FFA Chapters Use Innovative Microsoft Solution to Delve Deeper Into Agriculture2019-11-26T13:35:27-05:00

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Kristy Meyer
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National FFA Organization
KMeyer@FFA.org
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FFA Chapters Use Innovative Microsoft Solution to Delve Deeper Into Agriculture

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, March 11, 2019/National FFA Organization) – Fifty FFA chapters have received Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits as part of a collaboration between the National FFA Organization and Microsoft Corp.

For the FFA Blue 365 Challenge, chapters were asked to apply for the FarmBeats Kits by sharing how they would utilize the kits.

“The FFA Blue 365 Challenge and the use of the Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits are key components to transform learning and help with the development of essential digital skills,” said Christine White, director leadership, education, assessment and development at the National FFA Organization.

The easy-to-use FarmBeats kit includes preconfigured Microsoft Azure cloud services and a Raspberry Pi with soil moisture, light, ambient temperature, and humidity sensors to collect data. The data is then visualized in an online dashboard that provides insights to help students. In addition to the kits, FFA and Microsoft are working together to create activity guides and resources to help chapters get started with using the technology.

“We are inspired by the innovative ideas from FFA students across the country and look forward to seeing how they utilize FarmBeats to help them drive innovation on their farms, sustain and renew our planet, and enrich their communities,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and lead for Microsoft Philanthropies.

The FarmBeats Kits are part of a collaboration announced last year between National FFA and Microsoft to bring innovative technology, science, research, and entrepreneurship to the classrooms of the more than 650m000 FFA student members nationwide.

“Many of our students have a strong interest in agriculture, food security and sustainability but are suburban students,” Wes Crawford from Sutherlin FFA in Oregon said. “This technology will connect those students with those who are more production-focused and allow them to explore areas of interest.”

Several chapters that received FarmBeats kits have already integrated computer coding into their curriculum and are excited to see how the kits can complement their coursework and help build confidence as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

“Technology is shaping agriculture in several ways now, and it is only getting better every progressing day,” Larry Plapp, advisor at the Badger FFA Chapter in Wisconsin said. “I applied for this kit because of a student who presented his supervised agricultural experience using a processor called a Raspberry Pi that watered plants. I had never heard of a Raspberry Pi until this semester. My student developed something very similar to what this kit does. He demonstrated how this small computer was able to turn off and change water flow rates to water a plant automatically. This got me thinking even more about the potential on a larger scale.”

Chapters who have received the FarmBeats kits are located in the following states:

Alabama Iowa Ohio
LeCroy Career Tech FFA Chapter ACGC FFA Chapter Arcadia FFA Chapter
Davis-Rodgers FFA Chapter Triad-OHP FFA Chapter
Alaska Maquoketa FFA Chapter
The Palmer FFA Chapter Iron Mountain FFA Oklahoma
Collinsville FFA Chapter
Arkansas Kansas Okmulgee FFA Chapter
DTSOI Springdale FFA Chapter Mission Valley Chapter Stillwater FFA Chapter
Smith Center FFA Chapter Wellston FFA Chapter
California
Ripon Christian FFA Chapter Michigan Oregon
Surprise Valley FFA Chapter Montague FFA Chapter Sutherlin FFA Chapter
Colorado Minnesota Pennsylvania
Calhan FFA Chapter Paynesville Area FFA Chapter Bermudian FFA Chapter
Roosevelt FFA Chapter West Central Area FFA Chapter West Greene FFA Chapter
Georgia Missouri Texas
Cambridge High FFA Chapter Elsberry