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NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication

March 2018

Why Do We Do It? Michael Meadows, Simms

While it seems there is no down time for ag teachers once the school year kicks off, the spring tends to be crazy busy for most. Before the major show circuit winds down, CDE season has already begun and many, like me, feel stretched beyond our limits. It seems as if before one major task is done, two more have begun and there just aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week to get everything done. We find ourselves stressing to maintain rigorous and relevant content in our classes; find time to practice and train numerous CDE teams; help students with various degree, proficiency, and scholarship applications; supervise SAEs; plan for upcoming banquets; be a good husband, wife, mother, or father; and the list goes on. Why do we do it? Teaching ag science and serving as an FFA advisor can be a very satisfying and rewarding career. My dad taught ag science for 38 years. Growing up watching him interact with his students and hearing what an impact he made in many of their lives are big reasons why I chose this profession. When I feel

burned out, I ask myself “why am I doing this?” There are many reasons we do what we do, but I always go back to the things that you can’t put a value on. Even though we must pay the bills, it is not about the paycheck. It is about the impact we make and the impact this program makes in the lives of our students. It is about that shy freshman that comes into your classroom on their first day and four years later leaves a confident leader. It is about the student with a rough home life who learns to respect you and looks at you as a role model. It is about that student who had only dreamed of going to college but now with an FFA scholarship is enrolled in their dream school. It is about these and more that we have an influence on. I know this is the time of the year that an ag teacher can get overwhelmed, and when many may start thinking about another profession. Let me encourage you to consider the big picture and the impact you can have on your students. They need you and our profession needs you. Can you leave a better and more powerful legacy

than to positively impact a young person’s life? As Aaron Alejandro says, “take a thirty-thousand-foot view” of what you do. Will it make the spring slow down any? Probably not, but it may make it more meaningful, rewarding, and satisfying. I challenge you to take care of yourself during this busy time. Take a weekend to rest and recharge, spend some time to with those you love, and try your best to find some balance between work and home. Finding time may be challenging but it will be well spent. Until next month, be safe and good luck to your teams this spring!

What Happens When The Election Is Over? Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director

With the exception of some runoff elections, the primaries are over and the slate is set for November. Your favorite candidate may have won and that is great, while others backed a losing candidate. Regardless, the person selected will represent all constituents, including the ones who voted for him or her, against him or her, and those who didn’t vote at all. It is never too early to reach out to the folks who will likely represent you. A phone call or email will get you on their radar screen. Most of these elected representatives are hungry for feedback on issues important to them. Even if you talk to a staffer, the call or email will be logged, and the elected official will take note. The financial pie will never be large enough to satisfy all the needs of our citizens. Roads, health care, state agencies, and of course education all deserve to be adequately funded. There will be a fight for funding every two years. If you do not express yourself to the decision makers, they can only assume you don’t care. Political winds will shift, and political philosophies will change. We all need to remember that we need to be vigilant, well informed, express our opinions, and most importantly, go to the polls. It is a right that our forefathers fought and died for. We shouldn’t waste it.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE VATAT.......................................1 - 2 Foundation..............................4 Young Farmers........................8 - 11






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UPDATE The Pressure Cooker

Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation Executive Director

A school board member once asked a superintendent and agricultural science teacher, “Why are the students who go through the FFA out performing their peers in college? We have a great school district. We graduate many of our students and many go on to college … but the FFA or ag kids seem to be standing out. They are more involved in college and are finishing their degrees. Simply put, they are getting the job done.” The agriculture teacher smiled and said, “That’s simple. Our students have been in the ‘pressure cooker’.” Students who are exceling in their academic pursuits, exceling in their college experience, exceling in their professional networks and exceling in life. They may talk a little different, confident, proud, with a pleasant demeanor. They provide a firm handshake. Look you in the eyes and say their first and last name. They get up early to get the work done. They stay late to ensure work is complete. They work well others and can express themselves through speech and the written world. They engage in a noble profession and they are stewards and servant leaders. They stand for the National Anthem, put their hands over their heart for the Pledge of Allegiance. Will disagree but do so respectfully and through a procedure with decorum. They represent one of our country’s most vital and renewable resources. During a FFA members high school career, they are involved in supervised agriculture experience programs (SAEs); they are participating in Leadership Development Events (LDEs) and Career Development Events (CDEs); they help conduct chapter FFA meetings; plan and execute community service projects; attend leadership conferences at the district, area, state and national level; and they do all this in addition to their academic responsibilities while ensuring they have passing grades to continue this level of involvement. They get up early, feed water, get to school, train, practice and serve. For four years students are engaged in a “pressure cooker” preparing them for the rest of their lives. 4

Once at college, where’s the pressure? No animal project to feed. No leadership or judging team to train. No meeting, community service project or convention. Time to focus on college studies, find a campus organization, and simply excel. Within in the Lone Star State there are more than 170,000 students enrolled in agricultural science classes and the Texas FFA Association boasts membership more than 121,000 members making it the largest FFA association in the United States. Through Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (AFNR), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) lists more than 54 courses students can enroll in within agriculture. Participation through the 3-Circle Learning Model (classroom, supervised agriculture experience and FFA leadership programming) gives our students a competitive edge. We put them through the “pressure cooker.” We have an incredible story to tell. The Texas FFA is making a positive difference in lives across the Lone Star State and has been doing so for 90-years. When parents in your community are looking for that “something extra” to help give their student a competitive edge. Invite them into the “Pressure Cooker.”

