GROWING OUR FUTURE A TEXAS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION MAGAZINE
THERE CAN’T BE A GAME WON WITHOUT A GAME PLAN See what Texas FFA students have to say at mytexasffa.org
Cultivating Agriculture’s Bright Future
Making The Most of Member Committees for Your Chapter
Financial Literacy: Tips from Your VATAT Credit Union
Importance Of Employment Interview Skills for All Students
The Work / Life Loop - Part II
2022 Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Hall of Fame Inductees
2021-2022 Texas FFA Chapter Visit
An Early Career Perspective
Boerne Champion FFA Member Donates $30,500 To St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital
Production Agriculture in Our Community
What Role Does Your Department Play in Your Community of Production Agriculture?
We Believe in The Future of Agriculture
We Are The "Green Heart" Of the Texas FFA
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 Shot by Wieghat Graphics
FROM THE EDITOR
Those of us involved within the agricultural science education community are well versed in the terminology, economics, and science that encompass those two words. Most crucially, we comprehend the importance. Ashley Dunkerley
Our challenge and our primary mission is to educate our audience, primarily our students, of that importance. But what about the rest of the population? We know the letters "FFA" stand for Future Farmers of America. These letters are a part of our history and our heritage that will never change. We are raising our country's future farmers and producers. However, we are also raising well-educated consumers and citizens that will ideally spread their wealth of knowledge to their families, neighbors, and future generations. Here is to a prosperous future of continuous production agriculture. We hope you enjoy the Summer 2022 issue of Growing Our Future!
BLUE & GOLD EXPERIENCE LESSON SERIES
iCEV and National FFA have partnered to produce the new Blue & Gold Experience lesson series. Launching 2022, the new series will replace the Blue & Gold Basics, one of iCEV’s most popular video playlists. The content for the series will showcase diverse experiences from FFA members across the nation. Through engaging video presentations and interactive learning opportunities, students will learn about the organization’s opportunities and how they can seek involvement at the chapter, state and national levels within their own fields of interest. In this series, the Blue & Gold Experience lesson will present the various opportunities available within the National FFA Organization, including:
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT EVENTS CAREER DEVELOPMENT EVENTS SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE
We are happy to be collaborating
with iCEV for the new Blue and Gold Experience series... Working with iCEV to showcase
the rich history of FFA, along
with advisors and members from across the country was an easy choice and we are certain that many stakeholders will benefit from the project.”
National FFA Associate Director of Educational Programs
AVAILABLE 2022 on
work you do to cultivate the next generation of agricultural leaders. You inspire students, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and learn new things. You even inspire us, too. We appreciate all that you do. Texas Farm Bureau can, and wants to, help you in those efforts.
BY: J U L I E TO M A S C I K T E X A S FA R M B U R E A U
RESOURCES, OPPORTUNITIES FROM TEXAS FARM BUREAU CAN HELP
We have opportunities for eighth grade and high school students to grow and learn more about agriculture through the Student Success Series.
hether you’re in the classroom, the shop, the greenhouse, the show ring or on the way to a leadership development event, each student learns something from you. What you do matters. Who you impact matters. How you advocate about agriculture matters. And we think you’re doing a great job. We know it takes early mornings, late nights and sometimes many miles in between, especially during contest and stock show seasons. We know you didn’t become an educator by chance but by choice to impact students, build relationships and share a passion for different agricultural careers—communications, farming, engineering, teaching and so much more. We notice your efforts and the 4
We host the Speak Out For Agriculture (SOFA) Challenge during the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo. Now in its second year, this contest helps high school students develop problem-solving and communication skills, and they take home cash prizes. We also offer more than $230,000 in scholarships to four-year colleges and universities, and there are scholarships available to students attending Texas State Technical College.
And we have resources and opportunities available to you as teachers! Our summer workshops—Summer Ag Academies and Summer Ag Institute—are a way to bring home free classroom resources about agriculture and a way to earn professional development credits.
“WE NOTICE YOUR EFFORTS AND THE WORK YOU DO TO CULTIVATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF AGRICULTURAL LEADERS.”
Our Young Farmer & Rancher Program is open to farmers, ranchers and agricultural professionals ages 18 to 35. Through this program, we host a conference, Fall Tour and district events. We highlight young agriculturalists through our contests and award them with prizes.
re Daily and the TFB Friday Report—that include the latest news and information about agriculture on a local, state and national level. Our Farm Bureau staff are always available to discuss agricultural issues and advocacy efforts. We can brainstorm ideas for speech topics and contests, and we can connect you to potential guest speakers who can discuss a wide range of issues in agriculture.
We also announced a new program—BLOCK—available to farmers, ranchers and agricultural professionals between the ages of 36 and 50. This program is designed to provide opportunities for members to network together while learning about important agricultural issues, challenges and programs in other areas. This includes an industry tour and conference, and we’d love to see some of our state’s greatest agricultural educators get involved.
You’re often a resource for other teachers and the community when they have questions about agriculture, want to start a school garden or find other learning opportunities for students. We want to be a resource for you. Whether that’s providing resources you can share with students to help grow agricultural literacy and awareness at a young age. Or free lesson plans, garden grant opportunities, virtual resources and more available on our website.
Also available on our website are lessons and virtual resources that you can use in your classroom. And we send you emails—Texas Agricultu-
Time is precious, and we want to thank you for giving your early mornings, late nights, long days and long drives to your students. Whether you’ve been teaching for two years or over 20, your invested time has been well spent. Thank you for the friendships you’ve made with Farm Bureau leaders and staff. Thank you for pouring into your students, and thank you for continuing to be an agricultural advocate. WANT MORE INFORMATION FROM TEXAS FARM BUREAU? Ag in the Classroom resources: texasfarmbureau.org/aitc BLOCK program: texasfarmbureau.org/block Young Farmer & Rancher program: texasfarmbureau.org/YFR Youth Opportunities: texasfarmbureau.org/youth
MAKING THE MOST OF MEMBER
COMMITTEES FOR YOUR CHAPTER
B Y: S P E N S E R A DA M S S U N N Y V A L E 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
ommittees - Do you use them, or are they just something that exists in record books? Why do they exist? When appropriately utilized, committees are a way to allow more students to get involved within your chapter and ensure that you are meeting all aspects of the POA. They can also allow you to spread the wealth within your organization and help prevent officer burnout. We all have those students who are highly involved but have no desire to be an officer. Giving them experience on committees can allow them to gain the same leadership skills officers do without the added "pressure." In our chapter, we have three committee chairs that help run five subcommittees/programs each, taking on the format of the Program of Activities. We have found this distribution of power to be the best because it gives more students the ability to lead while also providing some consistency and experience. Also, in our chapter, we have given our chairs nicknames that play on FFA and school history. We have seen that giving our committee chairs nicknames has piqued students' interest who might shy away from the term "committee chair ." Our chairs are as follows, "Rascal" - Growing Leaders Chair, "Watchdog" - Building Communities Chair, and "Rustic"- Strengthening Agriculture Chair. Our chairs serve as members of our executive committee but are not considered officers. This means that they attend leadership conferences and state conventions. They do attend our summer planning sessions but typically will not be there the entire time, attending just the parts that are relevant to them. They meet with the vice president throughout the year 6
“WHEN APPROPRIATELY UTILIZED, COMMITTEES ARE A WAY TO ALLOW MORE STUDENTS TO GET INVOLVED WITHIN YOUR CHAPTER AND ENSURE THAT YOU ARE MEETING ALL ASPECTS OF THE POA.” We do not have a full 15 committees, as this does not work for the size of our chapter. We combine some of these committees based on the workload and size of events. Example: "The Rustic" oversees the safety, recruitment/support group, and ag advocacy committees. They also co-lead the ag literacy committee with the reporter. When it comes to executing an event or activity, committees are more than welcome to ask officers for assistance. Still, they also can take the initiative and run the programs themselves.
to monitor progress and help throw around ideas about the events/activities that will best serve our members. They are required to help run our fall student/parent meeting and help with our banquet but are typically not required to lead our chapter meetings throughout the year. On the other hand, they are responsible for coordinating the events/activities that meet the needs of the POA. This differentiation of duties has had quite an impact on our chapter, and it allows our committees to be richer in their development, and chairs can focus on events and get their creative juices flowing.
