Update March 2012

Start planning now for WLC
The 2012 Washington Leadership Conference will take place on the following dates: June 5 - 10, June 12 - 17, June 19 - 24, June 26 - July 1, July 10 - 15, July 17 - 22, and July 24 - 29. Registration prices are: Student, $700; Advisor Double, $820; Advisor Single, $1,160; Advisor Guest, $1,540; and Room Only, $800. Visit the WLC webpage to learn more. Contact Crystal Hart, 317-802-4319 or wlc@FFA.org, for registration questions.

Seeking committee volunteers
The National FFA Organization is seeking applicants to serve as committee members for award and recognition programs. The following committees have open positions for nominations:

  • Agricultural Communications Career Development Event (2)
  • Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management CDE (2)
  • Farm Business Management CDE (2)
  • Floriculture CDE (3)
  • Horse Evaluation CDE (3)
  • Marketing Plan CDE (1)
  • Nursery/Landscape CDE (3)
  • Agriscience Committee
    • Eastern Region (2)
    • Central Region (2)
    • Western Region (1)
    • Southern Region (1)

Interested applicants must submit a resume and letter of intent. For CDEs, contact Melissa Dunkel. For agriscience, contact Larry Lyder. The nomination deadline is Friday, March 16.

Attention advisors: 2012 National FFA Convention Housing is now open!
Go to FFA.org and sign in to your FFA account to access the hotel listing and housing form.

Scholarships now closed
The 2012 Scholarship application is officially closed. A list of scholarship recipients will be posted on the scholarships webpage by May 7.

USDE launches National Education Startup Challenge
Are your students innovative? Are they problem solvers looking for a challenge? If yes, then the U.S. Department of Education has a project right up their alley: the National Education Startup Challenge. Students can submit a business plan and a video pitch for a for-profit or non-profit startup that includes an innovative strategy, product or service designed to address one of these four challenge topics: Middle Grades Matter; Skills, Skills, Skills; Education Pays; and Finish Faster. For information, visit the challenge's webpage. Hurry, the challenge ends on May 1.

Last call for New Century Farmer applications
Applications for the New Century Farmer program are now available online! Each year, agriculture’s best college students are selected to be part of this weeklong experience. Participants will partake in numerous learning sessions on topics ranging from farm succession, global agriculture, agricultural marketing and finance to new and emerging farm machinery. Additionally participants will take part in numerous field and operation tours and participate in an extensive team-building experience. The program will be July 8-14 in Johnston, Iowa. Applicants must be:

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

The New Century Farmer program is sponsored by Pioneer – A DuPont Business; Case IH; CSX Transportation; and Farm Credit Services, with media partner Successful Farming, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. Contact Lindsey Calhoun, lcalhoun@FFA.org, for any questions. Online applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. EST on March 15. The application--along with more information on the program, an FAQ sheet and screen shots of the application--are available at www.FFA.org/collegiate.

Chat live
In the past six months, we have talked to many customers and assisted them with placing their orders using Live Chat through our online store Shop FFA. Unfortunately during this same time, we have had several members play pranks or use inappropriate language while conducting chats with our staff. In some cases, we’ve been able to identify the FFA members and contact their advisors. The Shop FFA Live Chat is for customers who have questions about placing orders and is not the catch-all forum for everything FFA. To serve customers who really need assistance on Shop FFA, we ask advisors and FFA members to only use the Live Chat option if they need assistance placing orders.

Banquet season is here
Place your banquet orders early, allowing at least two weeks prior to your event for order processing and shipping. Shop online at Shop FFA – it’s easy, fast and the best, most accurate method for ordering awards and personalized items. Save time and money with the FFA Banquet Kit. This kit for 100 gives you everything you need for the perfect banquet setting. For your convenience, we can pack your convention orders by session and telephone orders are limited to 10 line items per call during the rush season. As always, engraving is free.

Free embroidery for graduation sashes through May 18
Recognize your FFA members at graduation with the FFA graduation sash and make it personal with free embroidery from national FFA. This heavy satin sash in either National Blue with a gold FFA emblem or Corn Gold with a blue FFA emblem is the perfect final touch on graduation day. Embroider up to two lines with a maximum of four characters per line. You can embroider your initials or high school letters on one line and the date on the other. Your graduation is special as was your years in FFA. Commemorate both with a personalized graduation sash.

Voting for 2012 Chapter Tee Design Contest finalists
This year, the Chapter Tee Design Contest finalists will be posted on Shop FFA. FFA advisors, members and supporters will vote for their favorite chapter T-shirt by simply clicking on the like button. Your vote will then be posted to your Facebook account. If you do not have a Facebook account, it will be necessary for you to open an account to be eligible to vote for your favorite 2012 FFA Chapter Tee Design Contest entry. Voting begins on Monday, March 12, and ends Friday, March 16, at midnight PST. Winners will be announced the following Monday, March 19, on Shop FFA.