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UPDATE Notes From


Executive Secretary

Bob Young, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary

When people involved in agriculture think about all the blessings society enjoys, they may unknowingly take for granted some of the accomplishments of past generations. We continue to progress because of those who had vision yet, as time goes by, we may lose appreciation of that work. Everything starts somewhere. Perhaps the greatest step in any accomplishment is the first step. It is amazing how fruitful our efforts can be after we “get going.” Every worthwhile activity we do can lead to more of the same. Advancements, improvements, and innovations within all industries are based upon the progress made by past generations. One of the greatest examples of innovative advancement is how we approach agricultural education. People in all aspects of agriculture and education have become students of each other. Ag teachers learn something every day from their students. Researchers may learn from manufacturers and manufacturers may learn from educators. We need to take advantage of these opportunities and never cease learning. Young Farmers are also in the mix. I am so pleased with the efforts exhibited by Young Farmers across our state to promote agricultural education within the organization and throughout the general public. One of my goals is to make Young Farmers a more effective tool for ag teachers. To accomplish that, we must learn what Young Farmers can do to help strengthen ag education programs in their schools. I encourage all ag teachers who do not currently have a Young Farmer program to consider establishing one. A good, effective local Young Farmer program helps make the FFA program stronger. I am available and enthusiastic to help. Texas Young Farmers has a new Area Association, Area XI. On Wednesday, February 7, about twenty local chapter representatives met in Schulenburg to form the new area. Area officers 8

were elected and several possible area activities were discussed. I am extremely proud of the efforts of this group to strengthen and unite the Area XI Young Farmer chapters. The Texas Young Farmers Association offers five $1000 scholarships and one $2000 scholarship to qualified Texas FFA members who attend a Texas high school with a state-affiliated Young Farmer Chapter. Applications may be obtained from the Young Farmer website and must be completed and mailed to the appropriate address, postmarked no later than April 1, 2018. Scholarship opportunities for graduating senior FFA members are another tremendous advantage of having a Young Farmer chapter. As we look into the future, remember that we can improve our situations if we are open to learning from each other. By making use of the opportunities we have, we improve not only our lives but also the lives of those we influence. Texas FFA and Texas Young Farmers - What a team! Until next time, remember: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell

Texas Young Farmers Officer Spotlight Stephanie Wood, President Stephanie Wood was just elected as President for the Texas Young Farmers, where she has served as President Elect for the past year. Stephanie is married to Chad Wood and the mother of 3 boys. They are members of the Eighth Avenue Baptist Church in Teague, Texas. She currently works as the Intermediate School Secretary for Teague ISD while completing her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. She is the current President of the Teague Young Farmers (2015 - present).

Clovia Ketchum, President Elect Clovia Ketchum was just elected as President Elect for the Texas Young Farmers. She has served as Secretary for the past two years. A member of the San Saba County Young Farmers, Clovia has been involved with the organization for a total of 42 years, and has been a member for 25 years. She is also actively involved in a farming and ranching operation raising wheat, oats, market sheep, and goats. Clovia has been marred to Tommy Ketchum for 37 years. They have hosted 2 international exchange Young Farmers, George Pate of Scotland and Bren Evans from Wales. Together the Ketchums have attended 14 past National Institute Conventions across the United States. Clovia has served on the Institute Planning Committees hosted by Texas in 1997 and 2013. Employed by the Hill Country Community Action Association as the Energy Assistance Program Director, whom she has been with for 28 years. Clovia also serves as the Treasurer of the Colorado Bend State Park Friends Group, was with the San Saba County Volunteer EMS for 13 years, and is a member of the Bend Church of Christ.

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

2018 Texas Young Farmers State Officers

[Front] Natalie Swenson, Lisa Brown, Connie Koopmann, Clovia Ketchum, Roy Ward, Makayla Cruz, Savannah Martinez, Stephanie Wood, Trina Holaway. [Back] Herb Casey, Bob Young, Don Beene, Ken Hedrick, Robert Bland, Charlie Rochester [Not Pictured] Terry Hausenfluck


Photos From the 64th Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention


2017 Star Texas Young Farmer in Agribusiness

2017 Outstanding Texas Young Farmer Member

Lance Hausenfluck, Bryan Chapter

Makayla Cruz, Bryan Chapter



614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701

Upcoming Events March


April Continued

1 Spring Texas FFA Roster Deadline

1st Texas Young Farmer Scholarship Deadline

15th Texas FFA Convention Media Deadline

26 Texas FFA Board Meeting, Austin

1st VATAT Scholarship Application Deadline

21nd State CDEs, Lubbock

27 Texas FFA Foundation Board Meeting, Austin

2nd Texas FFA Convention Chorus Deadline 15th Foundation Ambassador Application Deadline


(512) 472-3128

26th State CDEs, Stephenville 27th State CDEs, Huntsville 28th State CDEs, College Station

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


March 2018  
March 2018