NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
Spotlight on Agriculture Education Shane Crafton, Henrietta
Is anyone else having trouble believing March is already here? It seems like just last week I bought a barn full of show pigs, and now the only ones left are the ones headed to Houston later this month. We definitely work in a fast-paced occupation. We are heavy into stock show season, and if you are not training for career development events, then you are already behind. That is a familiar feeling for me; I have felt behind for twenty-seven years. I remember when I was a first or second year teacher thinking in a few years this job will be easy and everything will slow down. If anything it is busier now than it was then. This month I would like to focus on career development events and all the decisions we make selecting team members, traveling to and from contests, and the goals we have for these teams when we first start each year. What makes a successful year in a career development event? For some programs winning state and going to nationals is the only acceptable outcome, while other programs focus on simply allowing many students to participate at the highest level they can achieve. Which of these focuses or goals is the right one? For me that is a local decision that you, your teaching partners, advisory committee, and maybe even administration must make. In my many years of teaching I have learned many lessons on team participation. I was on a state winning livestock team myself in 1983, and I have coached state winning teams. Taking teams to nationals is one of the greatest feelings you can have as an agriculture teacher. I also know what it feels like to be second at the
state career development events, and that feeling is not so great. But I think the most valuable lesson I have learned has to do with team member selection. We all want to grab those kids who are at the top of the class that we know we can make successful on any team. However, as agriculture teachers, our job is to provide opportunities for all our students, is it not? Don’t make the mistake of letting a student slip through the cracks because you don’t think this student gives you the best chance to win. Let me give you an example of a mistake I almost made. I worked with a student on a team years ago that kept getting low scores at contests to the point that I almost gave up on him. No way was he ever going to be successful on any team. Then we discovered he was dyslexic and was placing the classes correctly but couldn’t mark his card correctly because of his disability. Thanks to Dr. Ford at Tarleton, we obtained permission for his group leader to help him mark his card. That team won state that spring, that young man was a top ten individual, and the team made the top ten at nationals in the fall. He is employed and wellrespected in that very industry today and does extremely well. Without that young man, that team would have never reached that level. We solved that student’s dilemma, but how many others have we missed? That student later told me thanks, not for the training he received, because honestly he could have just as easily trained me, but for taking a chance on him and showing that I believed in his abilities. He told me that other than his parents, no
one had ever stood behind him and said I know you can do it. Those students are out there. They may be in a little different package; you may have to push them a little bit, and you may have to get out of your comfort zone and put in a little more effort. I will promise you this; a thank you from one of those kids will recharge your battery and drive you to keep looking for them. Remember, don’t dismiss a student just because the young person has never been successful; this student may have never been given the right circumstances to succeed. I know I am forever grateful for Bo Allen, an agriculture teacher at May High School, who in 1983 took a chance and shined a little spotlight on me. Mr. Allen had to look hard and take a pretty good leap of faith to get me to a place where I would be in the spotlight, and it made a huge difference in my life.
VATAT Professional Mentor Program Takes Shape
Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director For many years, there has been an increasing awareness of early career agricultural educators feeling overwhelmed due to the duties of the job. While all teachers face this, agriculture teachers have many extra responsibilities that academic teachers do not have. Livestock show responsibilities, school project center management, booster club management, competitive team responsibilities, overnight trips, as well as the day-to-day duties of the classroom, are all part of the agriculture teacher job description. The result is many young teachers leave the profession after a short time. This contributes to the overall shortage of effective educators. Therefore, the VATAT Board of Directors decided to take action and strengthen our profession. We have been involved in the early planning stage of a professional mentor program. We have promoted a peer-to-peer mentoring effort for some time, and plan to continue, but in some instances a more concentrated effort is needed. A pilot program is set to take effect for the 2017-2018 school year. We plan to contract at least ten retired agriculture teachers to serve as mentors for this next school year. They will be paired with no more than two first year teachers each. Each school district and beginning teacher must apply for this program. VATAT and various sponsors will be funding the project to begin
with, and there will be no charge to the school district during the pilot year. The mentors will be paid and will have a defined role, that include visits to the school agriculture department, along with a variety of other support activities. We expect to learn much the first year, and hope to expand in the future. Our next task is to select the right mentors. We are looking for individuals who have a passion for the program, and have a record of effectiveness and integrity in their professional lives. We will have an application up within weeks and if you know of someone who would be able to fill such a role, please let us know. We hope to have applicants from all parts of the state. I want to emphasize that this is not a fund-raising project for VATAT. In fact, our board has expressed a willingness to dedicate significant money to get this endeavor off the ground. Our goal is to support and promote our profession by keeping great young people in the classroom longer, and therefore provide students with a positive experience in agricultural education.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
VATAT................................................................1 - 3 Texas FFA..........................................................6 - 7 Foundation.........................................................9 Young Farmers.............................................10 - 11
THE VATAT OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS TO MEMBERS' CHILDREN UPON HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE ON OR BEFORE APRIL 1, 2017 NEW FOR 2017: THE VATAT SCHOLARSHIP IS NOW AN ONLINE APPLICATION.
