FFA Buzz

Official FFA Handbook and Official Manual completing scheduled update
As part of an annual review process, the Official FFA Manual has been revised and updated.  Significant changes to the manual reflect changes at the national level in supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program requirements and chapter, state and American degree changes.

After consulting with agriculture educators, The Official FFA Student Handbook has also been revised to reflect classroom needs.  This revision was scheduled as part of a five-year review process of the handbook.  Teachers submitted comments describing the handbook as cumbersome and more of a recruitment tool than a teaching tool.  As a result, educators can look forward to a handbook that looks and feels more like a textbook, designed to educate new agriculture students about FFA and keep current students up-to-date.  The content has been reorganized to follow a consistent linear approach to make it easier for students to grasp learning objectives.  Like the Official Manual, content has been revised to reflect changes in SAE and degree requirements.

Another update comes to the supporting resources for the Official FFA Student Handbook.  In the past, an educator could purchase lesson plans and a video to supplement their instruction.  These items have been improved.  For starters, all lesson plans are available at no charge on https://ffa.learn.com.  Second, the DVD video content has been vastly improved.  Video content is broken down into nine short, student-friendly chapters covering topics such as FFA degree requirements, FFA history and introductions to SAE and career development event opportunities.

Ag Summit presentations now available
The National Agricultural Education Summit was held March 3-5 in Orlando, Fla. The summit was designed for state agricultural education supervisors, teacher educators, teacher leaders and others interested in school-based agricultural education.  If you weren’t able to attend the summit or if you would like a refresher on some of the topics discussed by National FFA staff, the presentations are now available online.

FFA Alumni development conference coming in July
The National FFA Alumni Association invites all members to attend the 2011 FFA Alumni Development Conference in Little Rock, Ark. July 20-24. This four-day conference is specifically designed to bring local and state FFA alumni leaders together for workshops, updates and idea sharing.  Take in the sights of Arkansas and fellowship with alumni from around the country!

Registration is available online (April 15 - June 15) at www.ffa.org/alumni.  The conference is open to any FFA alumni member; spouses and family are welcome to attend for a special fee to be included in the hotel block, all tours, group meals and social activities.  All registered participants will receive conference supplies, local transportation, four nights/five days of hotel accommodations (double occupancy) and the majority of their meals. Transportation to and from the conference is your responsibility; hotel information and travel suggestions were included in the spring issue of the New Visions newsletter.

Free FFA Alumni webinars available
The National FFA Alumni Association is hosting free webinars through August 2011 to empower and inform members about programs, provide ideas and assist in becoming more effective advocates for FFA. Log-in information is available on the FFA alumni website news section. Share the news with your alumni and encourage council/board’s meetings to be conducted around the webinar. Questions? Contact the National FFA Alumni Association, alumni@ffa.org.

Sign up for FFA Beyond High School
Attention FFA Advisors! – Encourage your seniors to sign up for FFA Beyond High School.  Go to www.ffa.org/collegiate and click on the tab for “FFA Beyond High School.”   It’s easy and only takes a minute.  Students that sign up will be entered to win a free iPad!
Encouraging your seniors to sign up for FFA Beyond High School  ensures you:

  • Keep your students engaged in FFA and agriculture as they transition to postsecondary.
  • Build a strong advocacy base for agricultural education at the state and local level to support the need for local programs.
  • Are able to gather more complete information on former students to maintain a strong local program and supply requested information for state reports.

Signing up for FFA Beyond High School ensures your seniors:

  • Stay up to date with the latest opportunities in FFA and agriculture.
  • Receive information on internships, scholarships, professional development opportunities, international opportunities and more
  • Receive information on finding and joining collegiate FFA chapters and alumni affiliates.


Convention housing is open
Attention advisors:  Don’t forget that the 2011 National FFA Convention Housing is now open! Go to ffa.org and log into your MyFFA account to access the hotel listing and housing form.


Font and text change needed on proficiency applications
It has come to our attention that one of the proficiency applications posted on ffa.org had a font/text size change on the photo pages.  The required font size for the photo text box is Arial 14.  As soon as we discovered the problem, we uploaded a corrected application.  If your applicants downloaded an application that had the font size on the photo pages as Arial 10, please resize the text to Arial 14 prior to forwarding the application for national judging (state winners only). 
We also noticed that if someone copies and pastes from Word into the text boxes, sometimes the font changes to your computer’s preset preferences.  Make sure all text boxes, except those on the photo pages, are set to Arial 10.  If you have any questions or concerns, contact Rosalie Hunsinger, rhunsinger@ffa.org or 317-802-4255.

PALS resources now online
Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS) is a mentoring program that matches caring and motivated FFA members with elementary youth. The objectives of the PALS program are to improve interpersonal, human relations and leadership skills through a long-term mentoring program. Mentors acquire leadership and planning skills as they work as a team to develop individual and group activities focusing on personal growth and agricultural literacy. 

Find all of the updated PALS resources on FFA Learn, ffa.learn.com. Resources are divided by grade level and topic; you will also find strategies for starting a PALS program, mentor development and developing an advisory committee.


Promote agricultural and statistical literacy with these classroom-ready resources
Teachers: Are you looking for affordable, useful, relevant classroom materials to use in areas such as animal production, agriculture literacy, food safety and leadership? 
The National FFA Organization has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pork Checkoff, the Renewable Fuels Association and other agencies to develop and distribute educational tools to help promote agricultural and statistical literacy. These classroom-ready resources are aligned with national curriculum standards for science, math and social studies.
We know many of you are already familiar with the critically acclaimed LifeKnowledge lesson plans and evaluation tools. The best news is LifeKnowledge is now available free of charge through FFA Learn.  
To access all the resources available to educators and students, log on to FFA Learn at http://ffa.learn.com.  Register and create a unique user name and password and enjoy unlimited access to the resources available through this free site.  

FFA chapters in seven states to compete in 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge

FFA chapters in seven states on March 7 began efforts to make new and stronger connections with their local farmers and earn their share of more than $225,000 in incentives provided by Monsanto.

The 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge encourages members of FFA chapters in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama to reach out to their community’s farmers, learn about their operations, engage them and bond them with FFA. Confirmation of each participating chapter’s connection with local farmers must be registered by farmers online at www.FFAChapterChallenge.com  or by calling the National FFA Organization, 800-293-2387.

The deadline for farmers to confirm connections is May 1. FFA chapter winners will be announced by May 15.

The top 125 FFA chapters that make the most connections with farmers will receive a $1,500 certificate of credit from the National FFA Organization. Chapters can use the credit throughout the year to buy FFA member jackets, merchandise, awards, banquet supplies and more. Chapters can also use the funds to pay member costs associated with attending the organization’s largest annual events, the Washington Leadership Conference and national FFA convention.

Only FFA chapters in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama are eligible to participate. More than 1,700 FFA chapters and their combined 117,824 FFA members can take part in the FFA Chapter Challenge.

The chapter that makes the most connections among the top 125 chapters that participate in the 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge will be awarded a grand prize – an all-expenses-paid trip for six FFA members and one adult advisor to October’s national FFA convention in Indianapolis, Ind. The grand prize has a retail value of $6,500.

For more, visit www.FFAChapterChallenge.com.

Check out the Kiwanis Key Leader Program
Not everyone is able to attend National FFA conferences. Schedules, traveling and money are often tough challenges to overcome. The National FFA Organization recognizes that there are numerous opportunities for our members to learn and grow their leadership potential, and some of them occur in their own backyards! Kiwanis Key Leader is one such program. Key Leader is a weekend experiential leadership program for today’s youth leaders. It focuses on service leadership as the first, most meaningful leadership development experience. By participating in a hands-on weekend event, FFA members will learn that leadership comes from helping others succeed. The program is designed to identify and empower emerging student leaders and move them beyond where most other leadership programs end. To obtain additional information, visit www.key-leader.org.