NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
Stock Shows: Good
Michael Meadows, Simms
Why do we have stock shows? I like to think they give our students a chance to be rewarded for their work in selection, feeding, and raising livestock animal projects. For market animals, it represents the end of an SAE project. For breeding animals, it gives our students a chance to compete while building a production SAE. That sounds simple enough and doesn’t do justice to what a student can learn about agriculture, responsibility, sportsmanship, and life in raising a stock show project. Before I go any further, I will admit I am not a stock show expert and have never claimed to be. As an ag teacher, it is one of the opportunities we can offer our students to develop them as individuals and as future agricultural producers. Both of my children raised market broilers, market hogs, market rabbits, and breeding beef heifers for county, local, and major livestock shows. In my 27 years of teaching, I have hauled students showing every species to stock shows all across our great state. I am a huge supporter of stock shows and what these types of projects can teach our students. Let me qualify
that statement - I am a huge supporter if the students are the ones who are doing the work and reaping the benefits. Most students need help getting started and advice along the way. It is part of our responsibility, as ag teachers, to provide advice. Most students need support and help from their family as well. One problem I see too often is involvement from other “outside” influences. It is no secret that we have some issues in our stock show program. In fact, these issues have become so common that we now have a state validation program for all species. This adds another expense to our students as well as another responsibility to us as ag teachers. I have mixed emotions concerning state validations, while I applaud the efforts of FFA, 4H, and the major stock shows in trying to do something to “clean up” the issues we have, I think it’s a shame it had to come to this. Are state validations the answer? Will validating animals solve all the issues? In my opinion, the answer is no. It will help, but those who have lost sight of the intent of the program and have the goal of winning banners and championships
at all costs will always find a way around the rules. It must be a collaborative effort of all involved, including us as ag teachers. I believe it must start
with educating our students and parents in what the intent of the program is on the rules of participating. These rules include the validation policies as well as the individual rules of the stock shows they compete in. When we, as ag teachers, sign entry forms, we are stating that our students will follow all policies and rules, making us responsible. I know there are things going on that we know nothing about. I have been caught between “a rock and hard place” before and had to make some hard decisions. Continue on page 2
Stock Shows: Good vs. Bad
Public School Finance Committee Convenes
In my mind, what it comes down to is are we willing to make those hard decisions when we are faced with right versus wrong. I heard a man say something the other day that applies to this. He said, “Really, all a person has that they can call their own is their values and beliefs. When you compromise those, what is left?” Some decisions we must make force us to think about what our values are and what we really believe in. Sometimes there are prices to pay for decisions we make. If we make those decisions based on what is right, what the rules are, what our values are, and what we believe in, we will always be on the right side of wrong. Our stock show program is worth saving because of what it can do in the lives of our students when done correctly. The goal should not be to win at all costs, it should be to teach our students the skills, knowledge, sportsmanship, and life lessons that come with raising a stock show project. Winning is great and can mean so much to a young person if they have invested the time, work and sweat in a project. How much it would mean if they are reaping the benefits of another’s work? Maybe we should all reflect on what our students are learning by the way they are doing things. If the answer to this is not what it should be, we may need to make some of those hard decisions. If It is going to change, it will take all of us doing what we can to make sure it happens the right way. Until next month, be safe and be careful!
A primary outcome of last summer’s special session of the legislature was the establishment of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. This 13-member group chaired by Justice Scott Brister, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, will present their report to the Legislature by December 31, 2018. As I write this article, I am listening online to the first meeting of this committee. The committee is hearing testimony from various leaders in Texas Education. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes, and Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar are all weighing in with their opinions on the state of education in Texas. While there is some disagreement on the issues, all seem to agree that the classroom teacher is the key to the whole process. Texas students as a whole are more likely to be in a low socio-economic group, and are less likely to be college ready upon high school graduation. Our teaching staff is charged with the responsibility of preparing all students to live lives of purpose, with the ability to make a living wage. There will be more accountability required of teachers in the future. The legislature that meets beginning in January 2019 will be tasked with making sense of school finance. Education quality will be part of the equation. Teacher salaries, funding weights, and equity will all be a part of this equation. The results may very well change the face of our profession. There will be more emphasis on results that can be measured and tied to specific outcomes. Changes are coming and we need to be prepared for them.
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK OUR MEMBERS FOR A WONDERFUL 2017 AND WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES A HAPPY & HEALTHY 2018. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SERVING YOUR FINANCIAL NEEDS IN THE UPCOMING YEAR & WELCOMING NEW MEMBERS INTO OUR GROWING FAMILY. PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN SAVE YOU MONEY ON YOUR RECENT VEHICLE PURCHASES, AG/FARM EQUIPMENT OR CONSOLIDATING HIGHER INTEREST CREDIT CARDS FROM THE HOLIDAYS!
VATAT CREDIT UNION INFO@VATATCU.ORG * WWW.VATATCU.ORG * (800) 777-1825
Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director
INSIDE THIS ISSUE VATAT.......................................1 - 2 Texas FFA.....................................4 Foundation..............................6 - 7 Texas FFA Alumni ...................... 8 Young Farmers........................9 - 11
Earn your wings. Plant some milkweed. The monarch butterfly is an iconic symbol of American gardens and prairies. But it’s facing many challenges, including milkweed habitat loss. Monarchs need milkweed to lay their eggs. And it’s the only food source for monarch larvae. The Monarch Challenge is a BASF Living Acres biodiversity initiative to promote milkweed habitats and refuges for monarchs. Create your own butterfly garden by planting milkweed and help save the monarchs. Learn more at living-acres.basf.us. © 2017 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.
TFB wants your students to apply for scholarships Applications due March 1, 2018 Details at texasfarmbureau.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org 3
UPDATE Look Up
Austin Large, Texas FFA Executive Director
I’m not one to subscribe to the “new year, new me” mantra, but I do firmly believe in the awesome power of reflection. I tell our student officers often, “action without reflection is just a waste of time.” As we look to make 2018 a great year, something that I have been reflecting on is the notion of looking up. I’ve been in my role as the Executive Director for Texas FFA just under a year. In that time, I think we have done positive and uplifting work for youth in agriculture, but we can most certainly do more. As I’ve reflected on 2017, I’ve realized that most of this year I have kept my head down, focused on my tasks because I was so concerned that something would be missed or a ball somewhere along the way would be dropped. I am certain that I have missed opportunities to support others, appreciate my teammates, learn something new, share information and make meaningful impacts along the way. How many times have you found yourself in similar situations? Where you’ve been so caught up in what it is that you are working on that you don’t take the time to look up and take stock of what’s around you? We all know how busy teaching agriculture gets in the spring time. Between major livestock shows, career development events, district/area conventions and degree checks;
sometimes it just hard to make sure that you eat during the day and get enough sleep to get by. We’ve all been there. If that’s our mode of operation this spring, then the challenge I have for you is simple: look up. Take a few moments each day to press pause and take in the sights and sounds around you. What might that look like? Ask a teaching partner or teammate if they have a project you can help with. Send a weekly text to your officers to see how you can support them. Be more intentional about connecting and collaborating with other teachers on campus and/or your administrators. Little things like this, can make big impacts for productivity, relationships and synergy. As you get ready to travel the state with students and projects this spring, remember that life is happening around you. My challenge is to take a few moments each day to look up and see if there is a need that you can fill. This is my intent for 2018, and I hope it is something that may be of help to you as you enter this busy season in our profession. Thank you for all that you do for the youth of Texas, and the work you do to make our mission of premier leadership, personal growth and career success possible for FFA members!
STAY UP TO DATE WITH
Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation Executive Director “If you want to be the best, train with the best,” said Tuhon Harley Elmore, former Arkansas FFA member. Having studied combative martial arts for more than 18-years, I have been fortunate to train with some of the world’s most elite martial artists. From a varying of ranges, techniques and weapons, the one common element … train with the best. One of our arts, Sayoc Kali, prescribes a mindset that begins to permeate not just martial arts but life. Take initiative, be prepared, be aware and have the skill sets to appropriately engage and succeed. Teachers, students and success in general is much the same - identify the best, learn from them, train with them and have a competitive edge. While there are many ways to approach these timeless concepts, let’s break it down to simply using the R2A2 learning method: Recognize, Relate, Assimilate, and Apply. Personally, I use this method every time I hear a speaker, presentation or listen to a mentor. Here are some tips on using this method.
Recognize. Do we have a problem? Is there an opportunity here? Who is the best in this particular area? Who has been recognized by their peers as an expert in this field? Identify the best person to help you problem solve, professionally network and mentor you for improvement. As you begin to dialog and listen, listen intently and look around to others who are working with them or near them to ensure the concepts being shared are working, recognize the general concepts, core values or ideas being shared. 6
Relate. I’ve taken the time to listen and recognize the concept, now I need to relate to it. For example, I don’t possess the NFL or NBA physical assets, so martial arts for me becomes something much different. I must recognize concepts and adapt them to exploit my strengths and minimize my weaknesses. Individuals, businesses and organizations can do the same thing. In a local FFA chapter or nonprofit organization, we may not have access to the same financial resources as a for profit venture; however, we can still relate to concepts and make them fit the assets we have.
