Update September 2011

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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.

Landan Shaffert, national FFA secretary, shared this about the opportunity, “The Secretary’s Challenge is extremely valuable because it is a never-before-seen opportunity for FFA members to share their perspectives on agricultural issues and suggest possible solutions to the most pressing issues facing our industry today. Since our youth perspective will be heard by Secretary Vilsack next year, taking part in this challenge is an unbelievable chance to make a lasting impact on agricultural legislation for the future. I encourage every member to think deeply about the issues in agriculture that affect you today or that will affect you in the future. Use your passion for agriculture and FFA. Explore your thoughts on how to make a positive change in the industry through the Farm Bill legislation. Be willing to help make that change, and believe that you can make a difference.”

To learn more about the Secretary’s Challenge, join the discussion today.

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 at www.ffa.org/connect beginning Sept. 20.

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.

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.

National Chapter Awards Dinner ticket request form due
The National Chapter Awards Dinner ticket request form is due to Jenna Clark, jclark@ffa.org, by Sept. 15. Extra tickets will be available for purchase starting on Sept. 16 through online registration. The request form can be found on the National Chapter Awards webpage.

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. 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.

Convention housing is now closed
Convention housing is closed. Pre-convention registration closes Friday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. EDT.

Child hunger curriculum and 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 the teacher each receive an iPad 2; the winning classroom gets a celebratory luncheon. Contest rules apply. Visit USA TODAY’s Education webpage for details. Enter the 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!

Check out the New Blue Look Book in FFA New Horizons
This fall, National FFA will no longer produce the Blue apparel catalog. Instead, all members will receive the Blue Look Book, a 12-page insert in the Fall issue of the newly redesigned FFA New Horizons. The look book will feature the National FFA Officer team in select apparel and accessories, with all products available online at Shop FFA.

Don’t miss this deal – Free personalization on official casual shirts and polos
Take advantage of this great offer until Sept. 30. You can receive up to three lines of personalization free – that’s a $5 savings on each shirt or polo you have personalized from now through Sept. 30. This special savings is perfectly timed to address all your personalization needs for the new school year and national convention. To place your order today, visit Shop FFA.

Buy the Official 2011 National FFA Convention Commemorative Tee "I Believe"
This is the first time FFA has presold an official convention tee. The "I Believe" tees are available for purchase online at Shop FFA. Now your members can travel in comfort wearing the official convention tee and showing their FFA "I Believe" spirit. The convention tee will make it easy for you to keep track of your members while on the road. And if you preorder, you won’t have to stand in long lines or hear “sorry, we’re out of your size” or worst, “sorry we are sold out.” The shirts are great looking, come in five fabulous colors and are only $12.50. To receive your commemorative "I Believe" tees before convention, you must place your orders before Oct. 9.

$3 cotton surcharge on official FFA jacket began Sept. 1
The official FFA jacket now costs an additional $3 due to the rising cost of cotton. This surcharge is a direct result of an ongoing global cotton shortage due to natural disasters across Asia in the last 12 months. This, coupled with the increased demand for cotton in growing markets, has resulted in a 68 percent increase in the cost of corduroy compared to one year ago

The standard official FFA jacket (Item Nos. 100 and 103) will cost $49 + $3 surcharge during the 2011-2012 school year. For the 2012-13 school year, based on current cotton prices, FFA anticipates a surcharge ranging from $4 - $6.50 per jacket.

Be assured that the additional $3 is a direct pass through of the raw cotton increase required to produce the iconic blue corduroy jacket. Ultimately our intent is to drop the cotton surcharge once the cost of cotton normalizes, which is expected in the next 12-24 months.

FFA official jacket prices (effective Sept. 1, 2011):

  • Standard jacket: $49 + $3 cotton surcharge.
  • Domestic required jacket: $59 + $3 cotton surcharge.
  • Tailored jacket: $69 + $3 cotton surcharge.
  • Set of 10 Jackets: $450 + $30 cotton surcharge.
  • Set of 10 Jackets (new chapters): $400 + $30 cotton surcharge.

To purchase an official FFA jacket, visit Shop FFA. Looking for more than one jacket? Consider the 10 Official Jackets Promotional Set, a $40 savings.

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

Bylaw amendment vote coming soon
National FFA Alumni Convention Delegates will again be voting on the amendment to the Bylaws to add an “Associate” membership type. Read the wording of the amendment under the “news” section at www.ffa.org/alumni.

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!