Seeing these ideas helps, but how do we get students to participate on these committees? Again, this is where we put the power in the hands of our members. Each year, we explain the aspects of the POA and the committees our chapter offers. Students can express interest in specific committees or volunteer to fill in any gaps. All students will be assigned at least one committee, but the committees are fluid so that students can learn more about other committees. The principle is simple. If you can start empowering members early, they feel a sense of connection and are more likely to stay involved throughout their time in high school. Committees can be the lifeblood of your chapter if you let them. They empower our students and give them a sense of belonging and purpose. Find ways to tailor your committees/programs to fit your chapter's needs. Have fun with them and get creative. 7
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
MICHELLE SAMMON DAWSON HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 16 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach ag because I have seen first-hand time and time again what difference ag teachers can make in students' lives. My Dad taught ag for 37 years, I have an older brother who is an ag teacher, and I was fortunate to have had a teaching partner who dedicated 48 years to this profession. Each of these individuals, and so many other men and women, in this career, have provided an amazing example for the type of teacher I continue to aspire to be. Like them, I want to give my students the tools they need to find success beyond high school regardless of what career path they take.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY AS A TEACHER? There have been countless “bloopers” and entertaining moments from classes over the years. But in all seriousness, one of my favorite memories comes from a very simple lesson I teach every year in my professional communications and ag business courses. In each of these classes, I do a careers unit in which we cover resumes, cover letters, job applications, etc. However, my favorite part is when I put them through a one-on-one job interview... they hate it. Most students get strangely nervous and awkward; some try to turn it into a joke, others get competitive. As simple and crazy as this may sound, it is the activity most former students thank me for. Some have even come back to me after high school to look over their resumes or help them fill out their first job applications. Regardless of how serious they take the activity, the value of the lesson always seems to sink in eventually.
FINANCIAL LITERACY TIPS FROM YOUR VATAT CREDIT UNION BY: M E R E D I T H H A R T M A N N L O A N O F F I C E R , V ATAT C R E D I T U N I O N
hat is financial literacy, and why is it important? According to Experian. com, financial literacy is the confident understanding of concepts including saving, investing, and debt, leading to an overall sense of financial well-being and self-trust. Many Americans are not familiar with financial literacy and why it matters to them. The basics are creating a budget, understanding basic concepts of credit cards, and having a plan for the future. It is the foundation of your relationship with money and will be something that you are constantly working on to improve. Unfortunately, financial literacy and money matters are often not taught in a classroom or part of the lesson plans for students. This leads to many young people learning about money from their friends, family members, Google, and social me-
dia. Which is not always a bad thing but does not provide a foundation for a long-term understanding of money and how much it can impact your future. Here are a few ways to improve your financial literacy and well-being:
Make a list of all your expenses, so you have a visual of your monthly breakdown
Set a goal of what you would like to save and then pay yourself – you are going to be a part of your monthly budget
Always review your credit reports to ensure they are accurate and promptly report any errors. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for more information on pulling your credit from the three major bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. This is a free service and does not impact your credit. Be wary of sites that charge a fee.
PAY YOUR BILLS
Set your accounts to debit your minimum monthly payments automatically, so you are not late on your payments. Missing a $40 minimum payment on a credit card will impact your credit score and cause it to lower. I know how busy you are at show season and all year, so this is the best way to ensure you are not “losing credit” over an avoidable mistake. 10
are so excited to be able to offer our members better technology, debit cards, and other services soon. Until then, please take advantage of the membership with the credit union as we are a direct resource to you as a member of the Agricultural Teachers Association of Texas.
The ATAT conference is right around the corner, and we are ready to meet with each of you to see what we can offer you and show why you should be an active part of our membership. We can see how we can save you money, improve your financial well-being and get you moving toward financial freedom. We will have a financial workshop titled “Finance 101” followed by our annual meeting on Wednesday, July 27th. Be looking for more information on that as we will be going over financial literacy, money matters, and other benefits to you as a member. You can always reach out to us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), visit our website (www.vatatcu.org), or call us 512472-3258 for more information or any other information questions that you might have. Griselda Spencer (CEO) and I look forward to meeting you soon!
Look at your budget and see the best way to combat high balances and interest rates. When members apply for a loan, we always look at the whole picture and try to see how we can be of benefit to the member and help them come out ahead. Opt in to any employer-provided investments and 401(k) plans, open individual IRAs & meet with a financial planner to maximize your investment in your future Several resources are available to you within your local community, such as non-profit organizations, chambers, and local churches that provide financial education. However, as a benefit of being a member of the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, you are eligible to join the VATAT Credit Union. I understand it is easy to walk into your local credit union and do business with them. However, when you choose to do business with our credit union, you choose to support the livelihood of this organization created for you by your fellow teachers. The VATAT Credit Union is moving in a progressive direction, and we
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pleting a job application. I spend a little bit of time explaining the different styles of resumes and in which situations each may be more appropriate. Once they have the paperwork done, we begin discussing interviews. First, we talk about interview preparation, including ensuring you know where the interview will take place and how long it will take you to get there so as not to be late. It is also important to do a little research into the company, the position, and the interviewer in order to be prepared for questions. This will also allow the student to consider questions they may have for the interviewer. I show pictures of people in different outfits, and we talk about what is ok and what is definitely not appropriate to wear to an interview. We discuss how this may differ depending on the type
eaching students how to complete job applications and perform job interviews is one lesson no one could possibly argue the practicality. We, as ag teachers, work every day to prepare kids for the next step. We are not teaching to an end-of-the-course exam; we teach them skills they can use after all the exams have ended. When I began teaching, I took for granted that “someone else” was teaching students the basic lessons of writing resumes and cover letters, filling out job applications, and interviewing for a job. I quickly realized that, as a vocational instructor, that person should be me. I begin the lesson by teaching students how to write a proper cover letter and resume and the dos and don’ts of com12
only be “hiring” one student for “the job” before we begin. The competitive students will take it very seriously and try their hardest. Some will try to make it a joke regardless of their grade. I take notes on their responses, posture, eye contact, etc. For fun, I always have a random bonus. For example, I may lay something down by their chair or drop something in front of them to see if they take the initiative to pick it up. I ask eight questions, for which I score their responses 1-10, and for the remaining 20 points, I score their posture and the questions they have prepared for me as the interviewer. When done, I tell the class who “got the job,” and we go over the highs and lows of the interviews. Without saying names, I talk about some of the good and bad moments so they understand what not to do when it is time for an actual interview. We finish by discussing proper interview follow-up procedures.
“WE ARE NOT TEACHING TO AN END-OF-THE-COURSE EXAM; WE TEACH THEM SKILLS THEY CAN USE AFTER ALL THE EXAMS HAVE ENDED.” of job for which one is interviewing. Students are then ready to start interviewing. To begin, I put students into pairs and give each team an interviewing scenario (i.e., “a new restaurant is opening in town, and they are hiring wait staff,” “the lead singer of your band needs to be replaced,” or “our high school needs a new teacher,” etc.). One student is the interviewer, the other the interviewee. They must work together to prepare a skit in which they ask and answer a minimum number of questions, and the interviewee must have questions prepared for the interviewer. They perform these skits in front of the class and, when done, we discuss as a class what each person did right and wrong during the interview. This could include good or poor posture, response to questions, eye contact, handshake, etc. As the class goes on, they tend to (and should) start to improve.
“DO NOT TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT “SOMEONE ELSE” IS TEACHING THEM THESE LESSONS, AS IT IS A SKILL STUDENTS WILL NEED REGARDLESS OF WHAT PATH THEY TAKE BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL.”
The next step is a one-on-one interview with me to finish the interview process. I do not generally think my students are scared of me, but putting them in a situation where they have to shake my hand, look me in the eye, and answer questions seems to unnerve most of them. This is why I feel this lesson is so important. In my eyes, it is so much better for them to have this “unnerving” moment for the first time in my classroom where the only thing at stake is their grade than in an actual job interview situation with their future employment at risk. I tell students I will
This is certainly not a novel idea, and I am not doing anything special that most other CTE teachers are not doing; in fact, others probably have even better methods of doing so. I cannot stress enough, however, the importance of teaching this skill to ALL of your students if you are not doing so already. I have had the most unlikely of students come back to me months, even years, after taking my class asking for help filling out job applications or polishing their resumes. Do not take for granted that “someone else” is teaching them these lessons, as it is a skill students will need regardless of what path they take beyond high school, even if they do not take it seriously at the moment.
“I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH, HOWEVER, THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING THIS SKILL TO ALL OF YOUR STUDENTS.” 13
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AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
MARK JARZOMBEK FLORESVILLE HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 23 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I love seeing students involved with agriculture. It doesn't matter if the student is leading a heifer across a show ring or a student driving a tractor and baling hay; I enjoy seeing young people in the agriculture industry. Young people are our future, and knowing they are helping us get ready for the future is important.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY AS A TEACHER? One of my favorites was an animal science lab we did several years ago where my students dissected cow hearts. Having the students see firsthand the different parts that we had covered in class was very fulfilling.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY AS A TEACHER? There are so many to choose from. I think my favorite would be in 2014 when Floresville FFA won its first state contest in the Public Relations LDE. That remains a day and a memory that I will never forget!
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? There are just too many uneducated people when it comes to agriculture today. I hear so many incorrect comments about agriculture that I strongly feel can be corrected with good ag education.
WORK LIFE DISCUSSING PROGRAMMATIC BALANCE IN THE AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION CAREER FIELD
s we continue the discussion on work/life balance, it is important to recognize that this balance between time spent at home and at work is largely up to the individual. We recognize there are outside influences and requirements you experience from your schools; however, it is only you who really knows if there is a problem and only you who can figure out how to fix it. The good news is that teachers have the tools necessary to overcome this challenge by using the experiential learning cycle referenced in part one of this series.
LOOP PART II
B Y : D R . M A G G I E R . P. S A L E M DR. KEITH J. FROST DR. WILLIAM L. DOSS T E X A S A & M U N I V E R S I T Y- C O M M E R C E
Once again, consider the three-circle model and how you balance classroom instruction, FFA, and SAE. Would your circles add up to more than 100%? For many of us, this is the case when we work 55+ hours a week. When things calm down a bit this summer, consider the activities you do in each of the three circles. Ask yourself, how many students are benefiting from each of those activities? What happens if I don’t do one or two of those activities next year? We can’t do everything, so maybe it is best to pick most beneficial activities for as many students as possible and scale back in other areas. It’s like getting the best bang for your buck. Time is money.
First, we must recognize that there is no perfect work/life balance. The correct balance is different for each individual and will fluctuate over time. This balance becomes easier to manage for you to love what you do. We all have a passion for educating youth and the future of agriculture. However, like in the movie Top Gun, some of us have lost that that lovin' feelin'. This loss of passion can be a lack of time available to spend at home or with family, burnout, or just plain exhaustion. Sometimes we have to take time and reflect and ask ourselves, what is causing my work/life imbalance? Can it be changed?
“WE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS NO PERFECT WORK/ LIFE BALANCE. THE CORRECT BALANCE IS DIFFERENT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL AND WILL FLUCTUATE OVER TIME.” 16
Often, work/life balance challenges tend to take the back burner, all while the problem keeps getting worse, eventually boiling over. Ag teachers are great problem solvers, especially when it comes to being competitive with teams or show projects. That same problem-solving ability can and should be used on yourself to improve work/life balance. The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. We must learn to recognize the symptoms of burnout, for starters. Once you know you are experiencing it, reflect. What is the cause? How can I adjust? You might even talk to your teaching partners for help with the workload. Ask other seasoned ag teachers how they dealt with burnout. Chances are they had that problem too and overcame it.
“OFTEN, WORK/LIFE BALANCE CHALLENGES TEND TO TAKE THE BACK BURNER, ALL WHILE THE PROBLEM KEEPS GETTING WORSE, EVENTUALLY BOILING OVER.” FIND SHORT PERIODS OF TIME TO UNPLUG DURING THE DAY (WORK) Go to the greenhouse and water plants where it is quiet, sweep the shop, walk the barn, and get out of the classroom. Try to get “horizon” or “panoramic” views a couple of times throughout the day. Similar to the light studies influencing sleep, strong work shows that continued close work (papers, screens, rooms) increases stress levels and fight/flight responses. Just getting outside and getting 10 minutes of the horizon, sky, or panoramic views where your eyes can relax significantly reduce these effects.
There are some good recommendations for dealing with work/life balance and burnout. Here are some of the recommendations we found and how they apply to agricultural education teachers.
START WITH THE BASICS (LIFE) HAVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
SCHEDULE PERSONAL TIME AND FAMILY TIME (LIFE)
Eat Well - avoiding processed foods and minimizing sugar and caffeine as best you can
Have a “planning meeting” with yourself once a week to better handle what you have coming up. Stick to the schedule as best you can.
Sleep well - Do you have a sleep routine or practice sleep hygiene? Keeping your evening pattern similar is very helpful. Additionally, new research shows that exposing yourself to a source of blue/yellow contrast of light in the morning and not using overhead lights in the evening in softer (reddish or yellow hues) help you sleep better. Imagine that; science has proven that mimicking sunrises and sunsets help sleep.
WORK ON TIME MANAGEMENT (WORK)
Have exercise routines - A 20 minute walk at a light pace does wonders in many-body systems, including sleep and digestion/nutrition.
Reflect on what can be done to improve in this area at work? What is taking up all of your time? For areas where this can be changed,
We schedule our work, but what about our home life? Be intentional about how and what you do with your family. Try not to do school work at home or, at the very least, schedule downtime. Without rest, we burn out.
and continue practicing the same way, the problem will not disappear. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, we discussed in our last offering, we will be stuck doing what we’ve always done unless we intentionally reflect and then act by changing what and how we do all the things we do.
how can you change this? We often live in a reactive mode where we answer huge volumes of questions because (for the most part) the only places the information exists are in our heads. It takes a lot of front-loaded work, but if you can, create binders of schedules, needs, and forms for everything in your chapter’s POA, so people have access to it. This is an excellent project for officer teams.
When you overcome work/life balance issues, you improve your self-efficacy, reduce stress, and are happier. If you are struggling with work/life balance or burnout, I hope you can take a little time off like Maverick in Top Gun, reflect with some time off this summer, then get back up in the air and keep flying. For the more seasoned teachers out there that have overcome this challenge, consider helping the younger teachers. After all, they are the future of this profession, and you may save a career.
Reflect during the summer on how to do things more efficiently and plan those changes for the next school year.
CUT TIES WITH WORK (LIFE) Every now and then, completely remove yourself from work for a few days. Take a vacation with your family.
A saying often shared online in a meme typically comes in the form of “Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one” or “If you want different results, you need first to do things differently.” In our profession, it’s horribly difficult to think about, plan for, or implement changes. Our schedules never seem to slow down, and the heart of an ag teacher has, at its core, the foundation of putting the needs of others first. Unfortunately, to be of service to others, one must be fit to serve.
Find what recharges your batteries or brings you joy. Schedule these activities well in advance and do not reschedule for work. Do not answer work emails during this time or take calls.
ALLOW FAMILY TO COME WITH YOU TO WORK WHEN POSSIBLE (BALANCE) Check with your administration, but take family to shows or let them visit for a day when you can.
Are you tired? Frustrated? Burned out? How fit are you to serve on a scale of 0-100?
