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NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication

December 2016

Spotlight on Agriculture Education Shane Crafton, Henrietta

This month’s topic is a sensitive one, and I am not trying to step on toes, but I feel it is an important topic as we move forward. No matter which way you look at it, teaching agriculture in Texas is all about competition. Many times our programs are judged on how well we do in competitive events. Whether it be stock shows, agriculture mechanics contests, leadership development events, or career development events, we are judged by how well our students compete. I think it is important that we all remember that first our job is to be effective classroom teachers, and these competitive events are just an extension of that classroom education. Don’t take this the wrong way because I definitely feel that these events are a very important part of what we do, and I will admit that I am a very competitive person who hates to lose at anything. My competitive nature comes from when I was young and always wanted to beat my brother at “Space Invaders” and “Asteroids” and my sister at “Monopoly” (don’t ever let her be the banker if you want to have an honest chance to win), but that’s another whole discussion that we don’t have time for right now. I know you younger teachers have no idea what those games are, but trust me, they were huge at one time. We are all competitive to one extent or another, and there is nothing wrong with that. As a

matter of fact, I think that is one of the main characteristics that makes us successful ag teachers. Is winning the most important outcome? If you look at famous quotes, you would think so. “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” or how about “There is only one winner in every game,” or my personal favorite from the great Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Winning seems to be the only sufficient outcome of any competition. Or is it? I think it is important for us to remember what the purposes of these competitions are: to promote team work, responsibility, decision making skills, speaking ability, and build self-confidence. These are the traits we should be instilling in all of our students. Is it necessary to win competitions to help our students develop these abilities? You don’t have to win to be a winner. I want you to remember that we all have students in our classes who have never experienced success of any kind. When you select students for your teams, don’t look over these students just because you don’t feel you can win with them on your team. All students need to be successful. We as ag teachers are supposed to try to help all our students, not just the top end students that make us look good. We have all had students who were not the best for the team’s chance to advance, but for those students, participating on an ag team might

have been the most successful and fulfilling moment they have ever experienced. You might even have sparked something in their life that changes them forever. At the end of the day, all students need a little spotlight to shine on them even if that means the light on us is a little dull at times. Finally, I would like to draw attention to a group that makes all these completions possible: our college and university providers. There are too many to possibly mention, but this group is a very important one in the life of ag teachers and the Texas FFA competitions. Think about what they do; they organize contests for thousands of students on a single day.

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Spotlight on Agriculture Education Continued I have trouble organizing a banquet for 350 parents and students once a year. We ask them to perform an impossible task and now we have voted to add two new areas to their workload. How many of you have thanked them for what they do? A simple handshake and thank you goes a long way. Remember these men and women are doing the best they can with the resources they are given, and frankly, they do quite well. They are professionals who need to be treated with respect. If a problem does arise during competition, it needs to be handled away from the sharp ears and eyes of the students. We have CDE, LDE and competition committees to help take care of problems in contests, so please be sure to use the proper channels to help make a better experience for all students. We need to model the type of teamwork we expect the students to be learning. Be professional and keep the spotlight shining on our students, not ourselves. In the final analysis, although our goal is to come out on top in the contests, remember the real purpose is to positively affect our students’ lives. I wish you success as you utilize the competitions this year to teach your students important life-skills and make an affirmative difference in their futures.

How to Advocate for Agricultural Education Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director It has been said that “all politics is local.” I have often said that a call or email from a constituent has more influence on an elected official than a lobbyist. With few exceptions, that is true of most any office holder. We have a legislative committee on our VATAT board that will meet during our full board meeting December 11-12, 2016 in Austin. One of the things they will work on is our legislative agenda. After formulating that document, we will post it on our website for members to see. I have also been asked to develop an outline to use when speaking to an elected official or a staff member. We will also get that posted after the board meeting. After that it is up to each member to contact their Senator or Representative to communicate concerns. I know that each such call or email on an issue is logged by staff and shared with the official. It doesn’t have to be long, detailed, or written in flowery language. The 140 day session begins in January and most legislators are very busy and may be hard to see after the session begins, but those calls and emails continue to be critical for our voice to be heard. With our electronic age, it is easier than ever to make those contacts, but many just don’t take the time to do it. You will find that after you have established a relationship with an official or their staff, they may even contact you for your opinion on some issue. They appreciate those who engage in the political process, and are always on the lookout for those with expertise in many areas. Education is political, and that is true of everything from local decisions made by administrators, school boards, and in Austin. You can play an important part in the process. Just make the contact.



