NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
A Fresh Start
Michael Meadows, Simms
One thing I have always appreciated about the beginning of another school year is the chance for a fresh start. This is true for both students and teachers. I have been teaching ag for more than twentyfive years and have never had a year where I didn’t wish I would have done something a little different, a little better, etc. Well, we all have the chance to do that. That “fresh start” is part of what makes the beginning of each year exciting. Whether it is your first year or your forty-first year, take advantage of this fresh start and make the most of it. Before I go any further, let me say what an honor and privilege it is to serve as President of the VATAT. I am very humbled by the thought of it. My Dad taught ag science for 38 years, therefore I grew up going to livestock shows, conventions, contests, etc. Agriculture education and FFA have been part of my life as far back as I can remember. Ag teachers are a special breed. I have heard people describe Texas A&M by saying, “from the outside you can’t understand it, and from the inside you can’t explain it.” As an Aggie myself, I agree with this assessment. I think that statement also describes our career. Unless you have lived the life of an ag teacher, or lived with an ag teacher, it is very hard for “outsiders” to understand. I also find it difficult to explain my job to others in a way where they truly comprehend what all we do in our profession. I just know it is a very special, rewarding lifestyle that I feel privileged to be a
part of. To have the opportunity to serve more than 2,000 ag teachers across our great state is something I don’t take lightly and I am grateful. For those of you just starting your career, hang in there! You are about to embark on the greatest, most rewarding adventure of your life. The lives you will impact is worth more than any paycheck you will ever receive. For those of you wrapping-up your career, thank you for investing your life in the lives of your students as well as the future of agriculture. Looking back on my career, there have been special individuals who have had a tremendous influence on me. Of course, it all started with my parents who instilled Christian values in me, along with a strong work ethic. I have tried to pass this on to my own children, as well as my students. My Dad is the biggest reason I am an ag teacher. Hearing his former students tell him what an influence he made left a huge impression on me. I remember thinking how rewarding it would be for someone to say that about me one day. Others such as my first ag teacher David McGee, Dr. Herman Brown and Dr. Gary Briers of Texas A&M, and many others, each left their mark on me. All of us are who we are because of those who invested in us. We in turn invest ourselves in our students and help pass those influences down to future generations. Let me encourage you to be “that” influence this year that will truly impact someone’s life.
We all know that our paycheck is not an accurate reflection of what we do. The difference you can make in your student’s futures cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Take advantage of this fresh start we have all been given in this new school year by exerting an influence in your school, home, and community which will stand solid for your part in the inspiring task of building the next generation of agricultural leaders. (I guess I should give E.M. Tiffany credit for part of that last sentence.) Always remember the VATAT is here for you. Please let the officers, your board members, or our Executive Director know how we can serve you better. We have a great staff who wants to help in any way they can. Until next month, be safe and have a great year!
Spotlight on Agriculture Education
Conference 2017 Wrap-Up
Shane Crafton, Past VATAT President
Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director
Where did the summer go? The older I get the faster the summer seems to go by. I would like to say a big thank you to our staff, Barney McClure, Karen Jones and Ashley Dunkerley as well as Abby McCulloch and Stacey Jones for making our conference in Arlington a huge success. I hope you realize how much work goes into the conference and how much these individuals go above and beyond their job descriptions to ensure we have an educational and relevant conference each summer. I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as president this year. I have enjoyed every minute of my time in office, especially the opportunity to work and learn from former officers Charles Prause, Jack Winterrowd, and Ray Pieniazek. This year has been busy and hectic, but has been the most educational and eye opening experience I have ever had. I can’t express the appreciation I feel to my fellow board members for trusting me to lead our organization for this year. It’s hard to walk away, but I know I am leaving you in the very capable hands of Michael Meadows. I have come to know Mr. Meadows over the past three years and developed a deep appreciation for his love for our organization and the students in our agriculture programs. Mr. Meadows is a man of vision, integrity, and is focused on the core values our organization strives to achieve. I challenge each of you to take an active role in our organization. You as members are welcomed and encouraged to attend any board meeting as well as FFA and Foundation Board meetings at any time throughout the year. We have some very influential individuals on these boards who are willing to get behind our programs if we will help foster and cultivate these relationships. Thanks again to everyone who supported me throughout the year, my wife, my school board, my administration and certainly Mr. McClure who makes the entire officer process run smoothly and effectively. I challenge each of you to continue to do all you do to ensure our programs, our association and our students remain the spotlight of agriculture education in the State of Texas.
Our summer professional development conference in Arlington, Texas is now a part of our history. My staff and I put a lot of effort into making our yearly event the best it can be, but we aren’t alone. The VATAT board and officers have an integral role, as does the conference planning committee members elected by the areas. No such event is ever perfect, but the goal is to prepare both new and experienced teachers for the challenges of the coming year. As a teacher, I always felt I couldn’t adequately do my job the next year if I didn’t come to conference. We tried to have workshops and general sessions that were both informational and enjoyable. Most of them were teacher led, with others put on by industry experts and collegiate ag education staff. The exhibit show allowed vendors and sponsors opportunities to interact and display the newest products and technology. Many new teachers, and some experienced teachers, may not know that our conference is produced and executed without any direct funding from T.E.A. That change occurred in 2009. T.E.A. does support the event by granting us the ability to grant C.P.E. hours used to keep teaching certificates in force. Statewide CTE Coordinator Ron Whitson supports our efforts throughout the year, and at conference. Arlington proved to be a popular location, with almost 2,000 active members registered for the conference. We left Arlington with 2,068 active members. I believe the growth occurred due to several reasons; the central location and many family entertainment options. Our conference will be in Lubbock next year. It is always good to go to the south plains. We feel like there will be much to see and we haven’t been to Lubbock for conference since 2009. We have already started planning for it and if you have any suggestions, let us know.
YOUR CONFERENCE CERTIFICATE IS ONLINE NOW. 2
INSIDE THIS ISSUE VATAT.......................................1 - 2 Texas FFA....................................4 Alumi...................................7 Young Farmers.....................10-11
Fresh Country Supports the
VATAT with a
Austin Large, