INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, May 13, 2016/National FFA Organization) – In the fall of 2015, FFA advisors and members were challenged to share the message of agriculture through social media and using the hashtag #SpeakAg. The idea behind the movement was to get a conversation about agriculture and the importance it plays in everyday lives.
During the #SpeakAg challenge students self-estimated that they were reaching an average of 397 people.
After the challenge, Monsanto, who sponsored the challenge as a special project of the National FFA Foundation recognized two advisors and chapters for their efforts.
Misty Bivens, of the LaRue County FFA Chapter in Hodgenville, Ky., was awarded one of the $1,000 grants from Monsanto earlier this year.
"It is important to teach my students about advocacy," Bivens said. "If we don't take control of the message that is agriculture, others will tell our story for us. Being an informed agriculturalist makes students understand the realities of agriculture and the various aspects of it."
The LaRue County FFA chapter used the money they received to do a service project at Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland, during National FFA Week in February. Members were able to bag 2,016 bags for the backpack program.
Trent Van Leuven, advisor of the Mackay FFA Chapter of Mackay, Idaho, agrees with Bivens on the importance of being an advocate. "Teaching about agricultural advocacy teaches students to use higher level thinking and identify false arguments. They learn that a majority opinion in the public's mind does not necessarily make it a fact."
Leuven and the Mackay FFA Chapter also received a $1,000 grant. The chapter plans to use the funds to help with travel to the National FFA Convention & Expo in the fall. Traditionally, the chapter takes a bus across country when traveling to the fall event. During that travel, students have an opportunity to experience different types of agriculture. Last year alone, 21 students from the chapter attended the event.
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About National FFA Organization The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 629,367 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at
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About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit