NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
Spotlight on Agriculture Education Shane Crafton, Henrietta
Happy New Year to everyone, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! I hope every one of you took some time away from the job to be with family and celebrate the Christmas season. We have all finished a very busy fall FFA season, and each of you deserves some time away. Congratulations to everyone who competed at the State Leadership Development Events, and a special congratulations to those of you who are now state champions. By the time this article gets to you, stock show season will be in full swing. Many of you may have already finished your county show for another year and will be heading to Fort Worth, if you’re not already there. We, as ag teachers, are faced with many decisions that affect ourselves, our school district, and most importantly, the students that we are entrusted with as we travel to stock shows and spring contests. Those decisions are centered on how we travel to and from these events, where we will stay, how much school students will miss, and how we will feed and care for the projects that our students and their parents have entrusted us with. Ultimately the parents of these students will make the final call on all these decisions. However, we are the ones who will be judged for mistakes if we use bad judgment in any of these decisions.
Travel issues are tough for many of us. Stock shows take place in the most inclement weather of the year, and there is nothing we can do about it other than take extra care to allow plenty of time to reach our destinations. Don’t put the lives of your students and yourself at risk to reach a stock show. What I would like to focus on are the decisions we make that have to do with animal care and feeding. We are trusted by our schools, students, and parents to make the right decisions as they pertain to feeding and grooming projects for show. We are to remain ethical, but at the same time, the pressure to win has never been greater. We are all aware of the new restrictions as of January 1st on feed additives and medicines that are now not to be used without a prescription from a veterinarian. I would encourage you to be very careful what you give to your students’ projects and to maintain good documentation of these treatments to cover yourself in case of testing at stock shows. Remember, just because you can buy it at a stock show doesn’t mean it is legal or ethical. I realize there are a lot of questions on what the impact of the new regulations will be and how we are to implement them. Your association is working on providing training for this very topic, and we hope to have
answers for your questions by this year’s conference in Arlington. Until then, we must be careful and error on the side of good judgment. Don’t put yourself or your students and parents in jeopardy because of a bad decision you made. It is not worth the consequences you will face to put your students in the spotlight by unethical means. Think about the message you are sending to all the students in your program that are watching ever thing you do. How can you hold them responsible for bad decisions if they see you making questionable decisions? We have a good thing going with the stock show system we have in place. Continue on page 2
Spotlight on Agriculture Education
We have It Pretty Good in Texas
Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director
All these stock shows are working to provide opportunities for scholarships, education for our students, and funds for projects for supervised experience. Our bad decisions put ourselves, our profession, and the stock shows in the wrong kind of spotlight. Let’s keep the bright spotlight of good decision making shining on all of our students. May each of you be blessed with safe travel as we compete throughout the stock show season. Have fun, be safe and make good decisions.
I recently traveled to Las Vegas with VATAT officers Shane Crafton and Michael Meadows for the annual meeting of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). This meeting is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). These are two valuable groups that have the best interests of agricultural education and CTE at heart. They provide a national presence that monitors national legislation and policies affecting all of us. We had an opportunity to communicate with other educators from all over the nation. In discussion with folks from other states, we found we share common problems. Teacher recruitment and retention is a universal theme. Some states are facing closure of programs because of a lack of teachers. These states, in many cases, have a pretty small pool of potential teachers to begin with. Texas has eleven universities to pull from, with an additional group of alternatively certified teachers. Teacher salary schedules and retirement programs in many of the states lag behind Texas, even though we can and should do better. When comparing state teacher association benefits, we sometimes have so many good things to report, I fear some of them think we are bragging! We would never do that! Our association is financially secure, and every qualified member’s child can receive (beginning next year) an $800 college scholarship. We have three full time staff members to serve our members, a building to operate from in Austin, and we plan and conduct an outstanding teacher-led professional development conference each year. We have strong University partners to prepare our new teachers. Our new teacher mentor program is expected to pilot in the fall of 2017, and don’t forget our Credit Union and Ag Workers Insurance. We have a group of outstanding sponsors and supporters, and an active FFA Foundation that does much to support our efforts. I am really proud of where agriculture education in Texas is at the moment. Maybe we deserve to brag a little!
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UPDATE El Paso Coronado FFA Members Maintain Alfalfa Field
Shannon O’Quinn, Texas FFA News Staff
Through the cultivation of a 36-acre alfalfa patch, members of the El Paso Coronado FFA Chapter are given the unique opportunity to see how modern crop production and sales take place. The farm that the alfalfa is being grown on was deeded to the school district in the 1960’s and has been a production farm ever since. After seeing that alfalfa had not been planted in the field since 2006, agricultural sciences teacher, Armando Flores decided it was time for some long overdue crop rotation.