Be connected. Stay connected.
Join thousands of FFA members already on Facebook, Twitter and FFA Nation. FFA members and fans – sign up for Shop FFA email updates on new arrivals, exclusive offers and events. Receive 15 percent off your first purchase. This offer excludes official dress and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Reminder: Shop FFA accepts online school purchase orders
When you register at Shop FFA, we remind you to indicate that as an FFA advisor you are authorized to use purchase orders. Make sure to include your chapter number and name. A customer service representative will verify your information and within five business days and provide you with an updated status for online purchase order payments.

What’s new on the Members Benefit page?
Special subscription offer from Cowboy Way: Save 80 percent! Award-winning Cowboy Way magazine is the journal of the Paragon Foundation. Each issue is filled with information, entertaining stories and features that celebrate the rural values and culture of the West, including a four-page section in each issue dedicated to FFA.

Cowboy Way is offering FFA members and advisors a very special annual subscription price of only $10. Help support this wonderful magazine by signing up for a subscription today.

Discounts from La Quinta, Wyndham hotels
If you are travelling this spring or planning a summer vacation, make sure to take advantage of the special deals and discounts from La Quinta and Wyndham. When you make your reservations at La Quinta, use discount code NAFFA. With Wyndham, use discount code 1000005345. These and other member benefits can be found on the Members Benefit page.

ALUMNI

2012 Washington Leadership Conference scholarships codes available
The 2012 WLC scholarship codes have been sent via email to designated state FFA alumni leaders or local FFA advisors as applicable. Each email included a letter in the body with a code to be presented to the recipient. This code must be entered when the student registers for the conference to reduce the conference fee by the amount of the scholarship. No refunds will be issued if students register without inputting the scholarship code. Ensure that these scholarships are awarded early so that students have their choice of weeks.

Moving forward: FFA alumni makes plans for the future
For a number of months, national FFA alumni staff and council have been evaluating the work and direction of the association. We also reviewed our long-range goals:

  • For every FFA chapter to have an active, nationally chartered FFA alumni affiliate.
  • To become leaders in advocacy at the local level to ensure the future of agricultural education in those communities.

This process allowed the team to assess current programs, review resources and identify future areas of emphasis. In order to ensure the relevancy of the association and to support FFA and agricultural education, four themes emerged in which we must increase our efforts: outreach, engagement, advocacy and strengthening state and local FFA alumni affiliates. The National FFA Alumni Council and staff are committed to an aggressive scope of work to make these future goals a reality. Change can be difficult, but it’s an exciting time to be a part of the FFA alumni as we strive to grow and improve the association as a whole.

January National FFA Alumni Council Meeting highlights
The National FFA Alumni Council met in Indianapolis in January. After lengthy discussions and conversations with FFA and National FFA Foundation representatives, the council and staff left the meeting committed to accomplishing the following work:

  • Developing the National FFA Alumni Council as a whole, which includes defining the role of the council; member expectations and responsibilities; evaluating structure; developing recruitment materials; and more.
  • Managing the FFA alumni budgets to operate within the black. Identifying and growing additional revenue streams.
  • Developing strategies to reach future goals.
  • Reviewing/updating the National FFA Alumni Bylaws.

Additional work will take place at the July council meeting through committee work and stakeholder feedback. We anticipate that we’ll have a number of items for the delegate body to adopt at this October’s convention.

Be there: the 2012 FFA Alumni Development Conference
We are excited to head to Bozeman, Mont., July 11-15 for the 2012 FFA Alumni Development Conference. Montana FFA alumni and national staff are planning an extraordinary event that will include opportunities for learning around advocacy, engagement and idea-sharing from across the country; tours of local agriculture; and other local destinations. An optional Yellowstone day-trip will be offered in advance of the conference for those wishing to visit the national park and become better acquainted with FFA alumni from around the nation. The conference is open to FFA alumni at all levels. As state FFA alumni leaders, we suggest extending an invitation to your national FFA officer candidate, state FFA foundation director and state FFA staff to join us to learn more about FFA alumni and how we can partner together for a brighter future for agricultural education and FFA. Our goal is to have at least one representative from every state attend. As an incentive, the national FFA alumni provides each state with a grant that covers half the conference fee for one official representative. Additional details will be forthcoming in the next month. Registration opens April 15 - June 15.

Celebrate National Ground Water Awareness Week
March 11-17 is National Ground Water Awareness Week. Now is a good time for FFA members to learn the importance of our nation’s abundant supply of natural groundwater. A renewable resource, ground water is the water that soaks into the soil from rain or other precipitation and moves downward to fill cracks and other openings in beds of rocks and sand. The United States uses 79.6 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power and other purposes. For more information, including lesson plans, visit the National Ground Water Association’s website.