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. https://neffafoundationorg.presencehost.net/support_us/donate.html

 

 

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

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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.

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“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.

2016-17 State FFA Officers Announced

2016-17 Officer Photo.pngAnnouncing the 2016-2017 Nebraska State FFA Officers from left to right:

Cheyenne Gerlach, Tri-County FFA, Vice-President

Christy Cooper, Waverly FFA, Vice- President

Collin Swedberg, Wallace FFA, Vice-President

Juan Acosta Jr., Bayard FFA, Vice-President

Halle Ramsey, Ord FFA, Vice-President

Nicholas Taylor, Logan View FFA, Secretary

Kaitlyn Hanvey, Verdigre FFA, President

 

Auburn FFA Starts Off Strong with “I Believe” Program

Auburn FFA Officers

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In just their second year participating in the “I Believe in the Future of Ag” fundraising campaign, the Auburn FFA Chapter helps with local hunger problems in their community by using funds donated from community members.

The Auburn FFA Chapter took the initiative to help support the

local BackPack Program to send out approximately 50 backpacks per week. The FFA chapter not only helps with the food aspect, but also collects coats and hats to give to the families.

“The ‘I Believe’ campaign is a great way for FFA chapters to raise money because students interact with community members and business leaders while providing funds for their chapter. It truly engages the community and the FFA chapter,” Ashton Bohling, Auburn FFA Chapter advisor said. Most of their campaigning for the “I

Believe” fundraising was through word of mouth, letters and their Facebook page.

The “I Believe in the Future of Ag” campaign educates the public on the importance of agricultural education in Nebraska schools through an educational marketing campaign and serves as a fundraising campaign to grow the capacity of Nebraska FFA at both the state and local levels.

23 corporate partners challenged Nebraska’s FFA members to raise $300,000 at the local level in the 2015-16 campaign. This year FFA Chapters went past the goal to raise over $301,000. The corporate partners not only provided $35,000 in matching funds

for Nebraska FFA chapters during the 2015-16 campaign but also gave funds to develop the campaign and educational marketing pieces.

“The beauty of this campaign is that it gives a local FFA advisor the opportunity to ask for a tax-deductible donation to do things they couldn’t otherwise afford. It also helps them develop a group of community supporters,” Stacey Agnew, executive director of the Nebraska FFA Foundation said. “We’re seeing some really cool initiatives in our FFA chapters.”

The Auburn FFA Chapter along with all other Nebraska FFA Chapters would like to thank all of the corporate sponsors and local donors for donating to the “I Believe in the Future of Ag” campaign.

Red Cloud FFA Strengthens Ag Education through “I Believe” Funds

The Red Cloud FFA Chapter is thankful to have a new agricultural career education building and equipment donated by the Sherwood family and other community members through the “I Believe in the Future of Ag” fundraising campaign.

The “I Believe in the Future of Ag” campaign educates the public on the importance of agricultural education in Nebraska schools through a marketing campaign and serves as a fundraising campaign to grow the capacity of Nebraska FFA at both the state and local level.

23 corporate partners challenged Nebraska’s FFA members to raise $300,000 at the local level. This year 74 FFA Chapters went past the goal to raise over $301,000. The Red Cloud FFA Chapter is one of several chapters to rise to the challenge. The Sherwood Family wanted to give back to the community that has supported them for the last 125 years. The FFA chapter decided to use the Sherwood Family donation towards the agriculture building because it was last updated 75 years ago.

“The students are very much looking forward to the new experiences they will be having in shop and class,” Joe Strickland, Red Cloud FFA advisor said.

Sponsors not only provided $35,000 in matching funds for Nebraska FFA chapters during the 2015-16 campaign but also gave funds to develop the campaign and educational marketing piece.

“The beauty of this campaign is that it gives a local FFA advisor the opportunity to ask for a tax-deductible donation to do things they couldn’t otherwise afford. It also helps them develop a group of community supporters,” Stacey Agnew, executive director of the Nebraska FFA Foundation said. “We’re seeing some really cool initiatives in our FFA chapters.”

As part of the statewide effort, local donors select which chapter receives their donation. The entire donation and a portion of matching funds go directly to the chapter to use for innovative projects in their classrooms, leadership programming, community service projects and field trips to advance agriculture education in their schools. The annual campaign runs from August through February each year.

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Dvorak Recognized For Influencing Bassett Community Programs

The Nebraska FFA Foundation presented Mrs. Ann Dvorak with the 2016 Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award at the Nebraska FFA Convention on April 6.

Ann Dvorak is the FFA Advisor for Rock County FFA. Numerous students, fellow teachers, community members, parents, and school officials supported her nomination of this award. Bethany Blackburn, former student, nominated Dvorak. She wrote that Dvorak has stepped up in the community with other members to work together and show commitment for the rural community that is declining in population. Dvorak helped establish the Rock County Growth Inc. and served on the Ranch Expo Board. Dvorak was also instrumental in helping nearby community, Keya Paha School, establish an agriculture education program. In addition, she showed concern for others needs after an FFA members family lost their home to a fire, Dvorak quickly responsed by organizing a food, clothing and furniture drive for the family in need.

Kristine Gale, Director of Economic Development of Bassett, also supported Dvorak’s nomination. She commented how Dvorak serves on the Rock County Ag Society, Bassett Tree Board, and Rock County Expo Board. Gale said, “Mrs. Dvorak’s leadership is important because she is a young professional and serves as a role model for other young professionals to begin taking on leadership responsibilities in our community.” Gale acknowledges what Dvorak has done in the past year. She earned her master’s degree in December, while working full time and having her first baby.

The FFA officer team at Rock County continued to prove why Dvorak was the perfect example of a great FFA Advisor and leader for the community. They wrote about how she started the Back Pack Program at their school. She also works with the Game and Parks Commission to have a pollination garden in the community. They feel that Dvorak has done much more in the school and community than what is expected of her.

The Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award recognizes a Nebraska agriculture teacher or FFA advisor for what he or she has done in helping others, specifically in the school and community, outside of agriculture education and FFA. Ann Dvorak was announced as the award winner during the Nebraska State FFA Convention in Lincoln. She received a plaque and $500 cash award from the Nebraska FFA Foundation.

The annual award is named for Gary Scharf, who was a victim of an Omaha mall shooting in December 2007. Scharf grew up on a family farm outside of Curtis, Nebraska and worked in the agricultural chemical industry. He made a significant contribution to Nebraska’s agricultural and FFA community through his years of service on the Nebraska FFA Foundation Board, including a year as Board President in 2002-2003.