Assimilate. Time to take the concepts in and make them part of our lives. Successful concepts have been recognized. We have related them to the challenge or opportunity before us. Now we must begin installing them into our daily routine, in our organizational culture, into our mindset and expected outcomes. 96% of what we do daily is done out of habit, if we don’t change what we are doing we will default to the only things we know. We must assimilate and install successful concepts from recognized experts.
Texas Team Ag Ed is blessed with an incredible professional network. Just degrees of separation from some of the best leadership, education, agriculture and development minds not only in Texas, the United States but internationally. When you’re looking to give your students a competitive edge against their peers, share with them the R2A2 concept and the chance through the Texas FFA to train with the best.
If you want to be the best, you must train with the best. One must be willing to swallow their pride and realize the areas in their lives, organizations or local FFA chapters which need improving. We must have a willingness to learn. A willingness to look around and say, “who is the best?” Can I train with them? A person cannot become an accomplished martial artist by reading a book or watching a Bruce Lee movie, you must find the best and R2A2.
THERE CAN’T BE A GAME WON WITHOUT A GAME PLAN See what Texas FFA students have to say at mytexasffa.org
UPDATE Texas FFA Alumni News Kelly White, Texas FFA Alumni President
Each year, FFA members from all over the texasffaalumni.ffanow.org under applications. United States travel to Washington, D.C. to attend More info about the Washington Leadership the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). Conference can be found at www.ffa.org. During the five-day event, attendees learn how to become effective leaders by teaching them to Affiliation Overview know their purpose, value people, take action, • Annual fee of $100 for National Dues per local affiliate for the affiliate program providing basic and serve others. This is no ordinary leadership support to all volunteers of that local affiliate. experience. You will spend a week putting these This annual fee would be waived if the local skills into practice as you make new friends from across the United States, tour our nation’s capitol affiliate has at least 25 life members. This process would continue to provide additional and visit with members of Congress. annual members in the affiliate coverage to This action-packed week will help you gain selfkeep them current and active without any confidence and leadership skills to take back to additional fees. your FFA chapter and share with other members. They leave WLC with the knowledge and the • Annual fee of $100 for State Dues per local confidence to act in ways that help their schools, affiliate for the affiliate program providing basic community, and their country support to all volunteers of that local affiliate. The Texas FFA Alumni will grant two $500 This annual fee would be waived if the local scholarships to deserving FFA members whose affiliate has at least 25 life members. This local affiliate are in good standing with the Texas process would continue to provide additional FFA Alumni. annual members in the affiliate coverage to keep them current and active without any Eligibility and Deadlines additional fees. • Only one FFA member per chapter can submit • Reported membership information in all an application for the WLC scholarship. required fields with a minimum of 10 local • The WLC scholarship covers $500 of the affiliate members will continue to be in place registration fee for an FFA member to attend the for the affiliate to be considered active. WLC conference. Travel to and from the WLC • The affiliate must keep required affiliate conference site and incidental expenses are the information completed and updated in Ag recipient’s responsibility. Career Network to remain active. • Recipients must attend a WLC workshop for the • Designate a responsible key contact to sign year the scholarship is awarded. up the affiliate and keep affiliate information • Applications are due postmarked by February current and communicate to members. 15 of each year. WLC scholarship recipients will be announced by March 1st and winners notified by March 15th. • Each recipient is expected to attend the Texas Alumni dues FFA Alumni Association’s Annual Meeting in July deadline held in conjunction with the State FFA Convention.