While some of these recommendations can be cliche, some of them may work for you. Referring back to the experiential learning cycle, after you reflect, you must think, then make a plan, and try it out, continuing the cycle over again. If we never stop and INTENTIONALLY make adjustments to help with our work/life balance, the problem will not change. Just like training a team, if you see a problem
Are you ready to make some changes? In our next installment, we will look at what we do and why we do it by asking, “who is driving the bus?”
Tea che rs A s
Teach Ag Tips YOUR SUMMER BREAK TO DO LIST
TASKS YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL THANK YOU FOR BY: MICHELLE VASBINDER, RUDDER
Refect - Take a little time to reflect on this past school year. List out what went right, what went wrong, and what would make your life easier. This gives you an action item list you can tend to throughout summer. Nothing changes or improves without a little reflection. Curriculum Building - I am sure the last thing you want to think about is lesson plans! However, now is the time to set your school life up. It is an amazing feeling to have your lessons in order so in August you walk in that door prepared. We know how many things pop up in a single school day, and by having your classroom plans set you will eliminate a magnitude of stress. Start by editing your scope and sequence, listing out lessons that need to be added to and built. Take a few days to reach out to teachers at neighboring schools and collaborate on your lessons. The best planning I have ever done was when surrounded by my neighboring College Station gals. Professional Development Planning - Think about what kind of professional development you can use. Don’t wait until ATAT Conference to decide. Plan ahead! My first few years of teaching I missed out on awesome professional development opportunities I could have greatly used because I simply didn't realize I needed it. Invest in yourself throughout the summer, not just one week of it. Rest - You made it! Though our jobs really never end, June should be a month of rest and relaxation. Take some time for yourself to do whatever rejuvenates you. Burnout is real, but can be prevented. Recharge your batteries so come August you are not only rested and ready, but pumped about the new school year. I hope you spend time resting and recharging, and I hope this helps you prepare for another year in the life of an ag teacher. 19
JULY 25-19, 2022
YOUR INVITED NEW AG TEACHERS
TO THE ATAT NEW TEACHER WELCOME RECEPTION
MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022 6:00 P.M. OMNI CORPUS CHRISTI HOTEL
NEW TEACHER RECEPTION 20
20 2 2
INDUCTEES The Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Hall of Fame exists to recognize and honor agricultural science teachers whose careers, achievements, and contributions stand exemplary. Inductees are known as well-rounded professionals that have proven their success with FFA activities, in the classroom, as well as community involvement. They have proven their desire to provide students with opportunities for premier leadership, personal growth and career success over a significant period of time.
RICKY LYNN BURGESS
JOE RAY BURKETT
RAY SULLIVAN CARSON
JOSE "JOE" CORREA
LARRY JOHN FORD
W.W. BILL GREGORY
S. CRAIG HARDIN
WAYNE MCRAE HUNT
RONALD H. JOHNSON
JOE SIDNEY LONG
ROBERT "BOBBY" MCCONATHY
RAYMOND L. POLK
OJ "CORKY" RAGLAND
RICHARD LEE SMITH
2021-2022 CHAPTER VISIT HIGHLIGHTS AREA I - DUMAS FFA
AREA II - EASTLAKE FFA
“I loved visiting Dumas FFA because of how welcoming and down to ear th they were. We were blessed to present work shops to the students and then spend time with them and play a few games at a pizza par ty the chapter hosted. We were able to rekindle old friendships and build new ones that will last a lifetime!” - Grady McAlister
"Towards the end of our first semester, Grady and I visited Eastlake FFA. The chapter officers and their parents greeted us with hospitality and joy. They actively par ticipated in the work shop and were eager to get more involved. I was thoroughly impressed with their desire to grow as FFA members and individuals. I can't wait to see the amazing things they achieve in the future!" - Delaney Brown
AREA III - FRIENDSWOOD FFA
AREA IV - CLYDE FFA
"Friendswood FFA was our ver y last chapter for Area III travel. My favorite memor y was when Ember and Emily, and I were dancing to church clap, and a few members joined in on the fun. That excitement carried throughout the rest of the time we spent there. The passion each member had for agriculture and FFA was evident, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them." - Gracey Leopold
“During fall travel, we had the wonder ful oppor tunity to visit the Clyde FFA chapter, where we were greeted with smiling faces and thoughtful minds. Each and ever y student was eager to learn how to make a positive difference in their school, community, and world. I am so excited to see how Clyde FFA continues to leave their impact inside and outside the jacket.” - Ryan Hess
AREA V - GUNTER FFA
AREA VI - MILLER GROVE FFA
“This past fall, we had the oppor tunity to visit my dear friends of Gunter FFA. They may be small in size; however, their passion for leadership, success, and people is huge! Members had the chance to tell their stories and connect our facilitation with their ever yday lives and how they can impact their chapter, school, and community." - Gunnar Griggs-Bell
“The members of Oglesby FFA are some of the most genuine and involved individuals that I have encountered. The advisor has a continuously growing passion for her students, and they are doing incredible work revamping their program. The chapter is unified and suppor ts their fellow members and the new growth.” - Kadyn Collins
AREA VII - FLORESVILLE FFA “Floresville FFA gave us a breathtaking welcome! They also gave us the incredible oppor tunity to share our mutual passions and learn about the many chapter members that have such a monumental drive for this organization! I felt at home with the many moments of laughter, spirit, and drive to make a difference within our world. I am ecstatic to watch Floresville FFA and its members continue to redefine success and what community truly means.” - Ember Reyes
AREA VIII - OGLESBY FFA “The members of Oglesby FFA are some of the most genuine and involved individuals that I have encountered. The advisor has a continuously growing passion for her students, and they are doing incredible work revamping their program. The chapter is unified and suppor ts their fellow members and the new growth.” - Kadyn Collins
AREA IX - NORMANGEE FFA
AREA X - KARNES CITY FFA
"The highlight of Area IX travel was our visit to Normangee FFA. From our arrival at Mrs. Schroeder's house with a surprise bir thday par ty waiting for Ember, to the massive breakfast, one-of-a-kind gift basket, and a group of students like no other, Normangee felt as much like home as a chapter possibly could in such a shor t time!" - Brady Neuman
“During our second week of Area X travel, we had the honor of visiting the phenomenal chapter of Karnes City FFA. The members welcomed us with open arms and truly made the visit outstanding. The chapter officer team was eager to ser ve their members and assist with activities throughout our time. We could tell this chapter was a close-knit group of members and that the community truly suppor ted them.” - Emily Dreyer
AREA XI - ANDERSON-SHIRO FFA
AREA XII - STONY POINT FFA
“When visiting the Anderson-Shiro FFA chapter, we got to talk to the members about FFA, their future plans, college, and careers. As a bonus, we spent some time with their chapter officers and played with an adorable puppy. I cannot wait to see the awesome things this chapter accomplishes.” - Allison Gallaher
“The members of Stony Point FFA blew me away. In ever y person that I got to speak with, I could see the genuine passion for the FFA. After our presentation, we got to hang out and eat Chick-Fil-A with some of the members, and that’s a memor y I’ll never forget. Stony Point FFA, thank you for your kindness, hospitality, and passion!” - Cade Conrad
AN EARLY CAREER PERSPECTIVE AN AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS MENTOR PROGRAM INTERVIEW M E N T E E : M I C H A E L H A N S O N , G O R D 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 M E N T O R : M I K E J A C K S O N , R E T I R E D 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
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TEACH AG? I knew that I always wanted to be an educator. When I was little, I wanted to be a coach. Once I got into high school and took my first agriculture class, my outlook on my future changed. I was so impressed with the practical lessons that we were learning in agriculture and FFA. Lessons that not only apply to any agriculture job but to any walk of life. Having traveled across the country and this great state through Bellevue FFA, I knew that I wanted to have future generations learn the key principles of agriculture and have positive experiences as I did. The only way to ensure that would happen would be to teach ag myself.
“LESSONS THAT NOT ONLY APPLY TO ANY AGRICULTURE JOB BUT TO ANY WALK OF LIFE.” 23
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Anytime that I hear this question, I am reminded of a quote, “without agriculture tomorrow doesn’t happen.” Not only does that apply to the work of production agriculture but to the advocacy of agriculture. Not everyone that walks into my classroom is going to become a direct producer, but if they walk out of my classroom realizing the importance that agriculture has to them, their family, community, state, country, and the world, then at least they will have a greater and closer appreciation for where their food comes from. The great thing about ag education is that our lessons go beyond the four walls of the classroom. The lessons that we are teaching will carry with our students for the rest of their lives.
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
RALPH STOKLEY WALLER HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 17 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I love working with the youth and being a part of the future of agriculture. Being an agriculture teacher, not only do I get the opportunity to teach inside the classroom, but also with my teams and helping with projects. I hope to help them build character, and they learn you only get out what you put in. Life isn't always fair, but the sky is the limit if you work hard and set goals for yourself.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY AS A TEACHER? I am not sure if there is just one favorite memory, but teaching agriculture mechanics was most rewarding. Even though I no longer teach that course, I enjoyed watching students come up with blueprints for a project, and doubt themselves in the beginning, but the project comes together in the end. It's rewarding to see the accomplishment and joy on their faces once they realize what they can do; it is truly priceless.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY AS A TEACHER? I have been honored to teach and coach several great students over the years, ranging from state officer level to students not knowing the difference between animal species. To see them all succeed, and win banners at the state level, are memories I will cherish. However, moving back home to teach agriculture, where it all started for me, and being able to coach the first national qualifying livestock judging team Waller FFA has ever had is the greatest memory so far.
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FFA MEMBER DONATES $30,500 TO ST. JUDE’S CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
A T E X A S F FA N E W S A R T I C L E
oerne Champion FFA member Maddie Barber’s Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) project helped provide the opportunity to donate thousands of dollars to St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital back in January. Barber’s SAE consisted of two breeding gilts and one market barrow this past year. As her lot came to the auction floor, the Kendall County Junior Livestock Show auctioneer announced she would be donating all money raised that day to St. Jude’s. That triggered dozens of audience members to raise their hands to contribute to her cause. “All the cards went up once they read my little note,” said Barber. “My jaw dropped; I just looked at my mom and said, ‘is this actually happening?’” In the end, Barber walked away with $30,500, all of which would be donated. When asked why, the high school junior simply stated, “They saved my life.”
at the hospital. Barber said she received endless support during her time at St. Jude, and she just wanted to give back. “I probably wouldn't be sitting here today if it wasn't for them,” said Barber. “All of the nurses, doctors and specialists, they became like family to me.” What is even better news, Barber has been cancer-free since 2018! Barber said the donation wouldn’t be possible without her family, friends, community, and agriculture teachers.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW CHECK OUT THE TEXAS FFA FOUNDATION’S PODCAST GROWING OUR FUTURE
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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
IN OUR COMMUNITY BY: T R AY LO R L E N Z P R E S I D E N T O F T H 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 A N D A N G L E T 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
s ag teachers, we have many tasks in front of us each year. We are hired to teach agriculture science first and act as FFA advisors to supplement classroom instruction. We are all involved in production agriculture, with much of what we teach around the subject. But today, less than 1.3 percent of careers in agriculture are found in production agriculture.
I know I have many students who desire to be a farmer or ranchers, but very few do it full time, and many do go on to have a small herd at some point. One of my community's larger rice farmers and ranchers is a former student. He now has two sons who are helping on the family farm. The two sons are also very active in showing heifers, goats, and sheep. I enjoy visiting with him about the new technologies they use to raise and harvest their product. Water has become a huge issue in Texas, and rice farming uses a lot of water. One of his big priorities is to conserve water. He has used laser leveling fields and meters on the water system to monitor water use. It also is part of the new water contracts some canal systems have rice farmers use. He also farms some seed rice.
Production agriculture in each of our communities looks very different. For some, it is a thousand-acre corn farm; for others, it is a hog at the school farm being raised for a school show. Both end up feeding people on this planet. We all have a different perspective of how it looks. We can use both as a great tool to help teach our students. I feel sometimes I lose that perspective when teaching class. Most everything I teach somehow relates back to production agriculture in most of my classes. I hope we remember this with our livestock projects as we prepare them for their terminal shows. These animals will end up on someone's plate, and we need to make sure that the consumer has a safe product and one that they will want to come back and consume more of.
Seed rice has become a crop that many farmers are turning to. It reduces the financial risk for some because you are guaranteed payment for the seed rice. I like watching them pollinate the seed rice. They use small helicopters to fly over the rice to create wind to pollinate the male and female strips of seeds. Once the rice is mature, they harvest with these smaller combines and gather
“WE ARE ALL INVOLVED IN PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE, WITH MUCH OF WHAT WE TEACH AROUND THE SUBJECT.”
With such a small number of careers in production agriculture, it is easy to remember the former students that now make their living farming and ranching. 28
“THIS SUMMER, I HOPE YOU CAN SPEND SOME TIME RECHARGING, REGROUPING, AND REFLECTING ON THIS PAST SCHOOL YEAR.” the narrow seed strips. These are the male seeds.
A N E XC E R P T F R O M A PA S T 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
We are all experiencing the taking over of land from production agriculture. In my county and neighboring county, houses are being built. Many of these homes are sitting on what once was a corn, cotton, or rice field. Another huge land takeover is from solar panels. There are thousands of acres of land that once was productive farmland that now has solar panels and electric transformers. I wouldn't say I like seeing all of the land that once produced food and fiber be converted to these different uses.
THINKING OF THE
With all of these changes, it will be our job as educators to inspire these young people to go out and find new ways to feed our population. I have enjoyed judging public speaking the last few years and hearing the new ideas out there trying to raise food. There are many innovative ideas of utilizing small spaces to grow crops. It is encouraging to listen to young people that are just as concerned about production agriculture as I am. Many of these speech topics have come from agriculture teachers creating interest from their lessons discussing production agriculture. Wendell Berry said it very well, "To be interested in food but not in food production is absurd."
THE DOINGS AND HAPPENINGS IN YOUR ASSOCIATION March 1984 "This association was organized in November 1940. November 1984 will complete 44 years of successful operation. The association moved to Austin and set up a full-time office in 1952. Through a dedicated membership, effective leadership, and wise counsel, the association has enjoyed an effective role in promoting a strong, accountable Vocational Ag/FFA and Young and Adult Farmer program for 40 years.”
I hope you have had a great spring semester and accomplished everything you set out to accomplish. I look forward to seeing each of you this summer as we meet up at the FFA convention and teacher's conference. This summer, I hope you can spend some time recharging, regrouping, and reflecting on this past school year. 29
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AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT KARRIE COX
CAYUGA HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 27 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach ag because every day is different, every trip is different, and every competition is different. I love kids, animals, and traveling, and this job combines it all. I can't imagine doing anything else, and I am so very thankful for all the opportunities I have been given to maybe touch even one kid's life.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY AS A TEACHER? How in the world do you pick this? I just love it when the light bulb comes on for a kid or when you teach them something that they have never seen or heard about. Or maybe when they do something they didn't know they could do or ever even tried and come back the next day ready to do it again.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY AS A TEACHER? The National Convention trip in 2016 was a great deal of fun. Those kids held a special place in my heart, and that trip is one I won't ever forget. That entire year was memorable.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Ag education is so important because kids are given so many opportunities through this program. The scholarship money alone is reason enough to want to join and get active, but the learning, experiences, and opportunities are endless. I don't believe anything else comes close or compares to what is being done in and outside the classroom through FFA and agriculture education. I'm very proud to be part of it. 31
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
WHAT ROLE DOES YOUR DEPARTMENT PLAY IN
YOUR COMMUNITY OF PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE? 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
mer is a great time to analyze what jobs are present in your community and how you can prepare students to best fill those needs. Extension can be helpful to connect you with producers and processors in your area. If you don't already have a great working relationship, it can be beneficial to begin building one.
f you could look across the state, no two agriculture departments are the same. Each town, school, and community has different priorities for making opportunities available to students in agricultural science programs. Whether you are starting your teaching career or continuing an established ag department, you must look at what your community, administration, parents, and students desire to be involved in.
Involving local production agriculture will look different in every community, but it is something every ag teacher should consider. Look for jobs in your local community supporting services to production agriculture, as students are often not aware of or familiar with these career opportunities. By welcoming these experiences into your classroom, students will better understand the application of principles taught in class. Anyone currently involved in agriculture understands the importance of sharing their role in local economies and the value of promoting agriculture in our world today.
According to the USDA ERS, in 2020, 19.7 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors - 10.3 percent of total U.S. employment. Direct on-farm employment accounted for about 2.6 million of these jobs or 1.4 percent of U.S. employment. Furthermore, "Employment in agriculture - and food-related industries supported another 17.1 million jobs. Of this, food service, eating and drinking places accounted for the largest share—10.5 million jobs—and food/beverage stores supported 3.3 million jobs. The remaining agriculture-related industries together added another 3.3 million jobs."
Ultimately, each of your programs provides a great opportunity for students to develop and gain knowledge about the broad range of agriculture and its opportunities. I hope you continue to evaluate each of your programs of study to make sure that whatever you are offering to your students provides the opportunities to be prepared for whatever part of agriculture your school chooses to offer.
As agricultural science teachers serving our schools' career and technology side, you may have to justify how your program fits in your community. Luckily, Les Hudson and TEA have helped provide useful statistics to justify the importance of career and technology education.
Your work to prepare our students for the future goes far beyond the basics of production agriculture. Keep up the great work in guiding your students toward the future of agriculture.
We must also consider the support jobs agriculture needs, including marketing, processing, fabrication, and more. Sum32
TO THE TEXAS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION FAMILY SPRING 2022 STUDENT TEACHERS
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T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N
IN THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE BY: J E N N I F E R JACK S O N 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
me crazy, but I consider us all fortunate to be trusted with the incredible job of educating students about agriculture and how to contribute and advocate for our industry.
n 2020, 19.7 million jobs were related to the agriculture and food sector, and agriculture contributed $1.055 trillion to the U.S. GDP. That same year, U.S. exports of agricultural products were valued at over 135 billion dollars, growing to 164 billion in 2021. The average farm in the United States can feed 166 people annually. Since our world's population is projected to increase by 2.2 million, we are challenged with finding a way to feed the world with vastly fewer resources.
The good news is there's so much information to share. It never has to be dull! Beyond teaching about the industry, we also get to instill in students: hard work, morals and values, leadership skills, soft skills, and so many other valuable qualities like self-assurance, respect, the significance of being a lifelong learner, and the value of giving back to your community.
I say all this to remind us all that the job we do is significant. This year has offered me a great deal of perspective. I've always had a deep appreciation for agriculture and agricultural education, but serving in this role has made me vastly appreciate the kind of people involved in the industry and those who support it. I could go on and on about the traditions, the value of hard work (whether in a field or an office), the manners, the call to love thy neighbor, etc. I believe production agriculture isn't just a respectable industry necessary for feeding a world; it is the industry I hope we all cling to in a world that is changing and moving further and further away from the values upon which this organization was founded.
So much of our jobs were laid out for us by those who came before us. We have these guiding principles like the mission statement, the motto, and The FFA Creed, which eloquently represents everything we stand for.
“I BELIEVE PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE ISN'T JUST A RESPECTABLE INDUSTRY NECESSARY FOR FEEDING A WORLD; IT IS THE INDUSTRY I HOPE WE ALL CLING TO IN A WORLD THAT IS CHANGING AND MOVING FURTHER AND FURTHER AWAY FROM THE VALUES UPON WHICH THIS ORGANIZATION WAS FOUNDED.”
Thirty years ago, when most people didn't question the significance of agriculture, and social media didn't exist, I'm not sure we had to fight so hard to protect the industry we all hold so near and dear to our hearts. We are tasked with the honor of educating today's youth about this incredible industry that feeds the world. Call 36
"IN THE PROMISE OF BETTER DAYS THROUGH BETTER WAYS"
“I CONSIDER US ALL FORTUNATE TO BE TRUSTED WITH THE INCREDIBLE JOB OF EDUCATING STUDENTS ABOUT AGRICULTURE AND HOW TO CONTRIBUTE AND ADVOCATE FOR OUR INDUSTRY.”
How blessed are we to live in a time of instant gratification, or are we? Where phones tell us how to get to our destinations and computers enable instantaneous communication whether you're home or not. Our contributions and accomplishments look much different than past generations. Thanks to technological advances, what once took staring at the wrong end of a mule for three days in the past takes us a few hours. We have these luxuries because someone who came before us poured blood, sweat, and tears into a task before finding a better way for us. Now it's our job to make sure we do the same for those who come after us.
re's a quote that explains the profession of teaching ag better than this. Ag teachers spend so much time assisting students in meeting their goals, being successful, earning awards and degrees, and preparing for their future careers. They do so quietly and ask for very little in return. When they leave this career, so many of them continue to serve. You see them at stock shows and conventions, and many of our area coordinator roles are filled by these incredible humans who showed us the ropes and challenged us to be better and hopefully leave the sort of legacy they did.
"I BELIEVE THAT TO LIVE AND WORK ON A GOOD FARM, OR TO BE ENGAGED IN OTHER AGRICULTURAL PURSUITS, IS PLEASANT AS WELL AS CHALLENGING." We all know some days are challenging. Then we see a former student graduate from vet school, earn a scholarship they so desperately needed, or we see them lead in a way that may not have been possible four years ago. This is when it clicks that we are where we are supposed to be. We cannot squander the opportunity to impact students' lives while also developing advocates for agriculture.
"I BELIEVE THAT AMERICAN AGRICULTURE CAN AND WILL HOLD TRUE TO THE BEST TRADITIONS OF OUR NATIONAL LIFE AND THAT I CAN EXERT AN INFLUENCE IN MY HOME AND COMMUNITY WHICH WILL STAND SOLIDIFY FOR MY PART IN THAT INSPIRING TASK." We all know how significant the agriculture industry is, but do we challenge ourselves every day to make sure our students love, appreciate, and advocate for production agriculture and ag education? I challenge you to teach students about the rich history of our organization and instill in them an appreciation for the industry that feeds and clothes us all.
"IN LESS NEED FOR CHARITY AND MORE OF IT WHEN NEEDED." I recently visited with Daniel Hunter, Assistant Commissioner for the Texas Department of Agriculture. He told a group of students, "do all you can while you can and do all you can for those who can't." It was such a great message to share from someone who makes decisions every day which impact the Texas agriculture industry. This also reminds me of a quote by Zig Ziglar, "You can have everything you want in life if you will just help other people get what they want." When you think about it, I'm not sure the37
“I CHALLENGE YOU TO TEACH STUDENTS ABOUT THE RICH HISTORY OF OUR ORGANIZATION AND INSTILL IN THEM AN APPRECIATION FOR THE INDUSTRY THAT FEEDS AND CLOTHES US ALL.”
JULY 11-15, 2022 IN FORT WORTH, TX
MIKE ROWE WILL BE ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS LIVE AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF HIS KEYNOTE IN OUR SPECIAL TICKETED SESSION ON FRIDAY, JULY 15TH. Ask Mike Rowe
MIKE ROWE 38
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THE TEXAS FFA ASSOCIATION IS EXCITED TO PARTNER WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS OF TARRANT COUNTY AND OUR COMMUNITY OUR KIDS FOR OUR ANNUAL CONVENTION SERVICE PROJECT. CHAPTERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO BRING BACKPACKS FILLED WITH SCHOOL SUPPLIES TO THE TEXAS FFA CONVENTION ON JULY 11-15, 2022.
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T E X A S F FA F O U N DAT I O N
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problems. All of us should be sharing with students their future is just around the corner, and it is checkered with challenges and opportunities to lead.
ho's driving the bus? The consumer, every one of us. What do consumers spend money on? Usually, we spend money to solve a problem, something we need, or something we want. Is what we do in agricultural education / FFA meeting the needs of consumers? Are we meeting those needs today? More importantly, can we define our role and relevance in the future? Here's what we know and where we are heading, so let's solve some problems.
The financial website Investopedia reported in June 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an American household earning an average income of $78,635 before taxes in 2018 had average annual expenditures of $61,224. The average amount spent on specific consumer goods categories includes:
Individually and collectively, we all have a role in working together and defining synergies as we share the future. The role of the Texas FFA Foundation is development, including financial resources, professional networks, and opportunities for students and teachers to excel. Empowering and encouraging our stakeholders and meeting the needs or solving consumers' problems affords us the chance to be relevant.
Food at home: $4,464 Food away from home: $3,459 Apparel and services: $1,866 Vehicle purchases: $3,975 Gasoline, other fuels: $2,109 Personal care products and services: $768
Team Ag Ed has a role, too; education. The Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas can be a connector for our legislators to our agricultural science and STEM programs. Along with the leadership development of the FFA, ATAT encourages teachers to identify community needs look for innovative ways to ensure Texas policymakers know the important role of our educators and in meeting student needs and solving community problems. The Texas FFA Association can also encourage students to utilize key leadership skills like listening to consumer and community needs and finding ways to engage a broad group of stakeholders to solve hard
Entertainment: $3,226 It appears we like to eat. Food and hunger problems are real, and we get to help be part of the solution by developing students for leadership in agriculture. So, we
“ALL OF US SHOULD BE SHARING WITH STUDENTS THEIR FUTURE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, AND IT IS CHECKERED WITH CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES TO LEAD." 40
to "climate smart commodities." This requires conservation, better water utilization, cover crops, and rotational grazing, to name a few practices deployed in place of traditional monoculture systems or irrigation practices that farmers have used for decades.
“FOOD AND HUNGER PROBLEMS ARE REAL, AND WE GET TO HELP BE PART OF THE SOLUTION BY DEVELOPING STUDENTS FOR LEADERSHIP IN AGRICULTURE.”
The documentary When Food Becomes Scarce by Hartmut Idzko, challenges us to think about the possibilities of how we grow our food. We know conventional farming and ranching methods alone will not be able to meet the food challenges ahead or provide resources to an ever-growing urban population. What innovations can we employ, and what collaborations can we establish? Texas agricultural science education and the FFA are poised to provide solutions to some incredible challenges. We must be part of the dialogue as we collaborate on best practices.
know we are solving a problem today, but can we continue to solve a problem and be relevant in the future? Yes, but we have to pay attention and look for ways to meet those challenges. As humans, many of us tend to be focused on one thing, but we need to understand how our one thing fits into the bigger picture of everything more than ever. Our state, country, and world will need more food in about 30 years. Depending on which expert you reference, we will need between 60 – 80% more food than we have today.
Conventional farming and ranching have natural challenges, including drought, erosion, flood, and pests. As some of our production methods move indoors, automated farming overcomes the external environment, but this alone cannot meet the current food demands.
Additionally, more than 30% of food is wasted, making our food problems even more frustrating. Clearly, we will not have 60 – 80% more land, water, or natural resources to produce more food. This will be a challenge, and someone will create a solution. We have to look within and find reasonable answers to solve this problem. World population growth and urban sprawl will require the efficiency of space.
For example, Spread is the largest vertical farming operation in the world. Their CEO, Shinji Inada said, "Vertical farming will not replace conventional farming but rather assist in meeting world food needs." One of the most innovative and space-efficient ideas I reviewed was in Singapore. There is a building downtown the same height as the Berlin television tower (1,208' tall, a 100-floor building). It has a "green heart" with 350 different plant species growing in the center of the building providing better air and food for the 20,000 occupants.
By 2050, 2/3 of the world population will live in urban areas. In Texas, 2.2M acres of working lands were lost to development (urban sprawl) from 1997-2017. 1.2M acres of working lands were lost in the last five years, and Texas continues to grow in population and commerce.* Urban planners will have to consider how to provide water, waste, and food resources when planning for community operations.
What opportunities would exist in our state if homebuilders started working with
We are all in this together, and we have to be innovative and think of new ways of bringing food to market. In February, USDA offered up a billion dollars in federal funds to incentivize farmers to transition 41
“WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, AND WE HAVE TO BE INNOVATIVE AND THINK OF NEW WAYS OF BRINGING FOOD TO MARKET.”
urban planners to construct housing additions or neighborhoods that provide in-home or even close to the neighborhood vegetable, fruit, or animal protein production? What if collaboration with livestock producers could create sections to supply the animal protein needs while using waste for energy production, providing electricity to the neighborhood? Some homes will incorporate vertical farming and aquaculture to feed their family. Utilizing space and efficiency to meet a need and overcome a food challenge. Are these opportunities so far-fetched? No, they will be a reality in our state, country, and world. In some places, they already are. Are we prepared to capitalize, harness, and promote the incredible talent of our students, teachers, and stakeholders?
our students and teachers to community needs, not just where they are today but where they will be in the future. We've got a "green heart," sharp minds, and innovative ideas. We have to make sure everyone else knows what we have to offer. Let's grow the future. *Data is from Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and their Texas Land Trends report.
“THE TEXAS FFA FOUNDATION CONTINUES TO LOOK FOR SPONSORS, STAKEHOLDERS, SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, AND COLLABORATIONS WHO WILL DEVELOP OUR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS TODAY WHILE BECOMING LEADERS AND DYNAMIC INFLUENCERS TOMORROW.”
The Texas FFA Foundation continues to look for sponsors, stakeholders, scholarship opportunities, and collaborations who will develop our students and teachers to solve problems today while becoming leaders and dynamic influencers tomorrow. We are relevant, and Texas needs us. We must all be looking for ways to connect
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2022 SUMMER NEWSLETTER MESSAGE FROM YOUR LOAN OFFICER The weather is finally warming up and Summer is just around the corner. We are very excited to see you at the Ag Teachers conference in Corpus Christi in July! I wanted to reach out and let you know that I am committed to growing this credit union and serving each of the members financial needs as best as we can. We are here for you; we were created for you and by you long ago. I understand that it is easy to walk into your local credit union and do business with them, but when you CHOOSE to do business with our credit union you are CHOOSING to support the livelihood of this organization and supporting your fellow man. I believe in the services and loans that we offer and have a personal connection with many of our members. If I have not t a l k e d t o y o u b e f o r e o r y o u h a v e e v e r h a d a n y q u e s t i o n s o n ho w w e c a n b e o f b e n e f i t t o y o u t h e n please call or email me. The VATAT Credit union is moving in a progressive direction and we are so excited to be able to offer better technology, debit cards and services to you in the near future. Until then, please take advantage of membership with the credit union as we are a benefit to you as a member of the Agricultural Teachers Association of Texas.
Become a Credit Union Member Today!
If you are not already a member of the VATAT Credit Union, sign up today to take advantage of our services! Not only do we do personal, auto, RV, etc. loans, we also provide great CD
education workshops throughout the year! Call, email, or come by our booth at the ATAT Conference to get started!
Meredith Hartmann, VATAT Credit Union Loan Officer
Our annual meeting will be held on July 27th during the ATAT conference. Not only will we hold board member elections for the 3 positions opening up, we will also have a drawing for cash prizes, and will be hosting our 3rd financial workshop of the year! More information to come about the room and time! 43
Call (512) 472-3258 or email: email@example.com for more information!