VISIT VATAT.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION 2
The VATAT Legacy Endowment is a fund dedicated to VATAT scholarships. Gordon Davis’ intention is to recognize individuals who have assisted in CEV’s mission of providing high quality teaching materials to our members. The first 30 names were announced in the February VATAT Newsletter, below you will find the next 22 additions.
Next 22 HONOREES Steven Akers, Monterey High School Wayne Blount, Denison High School & CEV Gary Briers, Texas A&M University Joe Ray Burkett, Jacksboro High School Bruce Cobb, Lubbock Cooper High School Kenneth Dudensing, Sweetwater High School Tony Dunkerley, Henrietta High School Steve Fraze, Texas Tech University Julie Harlan, Texas A&M University Frank Hermesmeyer, Wall High School Lance Kieth, West Texas A&M University David Lawver, Texas Tech University JoBonney LeCompte, Perryton High School Conda Maze, White Deer High School Lana McDermott, Yoe High School & CEV Jim Missildine, Marion High School Alton Mitchell, Eastland High School Neil Overstreet, IMS Dwayne Pavelock, Sam Houston State University Bobby Rosenbusch, Florence High School Lon Shell, Texas State University Buddy Wallace, Bordon County
T hank You founder of
VATAT Conference Housing and registration opens March 15 Visit vatat.org for more information
Name: _________________________________________ Phone Number: _________________________________ Address: _______________________________________ Send Order Form and Payment To: VATAT Attn: Buckle 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
Net proceeds go towards the VATAT Scholarship Fund
battle at the ballpark bbq cook-off PRESENTED BY RIVERSTAR FARMS
JULY 24, 2017
PIONEER ELKS LODGE 601 W. PIONEER ARLINGTON, TX 7AM MOVE IN – 10 AM COOKS MEETING – 2 PM FIRST TURN IN CATEGORIES: BEEF TRI-TIP, PORK SPARE RIBS, WHOLE CHICKEN, OPEN APPETIZER, OPEN DRINK, AND CAMPSITE. COMPETITION MEATS ARE PROVIDED
$100 ENTRY PER TEAM TEAMS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WATER, GENERATED POWER, APPETIZER AND DRINK INGREDIENTS AWARDS FOR 1ST PLACE IN EACH CATEGORY PLUS GRAND AND RESERVE CHAMPION (FOUR AWARDS FOR EACH WINNING TEAM)
ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT THE VATAT SCHOLARSHIP FUND. ENTRY DEADLINE: JULY 1
CALL BRIAN AT 1-800-662-8808 FOR DETAILS OR QUESTIONS
Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas 5
UPDATE Former Member Creates Stock Show Mobile App
Katie Armstrong, Texas FFA News Staff
Former Canyon FFA member, Rhett Bain, used his unique talents to create a mobile app that organizes stock show events and information. The user-friendly product has quickly carved out its own niche.
“I got the idea when I was sitting at breakfast one morning at the 2014 State Fair of Texas,” Bain said. “I brought up making an app specifically for stock shows that would include live results, special announcements, and push notifications to inform people when they need to show up for their class.”
After two years of hard work, collaboration and fine-tuning, the app was complete. The StockStat official website describes the final project as “a firstclass mobile app that exponentially helps a show in providing enhancements of the overall experience to livestock exhibitors, advisors, family, friends and patrons.” 6
Amongst all his dedication, Bain was recognized as the 2015 National FFA proficiency winner in Agricultural Services Entrepreneurship Placement. Now a freshman at Oklahoma State University, Bain’s pursuit to build StockStat and follow his passion is stronger than ever.
“I’d love to see [StockStat] at every major stock show, even semi-major and county stock shows, across the country,” said Bain. “There’s just so many exhibitors and animals to keep track of at the majors, that’s where I think it would be most beneficial.” Bain saw his dream through to completion, and now his product is being utilized in numerous states and large events, including the 2017 San Antonio Livestock Exposition this spring. “[The app] has been used in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Kentucky,” Bain said. “My goal is to be nationwide.”
