GROWING OUR FUTURE A TEXAS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION MAGAZINE
MAKE YOUR CATALOGS STAND OUT. FOIL STAMPING, EMBOSSING, DIE CUTS, RAISED UV, SOFT TOUCH
Don Denny Cell: 806-789-7713 Office: 806-794-7752 slategroup.com/cattle
Increasing Literacy in the Agricultural Science Classroom
Whitehouse FFA Member Exhibits Passion for Falconry
Building a Strong Relationship with Your Administration
How to Become a Trusted Advisor
Advocacy: Texas FFAâ€™s Chance to Change the World
Bandera FFA Members Compare Speed of Sound Versus Arrow Flight Time
Programs of Study Suggestions
From the Range
Former Texas FFA Member Finds Opportunities in Passion for Policy
Texas FFA Members Advocate for Ag Education at the State Capitol
Advocate for Yourself
Telling the Agricultural Education and Texas FFA Story
2019-2020 Texas FFA Officers' Strategic Priorities
Engagement Activity Ideas for Your Classroom
Attitude of Gratitude
Texas FFA Alumni and Supporters Updates
Texas Young Farmers Updates
Gowing Our Furture: A Texas Agricultural Education Magazine 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-472-3128 Editor/Layout Designer/ Content Director Ashley Dunkerley Assistant Editor Tori Rosser Cover Photo Features Henrietta FFA Shot by Ashley Dunkerley
BY: CO U R T N E Y W E B B A LV I N H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R
INCREASING LITERACY IN THE AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE CLASSROOM
ow can agriculture teachers help our students increase literacy across all Career and Technology Education classes? Over the summer, my school district announced an initiative to increase literacy across all curriculums. I began to think how I could incorporate this into my own classroom. I wasnâ€™t sure what that looked like in the CTE realm, let alone in ag science courses. I knew the first step was to realize the need, not just give my students a book to read. I was going to have to invest some time to ensure this was implemented correctly. I do not have an English degree, nor do I love to write, but it is important for this generation to understand the importance of reading and writing. In whichever career field they choose, they will have to learn how to professionally communicate through emails, meeting agendas, or publications. The school districtâ€™s thought behind the initiative was realizing the need and finding a plan to help our students. Agriculture science teachers are amazing at creating innovative ways to teach hands-on skills that prepare all students to either enter the workforce or begin a postsecondary career through education. I knew incorporating some form of literacy in my classroom would be beneficial for all my students. Nevertheless, the question is how do we incorporate and emphasize it into our everyday curriculum?
2 Photos courtesy of C. Webb.
I started with the idea of “Read-Aloud Fridays” where I would have students read sections of content aloud. However, I knew I needed to take it a step further, so I reached out to one of our English teachers. I felt it was important to have my students buy in to this idea so they could really get the most out of the experience. I did my best to explain the importance of reading and writing and how these skills truly helps them prepare for their future, but also how it relates to the class content. I ultimately decided to introduce a book with a relevant topic to each class. For example, I selected Animals in Translation by Dr. Temple Grandin for Principles of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources and My First Ladies: Twenty-Five Years as the White House Chief Floral Designer by Nancy Clarke for Floral Design. We came up with a reading calendar by simply looking at how many weeks we had left in the school year, then we set our goals based off an average reading pace. I printed out a hard copy for my students of the calendar to place inside their interactive journals so they could look back and set a pace to ensure they reached their weekly goals.
WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO NOT ONLY INSPIRE STUDENTS TO FIND THEIR OWN NICHE IN THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF AGRICULTURE, BUT TO GIVE OUR STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO INCREASE THEIR COMMUNICATION SKILLS BY PRACTICING READING AND WRITING OUTSIDE OF THEIR ENGLISH CLASSROOM.
In addition, every month I passed out what I call a reading log. Within the reading log students were to fill out the date, the day’s page goal, and a summary of that day’s reading. They were instructed to fill the reading log out every time they read.
At the end of each week, I followed up with classroom discussion, weekly quizzes and I had the students answer a question related to the book where they must write three to four sentences. This allows them time to reflect on what they read and absorb the content. I believe that it is a misconception that literacy is a focal point for only English classes. We have the ability to not only inspire students to find their own niche in the wonderful world of agriculture, but to give our students the opportunity to increase their communication skills by practicing reading and writing outside of their English classroom. These are tools they will use their entire lives.
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BY: L A N I P I E P E R T E X A S F FA N E W S S TA F F
WHITEHOUSE FFA MEMBER EXHIBITS PASSION FOR FALCONRY
hitehouse FFA member Alyssa Hurley’s Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) has provided her the opportunity to develop an extensive knowledge of birds of prey through her apprenticeship with a mastered licensed falconer. “I started this journey by joining local falconers on hunts and participating in community outreach activities to learn more,” said Hurley. “After deciding I wanted to follow through with my plans to be a falconer, I passed the necessary tests to obtain my licenses.” Falconry’s origins date back to the third millennium BC, and the role of falconers in conservation has become increasingly appreciated in the United States. “Falconry is traditionally used to catch [vermin] with a bird of prey, but it has now developed agricultural uses as well, such as livestock protection, crop guarding and abatement,” said Hurley. “The practice is something farmers are starting to turn to, seeing as pesticides and other forms of land protection are starting to prove ineffective.”
Additionally, her work with the birds allows her to advocate for the animals and give back to her community. She is involved with everything from helping property owners with pest-management to educating Boy Scout troops and schools. “I speak and present our birds to various crowds such as national resource companies, community organizations, and school events.” said Hurley. “Through skills taught to me by my mentor, I have learned caution and humility in the presence of these beautiful creatures.” Hurley’s successful SAE project was recognized as the 2019 Texas FFA proficiency winner and a National FFA finalist in Specialty Animal Production. “My teachers, Amanda Twedt and Charity Etchelecu, told me to just apply for the proficiency,” said Hurley. “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I know that no matter what, I’ve made history within my chapter and I’ve made my FFA family proud.”
Photo courtesy of Whitehouse FFA.
BY: RU S S E L L T H O M A S G I L M E R H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R
BUILDING A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR ADMINISTRATION
griculture science teachers wear many hats. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed with all the different assignments and duties you must complete as a teacher and FFA advisor. Regardless of the duty you are performing, or the hat you are wearing, building and maintaining relationships is crucial for success.
Magazine. “If the relationship between administrators and teachers are trusting, generous, helpful and cooperative, then the relationship between teachers and students, between students and students and between teachers and parents are likely to be trusting, generous, helpful, and cooperative.” I totally agree and if you have been in education very long you know this to be true.
Over the past 30 years of my career in education, I have had the opportunity to build relationships with countless students, parents, teachers and school administrators. These relationships have not only helped build a successful FFA program, but also afforded me friendships that will last a lifetime.
Let’s focus on building relationships with administrators, since the relationship between teacher and administrator is so important to a long, healthy, educational career. I believe there are three key qualities an administrator requires from their teachers, communication, trust and attitude. Now within each of these are many factors for you to be successful.
“The content of relationships among the adults in the school has a greater influence on the character and quality of the school and on student accomplishment than anything else,” said Roland S. Barth in the March 2006 issue of Educational Leadership
Communication Communication is the key to building a relationship. Communicating with your administrators is just as important as communicating with your students. How do you communicate with your administrators?
“LET’S FOCUS ON BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH ADMINISTRATORS, SINCE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER AND ADMINISTRATOR IS SO IMPORTANT TO A LONG, HEALTHY, EDUCATIONAL CAREER.”
First, I recommend talking with your administrators frequently; face to face is best. Texts, emails, and phone calls are impersonal and easy to misinterpret. Stop by their offices throughout the school year and summer to chat. Remember, be as good a listener as you are a speaker.
Second, make sure you talk about things other than school business. When you see your admin at lunch time, sporting events, or low stress moments, they tend to share more personal stories. Get to know them, and share your stories as well so they get to know you better.
Being on time is a simple way to show you are responsible and trustworthy. Being a part of the school, not just a teacher in the ag building, is a way to demonstrate that you are a team player. You should always be willing to learn. Learning means you are growing, which is always a good thing.
Third, you don’t need to drown in problems or call them as a last resort for help or advice. Ask for help when you need it. They want to know how you are doing, so share with them when you are struggling.
You should remain open and willing to change. This will show your growth to your administrator.
Forth, don’t only visit your admin when there is a problem. Stop by their office to brag on your students and teaching partners, and let them know you are appreciative of the things they are doing to support you.
When your administrators trust you, your relationship will jump by leaps and bounds. Attitude Finally, the last key to building relationships with your administration is attitude. Winston Churchill may have said it best, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” How true is that statement in all areas of our lives! You probably teach your students about attitude and how it can affect their outcome. So let us practice what we preach. How do you have a positive attitude?
Lastly, your admin doesn’t want to be blindsided by a parent at an event or in their office about something you haven’t shared. If you’re upfront and follow school policy, they’ll have your back. It can be easier to visit about our successes, but do the same with problems. Trust
It can be a challenge, but focusing on the positive in your life and trying to see the good in things is important. Some things I have found helpful in cultivating a positive attitude are reading inspirational stories, quotes, or the bible. Spending time with close friends and loved ones is important in maintaining a positive attitude while preventing burn out. Don’t be afraid to relax when you get the chance! Participating in a hobby can help whether its fishing, hunting, exercising, etc.
Another key to establishing a good relationship with administrators is building trust. Administrators need to trust their teachers. Gaining the trust of someone can take time, but when it happens, the relationship is naturally stronger. How do we gain their trust? Do your job as a classroom teacher. You must teach! Striving to have quality, engaging lessons every day will go far.
These are just a few things we can do to have a positive attitude. Your attitude will carry over to the classroom, activities and with your relationships.
You should always be professional in how you dress, how you speak, in the classroom, at FFA events, and at school and community activities. You represent the district, and the administrators will trust a professional.
To wrap up, the difference between having a good year and an incredible year at school is dependent on the relationship you have with your administrators. If you want to have an incredible year, remember to keep the lines of communication open, present yourself as trustworthy, and keep a positive attitude. These few steps can make all the difference!
Just be honest. Regaining your administration’s trust after lying or stretching the truth is hard. Read your policy manual to guarantee you are following school rules and polices, and make sure you are briefed in all areas. 77
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
JENNIFER JACKSON WYLIE HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 14 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach ag for a lot of reasons! I had a really great experience with FFA and ag in high school and loved showing livestock, which is what made me want to teach ag. I enjoy working with my students every day; they are by far the best part of my job. I love the content of the courses I teach, and I love that I’ve learned so much during my time in the classroom. Even though it’s a lot of work, I enjoy planning my courses and trying to find great new projects and activities.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? My favorite FFA memory is being on a bus headed home from an area contest and turning around to see three of my students with tears in their eyes because they had finally qualified for state in poultry judging. I’m not sure why this is the memory that sticks out. Those students were some of the best and they had been working so hard. The amount of pride I felt when I saw how excited they were still causes me to be a little emotional when I think about it.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Agriculture is the foundation of everything we do; it literally feeds the world. With so many technological advancements and with so many misconceptions out there I think a lot of people take the impact of agriculture for granted - like it’s going away or somehow less important. We have the distinct honor of advocating for its importance, clearing up some of the misconceptions, and finding the future stakeholders in the industry. I have former students in vet school, traveling the world, teaching ag, and several in college earning degrees in agriculture. When you consider our impact from that perspective, it’s a really cool thing.
Fresh Country Supports the
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B Y: R E P R E S E N TAT I V E D R E W S P R I N G E R S TAT E R E P R E S E N TAT I V E F O R H O U S E D I S T R I C T 6 8
HOW TO BECOME A TRUSTED ADVISOR TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
he one constant in politics is that everyone has an opinion and plenty of advice for elected officials. Regardless of color, creed, or political affiliation, we all hunger for creative and civil approaches to improve our democracy and people’s lives. The question becomes how can you differentiate yourself from other voices shouting among the masses to a trusted advisor. Before you dismiss yourself from exercising your voice, please be assured your voice needs to be heard. You can’t be afraid to talk to an elected official. Politicians are just like you. We get up in the morning, drink our coffee, get dressed, and head to work. The truth is a good elected representative is one who can admit they don’t know everything about the policies and issues they are required to evaluate, vote on, and implement. Elected leaders are pulled in many different directions and asked to weigh in on a myriad of issues. You have a vast amount of knowledge; please tell us the things we don’t know. Tell us when you need help before the train has left the tracks. Just as important, tell us when you don’t need help from the government. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to talk. The politicians who won’t listen or don’t want to talk to you are ones who aren’t doing their job, don’t value your
opinion, and should be voted out. Once you have conquered your fear of speaking up, the question becomes how can you ensure the elected leader you are attempting to reach will value your voice. One way to ensure this is to provide value to the conversation – this does not mean signing a petition or letter that a hundred other constituents have already signed. You need to deliver value to your voice by bringing unique details or new data sets government officials don’t have, which illustrate how the issue affects you or your community personally. Bringing a problem to the attention of your representative is a good thing: but help your representative to understand the subject better by delivering information and insight he or she does not already have. A real-life example of how things really works always helps. If you are serious about your voice being heard and want to add value to your voice, you have to build a relationship with your representative through goodwill, friendliness and mutual benefit. Just like training a show goat, it takes time. Don’t be expect us to be grand champions after the first five minutes. Would you take advice about how to do your job from an unannounced, random stranger who just walked up to you and told you what you’re doing wrong? In the same way, a representative may discount
“IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR VOICE BEING HEARD AND WANT TO ADD VALUE TO YOUR VOICE, YOU HAVE TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR REPRESENTATIVE THROUGH GOODWILL, FRIENDLINESS, AND MUTUAL BENEFIT. ”
someone who has opinions on educational funding or agriculture, with whom they have no connection. Meet your representative and build those bonds. These things don’t happen overnight. Relationships are about being engaged and showing up before there’s an emergency. In the case of developing a relationship with an elected official, it is about bringing valuable information to the table, inviting them to events where they can visit with students and parents, coming to their events like town halls, and sacrificing your time to help them out. When you help other people, you are building that relationship. The process should be a give and take, and that takes time. A classic example I have of this is with the Texas FFA. Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation Executive Director, and I have a great relationship. Aaron has helped me by ensuring I know and understand the key issues that arise in the agricultural community. In turn, I share my political and policy perspectives with him, and then he continues to help by filling in any existing information gaps. Likewise, I help Aaron whenever he is trying to expand people’s understanding and benefits about FFA. I have connections who can help him in achieving those goals. So, we help each other, the cornerstone of
any good relationship. Most people have to start by getting out of their comfort zone. If you are an agriculture teacher or student, start by having a relationship with your principal, your superintendent, and your school board. They have the same goals as you and me; they want to see all their students be successful in life. Be able to bring them a positive message of what you’re trying to accomplish and what you can do to help them achieve their goals. Illustrate what your program is doing to achieve those goals and thereby has deservingly earned a piece of the educational funding pie and resources. Agriculture science classes and FFA deserve to have resources and their voices heard. Your goals and objectives comes with the responsibility of working with leaders. I challenge you to become a trusted advisor, because someday there will be a question about whether leaders should spend funds on your program or another, and you want to be one the people from whom they seek advice. Do those things, and you will be a success. If you don’t know your state Representative or Senator yet, get to know them!
BY: G E N E H A L L R E T I R E D T E X A S FA R M B U R E A U C O M M U N I C AT I O N S D I R E C T O R A N D F O R M E R T E X A S F FA O F F I C E R
ADVOCACY TEXAS FFA’S CHANCE TO CHANGE THE WORLD
dvocacy is defined as the act or process of supporting a cause. It sounds simple and, in fact, the best approach to advocacy is to keep it simple. The most effective advocates make it a part of their lives, as simple and natural as the other routines in daily life.
for agricultural advocacy, though, without question, there is more work to do. Ag advocacy matured to include a kinder and gentler message and the sharing of personal experiences and stories.
Most important, we learned to listen, addressing legitimate concerns. It has become very Agricultural advocacy was not effective. There are just not fully developed until the internet enough people doing it! came along and it has evolved over the last two decades. It has, Now, as the third decade of the however, lagged considerably 21st century dawns, ag advocacy behind the numbers and zeal of is poised to make a real difference. badly informed detractors who I believe the group that can make attack agriculture. the most difference are the FFA members in every state. It began with ag writers, including me, challenging the conventional I’ve worked with the young wisdom which was usually not at leaders of the Texas FFA for many all wise and mostly inaccurate. years. The core of my message Sometimes, this was done to them is the guiding principle forcefully. Farmers and ranchers of my career – you communicate with online savvy and media skills mostly by what you do. were an essential part of this. Those efforts moved the needle This is true more than ever today, and encouraged other farm with ever more sophisticated cell families to become more involved phone cameras and social media in telling those stories. connections that make every action only seconds away from There is no doubt we’ve made viral internet embarrassment. As progress. Take, for example, the in many things, careful work in once hot debate of biotechnology, building an image can be reduced more commonly known as GMOs. to rubble at blinding speed. Mainstream media reporters once accepted the negative conventional wisdom on this topic. Once reporters started looking into it, they now almost universally conclude that the weight of science falls in favor of biotech and the farmers who use it. This was a major victory
Advocacy begins with a choice to do right and serve as an example. The wholesome activities of FFA are generated by belief in a strong work ethic. Your projects, such as showing livestock and agriscience fair research, can show the world a
“SHOWING RESPECT FOR ANOTHER PERSON’S POINT OF VIEW WILL PROVIDE OPENINGS TO EXPLAIN YOUR OWN POSITIONS. YOUR PERSONAL STORY IS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR MESSAGE. ADVOCACY IS A LEARNED SKILL, BUT IT’S MORE THAN THAT. IT’S A LIFESTYLE CHOICE.”
positive side of young people in agriculture. It is a classic example of communicating by what you do. It’s a window on our world in which the public can see agriculture in the best possible way or something less than that. Communicating with your actions means no cheating. Even worse, the one moment of frustration that leads to mistreating an animal communicates too. We all know these incidents are isolated and rare. They are often done by people who normally would never do such a thing. In fact, the incident will sometimes be made to look far worse than it actually is. With dozens of cell phone cameras nearby, it’s a potential communications nightmare. When it happens, agricultural advocates have to start over, rebuilding reputations and positive messages. All this is to say that becoming an advocate carries with it a responsibility. It’s not really all that hard, though. For most of you it’s second nature already. I would never suggest FFA kids engage detractors in angry online exchanges. That is mostly ineffective and reinforces bad
“MOST IMPORTANT, WE LEARNED TO LISTEN, ADDRESSING LEGITIMATE CONCERNS. IT HAS BECOME VERY EFFECTIVE. THERE ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE DOING IT!”
There is another way to hit the advocacy home run in your community. You should forge alliances with people who are farmers and ranchers, with farm organizations or those involved in agribusiness. Often, these folks are FFA alumni. In almost every Texas community, there are members of the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers, Texas Cattle Feeders, Texas Wildlife Association, and many others.
This is a natural support system for FFA chapters. Many of them habits. Instead, I recommend support your program already. telling your own story online and What’s missing is organizing the to the mainstream media when effort. It should start with FFA members and advisers reaching those opportunities arise. out. Your messages should contain phrases like, “This is how we do Interaction with these groups it on our farm,” or “In our FFA are opportunities to see how agriculture and food policy works chapter, we do it this way.” in the real world. The Farm Bureau, FFA contests are a way to dive for example, is organized in 206 deeper into the issues farmers Texas counties. Many county Farm and ranchers face daily. Sources Bureaus give scholarships for of information are provided online college and sponsorships to the by agricultural organizations, land TFB Youth Leadership Conference. grant universities and government. They sponsor field days and Ag-inParticipation in these activities will the-Classroom events where you make you an effective advocate can share your message with kids who may have never been exposed with a broad base of knowledge.
Photos courtesy of Texas Farm Bureau.
to your own opinions but not your own facts.”
We call it advocacy or “agvocacy,” but perhaps a better description is “engagement.” We seek to communicate with people who have little concept of agriculture.
Showing respect for another person’s point of view will provide openings to explain your own positions. Your personal story is the foundation of your message.
Often, individuals still hold strong beliefs about that which they do not understand. We are engaging with people. It is not only a teaching experience but also a learning one.
Advocacy is a learned skill, but it’s more than that. It’s a lifestyle choice. Your message is more than written words. All of you communicates. Your message comes through in your life and daily tasks. It’s the moral and ethical code you follow. It’s the mistakes you make and how you address them.
We once were a nation that engaged via mainstream media. It was the daily paper and nightly newscast where the issues of the day were debated. It was, however, essentially one-way communication.
Agriculture still trails its adversaries in the number of people willing to tell their stories. FFA members standing with the other elements of modern agriculture will be a huge step forward in correcting the still formidable misconceptions and misunderstandings about agriculture.
Thanks to the internet and social media, even those news operations are largely two-way communication vehicles, along with a host of others. Everyone has an opinion. That’s always been true. Now, however, nearly everyone has the means to express that opinion.
“AG ADVOCACY HAS MATURED TO INCLUDE A KINDER AND GENTLER MESSAGE AND THE SHARING OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND STORIES.”
Being an advocate is to know persuasive arguments, but often the overlooked element is listening. You will reach a comfort level when you develop respect of the opinions of others. The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “You are entitled
Tea che rs A s
Teach Ag Tips APPLYING AND/OR INTERVIEWING FOR A NEW JOB SUGGESTED QUESTIONS TO ASK
BY: RAY PIENIAZEK, AG TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
1. What are the administration’s expectations of the ag department? 2. What is the district’s vision for the agricultural education program? 3. What are the expectations of the community for this agricultural education program? a. Is there an advisory committee? b. Who are the key individuals who support the program? 4. Where does the district want this program to be in 5 years? 5. What is the length of the contract being offered? a. Is it by months or days? b. How are vacation days allotted? c. Can weekends be accounted for as a contract day? 6. How many travel days are allowed? a. Am I allotted a set number of days to be gone for school related activities? 7. What are the summer hours expected of the agricultural science teachers? 8. Is there a stipend available, and what is its designated purpose? a. What is expected to receive it? b. How will it be documented in my income - as salary or travel? c. Is it to compensate for extra hours spent after school? 9. What is the current enrollment in agricultural science classes? a. How many students are needed to make a class? b. If numbers are small will they blend multiple sections in one? c. How many students are allowed in a shop type class? 10. What is the district’s expectations on industry based certifications? 15
B Y: N ATA L I E B O Y D T E X A S F FA N E W S S TA F F
BANDERA FFA MEMBERS COMPARE SPEED OF SOUND VERSUS ARROW FLIGHT TIME
andera FFA members Chelsey Graves and Kate Guajardo set out to research and find a solution to a common challenge many bow hunters face called “jumping the string.” The phrase “Jumping the string” is used by hunters to describe when an animal hears the “pop” sound of the bow string and reacts before the arrow has time to hit the animal. The purpose of their research titled Jumping the String: A Comparison Study of the Speed of Sound Versus Arrow Flight Time, was to identify effective shooting distances which would yield a mathematically effective and humane execution using a common novice bow, draw weight and shooting distances. “We put in numerous hours conducting research, analyzing data and developing our presentation to make sure that we were prepared,” said Graves. The two members utilized a professional 16
shooter to ensure the data was accurate. “Our results showed a hunter needs to be less than 60 feet, or 20 yards, away from a deer while shooting a 45-pound dual cam compound bow to execute an ethical shot,” said Guajardo. According to their research, it is their recommendation to avoid a shot greater than 60 feet as it could result in the animal “jumping the string.” Graves’ and Guajardo’s successful agriscience fair project was recognized as the 2019 Texas FFA and National FFA champion in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems category. “We hope that our research can increase public acceptance of the sport through scientifically justified data and that the recommended shooting practices can ultimately support further growth in the industry,” said Graves. Photo courtesy of Bandera FFA.
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TROOPS TO TEACHERS Troops to Teacher is a program designed to help military personnel transition to a new career as a public school teacher. Stipends up to $5,000 and bonus incentives up to $10,000 are available for agreeing to teach in a “high need” district.
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BY: R AY P I E N I A Z E K A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N OF TEXAS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
PROGRAMS OF STUDY SUGGESTIONS
rograms of study will be required for the 2020-2021 school year. If you have not discussed this with your counselor or CTE director, you should do that very soon. As you plan them out, please think about trying to meet Perkins V requirements of Concentrators and Completer status. CTE Concentrator â€“ A student that completes and receives credit in two or more CTE courses for at least two credits within the same program of study. CTE Completer â€“ A student that completes and receives credit for at least four credits including level three or four course within the same program of study. Please note CTE weighted funding is not tied to Concentrator or Completer status. Suggestions 1) All AFNR programs of study need Principles of AFNR as the level one course. Consider placing Principles of AFNR at the 8th grade level. This gives a student five years to have academic and FFA opportunities. Imagine the opportunities for growth and development of a student in multiple academic and career and leadership development programs. 2) Add Laboratory courses and attach them to create more two credit opportunities. Many of our courses have a specific laboratory
PEIMS code that can attach to level two, three and four courses. 3) Use the practicum course. You could put practicum in for all pathways and teach them all in one course since the PEIMS number will be the same for all. Also, practicum can be on or off campus. One great example is of a school writing training plans related to their SAE projects where the students then go home and work with their SAEs. They meet once per week to record in journals and share their experiences and needs with the teacher. Internships, whether paid or unpaid, could also be used as a practicum. 4) Don’t eliminate the Wildlife class. Keep the Environmental pathway and offer Wildlife (Fisheries and Ecology Management.) Simply add the lab to it, and now they have three credits. Add a practicum and now you have a completer. Students could work or intern at a wide variety of places in a community for a wildlife experience. 5) Be creative in ways to meet some of your programs of study. Consider project based research or scientific research and design as an option. Additional information on programs of study can be found on the Texas Education Agency website by typing "programs of study" in the search bar. If you have questions, reach out to Ray Pieniazek at 512-472-3128 or Les Hudson with the Texas Education Agency at 512-463-9315.
“IF YOU HAVE NOT DISCUSSED PROGRAMS OF STUDY WITH YOUR COUNSELOR OR CTE DIRECTOR, YOU SHOULD DO THAT VERY SOON.”
BY: T E R R Y B A I Z E A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S P R E S I D E N T A N D H A M I LT O N H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R
FROM THE RANGE
am excited to be writing for the inaugural issue of Growing Our Future: A Texas Agricultural Education Magazine. I am very happy with the new name for the publication because I think it fits in very well with our agricultural roots. I believe it is also fitting because it gives me the feeling the best is yet to come, and I really do believe that. This change to a more expanded and relevant format has been needed for a long time, and I applaud Ashley Dunkerley for having the forethought to propose this change and the initiative to take on this project. I know this is no small undertaking, but I have the utmost confidence in her ability to make this a topnotch publication for not only agricultural educators, but for all of team ag ed, school administrators, and any other interested parties.
1930s, most of the farmers in the part of Texas where I grew up were still farming with horses or mules. Tractors were still very new on the farm and my grandfather told my great uncle that he was thinking about buying one. My great uncle, who was also a farmer, told him, “Clebe, if you go out and buy one of those tractors you are going to go broke.” Luckily my forward thinking grandfather didn’t listen to my great uncle. He went out and bought a brand new John Deere tractor and, within a few years, he expanded his farming operation and was able to purchase more tractors and equipment. And what about my great uncle? In just a few short years, he had quit farming, moved to town, and took a job working for someone else’s dream. He did not embrace change and consequently, could not move forward.
Change is an inevitable part of life. I have always believed if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no such thing as standing still. I often remember a story that my grandfather told me. Back in the late 1920s or early
Change is a part of agricultural education. When I started teaching, the program was predominantly made up of boys; now we are about half girls. There were no computers in use at all, and when we did start to get them they were 20
large, unwieldy and slow. Now every student in our school is issued one to use. When I started teaching the courses were Ag I, II, III and IV and then semester courses. I remember when each area had an area supervisor and the staff at TEA in Austin was three or four people who took care of just the agricultural education program. Now we have only one staff member and he has other responsibilities in addition to our program. The students we teach have changed as well, they are more plugged in and technologically savvy. Gone are the days of the World Book Encyclopedia. They have instant information at their fingertips, albeit it may not all be factual. Agriculture
“CHANGE IS AN INEVITABLE PART OF LIFE. I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IF YOU ARE NOT MOVING FORWARD, YOU ARE MOVING BACKWARD.”
and if we are going to continue to grow and be a successful program we have, we must embrace that. We have to find new ways and methods to meet the needs of a changing industry and the changing needs of students. A well-known German general, Heinz Guderian, once said “New weapons require new tactics. You don’t put new wine into old bottles.” I believe this to be true of education as well.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE FEBRUARY 1981 A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N OF TEXAS NEWSLETTER
I know one of the biggest challenges I face every day is keeping students engaged. As our enrollment has grown, so has our FFA membership. It is a challenge to engage so many students in the FFA program. Change is difficult, painful, and requires work. It is easy to continue to do things the way we have always done, but we may not be meeting the needs of our students, our ultimate goal.
We can meet the challenges of the future. I see evidence every day of what teachers are doing in their classrooms and what we are doing as an agricultural education program to embrace and meet these challenges. I believe the agricultural education program, coupled with FFA, can have a great impact on the lives of our students. There is an old proverb, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” Challenges, in the end, make us stronger by having us examine what we are doing and find ways to improve. We have faced serious challenges in the past and overcome them and I have faith we will continue to meet those challenges in the future.
YEARS THE DOINGS AND HAPPENINGS IN YOUR ASSOCIATION "Agriculture Day, proposed to communicate the story of what agriculture means to America, is a nationwide observance with the theme, 'Agriculture: It’s Your Heartbeat, America!' Legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Carter proclaims March 19, 1981 as the first national Agriculture Day. America’s consumers may get no closer to agriculture than the supermarket, they don’t know that agriculture is this nations’ leading employer, exporter and nations’ No. 1 industry; they don’t understand agriculture; they don’t understand you. The message is a simple one: Agriculture is important to the Texas economy and vital to the well-being of the people of our state. Agriculture Day is your chance to speak out, to tell American consumers how important agriculture is to them."
As we continue through the craziness of the spring semester, I want to remind you of my superintendent’s faculty meeting closing remarks, “Act right, do your job, and have fun!” I want to wish everyone a great finish to the year and will see you from the range in the next issue.
“AGRICULTURE IS CHANGING, AND IF WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO GROW AND BE A SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM WE HAVE, WE MUST EMBRACE THAT.” 21
BY: L A N I P I E P E R T E X A S F FA N E W S S TA F F
FORMER TEXAS FFA MEMBER FINDS OPPORTUNITIES IN PASSION FOR POLICY
ormer Waxahachie FFA member, James Mismash, is pursuing his passion for politics with a proactive ambition for change.
As a Government and History double major at The University of Texas, Mismash hopes improvements can be made for the future of Texas policy.
"Policy can have such a unique, yet grand impact on such a large amount of people,” said Mismash. “Since that realization, I have focused my studies, work, and extracurriculars on how politics of the past and present affect the people of the world.”
“If Democrats and Republicans alike continue to be more and more willing to converse and debate, then ideally our policy will improve,” Mismash said. “My hope for the Texas government is that the citizens feel stronger senses of responsibility and that civic engagement rises. The more that vote and let their voices be heard, the more likely it is that policy will reflect the people's wishes.”
Since graduating from high school in 2017, Mismash has interned with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Texas Legislative Budget Board, the Office of the Texas Speaker of the House and is currently a Budget Fellow with the Office of the Governor of Texas. “I worked with the Texas House of Representative’s top policy experts during the interim [this past session] and was able to work on a few unique research projects,” said Mismash. 22
“THE MORE THAT VOTE AND LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD, THE MORE LIKELY IT IS THAT POLICY WILL REFLECT THE PEOPLE'S WISHES.”
Tea che rs A s
Teach Ag Tips RECORD BOOK KEEPING TIPS TO TEACH YOUR STUDENTS
BY: TAMMY GLASCOCK, TEXAS FFA SAE COORDINATOR
1. Make use of The AET Mobile App. It is great for students who are on the go. 2. Utilize The AETâ€™s Student Tutorial Guide and videos to better understand the record book keeping system. 3. Stay up to date and do not get behind. Set aside time each week to make entries and update your records and activities. 4. Keep all of your receipts. Keeping receipts will ensure your financial records are accurate, which will allow you to determine your profit/loss margins. 5. Become familiar with financial terms such as assets, capital, current, non-current, depreciation, etc. Not only will it make it easier to keep your record book, it will be useful knowledge later in life with your personal record keeping and taxes. 6. Have friends, siblings, parents, or teachers take pictures of you engaged in your SAE. Always remember to use the landscape mode when using your phone to take a picture. 7. Reference record books of former members with similar SAE programs. Remember these are for reference only, do not plagiarize. 8. Utilize a calendar to make notes of events, activities, purchases, income, etc. They make great references for completing your record books. 9. Keep your resume updated with all your FFA activities, courses/classes, community service and other school activities. Remember, current resumes are also needed to apply for jobs and complete scholarship applications. 10. Utilize The AET journal to record administration of medications, vet visits, weights, daily gains, exercise, hours worked, pay raises, SAE visits from your teacher, accomplishments resulting a newly developed skill or learning experience, etc. The journal notes will aid in completing reports or essays. 23
TEXAS FFA MEMBERS ADVOCATE FOR AG EDUCATION AT THE STATE CAPITOL
ore than 700 Texas FFA members took “Learning to Do” one step further by attending the 11th Annual Agricultural Science Education and Texas FFA Day at the Capitol. On February 25th and 27th, students had the opportunity to visit the state capitol in Austin to learn about the legislative process and how it relates to agriculture. Attendees witnessed state government in action and heard directly from those responsible for making changes in the state legislature, including Representative Brad Buckley, Representative Gary VanDeaver and Representative Trent Ashby. “This event is a great way to learn about the many opportunities for young agriculturists to get involved within our government,” said Faith Geistweidt, Fredericksburg FFA. “There are endless possibilities for me to have a voice in policy making at a young age.” Members had the opportunity to learn 24
about leadership, civic engagement and empowerment during an interactive tour of the State Capitol. “It is crucial that students of all ages keep up with our political system and continue to make it known that everybody has a voice on the important issues being debated in our country,” said Octavian Roman, Gholson FFA Texas FFA Day at the Capitol has taken place annually since 2010. This experience provides agriculture students with insight on how the daily activities in the capitol
“THIS EVENT IS A GREAT WAY TO LEARN ABOUT THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG AGRICULTURISTS TO GET INVOLVED WITHIN OUR GOVERNMENT.”
impact their everyday lives as citizens, students and Texas FFA members. “Legislation and proposals cause a lot of social, environmental, and legal changes that affect millions of people, including students,” said Roman. “Over the next five to ten years I hope to join a local campaign, get more involved within my community, and one day run for public office.” Additionally, this event provides students a platform to advocate for continued support of agriculture and agricultural education. “As young agriculturists, it is important for FFA members to be active in government relations and policy to ensure sustainability in production agriculture and our food supply for many generations,” said Geistweidt.
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
NAZARETH HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 13 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach agricultural science to give students new opportunities outside of our small town. Some students don’t have a chance to see what else is out there in the word, or they are not aware of the vast opportunities agriculture has to offer outside of traditional farming. Our program provides those eye-opening experiences.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY? I have more than one favorite memory each year, and I’ve taught for thirteen years! From watching freshmen come in and learn the creed by themselves, to witnessing an 18-year-old build a 32 foot dovetail gooseneck by himself, to the students who come back after graduation to thank me for preparing them for college, I would never be able to pick just one.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Ag education is one of the few programs that teaches students more than TEKS. Without ag education, students are limited as to where they can learn speaking skills, confidence, and life lessons. Ag education, most importantly, teaches students their true capabilities and often what they want to do with their life.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? Every day I arrive at work and am reminded of the memories made on countless road trips and competitions. I’ve watched a student who knew nothing about agriculture as a freshman become a part of a twotime national qualifying dairy cattle team, and helped a student with Asperger’s receive his Lonestar Degree. I’ve had a talent team competitor qualify for state four times and is now recording his own songs. Out of countless memories, it would be hard to pick a favorite.
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BY: R AY P I E N I A Z E K A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF
maintain health. Corner stores and Buccee’s are not proper places to eat. Although the jerky and kolaches are good, you should not think they are a nutritionally balanced meal. Unfortunately, heart problems run in my family. One year for the bus physical the doctor recommended a stress test, as my blood pressure was high. Sure enough, I was put on blood pressure medicine. Thank goodness I had it because some of my students surely would have made it go up! If your doctor As an agricultural science teacher, gives you advice, or you suspect there are many things you might something is wrong, get it checked have to advocate for. Since the out. Don’t wait till it is too late. definition of advocacy is the act of speaking on behalf of or in support Another way you may advocate for of a person, place, or thing, three yourself is planning for retirement. items you might advocate for are You might think its too far away yourself, your program, and your to think about, but in reality it is not that far away. Check your TRS profession. statement every time it comes. The hardest thing on the list is If you don’t think it was reported advocating for yourself. Taking right, do it quickly because you only time to maintain your health and have five years to get it corrected. wellness is one of the many ways to Plan for another source of income approach self-advocacy. Teachers while you are teaching - I am not have a way of just working until just saying to get another job. they can’t anymore. Make sure you Invest your money. Putting away are getting the proper rest to keep even $50-$100 dollars a month will add up over 30 years. I still get a your body functioning correctly. statement from a 403B I had during Ag teachers might have eating my first ten years of teaching. habits which do not exactly help Unfortunately, over the next 18 he word advocacy comes from the Latin ‘advocare,’ and means ‘to call out for support.’ The origins of advocacy date back to ancient Rome and Greece when wellestablished orators would perform as advocates who wrote orations specifically pleading someone’s cause. Personalities such as Cicero and Caesar were among the greatest Roman lawyers and advocates.
years I never added to it. What a dumb move! That investment tripled without me adding to it. Finally, spend time with your family. Tell them how important they are to you and how much you care about them. They will be the ones with you for the rest of your life. Advocating for your program is something you should do daily. I hear so many teachers say the counselors dumped students into my class. Do they know what your class is about? If they don’t, it is only your fault. I always talked to counselors and academic deans to make sure they knew what each class offered and the class requirements. Sell them on the benefits of your program. The biggest thing happening in our CTE programs right now are
“THE WORD ADVOCACY COMES FROM THE LATIN ‘ADVOCARE’ AND MEANS TO CALL OUT FOR."
the brightest ones teaching the next generation of our students? Teach Ag is always looking for names to send materials to. If you have a name, submit it to their website.
Programs of Study. Have you discussed with your counselors or administrators which ones you are offering? If you have not, it is time to do that. If you need information on Programs of Study, call either my office or Les Hudson at TEA for advice or help. Remember even though a course may not fit into one of your programs of study, it doesn’t mean you can’t offer it. Think about advocating for a practicum program in your school to help students reach the complete status. If you ever need assistance on ways to approach your administration about courses to offer, please reach out to the Ag Teachers Association.
Are you communicating with your legislator, and know their stance on career and technology education? Getting to know the staff in their office is a great way to start. Invite them to your local activities. They love having their faces associated with high school students. Be involved in the process when the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas needs you to reach out and speak for our program. A phone call can easily be made to let them know how their constituents feel.
Do you use your students to advocate for the program or have they been to present some of the great things they do to the school board? My favorite LDE was agricultural issues forum for the fact I could showcase my students’ speaking skills and knowledge to various community groups. They always looked forward to the team coming to speak.
If you want your program to succeed, tell everyone you can through every medium you can about the great things you are doing for the youth of the community. Take care of yourself and those around you. Advocating for the future of agricultural education will help us stay viable in the school system. Thanks for all that you do.
The last area of advocacy you might be involved with is your profession. How do you advocate for teaching, or teaching agricultural science education? It is hard to suggest to a bright student they should come take your place one day, but shouldn’t we have
DISH is proud to support Texas ag education. Introducing the DISH Ambassador Program, a new way to fundraise for Texas FFA chapters Are you an FFA advisor? Learn how your chapter can participate in the DISH Ambassador Program at dish.com/FFA
FFA and its members are not authorized retailers of DISH products and services, for information on DISH products and services please contact DISH directly. Door-to-door distribution of materials regarding the DISH-FFA program is prohibited. Telephone solicitation in connection with the DISH-FFA program is prohibited. Use of the FFA Name or Mark does not represent an endorsement by FFA of this product or service or an endorsement by FFA of the manufacturer or provider of this product or service. From October 24, 2018 until June 31, 2019, for every new and qualifying former customer that signs up under DISH’s Digital Home Advantage program, FFA will receive $200.00. Restrictions apply. Program not available in AL, HI, IL, MA, MI, SC. See website for details.
Tea che rs A s
Teach Ag Tips PLANNING FOR SPRING TRAVEL IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM BY: TAMMY CHRISTIAN, PENELOPE
Secure Substitutes - Every district has a different system for securing substitutes. Start as early as the start of the school year if possible. Make it a habit of revisiting your calendar at the beginning of each month to be sure there are no necessary revisions. Secure School Vehicles and Trailers - Once again start early, submitting all vehicle requests when you secure your substitutes. Revisions can always be made, but the earlier they are done the better! Leave Good Lesson Plans and Instructions - Leave good plans for classes and keep them relevant. Always be thorough, because you may not always end up with the same substitute. Leave your contact information so if anyone has questions, they can get ahold of to resolve issues quickly. Have a Travel Buddy - If you are attending a stock show, contest, or other event you are not familiar with, find a friend who has been there to tag along with. Those people can help you avoid glitches or lost time. Thank Your Administrators - Take the time to thank key people for allowing you the opportunity to take students on off campus for various experiences. Start early, double check yourself and keep the lines of communication open! Safe travels and good luck this spring! 30
H T U O Y
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Patriotism. Responsibility. Leadership. Those are the keys to our proud past and bright future. Encourage your students to attend the five-day conference where theyâ€™ll grow their skills and empower their peers.
Tarleton State University Stephenville
Apply by May 1 texasfarmbureau.org/youth
BY: AU ST I N L A RG E T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
TELLING THE AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND TEXAS FFA STORY
ebruary is one of my favorite months of the year! While agricultural science teachers and FFA members spend much of the month traveling to major livestock shows and invitational CDE contests, our team in Austin devotes most of this month to networking with external partners, state agency staff, and elected officials to tell the incredible story of agricultural education and career and technical education. For those of you who don’t know, February is National CTE Month as well as the month in which we celebrate FFA Week. It’s a great time for advocacy efforts because there are a plethora of resources and a focus on CTE, allowing us to spread the good word. So how do we keep our advocacy efforts alive during the other 11 months? Advocating Locally When thinking about advocating for agricultural and career and technical education at the local level, we have to start with a mindset of building effective relationships. People naturally listen to and trust those they already have a relationship with. How do we become those trusted advisors? Make room at the table for those
who don’t know or understand your program. It’s easy to invest time into relationships with those who understand what we do, but often we see a bigger pay-off when we are mindful of those who don’t. When we invest time into these relationships, we help people to see the value of agricultural and career and technical education. Extend invitations for administrators, parents, community members, etc., to attend your local chapter meetings or visit one of your classes. Volunteer your program to help with other school or community events. Small gestures matter and are effective to building quality relationships with those who are familiar and not familiar with our program. Focus on the “why” more than the “what.” As I’m sure we all remember from our teacher preparation programs, context is a key factor in learning. This philosophy is highlighted in a well-known TED Talk by Simon Sinek. Mr. Sinek describes what he calls “The Golden Circle” of communication and states “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Most of the time in agricultural education we focus our messaging on the “what” (i.e. contest success, livestock show
placings, group pictures in blue jackets at an event) and don’t put enough emphasis on the “why” (i.e. premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.) I encourage you to put some thought into the “why” behind the undertakings of our program. It’s a lot easier to garner support for the “what” when we help others see that each day we develop students through agricultural education to grow future leaders, build vibrant local communities, and strengthen agriculture. We rise by lifting others. Synergy is the concept that the combined efforts of multiple groups collaborating together yields a
“WHEN THINKING ABOUT ADVOCATING FOR AGRICULTURAL AND CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, WE HAVE TO START WITH A MINDSET OF BUILDING EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIPS.”
higher impact than each group would be able to accomplish on their own. This is a call to action to engage with other career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) and CTE program areas. When you boil it down, we are all in the business of developing students and preparing them for their future careers. Working with your colleagues and students in other program areas to support and elevate their efforts turns them into people who do the same for you. Rather than seeing them as competition for support and resources, ask yourself, “how can you create synergies between your program areas/organizations?” Supporting students and beneficial programs at the student and teacher level sets the example and expectation that should be happening at the administrator and community level. The Data Once we have invested the time to build relationships locally, it’s time to start sharing the impact our programs and activities have on students. We have long touted the benefits of student involvement in agricultural education and the FFA, but what tangible evidence do we have to substantiate these claims? The following research highlights verified data that can be shared with administrators and community members about students who have participated in an agricultural education and FFA programs. A study conducted by the faculty at Texas A&M University – Kingsville found the following:
“OUR JOB IS TO CAPITALIZE ON THE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND TELL OUR STORY LOCALLY, SO THE STUDENTS OF TODAY AND TOMORROW CAN CONTINUE TO BENEFIT FROM THESE PROGRAMS AND ORGANIZATIONS.” In a recent study conducted by the National FFA Organization and Purdue University, the following was found: Involvement in FFA correlated with academic success (FFA members had higher ACT and SAT average scores than the national average) Involvement in FFA is correlated with high career readiness (determined on tools to skill development, cognitive maturity and communication abilities) FFA members have specific plans for after high school (93% of members surveyed plan to continue their education after high school)
Students with 2, 4, or 6 semesters of agricultural education coursework graduate at a higher rate than their peers (97.5% vs 83.2%) Students involved in 4 to 6 semesters of agricultural education coursework have significantly lower disciplinary records than their peers (41.2% vs 48.8%) University leaders surveyed say Texas FFA members are: 1.5 times more prepared for college than their peers 1.6 times more valuable than athletes in the recruiting process 1.13 times more valuable than National Honor Society students in the recruiting process
FFA members have the desire to stay involved in agriculture as they go into their careers (67% of members surveyed indicated that their career plans would encompass agriculture in some way) Empirical and statistical data are on our side when looking to paint a positive picture for parents, administrators, and community leaders of agricultural and career and technical education. Our job is to capitalize on the opportunities available to build relationships and tell our story locally, so the students of today and tomorrow can continue to benefit from these programs and organizations. Invite those who don’t understand agricultural education to the table, spend more time on the “why” rather than the “what”, and remember we rise by lifting others. Our story and impact is easy to tell, we just have to invest the time and energy into telling it right!
B Y: DA W S O N K I L L E N A N D C A LV I N M O R G A N T E X A S F FA O F F I C E R S
2019-2020 TEXAS FFA OFFICERS' STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
s State Officers, our main job is to serve our great organization and members within it. This year, one of our main goals is to offer new ways to help our members stay informed and connected. We are making a concerted effort to communicate information and updates discussing the various programs and initiatives our state association and leadership are working towards. One way we plan to do this is through monthly articles, just like this one, written by state officers talking directly to Texas FFA members across the state. Our Vision Statement Our team developed a statement to guide us through the decisions and actions we must make. Our team’s vision statement reads, “We will continue to expand a legacy of excellence through genuine service and member engagement.” In many ways, this has directed the creation of our strategic priorities aimed at enhancing member experiences in FFA on the chapter, district, area, and state level. Our Strategic Priorities A strategic priority is a certain issue or item of business that the current state officer team finds should be evaluated or addressed. We set these priorities to advance our organization and to better fulfill the needs of the Texas FFA members. Below, we’ve outlined our strategic priorities for this
year. We hope to keep you informed regarding progresses. Avenues of Transparent Communication: The focus of this committee is to provide new, efficient ways to relay information from the state level to the chapter level. Industry Opportunities: The focus of this committee is providing future opportunities for members to further explore various agriculture industry opportunities and develop relationships within them. Material Development: The focus of this committee is to provide substance for members to interact with, such as videos and live social media events. State Officer Model: The focus of this committee is researching and developing the most effective State Officer Model while utilizing research past state officer teams have unearthed. Our goal is to determine how to best represent Texas FFA members on the state level. As a team we look forward to the growth that we have, and will continue to experience, alongside you all this year. We are excited to continue to work towards the achievement of these priorities, and we hope that you thoroughly enjoy your year as a Texas FFA member.
AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS
apply now THE ASSOCIATION OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS TO MEMBERS' CHILDREN UPON HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE ON OR BEFORE APRIL 1, 2020 VISIT VATAT.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION
B Y: M I C H E L L E DA M E R A U TA R L E T O N S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y C O L L E G E O F A G R I C U LT U R A L S C I E N C E S I N S T R U C T O R / C O N T E S T C O O R D I N AT O R
ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY IDEAS FOR YOUR CLASSROOM
tepping outside of our comfort zone allows for growth. According The Learning Zone Model, developed by the German adventure pedagogue Tom Senninger, students learn in their “Optimal Performance Zone,” also known as the “Learning Zone,” found just outside the “Comfort Zone.” Stepping outside of the comfort zone tends to create a little stress but, allows for a higher level of concentration and focus.
them to the final exam. Each clue is tied to a task based on the content covered in class. To receive the next clue, your group must complete the task. This allows small groups to work in on a medium stress activity while reviewing all the content covered in the course. I believe it is an excellent exercise to work through problem-solving within a group setting. It’s important for students to learn that you might not always agree, or like someone, but respect should always be given.
No one likes to sit and view hours of power point slides, so get up and move. I incorporate out of the box activities in every possible lesson — something our future agricultural science educators can implement in their own classrooms.
Speed Speech It is a proven fact that public speaking is the biggest fear among Americans. After asking my class, I found this to be true, along with the fear of making a public mistake. The Speed Speech activity tends to create a higher level of stress, but really brings students out of their comfort zones and into the learning zone.
What’s in the Bag This activity is always a class favorite, so I use it to kick-off the course. I fill a bag full of locally grown agricultural products. I pick teams of two, and each team comes to the front of the classroom. One team member is blindfolded, and the other pulls an item out of the bag. That team member must describe the object to the person blindfolded, only using one-word clues in under 20 seconds. If the team loses, both team members must consume the item. These items range from homemade baby food to spicy hot links.
Each student draws a card with an agriculturerelated topic and is given two minutes to prep a short informational speech, much like an Extemporaneous Speaking Event at a quicker pace. After the prep period, each student must provide a 30-second speech in front of the class over their given topic. By doing these activities, future agricultural science educators learn to open up and not be afraid of making creative and unique lessons. There are some great tools and resources at your fingertips.
In the end, each student is under a little stress to bring them outside of their comfort zone, but they are highly concentrated on the task at hand, communicating with their partner. AGmazing Final
I encourage you to share your ideas with others. We all want our students to enjoy class and learn at the same time. Step outside your comfort zone, you might surprise yourself.
This is my personal favorite. Everyone asks for a review session before a test, so let's regurgitate that knowledge in a race. Students must find clues across campus which will lead 37
BY: A A RO N A L E JA N D RO T E X A S F FA F O U N DAT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
he Bible (Luke 12:48) teaches to whom much is given, much is expected. My journey with agricultural science education started in 1980, and over the decades, I have witnessed many accomplishments for which we should be grateful. With the new format of of this magazine, the inaugural publication is a great chance to discuss the importance of gratitude.
for opportunities, achievement, and standards of excellence. He floored me with a question, “Aaron, what is the opposite of gratitude?” After a moment of reflection, he said “the opposite of gratitude is entitlement.” Whoa! Wow! Wait!
I quickly learned at Boys Ranch that I was not entitled to anything. I had to earn every privilege, opportunity, and accomplishment. I became part of a culture with high expectations. In the classroom, with our extracurricular activities, and in our assigned work responsibilities, Mr. Chandler and Boys Ranch expected our best and helped us learn how to do our best. The expectation was we would be successful, and over time it became our expectation too.
The entitlement mentality, unlike the attitude of gratitude, almost immediately produces negative feelings and repercussions. The perspective of the entitled when they don’t have what someone else has is to complain, grumble, Start with Gratitude moan, whine, and protest. All lead The Boys Ranch FFA program had As we pause, reflect, and look to excuses, gossip, backbiting, and high expectations for its members. beyond the immediate, we can cultural chaos. As a freshman, I was placed on the put our gratitude in perspective. I Jr. Chapter Conducting team, said A Grateful Testimony encourage people to vocalize, say the FFA Creed, was on the Jr. Farm it out loud, and share with others what you are grateful for. It doesn’t As some of you may know, my “GRATITUDE IS THE take long to pinpoint life, freedom, early teen years in Dallas were not trending in the right direction. family, friends, abundance, choices HEALTHIEST OF ALL and faith. When asked how does My mom knew a change of HUMAN EMOTIONS. it make you feel, most people environment was needed. I was THE MORE YOU respond good, positive, energized, shocked when she sent me to the Texas panhandle to a place or ready. EXPRESS GRATITUDE called Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. My FOR WHAT YOU Avoid an Entitlement Mentality dorm parent, Winston Chandler, put me in an agricultural science HAVE, THE MORE I was recently visiting with Texas course and the FFA organization. LIKELY YOU WILL FFA Foundation board member Tom I didn’t sign up and I didn’t HAVE EVEN MORE TO Ziglar about organizational culture think it was fair. My entitlement and skill development in young mentality made me very negative. EXPRESS GRATITUDE people. I was referring to drive and Thankfully, the culture around me FOR.” - ZIG ZIGLAR the energy/capacity to look around began to change this negativity.
Skills team, and participated in Dairy Judging. All of this in addition to raising a pig for the Fall and Spring stock show seasons. Our culture was to win. I knew if I didn’t study, prepare, and go the extra mile, we wouldn’t win. I would have let the team down, my chapter down, myself down. As we learned, grew, and achieved success, we began to appreciate the opportunities coming our way. Through this process we learned the importance of attitude, gratitude, and what can be accomplished with hard work.
I went on to serve as Texas FFA President, work for a member of the United States Congress, and serve as Executive Director of the Texas FFA Foundation. It has been a great honor over the last two decades to work with the Texas FFA, agriculture teachers, and all those who support our mission. My journey has taught me to be grateful. It has also taught me when we go as far as we can and get to where we wanted to go – we will be able to see farther down the road and know more remains to be accomplished.
In life, we will do the only thing we know how to do. Unless we learn something new, we can only default to what we know. Unfortunately, for many, all they know is how to be negative, but families, organizations, and cultures can create a positive environment of gratitude and an expectation of excellence.
I have been blessed with incredible opportunities. Someone generously supported Boys Ranch – it gave me a second chance. Someone supported Texas FFA programming to create leadership development opportunities – it empowered and fueled my career.
TEXAS AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND THE TEXAS FFA
BUILDING A BRIGHTER FUTURE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS TODAY MORE THAN EVER BEFORE IN OUR 92-YEAR HISTORY
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR TEXAS FFA MEMBERS
Record-Setting Convention Support Support for Teachers Professional Development Conference Proficiency Awards Endowed Third-Party Validation of Our Efforts Expanded Professional Networks
The Texas FFA Leadership Continuum Courtesy Corps Media Staff Texas FFA Chorus Foundation Ambassadors Ford Leadership Scholars Milestone training for State Officers LEAD Program for Texas FFA Members
INFRASTRUCTURE AND OPERATIONAL SUPPORT Texas Agriculture Education / Ford FFA Leadership Center Established Local FFA Chapter Websites
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR TEXAS AGRICULTURE EDUCATION TEACHERS Professional Development Conference The LEAD Experience Legislative LEAD Program Teacher Mentor Program
SCHOLARSHIPS $2.3 Million in Award and Academic Scholarships Donor Development Scholarships for Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Member’s Children
Foundation Budget and Endowment Has Grown More Than 300% in 20 Years Texas FFA Association is in a Positive and More Secure Financial Position Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas is in a Positive and More Secure Financial Position
Pass it Along and Pay it Forward Many times, teachers and students ask how they can help. The answer is simple; help us create a culture of gratitude. Share the success of Texas Team Ag Ed and the role the Texas FFA Foundation has played in crafting many of the strategies for success and rallying experts to improve operations, investments, marketing, and public relations. The bottom line is our students, teachers, and stakeholders are all benefiting. Here’s how you can cultivate an attitude of gratitude. First, write it down. Make visible the things you are grateful for. Second, talk about it. Speak about the things you are thankful for. Third, share it. Make a point to post it on social media and share with family, professional peers, and staff. Lastly, express it. Gratitude in action can change a community, a state, a country, even the world. Here’s to the Next 20 Years In 1986 when campaigning to be State President, I talked about a vision for the Texas FFA that was based on values, growth, and innovation. I was passionate
about it then and I’m no less passionate about it today. I am hopeful that along the way, I have been effective in sharing my gratitude, teaching others how to be grateful, and being effective so we can empower those who will lead the next 20-years and beyond. I’ve always said, “If you want to know what the future is, grow it.” The time, talent, and treasure those before us invested in our organization was an investment in the future. What we add now and going forward is a commitment to sustainability. All of us, students, parents, teachers, business owners, and civic leaders that support Texas Team Ag Ed, have reason to be proud and filled with an “attitude of gratitude.” Be grateful today. Be positive today. Invest your time, talent, and treasure in someone today. Help us grow an incredible Texas agricultural science education / FFA future beyond the horizon we see today. Invest in the future of Texas Agricultural Science Education with a grateful attitude.
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Encore Hotels are not available in the United States or Canada. *Subject to availability at participating hotels. Blackout dates and certain restrictions may apply. Discount for Texas FFA Supporters is 12% off our Best Available Rate (BAR) at La Quinta by Wyndham hotels and 10% off BAR at all other by Wyndham hotel brands. Savings are discounted from property’s BAR excluding taxes, resorts/service fees, incidentals, gratuities, or additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed. BAR means best, non-qualified, unrestricted, publicly available rate on the Internet for the hotel with equivalent terms, date and accommodations requested. Offer is subject to cancellation or change at any time and void where prohibited by law. Cannot be combined with any other discounts, offers, group rates, or special promotions. Cancel 24 hours prior to 4PM day of arrival to avoid 1 night charge plus applicable tax. Reservations must be guaranteed with a valid credit card. © 2019 Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. All rights reserved. All hotels are independently owned and operated except certain hotels managed or owned by a subsidiary of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Texas Agricultural Education Leadership Conference
Donâ€™t miss out on this opportunity to learn from the very best in Texas Agricultural Science Education! Teachers can further their skills to help their classroom come alive, while students will see their future in this powerhouse leadership series. Featuring Dr. Temple Grandin and many more special guests!
Register Online Now:
APRIL 19 - 20, 2020 WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY Happy State Bank Academic & Research Building 600 WTAMU DR Canyon, TX 79016
D R. TEM P L E G R A N D I N
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
SHARYLAND PIONEER HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 30 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? Teaching agriculture is very fulfilling to me because I have a passion for agriculture and the FFA. I think the program is one of, if not the most, beneficial high school programs available to students.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY? While I have many favorite memories, one always stands out. Many years ago, I was teaching Ag 101 in Navasota. On the day I began teaching the FFA Creed, a young man from Mexico, who spoke no English, was placed in my class. I assigned all students the task of memorizing the first paragraph. When I asked for volunteers the next day, my new student stood up and recited, not only the first paragraph, but the entire creed in a language he didn’t speak. When I asked him how long it took him to memorize, he told me it took about 12 hours. That experience taught me a lot, and reaffirmed that we can all succeed if we are willing to put in the time and effort.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? I truly believe that agricultural education and the FFA offers more to high school students than any other program. The opportunities afforded to students range from public speaking to leadership to service to gaining knowledge in a multitude of fields. I personally have seen all different types of students find their niche through agriculture education.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AS A FIRST-YEAR TEACHER? “When you work hard, good things happen,” is something my teaching partner always says. It has become our motto as we motivate our students. It is exactly the advice I would go back and give myself.
Tea che rs A s
Teach Ag Tips CHAPTER OFFICER ELECTIONS SUGGESTED TIPS AND PROCEDURES BY: TERRY BAIZE, HAMILTON
1. Make sure you are electing your officers in accordance with your chapterâ€™s constitution and by-laws. 2. Be transparent throughout the whole election process and keep everything. This includes ballots, tests, interview scores, etc. 3. Publicize the dates of the various election events, especially if your chapter uses a test or interview as a part of the election procedure. 4. If your chapter does use a test, make the study material available to all candidates as early as possible. 5. Officer candidates should know the expectations of being a chapter officer well ahead of time. Some schools may require students to sign a document agreeing to uphold the standards. 6. Make sure the candidates know exactly how the election process works regarding the percentage breakdown of the vote, interview, and test. 7. Be consistent and do not show favoritism. 8. Have a witness present when you tabulate ballots, test scores, and interview scores so there can be no question as to the outcome or its validity. 9. Be prepared for the election to not turn out the way you expect. The members who you may think are the most qualified and would make the best officers may not be selected for an officer position. 10. Do not be afraid to ask another FFA advisor or mentor for advice. Often, they will have valuable advice or insights which could be a great help. 43
B Y: K E L LY W H I T E T E X A S F FA A L U M N I P R E S I D E N T
TEXAS FFA ALUMNI AND SUPPORTERS
sking anyone involved with ag education or FFA if they support our cause is like asking the local pastor, choir member, deacon, or elder if they support the church. The expression “preaching to the choir” is often used when we find ourselves advocating for agriculture education when we are around those with the same kindred spirit. How are we perceived in the public eye? What do you do to advocate for the FFA and agriculture education? As part of a strategic initiative, the National FFA board has passed recommendations to realign the National FFA Alumni Association, renaming it the National FFA Alumni and Supporters. Note the word “Supporters.” “In order to be more inclusive of our volunteers, while still maintaining the recognition that our former members have come to know in FFA, the National FFA Board of Directors decided to change the name,” said Joshua Rusk, Executive Director of National FFA Alumni and Supporters. “In the National FFA Organization, you don’t have to be a former member to be an alumni member, and the board wanted the name to reflect that opportunity.”
Each year, the Alumni Council works on a budget for the upcoming year based on the success of our annual auction held at the Texas FFA State Convention, membership dues, and donations. Each year the Alumni Council sets a goal of increased membership, increased participation and, like everyone else, more money!
accomplish? Define your Plan of Action and how will this project make an impact on the members and/or program. You will need to estimate what your project will cost. Grant money has been used to assist the local FFA Chapter in purchasing member t-shirts, starting a community garden, and assisting the local chapter in purchasing new livestock The Texas FFA Alumni budgets for equipment. several monetary awards every year. This past year included: In order to be eligible for the four $500 scholarships; ten above-mentioned grants and $500 local grants; two $500 scholarships you dues must Washington Leadership Conference be paid by March 1, 2020. scholarships; $1500 to the Agriculture Teachers Association Washington Leadership of Texas; and we proudly welcome Conference the retiring Texas FFA Officer Team The Washington Leadership into our organization by paying Conference (WLC) provides a their Lifetime FFA Membership into premier leadership experience the Past State Officer’s Alumni. for FFA members in the nation's capital each summer. General How can my program receive this registration for the 2020 season money? Alumni chapters must be of the Washington Leadership in good standing with the State Conference will open at 6 p.m. and National FFA Alumni, defined EST, on March 3, 2020. as having a charter on file with ten members paying the affiliation Scholarship applications for the dues of $100 for State and $100 Washington Leadership Conference for National dues. are online. The Texas FFA Alumni will present two $500 Scholarships What do you do to get grant to WLC for an Alumni Affiliate that money? Be prepared to answer the meets the criteria. following questions: What is your Project, and what do you want to
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B Y: S A N D R A C H O AT E S TAT E E X E C U T I V E S E C R E TA R Y
TEXAS YOUNG FARMERS
he months of December and January are extremely busy in the life of a Texas Young Farmer Member.
National Young Farmer Institute The whirlwind started December 11-15, when a group of our members attended the National Young Farmer Institute in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
"Agriculture’s Promise," a NYFEAsponsored program in Washington, D.C. This program give agricultural leaders the opportunity to develop and communicate their personal message to legislative leaders on Capitol Hill. Congratulations Clovia! Texas Young Farmer State Convention
January brought on the Texas Young Farmer State Convention. This year we ventured to Denton These institutes are an amazing and experienced the agriculture opportunity to explore local in the beautiful horse country of agriculture in the region. Lancaster Texas. County has a rich heritage, beautiful landscape, and deep agricultural Our week started out with an roots. In comparison to Texas, the evening of activity as we put farms are extremely small, 180 together care bags for the residents acres on average, but the pride of the Eagle Ridge Alzheimer’s and poise are huge. The farming Special Care Center and played a communities we visited were game or two of bingo. proud of their accomplishments and it seemed as though the entire Friday, our tours included one of area was aware of the importance the most beautiful horse ranches of agriculture. in the nation – Cardinal Reining Horse Ranch in Aubrey, Texas. In addition, our own Clovia Ketchum Cardinal Reining Horses is a top stepped up to put herself in a reining horse operation quickly position to advocate for agriculture moving to the forefront of the in a huge way. Clovia was elected performance horse industry. to serve as the National Secretary for the National Young Farmer Next we stopped at the Discover Educational Association. She Denton Welcome Center on the will serve both our state and the beautiful Denton Square for a short national association for the next visit then were able to venture four years. Her first official event is afoot and find lunch at one of the
many unique eateries. Our afternoon was spent at the City of Denton Landfill and Pratt Recycling. These two entities work together to keep Denton clean and beautiful. It was the cleanest “dump” I had ever seen; driving by you could not tell it was the landfill. The mounds were groomed and the trash was barely visible. We were not allowed to take pictures in Pratt Recycling, but the piles of paper and bottles greatly shrunk in size after the machines were finished with them and most were shipped off to make something new from the old. Saturday was a day of business. We heard from our longtime friend David Kercheval with Texas Department of Agriculture, a tried and true advocate for Texas Agriculture. We auctioned items to raise scholarship funds for the youth of our great state and finally, we recognized our award winners and inducted the 2020 officers. Our evening and convention were closed to the tunes of DJ Bill Dunn. Thank you to our sponsors: RVOS, Schaffer Lubricants, Ag Workers Mutual Auto Insurance & AgPro Agency, Texas Farm Bureau, Koopman Catering, O’Neil Oil – Pat O’Neil and Texas Central.
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2/26/2020 2:17:49 PM
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Educators do more than teach
They nurture, encourage and inspire our youth. BASF applauds all educators who invest in the future with dedication to student success. BASF Regional Sales Manager, Karissa Jones, speaking at the 2019 National FFA Convention
THERE CANâ€™T BE A GAME WON WITHOUT A GAME PLAN See what Texas FFA students have to say at mytexasffa.org