LIFETIME I SIGNED UP [FOR COVERAGE] NEARLY 24 YEARS AGO. I WAS A NEWLY HIRED AG TEACHER RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE AND SIGNED UP AT THAT SUMMER'S AG TEACHER CONFERENCE. I REMAIN A CUSTOMER BECAUSE OF AG WORKERS' DEDICATION TO THEIR CUSTOMERS. - R. GRAVES
AUTO | HOME | FARM & RANCH | & MORE AGWORKERS.COM | 866-221-1513
T E X A S F FA A L U M N I A N D SUPPORTERS
U P D AT E S 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
“FARMING LOOKS MIGHTY EASY WHEN YOUR PLOW IS A PENCIL AND YOU'RE A THOUSAND MILES FROM THE CORNFIELD.” - DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."
resident Dwight D. Eisenhower grew up in the farm town of Abilene, Kansas. His administration had to deal with ag overproduction. And this, my friends, is where I end any and all political statements for this article.
Speaking of production, the Texas FFA Alumni produces almost $15,000 at their annual meeting and auction every year during the Texas FFA Convention. The auction is the Alumni's primary funding source for the awards, grants, and scholarships we bestow to worthy candidates. The auction traditionally has several items applicable to our industry. Thanks to McCoy's, we have had panels, t-posts, and other miscellaneous items. This year, McCoy's is working on another fun Dollar Donation Raffle again. Several of our fundraising vendors graciously donate items such as boots, camping equipment, and more. The Alumni Auction is for you. A big shout out to the Texas FFA Alumni Council for making the past few years' auctions successful.
In the 1930s, one American farmer produced enough agricultural product to feed four people; a family farm was literally meant to feed a family. Fast forward 40 years, and that number has risen from four people to 73. Fast forward through 80 years of agricultural and bioscience innovation, and in the 2010s, one farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people. I know this information is taught in our Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources class. However, this bit of knowledge was often a blip on a PowerPoint or test question on an exam. Have you considered how production agriculture has changed?
We are always looking for auction items. So if you would like to contribute or know of someone who would like to contribute, please feel free to contact me to secure it in the auction line-up.
To be considered a farm, at least in the eyes of the U.S. Census, a modern farmer must produce and sell at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products annually. Under this thought, we have several modern farmers amongst our FFA members. Perhaps we are seeing a change in agriculture as we know it? We know the farmers, ranchers, and agriculturalists will continue doing their job producing products for the United States and the world. Perhaps we will begin seeing more from "Urban Agriculture." Again, Ike said it best, "Farming looks mighty easy
“THE AUCTION IS THE ALUMNI'S PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE FOR THE AWARDS, GRANTS, AND SCHOLARSHIPS WE BESTOW TO WORTHY CANDIDATES.” 46
In addition, the deadline for the $500 grants and $500 scholarships was June 1st. I hope you did not let this chance pass you by.
Baskets need to be delivered to the FFA Alumni booth by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The contest ends on Wednesday when the exhibit hall closes, and the votes will be counted that evening.
ALUMNI CHAPTER BASKET CONTEST You are asked to fill a basket and enter your FFA alumni chapter in the Texas FFA Alumni Chapter Basket Contest. Each alumni chapter may enter one basket representative of their locality. It may have homemade items, goodies, jellies, items made by local companies or local ag departments, caps, etc. No alcohol.
A list of the items included in the basket should be clearly labeled on the basket. The basket can be of any creation.
“WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AUCTION ITEMS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE OR KNOW OF SOMEONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE, PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SECURE IT IN THE AUCTION LINE-UP.”
Baskets should be delivered to the FFA Alumni booth by noon on the Tuesday of the convention. The baskets will be judged on a penny ($.01) per vote. The basket with the most votes will receive the rotating "Basket Winner" plaque. The baskets become the property of the Texas FFA Alumni Association and will be sold in the auction on Thursday evening.
GROW YOUR FUTURE THROUGH TEXAS FARM BUREAU’S
Excellence in Agriculture Contest
YOUNG FARMER & RANCHER PROGRAM
Discussion Meet Contest
A program for young men and women between ages 18 and 35 who want to contribute to the future of agriculture
Young Farmer & Rancher Conference
Find out more today at
Fall Tour Sept. 9-11 in Amarillo
T E X A S Y O U N G FA R M E R S
U P D AT E S B Y: S A N D R A C H O AT E , T E X A S Y O U N G FA R M E R S E X E C U T I V E S E C R E TA R Y
The Texas Young Farmers Association is chock full of producers, and we are dedicated to supporting agriculture in any community. We want to invite your community to get involved!
he current economic climate of our country is going to force what we now call “hobby farming” to become more of a necessity than a hobby. Luckily, most of the people reading this article have a connection to agriculture and could, if necessary, feed their family “the pioneer way.” That would look different for each individual, but it is possible with knowledge and, more important, intellect.
Our community involvement usually begins with the local FFA chapter or chapters, but it does not have to stop there. Speaking of supporting local FFA Chapters and members, we would like to congratulate the 2022 Texas Young Farmers Scholarship winners:
That being said, the State Association of Young Farmers of Texas would like to invite you to join us as we explore agriculture across the great state of Texas. We are a diverse group, so anyone and everyone are welcome. We welcome your ideas and your input!
Andrew Tucker, Teague FFA and Kinley Cernosek,Gonzales FFA, are planning to attend Texas A&M University and major in Architectural Engineering and Agribusiness, respectively.
WHO ARE WE?
Seth Starnes, Liberty FFA, won the Billy Harrell Memorial Scholarship as he is attending Elite Welding Academy in Houston.
Many of our members identify as hobby agriculturists, meaning the majority of their income comes from revenue earned off the farm or ranch – whether that is current employment, retirement benefits, or mailbox checks.
Jordan Woods, Hamlin FFA, is attending Angelo State University to major in Agribusiness.
We have ranchers – cattle, sheep, goats and hogs. We have farmers – truck crop and row crop. We have horse people. We have poultry producers. We even have a few people dabbling in wildlife production.
Keeley Loyd, A&M Consolidated FFA, won the Sharon Beene Memorial Scholarship. She will be attending Boston Baptist College to major in Biblical Studies and minor in counseling and business.
We have organic farmers. We have container farmers, and we have raised bed farmers. Grass-fed beef ranchers, free-range chicken growers, and so much more.
Congratulations and good luck to these young agriculturists! Find us at www.txyoungfarmers.org or on Facebook @txyoungfarmersassn.
We have chapters in rural areas as well as metropolitan areas. 48
LOBBYIST WORKING FOR INTEREST INVOLVING AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RELATED TEACHERS
TIMELY LEGISLATIVE UPDATES CONCERNING AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION
ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FEE IS WAIVED
ACCESS TO LEGAL ASSISTANCE
ACCESS TO A $1 MILLION PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICY
YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION TO THE ASSOCIATION’S QUARTERLY MAGAZINE, GROWING OUR FUTURE
ACCESS TO THE ASSOCIATION’S WEBSITE, INCLUDING THE CAREER PAGE
ACCESS TO THE ASSOCIATION’S ONLINE MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY
ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY FOR THE ASSOCIATION’S STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP (MEMBER’S CHILDREN ONLY)
ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY FOR THE ASSOCIATION’S AWARDS AND RECOGNITION PROGRAM
ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY TO BE A PART OF THE ASSOCIATION’S PROFESSIONAL NEW TEACHER MENTORING PROGRAM
ELIGIBILITY TO PARTAKE IN THE KENNETH HUGHES LIFE INSURANCE PLAN
ACCESS TO THE ASSOCIATION’S AGRICULTURE SCIENCE TEACHERS CRISIS FUND
ACCESS TO THE VATAT CREDIT UNION
ACCESS TO A DISCOUNT AT WYNDHAM HOTELS NATIONWIDE
ACCESS TO THE AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION FORD TEXAS FFA LEADERSHIP CENTER FOR MEETINGS OR SMALL GATHERINGS
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