson, wouldn’t it be cool if I was in that choir?” and he replied, “You could be in that choir someday if you wanted to, but you would need to try out, I believe that you would make it”. Our FFA chapter only attended the National FFA Convention every other year and so, the main focus of my junior year was being a chapter officer. However, my senior year, I decided to try out for the National FFA Chorus, and I was accepted! I was one of three people from my high school that had ever been a part of the National FFA Chorus and, thanks to the help of the Wilcox-Hildreth School Board, I was able to fly to Indianapolis a week before my chapter so that I could rehearse with the rest of the chorus. As if being a part of the National FFA Chorus wasn’t enough, I was able to sing a solo part in one of our songs!

The experiences that I’ve had while wearing my FFA jacket and being an FFA member are some that others can only dream about doing. Thanks to the support from my community, family, friends and chapter, I was able to reach high levels of achievement and I am very proud of my decision to enroll into an agricultural class my freshman year of high school. Now, I am planning on supporting FFA and agricultural education even more by becoming an agriculture teacher and an FFA advisor. Though I am not supposed to wear my jacket while in this role, I will embrace those that can and help to show them the potential that they gain just by putting it on. I hope that I can help my future students achieve in their own ways as FFA members when I start teaching in Cambridge next year.

Donating an FFA jacket to a student will change their life forever. They will benefit from this experience because they will be able to attend state convention and many other great activities and contests. I hope that you will consider donating $80 to the Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. Program to provide an FFA member with an FFA jacket and tie or scarf. You can go to the link below to donate online before the September 1st deadline.



DuPont Pioneer and Nebraska Soybean Board Invest $45,000 for Agriculture Education Curriculum Training


Agriculture teachers from all over Nebraska were able to attend the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) on June 19-29. The CASE Institute is an 80-hour institute held each year for agricultural teachers. This year the Nebraska Soybean Board and DuPont Pioneer collaborated to invest $45,000 for Nebraska’s agriculture teachers to attend CASE and purchase equipment needed to implement the curriculum for their classrooms.

“This is a good effort for industry and a commodity board to further agricultural education in our schools. The program shares the expertise of others to raise the level of agricultural education in our schools,” says Victor Bohuslavsky, Executive Director of the Nebraska Soybean Board.

CASE currently provides many courses including Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to Food Safety to Animal and Plant Biotechnology. The institute teaches agricultural teachers how to prepare their students for success in college and for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.


“Ensuring there is enough safe, affordable and nutritious food for all will require than more students understand agriculture and become future leaders in food production,” said Mark Deterding, Business Director for DuPont Pioneer’s Western Business Unit. “We know that we cannot do this alone and are working with others in agriculture and education to give teachers the best resources to encourage children to understand agriculture and consider careers in the industry.”

While teachers can attend any Institute, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) hosts an Institute each summer. Matt Kreifels, Assistant Professor of Practice with UNL’s Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Department says, “we expect our teachers to know everything and teach all areas of agriculture, food and natural resources. The reality is they have very minimal resources to equip both themselves and their classrooms to teach this valuable information. The CASE Institute is unique and very beneficial to a teacher. They can easily implement that curriculum right in their classroom.”

Read Your 2016 June Newsletter Online

The printed version of True Blue Nebraska News will arrive in mailboxes soon! Get full details of the 2015-16 I Believe in the Future of Ag campaign, a past State FFA Officer update and find out what a UNL fraternity and sorority did to support the FFA Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. campaign in this issue. Click below to enlarge and read it online.

Help Support Nebraska FFA on Give to Lincoln Day Today

give to lincoln

Today is the day to donate to the Nebraska FFA Foundation on Give to Lincoln Day. Give to Lincoln Day is a once a year event held to have an impact on Lincoln by donating to Lincoln’s non-profit organizations. Each donation made today to the FFA Foundation will help the Foundation received a portion of the $300,000 matching fund calculated by the percentage of dollars raised from each non-profit organization.

Your support on Give to Lincoln Day is an investment in Nebraska’s agricultural education and FFA programs. All monies received support the Nebraska FFA Foundation’s four strategy areas related to the mission:

  • Growing FFA in more communities
  • Getting students plugged in to the ag industry
  • Supporting agriculture teachers
  • Supporting statewide leadership capacity

You have until the end of the day to donate at

Alpha Gamma Rho and Sigma Alpha Donate 48 FFA Jackets

image002Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) and Sigma Alpha (SA) joined forces this year to raise funds for the Nebraska FFA Foundation’s Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. program. An annual Hog Roast, a barbecue pork meal during the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources week, was held at the AGR house, with all proceeds going to the jacket program. The Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. Program is a way to support an FFA member with the gift of a jacket and scarf or tie through an $80 donation. Students apply to the program by submitting an application in August. The amount of jackets given out each year depends on how many donations are received directly for the Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. Program.

This year’s Hog Roast went above everyone’s expectations. AGR and SA donated their hog roast philanthropy donations to the Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. Program. This program is a way to support an FFA member with the gift of a jacket and scarf or tie through an $80 donation. Students apply to the program by submitting an application in August. The amount of jackets given out each year depends on how many donations are received directly for the Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. Program.

Over 470 peopled attended the Hog Roast. They had many generous donations from various individuals and businesses across the state. Their contribution will fund 48 FFA jackets for the program.

“We exceeded our expectations this year for funds we could pass on… and are glad we could help a cause and organization that has affected so many of us,” said Cody Kuester, AGR member.

A couple of the past state officers are in AGR and suggested donating the money to FFA to fund FFA jackets. AGR and SA felt that it was a great way to help students in need become more active in FFA and be able to compete in their blue jacket.

Thank you to AGR, SA, and your donors for the generous donation. We know that members all over Nebraska will be very thankful and proud to have their own FFA jacket.

Donations for the annual Blue Jacket. Bright Futures. program are accepted each August. Click here to learn more.