“We purchased state of the art equipment to use and had the dirt work done over the summer,” said Flores. This state of the art equipment, including new tractors equipped with GPS systems, are all used by the students to maintain the alfalfa field throughout the growing season. “The students are doing 100% of the work. I have a practicum in Agriculture, Food, and Natural resources class that goes out to the farm for two hours a day to do farm work,” said Flores. “The students do everything from doctoring sick cattle to irrigating the farm, tractor maintenance, any daily aspects of the farm, all the way up to the sales and marketing of the product.” 4
Although this year the chapter farm was not in full production due to the intensive dirt work done over the summer, they were still able to use the first clipping of the field to feed the cattle on their chapter farm. Typically, the students are in charge of marketing their product and selling the alfalfa to benefit the chapter. In the past, Mr. Flores has had multiple students go to college and work part time as ranch hands to help pay tuition. Through their hands-on education in cultivation at El Paso Coronado, they were able to enter these jobs with ease and confidence. “I want people to know that these students are doing all of the work,” said Flores. “They are completely out of the classroom and getting an integrated experience.”
Texas FFA LDE Rewind: State Contest Texas FFA Association The 81st Texas FFA Leadership Career Development Events were hosted by Sam Houston State University, December 2-3, 2016. With an exception of the seven-year hiatus created by World War II and one-year operating at the state convention in Marshall in 1941, these events have been hosted continuously by SHSU since 1931. Team and individual events are used to reinforce what is taught in agricultural science classrooms. Members qualified for the state competition by finishing first or second in one of the state’s 57 district competitions and first or second in one of ten area competitions. Statewide participation grew in 2016. Six of 13 events set all-time participation high marks and chapter participation was 85.48%, down from 86.67% a year ago. In 2000, when statewide participation was first tracked, chapter participation was only 71.88%. Overall, 6,197 entries began the journey in 57 district competitions across the state. Six districts had 100% chapter participation. For more results visit JudgingCard.com.
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Statewide Participation Grew in 2016 Event 2016 2015 10 Year Average All Time High Greenhand Creed 750 686 642.8 750 Greenhand Quiz 623 613 542.5 623 GH Chapter Cond. 234 261 246.0 270 Greenhand Skills 243 268 228.5 268 Senior Creed 792 760 704.9 792 Senior Quiz 779 725 616.9 779 Sr. Chapter Cond. 262 272 246.4 272 Senior Skills 381 360 322.3 381 Agri. Issues Forum 172 167 159.5 181 Public Relations 389 403 309.7 403 Job Interview 537 551 464.1 551 FFA Broadcasting 740 685 628.3 740 Ag Advocacy 295 266 217.0 295 Total Entries 6197 6017 5199.6 6197
Year 2016 2016 2013 2015 2013 2016 2015 2016 2011 2015 2015 2016 2016 2016
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UPDATE Some Parting Words of Wisdom From Tom Maynard Tom Maynard, Texas FFA Association Executive Director GASB and Your Support Organization Employee Identification Number (Federal Tax ID) Adult support groups will need to establish their own tax exempt status as independent organizations and may be subject to auditing as a part of the school district’s annual audit –all due to tougher audit standards and additional guidelines to determine whether organizations qualify as component organizations. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board establishes standards for auditing governmental entities—including school districts. In the wake of recent corporate scandals—Enron and others—GASB handed down guidelines which further define what is a component unit of the school district and consequently must be included as part of the district’s annual audit and which must be cut loose and operated as an independent organization with its own tax exempt status.
What Does This Mean For Your Support Group? Your school district will likely contact you or your support group leadership requesting information concerning revenues, assets and the amount of money spent on behalf of your schools students or employees to determine if the organization’s expenditures are “significant and material” to the district. If deemed so, your organization will have additional reporting requirements to comply with the district’s audit requirements to avoid audit problems which could potentially lower the school district’s bond rating or TEA financial rating. It also means that it can no longer use the school district’s tax exempt status, Employee Identification Number (EIN) or bank accounts.
What Do We Do? Tax Exempt Status- If your local FFA support group does not have its own 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, your school district will likely require you to establish this with the IRS by filing articles of incorporation and bylaws with the state secretary of state’s office and applying for tax exempt status and a EIN from the IRS. Unfortunately, this is an expensive, time consuming process and will be a daunting task for many campus support groups. The good news is that as an FFA support group, your organization can use the FFA’s tax exempt group number by completing a short one-page document. Please request the designated form from Kelly White and fax it to the Texas FFA office at 512-617-8219. This is necessary as the state and national organizations must know who is using this group number. 8
Getting a federal number by filing an SS-4 is relatively easy and can be done online, over the phone or the old-fashion way—on paper. The online version can be accessed via the IRS website: www.irs.gov. On the sidebar to the left is a search box. Enter “apply online, EIN” and in the search results you will find the link to the online employer ID number. Follow that link and scroll down to the “Apply Online Now” link. This brings up the application. Note that the application does not accept any punctuation except hyphens and ampersands. You will not need to complete all blanks— just the applicable ones: 1,3, 4a, 4b, 6, 8a-(other) 10, 14 (other) and the name, title and phone and fax numbers. Under 8a, you will need the Group Exemption Number (GEN). Please call or e-mail the Texas FFA office to get that number. You will get your EIN within 15 to 20 seconds after submission. Record this number on paper immediately, before printing or saving the page. If you lose that page, it will be four to five days before the IRS can access it. This process can be accomplished via telephone at 800-829-4933, option 1 or by downloading and mailing form SS-4 available for download at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-fill/fss4.pdf.