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder Austin Large, Texas FFA Executive Director “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That’s a statement this guy can get behind! After almost three years away, I am excited to be back in Texas to serve you as the Executive Director of the Texas FFA Association. I am looking forward to reconnecting with you over the next several months, and I’m excited to see the impact your students and chapters are making on your campuses and in your communities. Know that I appreciate the work that you do each day to help bring our mission of premiere leadership, personal growth and career success to life for the more than 118,000 young people in our program. Times of transition are often challenging and incite anxiousness. My hope is for you to understand my top priorities over the next few months as I step into this new role. First, my top priority is to ensure that the Texas FFA Association office helps to support you in the delivery of hands-on leadership development experiences to your students. I look forward to hearing your insights and perspectives on tools and resources we could provide to help make your lives easier. Second, I plan to continue to execute our current programs and initiatives with a
high level of quality and excellence. Our state FFA officers and hired contractors are committed to delivering “best in class” experiences for you and your students. Finally, I will look for ways that we can continue to improve and strengthen the Texas FFA experience for our students. I look forward to working with you, other members of Texas Team Ag Ed and our supporters to identify ways to keep moving the needle for our program. As we find ourselves in the thick of a busy spring schedule of stock shows, career development events and area conventions – please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is something that our team can do for you. During these often-chaotic times, remember to take care of yourselves and each other. It’s good to take pause every now and then to remember why we chose to be agricultural educators. I know that our best days, as a profession and organization, are ahead of us, and I am thrilled to be a part of the next great chapter in agricultural education and FFA in Texas. God bless all of you and thank you again for what you do!
Contact Information Austin Large
Executive Director, Texas FFA Association Office Phone: 512.480.8045 Email: email@example.com
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UPDATE Notes From the Executive Secretary Don Beene, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary I hope that all is well across the state of Texas. I sent a new mailing list to the VATAT, so this will be the first time some of you have received this newsletter. If you ever have anything interesting to include on our page, please notify me and I will do my best to see it highlighted. Just as a reminder, all scholarship applications must be post marked no later than April 1. The application can be found at www.txyoungfarmers.org. Also, make sure to file your income tax form (990ex or e-postcard) for your Young Farmer EIN. Each chapter has a different end of year date, so I am unable to tell you when the deadline is. However, it is always within five months of your fiscal year. At our state convention, many of you requested hosting a Young Farmers gathering during the summer. An event is now in the works. L.A. Muehr is working on planning a summer field day for June, so keep a look out for more information. The 2018 Texas Young Farmers Convention will be held in Kerrville, Texas, January 5-7, 2018. I recently travelled to the location and I am happy to report that the two hotels are very nice, the food was great and the price is outstanding. The tours that were conducted during our 2017 Texas Young Farmers Convention were excellent as well, except for the cold weather. Tours included
Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm, Fehner and Sons Feed Mill/Gun Shop, Spoetzl Brewery, Gonzales Memorial Museum and Pioneer Village. This month we will be highlighting our tour of Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm. During the tour our members were educated on the production of mushrooms; from the micro-spawn stage to store ready produce. In 1988, Darrell Gregg McClendon saw a void and begin to grow mushrooms. He started with 18 grow rooms that have now evolved into 65. They grow chitake and oyster mushrooms, which are more difficult to grow than portabella. Also, they make their own compost from wheat straw and pasteurize to kill pathogens. The mushrooms are sold to Wal-Mart and Ben E. Keith. The company also employees 230 individuals.
TEXAS YOUNG FARMERS SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
DEADLINE APRIL 1, 2017
Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors
Photos From the 63rd Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention
Even the untrained eye can see that these mushrooms are ready for harvest. The soil is ready for mushrooms to grow!
The mushrooms are all packed up and ready to go! Mushroom harvest! Manual labor is a must. The same room is hand-picked three times for most complete harvest.
Food safety is always important â€“ visitors must dress appropriately!
Oyster mushrooms are actually grown in coffee grounds -we all need a daily pick me up!
614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Upcoming Events March
1st Texas FFA Membership Submission & Dues Deadline
1st Texas Young Farmer Scholarship Deadline
22nd Texas FFA Convention Chorus Deadline
15th VATAT Conference Registration and Housing Opens
1st VATAT Scholarship Application Deadline
22nd State CDEs, Lubbock
20th State Tractor Technician CDE
3rd Texas FFA Association Board Meeting, Austin
25th Texas Tech Invitational CDEs
14th Foundation Ambassador Application Deadline
30th West Texas A&M Invitational CDEâ€™s
14th Texas FFA Convention Media Deadline
25th State Wildlife CDE, TBD 27th State CDEs, Stephenville 28th State CDEs, Huntsville 29th State CDEs, College Station
Officers Shane Crafton, President
Michael Meadows, Vice President
Tammy Christian, Secretary/Treasurer
Staff Barney McClure, Executive Director
Ashley Dunkerley, Communications
Karen Jones, Membership Services