FFA Buzz

CONNECT! Past. Present. Future.
We’re launching an exciting program for everyone who has been influenced by FFA. We want to hear from current members, former members and everyone else whose lives have been touched by FFA. Share your stories—past and present—and let us know how FFA has impacted your life! CONNECT with FFA, and you’ll also get a chance to win your choice of great rewards. Plus, let your family and friends know, and you’ll increase your chances of winning, through December 2011. Register now at www.ffa.org/connect.

2011-2012 Proficiency Award Area Changes
For the 2011-2012 school year, the following award area changes will be made to the proficiency awards:

Diversified Livestock Production Placement
This area is now combined with Diversified Livestock Entrepreneurship, making one category for Diversified Livestock Production.

Floriculture Proficiency Award
This area will be eliminated in 2012. Members with production-based placement or entrepreneurship programs will apply in the specialty crop proficiency area. Members who own floral retail or work for floral retail will apply in the agricultural sales proficiency area.

Goat Production (formerly in Specialty Animal Production)
This area was added as a new area.

Agriscience Research Proficiency Area
Three new areas were added in Agriscience Research:
Agriscience Research – Animals Systems
Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems
Agriscience Research – Plant Systems

Veterinary Medicine name change to Veterinary Science
Please check out the proficiency award webpage for current handbooks and applications.

2011-2012 National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Team selected
Twenty college students from across the nation were chosen to serve on the 2011-12 National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador team. The selected individuals will work over the next year to promote agriculture awareness throughout their community and state, as well as help various organizations and groups better understand the value and importance of dagriculture. For their work, each ambassador will receive a scholarship for their service. Find out who was selected on the Collegiate FFA website.

Work at National FFA
Did you know that FFA is a great place to work? To check out our job openings and all the great benefits we offer, click on this link. On the left menu, in Employment Opportunities, you can view the types of positions we typically have open. There is also a tab that describes our benefits. If you are ready to apply for a job, click on Apply for a Job. Save this link in your favorites and check out our openings from time to time.

2011 SAE grant application period open
More than 90 $1,000 grants are available this year in all career pathways. Grants are available to members in grades 7-11. Applicants may apply for all grants for which they are eligible but will receive only one grant per year. This is a short application that even the newest FFA members will find easy to complete. Grants are awarded based on financial need. The application and scoring rubric can be found here. Applications should be postmarked by Nov. 15. For questions or more information, email Deborah Sellers, dsellers@ffa.org.

Speak your mind: Secretary Vilsack’s Challenge to FFA members
Last January, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with the national FFA officer team and the National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board. During his remarks, he issued a challenge to the national officers to work with their fellow FFA members to bring forward ideas and recommendations that should be considered during the upcoming Farm Bill discussions. He asked the officers to focus on ways to get more young people involved in production agriculture and other career areas supporting the agricultural sector. He invited the officers at the conclusion of their year of service to share these recommendations directly with him and other senior USDA leaders.

This last month at the National FFA State Presidents’ Conference (SPC) in Washington, D.C., and also at the New Century Farmer Program (NCF) in Des Moines, Iowa, FFA participants had an opportunity to discuss the challenge and begin formulating ideas and suggestions.

To support the Secretary’s Challenge, National FFA has developed educational resources and a web-based discussion board. Six questions posted on the board ask for FFA members’ input and feedback. Similar to the activities at SPC and NCF, we encourage you to share this opportunity with agricultural educators and FFA members in your states. One activity suggests for agricultural educators to use the tutorial in the lesson plans to review the questions, develop ideas and share your input through the discussion board.

The discussion board will be open through the 84th National FFA Convention this October. Following the convention, the national officer team will review and synthesize the information into a report to be shared with Secretary Vilsack and his leadership team at USDA. To learn more about the Secretary’s Challenge, join the discussion today.

FFA volunteer convention judges needed
The National FFA is accepting judging nominations for the 2011 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Agriscience Fair, Agricultural Proficiency and Stars Over America awards will be judged Thursday, Oct. 20 (proficiency and Star judges will be invited to an awards luncheon that day). National Chapter Awards will be judged on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Convention judging is voluntary. FFA does not cover any judging expenses. Submit nominations here. Questions? Email judges@ffa.org.

Concert to be televised live from national FFA convention
A free concert will be held as part of the FFA Native American Heritage Celebration Wed., Oct. 19, 9:45 - 10:45 p.m. in Conseco Fieldhouse. Native American recording artist Paul LaRoche and Brulé, his ensemble of musicians and world-champion dancers, present a powerful blend of Native American sounds and rhythms in a stunning visual performance. Described as an experience in ‘sight, sound and soul’, the hour-long Native American “Rock Opera” features LaRoche’s message of reconciliation between cultures. The story is told through songs and exciting choreography with breathtaking Native American dancers in traditional regalia. Sponsored by RFD-TV, the concert will be carried in a live global telecast, spreading the word about FFA and the Native American heritage of agriculture.