Banking Procedures Most booster clubs have bank accounts already. As a local FFA advisor, you need to keep in mind that as the local advisor, in accordance to national policy, you have an oversight responsibility for any support group that operates under the name and trademarks of the FFA. An advisor should always be present when the support organization meets. In many districts, two-signature checks are required as a matter of policy, and if this is not the case in your district, it is highly recommended. In addition, having and following very clear written policies and procedures concerning disbursements of monies and conflicts of interest are critical to avoiding some of the common pitfalls of volunteer organizations. Your organization should have a clear audit trail to ensure accountability for funds raised and spent in the name of an FFA-affiliated group. The local school district has policies related to organizations associated with school activities and your school district’s auditor can be an excellent resource in setting up systems with the proper financial controls to ensure complete accountability.
ALUMNI DUES DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 15TH
UPDATE Notes From the Executive Secretary Don Beene, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary Sixteen Texas Young Farmers members attended the 50th Annual National Young Farmer Educational Association Institute December 7-10, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The event is very educational due to the opportunity to visit with various agricultural corporations across the United States. It is also a great occasion to meet new friends from various states and discuss programs and the problems agriculture is facing in their states. The National Institute has been held in Texas four times over the past few years and past chairmen were recognized Saturday evening. Tommy Ketchum of the San Saba County Chapter served as chairman for the 1996 Institute held in Fort Worth and the 2013 Institute held in San Antonio. The Institute in 2017 will be held in Savannah, Georgia, December 7-9, 2017. We welcome anyone interested in attending to please begin making plans now.
50TH ANNUAL NATIONAL YOUNG FARMER EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE Photographed below [left to right] Kenny Bulger, Allen Koopmann, Connie Koopmann, Charlie Rochester, Haylee Bulger, Janet Bulger Linda Janacek, Wesley Janek, Tommy Ketchum, Ethel Rochester, Robert Bland, Clovia Ketchum, Savannah Martinez, Bill Ward, Charles Rochester and Don Beene. Chapters represented are Fairfield, Schulenburg, Gonzales, San Saba County and Limestone County.
More Photos From the 50th Annual National Young Farmer Educational Association Institute
We visited Wish Farms, they are the largest strawberry grower in the United States, raising 800 acres of inorganic strawberries, in addition to 200 acres of organic strawberries. Above Texas Young Farmer President, Robert Bland [left] and Haylee Bulger [right]. Haylee is a freshman attending Navarro College and attended the Institute to participate in the YALE Program (Young Ag Leaders Education). Our Texas State Convention will also host a YALE program in Gonzales, Texas, January 5-7. Each chapter is eligible to send young people from their chapter to participate in the program.
West Coast Tomato Farm was another tour stop. Pictured above is Charlie Rochester checking over the tomatoes [right] and a picture of the tomato field [left].
During another tour we learned that Allen Jones’ green bean operation is his secondary crop. Once he finishes harvesting the green beans he plants his primary crop, potatoes. When asked “What kind of potatoes do you plant?” His answer was all varieties, except Idaho. The photos above illustrate how the beans are never touched by human hands, except to make sure there are 32 pounds in each box. The operator may have to add or take out a few before the box is closed and loaded on the truck.
614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Upcoming Events January
5th - 8th Texas Young Farmers Convention, Gonzales
1st State Officer Nominating Committee Application Deadline
1st Texas FFA Membership Submission & Dues Deadline
9th Texas FFA Board Meeting, Austin
1st FFA Dues Deadline
20th State Tractor Technician CDE
10th Texas FFA Foundation Board Meeting, Austin
18th National FFA Week 23rd FFA Day at the Capitol, Austin
25th Texas Tech Invitational CDEs 30th West Texas A&M Invitational CDEâ€™s
Officers Shane Crafton, President
Michael Meadows, Vice President
Tammy Christian, Secretary/Treasurer
Staff Barney McClure, Executive Director
Ashley Dunkerley, Communications
Karen Jones, Membership Services