Applications can be found online at http://
February 15, 2018
UPDATE Notes From
Bob Young, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary
What wonderful experiences I have been able to share with Texas Team Ag Ed participants the past two months since becoming a part of Texas Young Farmers. It has been a “getting acquainted” period for me and a reminder of all the activities involved in Agricultural Education in Texas and our nation. I feel sure that what makes it so special for all of us who are involved is the people with whom we get to work and associate. This aspect definitely creates a greater appreciation for the accomplishments of teachers, students, supporters, and, of course, Young Farmers. Texas Young Farmers continues to meet the needs of agriculturists by providing opportunities in leadership, education, community service, FFA support, and recreation. The Young Farmer Constitution and the local chapter Program of Work emphasize and encourage all members to promote all these principles of the organization. Learning opportunities continue throughout our lives and it seems to me people involved in agriculture have burning desire to learn even more. Traits that are, more often than not, developed and enhanced earlier in life through FFA activities and the positive influences of Agri-Science Teachers. It is a tremendous advantage for all of us in Texas to have in place such a strong, efficient, and effective network of organizations comprising Texas Team Ag Ed. Working together, we will keep Agricultural Education in Texas the backbone of feeding the nation. The 65th Texas Young Farmers Convention at the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville January 4-7 spotlighted the tremendous 2017 year and began our new year successfully because of all the hard work contributed by a multitude of members and supporters. Kelli Dunbar with the Kerrville Convention and Visitors
Bureau did a wonderful job of coordinating the arrangements with Executive Secretary Don Beene and the State Officers. Kelli, as I am sure everyone who attended will agree, went above and beyond the call of duty. She exhibited much enthusiasm and desire to make our convention as worry-free as possible. She handled the coordination and organizational duties with expertise and grace. So, Kelli, here is to you and your staff for the excellent job you did in making our time in Kerrville so enjoyable and so much more purposeful. Kerrville was an excellent host. The convention tours of Mikey’s Garden, Bridget’s Basket and Farm, Bending Branch Winery, and Hill Country Distillers were all great. Our stop at Hunt Store for lunch provided a good meal and somewhat of a look back at previous times. The hospitality of all the hosts was exceptional and all of them willingly shared their story with us. Their dialogue assured us that success can be achieved in the right way, making not only their businesses successful, but also their lives. You know, we are very fortunate that there are so many agricultural success stories in our world. Simply a tribute to the type of people involved in agriculture. Many thanks to our gracious and generous sponsors who help make our convention so successful. Quite frankly, they provide the means of offering the beneficial opportunities that the convention affords. We are so appreciative of their contributions to our organization. We honored them at the Sponsor Appreciation Luncheon Saturday, January 6. We ask that when you have the opportunity to visit with any of these sponsors, please express to them your appreciation for supporting agricultural education in Texas. And we will recognize additional supporters 9
and sponsors in upcoming newsletters. Texas Young Farmers will continue to earn your support by adhering to our goals and principles. The 2017 State Officer Team did an outstanding job individually and collectively in representing our organization throughout the year. President Robert Bland provided the necessary leadership to the officer team. I have been amazed at the willingness, determination, and positive efforts exhibited by the entire group to insure a successful year of Young Farmer activities. I tip my hat to each 2017 State Officer: And now we have a new 2018 State Officer Team ready that is already planning and organizing activities for the new year. State President Stephanie Wood and President-Elect Clovia Ketchum are very capable leaders. We will now have VP’s representing 12 areas. We will showcase a couple of officers each month in the newsletter to provide information about the great leaders we have. Until next time, remember: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do” - Mark Twain
Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors Ag Workers Mutual Insurance Company Texas FFA Foundation Randy Lenz, Stay Tuff Fence L. A. & Janis Muehr Koopman Catering, Allen & Connie Koopman Anthony & Jo Matula Mac & Jo Nell Lamascus Leonard Ebner Producers Cooperative-Bryan RVOS Insurance
Thank You to Our 2017 Texas Young Farmers Officers President
VP Area I
VP Area II
VP Area III
VP Area IV
VP Area V
VP Area VI
VP Area VII
VP Area VIII
VP Area IX
VP Area X
Photos From the 64th Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention
Young Farmers listen to the owners of Mikey’s Garden as they explain the principles of hydroponics in vegetable and herb production.
Young Farmers swap stories and enjoy the great food and fellowship at the “Icebreaker Social” Thursday night at the Convention. 11
614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
Upcoming Events February
1 National Scholarship Online Submission Deadline
1 Spring Texas FFA Roster Deadline
1 VATAT Scholarship Application Deadline
15 State Officer Nom Com & Adult Consultant Application Deadline
26 Texas FFA Board Meeting, Austin
13 Foundation Ambassador Application Deadline 13 Texas FFA Convention Media Deadline
17 - 24 National FFA Week 20/22 Texas FFA Day At The Capitol
Officers Michael Meadows, President
Tammy Christian, Vice President
Terry Baize, Secretary/Treasurer
Barney McClure, Executive Director Ashley Dunkerley, Communications Karen Jones, Membership Services Tori Rosser, Special Projects