VATAT................................................................1 - 2 Texas FFA..............................................................4 Foundation....................................................6 Texas FFA Alumni...............................................8 Young Farmers.............................................10 - 11



Name: _________________________________________ Phone Number: _________________________________ Address: _______________________________________ Send Order Form and Payment To: VATAT Attn: Buckle 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701

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5/1/15 3:18 PM


UPDATE Texas FFA Member Elected Western Region Vice President

Katie Armstrong, Texas FFA News Staff

Texas FFA member, Trey Elizondo, was announced as the nominating committee’s choice for 2016-2017 National FFA Western Region Vice President in the waning moments of the 89th Annual National FFA Convention’s final session. The 20-year-old Yoakum native became the 30th Texan to serve as a national FFA officer, dating back 80 years, and the first since 2009. Elizondo will take a leave of absence from studying Agriculture Science at Texas A&M University to commit himself to a year of service in the name of the National FFA Organization. “I’m really excited to spend the next year with thousands of FFA members, travelling, and getting to know different parts of the country,” said Elizondo. “I’m excited in general just to be an ambassador for this great organization.” Elizondo, and his five teammates, will travel well over 100,000 miles across the country to encourage and educate the next generation through various conferences and speaking engagements. The national officer team remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. While attaining election to national office is a rare and remarkable achievement, Elizondo’s route makes the feat even more stunning. He was a candidate for state office in 2015, made the final 20, but did not make the final cut. Undeterred, he filed to compete for the state’s nomination for national office earlier this year and emerged from the process as the Texas Association’s nominee. It is safe to say that Elizondo holds “an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement” cannot be denied. These words are taught to every new member while studying the FFA Creed, however our newest Western Region Vice President has lived the words. Even in his hours of discouragement, he pressed forward. 4

“I wanted to show members that difficulties do not equal finality and that sometimes God’s plan for our lives is much greater than we could ever imagine,” said Elizondo. “I want to be a light of hope for members to see that with a little faith and belief in themselves, they can defy odds as well.” Elizondo’s journey is one of many that embodies what the FFA is all about: perseverance, dedication, hard work, faith, and after this next year – devoted service. “While running for office, I realized that the Saturday of the election, no matter how it turned out, would be the last time I wore Texas on my back. It was then I couldn’t be more thankful for what Texas FFA has done for me over my years in this organization and I couldn’t help but smile at how proud I was to be from Texas,” said Elizondo. “Though my jacket no longer reads Texas, I will always be thankful for that time in a Texas jacket for molding me into the leader I am today and I know, no matter where my travels may take me over the next year I know I will always have a piece of Texas FFA in my heart.”

2016-2017 National FFA Officer Team - [Back Left to Right] Valerie Earley, Minnesota, Central Region Vice President; DeShawn Blanding, South Carolina, Southern Region Vice President; Trey Elizondo, Texas, Western Region Vice President; Ashley Willits, New York, Eastern Region Vice President. [Front Left to Right] David Townsend, Delaware, President; Victoria Harris, Florida, Secretary.




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UPDATE Teacher Challenge Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation Executive Director The “Teacher Challenge” is a way to bring guest instructors into our agricultural science classrooms, as well as a chance for stakeholders and supporters to have a glimpse into the role of a teacher. How hard could it be? Just talk to students all day …. right? Well, maybe the key and insight can be found in trying it. So, if you are reading this newsletter as a sponsor, board member or stakeholder, I challenge you to contact a local agriculture teacher and see about “teaching for a day.” Time and experience provide an interesting perspective. Thirty years ago, I was hitting four to five schools a day five days a week with some events on the weekends. As Texas FFA President, I was called upon to visit with classes, school assemblies, service clubs and booster club meetings. I did so eagerly and with the passion to compete for minds and deliver a lasting message. My job today provides a chance to visit with schools and classes across Texas and beyond. How did I do it back then? Today, I’m exhausted after speaking to classes for a half day. The insight is not just on my own personal physical and mental limitations, but also one that affords me to appreciate the role of teachers on a daily basis.


When I visit with classes it could be a half day or full day, professional teachers are doing this all the time … day in and day out … five days a week. In addition to planning, strategy, execution and content, the teachers are also confronted with detractors, distractions, other duties in addition to training leadership development event (LDE) teams, career development event (CDE) teams, supervised agricultural experience (SAE) projects, stock shows, competition, convention and conference obligations. Take a moment today, tomorrow or the next to send a text, email or leave a phone message to an agricultural science teacher near you and say thank you. If you have the chance, teach for a day or half day; experience firsthand the effort it takes to compete for the minds and inspire those in their care. If you haven’t already done so, please visit the MYTEXASFFA. ORG website and see our great recognition of Texas agricultural teachers. Step up and take the challenge.





UPDATE Texas FFA Alumni News Kelly White, Texas FFA Alumni President

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” - Ronald Reagan The election is over! Perhaps your candidate won, or perhaps they lost. Either way, I am sure most of us are glad that it is over. I began this article with a quote from Ronald Reagan. His presidency was the first time that I became interested in the political process. Granted, I was born the year that President Kennedy was assassinated and a Texan took over the Whitehouse. There were others that preceded Ronald Reagan, but to me he was charismatic, larger than life, yet still possessed a fatherly way. He comforted the country during the loss of the Space Shuttle, and yet showed strength as he spoke the following, “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall.” In a book that was dedicated to “My wife Mildred,” Jarrell D. Gray states the following: “In a society that is as complex as ours, there is a need for people who have the ability, willingness, and skill to work together. If any group, even any nation, is to survive and progress, the people comprising it must work in a harmonious manner.” We teach these words as we teach parliamentary procedure. Yet do our students understand? Do we transform this into a teachable moment? Not to teach parliamentary procedure or to spout our political views, but to install leadership in our students. Some people do not accept the election process that was established early in the infancy of our country. The United States Electoral College was established by Article Two of the United States Constitution to select the President of the United States and Vice President. This is the system that is used, no matter if you agree or disagree. Some agree that it is the popular vote that counts while others stand true to this process because it allows smaller populated areas to have a voice. One might compare this to the process that we use in the FFA on the local, district, area, state and national level. Is it right or wrong? Let your conscience decide. On a personal note. I grew tired of listening to all of the political mudslinging of this past election. I am glad that the election is over. However, I am proud that I belong to an organization that is affiliated with the future leaders of our country. Individuals that have been taught the values in pride for country, pride for 8

agriculture, pride in family, and pride in themselves. President Kennedy left us with many quotes that we use in speaking contest, election speeches, and motivational speeches. I leave you with the following quote by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” -John F. Kennedy

Membership Processes and Reporting • Annual fee of $100 for National Dues per local affiliate for the affiliate program providing basic support to all volunteers of that local affiliate. This annual fee would be waived if the local affiliate has at least 25 life members. This process would continue to provide additional annual members in the affiliate coverage to keep them current and active without any additional fees. • Annual fee of $100 for State Dues per local affiliate for the affiliate program providing basic support to all volunteers of that local affiliate. This annual fee would be waived if the local affiliate has at least 25 life members. This process would continue to provide additional annual members in the affiliate coverage to keep them current and active without any additional fees. • Reported membership information in all required fields with a minimum of 10 local affiliate members will continue to be in place for the affiliate to be considered active. • The affiliate must keep required affiliate information completed and updated in Ag Career Network to remain active. • Designate a responsible key contact to sign up the affiliate and keep affiliate information current and communicate to members.

FFA ALUMNI DUES Texas dues deadline is February 15th Pay at




UPDATE Notes From the Executive Secretary Don Beene, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget that it is time to collect dues and submit your roster for the 2016-2017 school year. You can access the form at Please be sure to submit accurate addresses and reliable email addresses. We also ask that you submit the form digitally and then send the money and officer sheet by US Mail. Please submit them as soon as possible. The Texas Young Farmers Convention registration form is now available. We hope you can join us in Gonzales, Texas on January 5th, 6th and 7th for some fun, educational workshops, contests and an overall great time. We are also hosting numerous contest, including a photography contest and basket contest. You can find more information regarding our convention contests at Our convention will conclude with our awards banquet that will recognize various individuals and chapters that have excelled over the past year. The event will be followed by an evening of music for people to enjoy.

While at the Convention, don’t forget to attend our auction where we raise funds to finance our scholarships totaling $7,500. We would like to recognize some of our great sponsors including our major supporters, Mass Mutual, Ag Workers and the Texas FFA Foundation. Producers Coop, Area III Young Farmers and Koopmann Catering have sponsored awards for several years. In addition, Randy Lenz and Stay Tuf Fence will also be sponsors this year. Thank you for your help and generosity. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors



2017 Texas Young Farmer Convention January 5th – 8th, 2017 Gonzales, Texas Registration Form

Hotels: Sleep Inn & Suites; 2138 Water St., Gonzales, TX 78629; Phone 830-672-1888 Holiday Inn Express & Suites; 126 Middle Buster Rd., Gonzales, TX 78629; Phone 830-672-2777 Use Group Code: TYF17 or State Association of Young Farmers. Room Rate: Hotel “Convention Block” less than $100. NOTE: The Hotels do not have On-Line Registration, you must call and reserve your room. (Deadline is Dec. 21st.) Schedule: Complete Details at:  Thurs., Jan. 5th – 3pm – 5pm State Board Meeting. 7pm – 9pm Icebreaker and Mixer for everyone  Fri., Jan. 6th – Breakfast at Hotel, Morning Tours, Lunch, Afternoon Tours. Dinner at Hotel (provided by TYF), Ag Olympics with additional activities.  Sat. Jan. 7th – Breakfast at Hotel, Delegate Meeting, Business Meeting, Sponsor Appreciation Lunch, Scholarship Auction, Workshops, Awards Banquet and After Banquet Entertainment Registration Costs:

Early Bird Registration Deadline is December 1st.

 Early Bird Registration is $125  Late Registration is $150  Registration includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for Friday and Saturday; Thursday Mixer; Tours; Ag Olympics and After Banquet Entertainment.  Friday Night (Does NOT include the Friday Meal but does include Ag Olympics) and Saturday Only is $75 before December 1st and $100 after December 1st .  Friday Night Meal if arriving before Ag Olympics for Friday and Saturday Only Attendees - $14 each  “YALE” Contest Participants - Early Bird Registration - $75 and $100 after December 1st  Kids are $50  Painting with a Twist Workshop – participants will keep their projects - $10 (Registration required to get needed supplies) Register On Line at TYF website If a computer is not available, You can mail Registration Form and Registration Fees (payable to Texas Young Farmers to: Texas Young Farmers; 1694 LCR 256, Mexia, TX 76667 Early Bird Registration Deadline: December 1, 2016 Name(s): ____________________________________________ TYF Area: ______ TYF Chapter: ______________ Address: ___________________________________ City, State and Zip: __________________________________ Email Address: ____________________________________________ ____ Phone: (_____)______-_________ Early Bird Registration for January 5th - 8th $125 before Dec. 1st Late Registration for January 5th – 8th $150 after Dec. 1st Friday Night Meal (Fri/Sat Only Attendees) $14 each Friday Night - Ag Olympics & Saturday Only $75 before Dec. 1st Friday Night - Ag Olympics & Saturday Only $100 after Dec. 1st “YALE” Contest Participants $75 before Dec. 1st “YALE” Contest Participants $100 after Dec. 1st Child Registration (12 & Under) $50 Painting with a Twist – (Participant keeps project) $10

# _______ @ $ 125 = # _______ @ $150 = # _______ @ $14 = # _______ @ $75 = # ________ @ $100 = # ________ @ $75 = # ________ @ $100 = # _______ @ $50 = # ________ @ $10 = TOTAL DUE:

__________ __________ __________ __________ __________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ____________

Registration using a Credit Card can only be done using the On-Line Registration. For Help call Debi @ 940-389-4052. Paper Registration only accepts Check payments. (Must be included with Registration) 11



614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701


Upcoming Events December


1st Junior FFA Dues Deadline 2nd - 3rd State LDE’s at Sam Houston State University 11th - 12th VATAT Board Meeting, Austin


5th - 8th Texas Young Farmers Convention, Gonzales

1st State Officer Nominating Committee Application Deadline

9th Texas FFA Board Meeting, Austin

1st FFA Dues Deadline

10th Texas FFA Foundation Board Meeting, Austin

24th - Jan. 1st Team Ag Ed Offices Closed

18th National FFA Week 23rd FFA Day at the Capitol, Austin


(512) 472-3128

Officers Shane Crafton, President

Michael Meadows, Vice President

Tammy Christian, Secretary/Treasurer

Staff Barney McClure, Executive Director


Ashley Dunkerley, Communications

Karen Jones, Membership Services

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