Making a (convention) list...and checking it twice!
When your convention registration packet arrives, make sure to count your registration badges, registration tickets and concert tickets. If the quantity is incorrect, call an FFA customer service representative, 888-332-2668 (have your packing slip or confirmation letter handy for reference).

Please note the majority of registration materials shipments will be delivered by the United States Post Office and are safeguarded with tracking number. Make a convention checklist. Include everything you will need to bring to convention - then check your list twice before you leave home!

Convention Checklist Sample:

  1. Registration badges
  2. Registration tickets
  3. Concert tickets
  4. Hotel confirmation letter
  5. Special event letters of instruction - such as American Degree, Proficiency, CDE, Career Success Tour instructions, National Day of Service participation instructions
  6. Money or electronic equivalent
  7. Emergency contact numbers –
    • Advisors, make sure National FFA has a way to contact you in case of an emergency while on site
      • If not included in your registration materials, stop by the main Convention Registration in the East Motor Lobby of the Indiana Convention Center
    • Advisors, make sure your students and those traveling with you have a way to get in touch
      • Cell phone numbers, hotel information, other chaperon cell phone numbers
  8. Make sure to print relevant sections of the convention planning website.
  9. Official dress - ties, scarves, black nylon hosiery or socks, white shirts or blouses, black skirts or slacks, comfortable shoes - and official FFA jacket. And for the forgetful --the Mega Store will have a supply of ties and scarves.
  10. Camera and film and/or memory card
  11. Program members' cell phone numbers into advisor's phone
  12. Program advisor's cell phone number into members' phones

National FFA Alumni Convention and Celebration
Convention is right around the corner, and we look forward to celebrating the National FFA Alumni Association’s 40th anniversary. In addition to the celebrations, the FFA Alumni Convention has a new home in the Indiana Convention Center. All alumni events will be situated much closer together than in past years, and the silent benefit auction will be located in the first room just off the main entrance of the convention center. Also, you are invited to a 40th celebration Thursday evening, Oct. 20, with country artist, Joe Diffie. Visit the Alumni convention webpage to view the schedule for events, workshop times and our new locations.

40th anniversary alumni webpages to be updated soon
The 40th Anniversary Alumni Present webpage will be updated within the week. Be sure to check back every couple of months to see the alumni members and affiliates being highlighted around the country. If you would like to be featured or would like to submit a recommendation, email alumni@ffa.org.

Looking for past National FFA Alumni Council members
National FFA Alumni will be holding a reception at national FFA convention for all past National FFA Alumni Council members. If you or someone you know has served on the National FFA Alumni Council in the past 40 years, send an email to alumni@ffa.org with name, address and years on the council so that invitations can be mailed out to attend the reunion.

Announcing the 2011-2012 National FFA Alumni Webinar Series
National staff is currently scheduling topics for the 2011-2012 webinar series. The updated schedule will be posted to www.ffa.org/alumni. If you have topic ideas, submit those to alumni@ffa.org. All topics presented this past year have been recorded and are posted on our webpage under “webinars” along with any resources/documents provided during the presentation. We’d love to hear feedback from affiliates/members as to how they are utilizing these webinars.

FFA Alumni Development Conference was a success!
Resources from the conference are now available online. View photos of the event on the FFA Alumni Facebook & Flickr pages. In July 2012, the conference will be headed to Montana. Make plans to join us now!

Free Child Hunger Curriculum, Contest: Limited Grants Available
Child Hunger Ends Here is a free innovative project-based learning activity that engages students grades 7-12 in learning about and fighting child hunger. A 10-step curriculum guides them through the process. They learn about child hunger, create a cause marketing plan to activate their communities to fight it, and submit results in a national competition. Enrolled classrooms/groups receive classroom/group access to USA TODAY’s electronic edition for project research. Winning team members and teacher each receive an iPad 2; winning classroom a celebratory luncheon. Contest rules apply.

Visit www.usatodayeducate.com/childhungerendshere. Enter code “FFA2011” after your school/chapter name in the online enrollment form.

Take the pledge to BMOR
National FFA is partnering with America’s Promise in the State Farm 26 Seconds campaign, which is an awareness campaign centered around the high school dropout crisis. You can help make a difference by participating in the monthly challenges located at www.facebook.com/26seconds. Log on and choose FFA as your affiliation. Complete the monthly challenges, and you could win some cool prizes while helping FFA support leadership education. Each month the organization with the highest participation rate may receive funds to help support its mission. Leaders stays in school…FFA leaders are always willing to BMOR!