FFA Update - December 2010


National FFA Group Exemption Information

Attention alumni, chapters and state associations included in the National FFA’s group exemption: If you were unable to file the Form 990-N (e-postcard) before the deadline of Oct. 15, 2010, your tax exempt status may be in jeopardy. If your organization has not filed with the IRS for the last three consecutive years, your EIN will become invalid and you will lose your tax exempt status through the National FFA’s group exemption. Contact the IRS to correct this issue. Go to www.irs.gov to find contact information for your local IRS office. Note:  Inclusion in National FFA’s group exemption is not required.

Deadline for National Ag Day Coming Soon

A reminder to state leaders: Dec. 15 is the deadline to submit nominations for the National Ag Day in Washington D.C. event March 13 - 15. The Agricultural Council of America will cover the onsite expenses for up to 25 FFA members (state officers). It will be the participant/state responsibility to cover travel to and from Washington D.C. Send nominations to Pam Holbert (pholbert@ffa.org) or Kent Schescke (kschescke@ffa.org). Contact them if you have a question or need additional information.


2011 Scholarship Program Now Live!

The National FFA Organization awards approximately $2 million in scholarships designed to fit the diversity of our applicants. The 2011 Scholarship Application and a host of helpful tools are available in the Scholarships section of ffa.org. The organization’s three top scholarship sponsors are Ford, Cargill and Monsanto. Review eligibility requirements in the 2011 Guidebook. Online applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. EST Feb. 15, 2011. A completed signature page postmarked no later than Feb. 22, 2011, is required in order to be eligible.

New Century Farmer Applications Now Available!

The New Century Farmer program is designed to assist young producers in creating a vision for your operation and then provide you with the tools needed to help you reach that vision.  Forty of agriculture’s best are selected each year to be part of this weeklong experience. The program will be July 24 - 30, 2011, in Johnston, Iowa. Applicants must be:

  • Enrolled or a recent college graduate of an agriculture college or university
  • Have a background in production agriculture
  • Plan to return to production agriculture as a career after college

Contact Marty Tatman, mtatman@ffa.org, for any questions. Applications are due March 15, 2011, and can be found at www.ffa.org/ncf

Apply for the International Collegiate Ag Leadership (I-CAL) Program Today!

The best way to learn about international agriculture is to experience it! The I-CAL program is designed for students to learn more about international grain marketing, global agriculture and acquire a unique cultural experience. While part of the program, students will be able to experience all aspects of agriculture, from a 10,000-head dairy farm to a seven-head goat herd that supports three families.

The 2011 program will head to a new location – Latin and South America! Tentative dates for the 2011 program are May 15 - 28, 2011 (depending on international airfare). Applications must be postmarked by Feb. 15, 2011, and can be found at www.ffa.org/programs/global/ical. Contact Marty Tatman, mtatman@ffa.org, with any questions.


2011 Award Application News

The American Degree, Star Battery and Proficiency Entrepreneurship and Placement award applications will remain the same for the 2011 award process.  The applications available on the FFA website have only had the instruction page updated to include 2011. Some states penalize a student if the application does not show the year 2011. In order to avoid being penalized, fill out the cover sheet in the new applications available on the website and move or copy the sheet into your 2010 application. Contact rhunsinger@ffa.org if you experience any difficulties.

The 2011 American Degree community service hours requirement has increased to 50 hours in 3 different activities. Community service has increased at all levels of the degree program

Chapter Degree:              10 Hours required
State Degree:                  25 Hours required (2 different activities)
American Degree:            50 Hours required (3 different activities)

Defining Community Service

Community service, also referred to as "service learning," engages students in the educational process, allowing them to use practices they learn in the classroom to make a difference in real life. Students not only learn about democracy and citizenship, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.

Use this definition as a guide to determine if a given activity is considered a community service. An activity must meet all of the following criteria in order to be approved as community service:

  1. The activity has tangible community involvement.
  2. Students have an opportunity to gain skills and competencies or apply skills and competencies learned in the classroom setting.
  3. The activity has a demonstrated positive impact on the community or individuals who live and work in the community.
  4. The student gives of his/her time, energy or knowledge through activities focused on helping others, improving community resources or improving community infrastructure.
  5. The community service activity can be organized by the FFA chapter; however, it must be performed outside of classroom time.

When using this definition, consider this example: Participating on a school athletic team is a school related activity, but it is not community service. Volunteering as a Little League, Pop Warner Football or soccer team coach would be acceptable.

As stated in the 2010-2011 Official FFA Manual, American FFA Degree candidates must have participated in at least 50 hours of community service, within at least three different community service activities.

2011 American Degree Applications and Proficiency National Judging News

During the American Degree application process and national judging for the 2010 Proficiency Awards, we still had several applications showing 2010 hours. This is a rule violation. All records with the 2010 applications should have ended Dec. 31, 2009.

Notice: For national judging in 2011, any applications showing 2011 records will be rated as Participant rather than Gold, Silver, Bronze or National Finalist.

The Agriculture Proficiency Award Handbook states:

  1. Complete the application as of January 1 of the year in which the award is sought. Remember, after the first year, all records should be kept on a calendar year basis.
  2. Always use the latest revised application forms. Check the dates listed on the upper left-hand corner to make sure you have the right application.

Record Year:
This is the calendar year in which your program was conducted.

For the new student, the first record year can either be less or more than twelve months.

Special Tip:
While the record year normally runs from January 1 to December 31 of each year, your state may have special rules for the first year you included in this application. If your state recognizes a short (less than 12 months) or long (more than 12 months) first record year, your beginning inventory for the first year should be recorded as of the date your enterprise began. All following beginning inventories should reflect values as of January 1 of each year. Check with your state advisor to determine the state rule on length of year for first-year students.

Directed Lab/SAE Hours
In reviewing applications for awards and degrees, applicants sometimes present a completely unrealistic number of hours dedicated to a Directed Lab/Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). In a single year, a person working a full time, 40-hour per week job will work a total of 2,080 hours (52 weeks x 40 hours = 2,080). In order to assist students and teachers in evaluating students' Directed Lab/SAE hours, it is important to consider the hours a student must also dedicate to school, sleep, etc. Downloadable information is available on the proficiency homepage.

Say Thank You
State and chapter advisors: Please encourage your students to send thank you notes to sponsor(s) of FFA activities. Recently we did a survey of SAE applicants, both online and in proficiency applications. In compiling these surveys, it has become apparent that not everyone sends a thank you note to sponsors. Without the financial support of business and industry, the opportunity to have many rewarding experiences with involvement in award programs would not be possible. Please have your students show their appreciation for the sponsors' investment in the membership of FFA by sending the sponsor(s) a note of thanks. A few thoughtful minutes by a larger number of FFA members will go a long way toward assuring that FFA members in the future will have the same challenging and rewarding experiences.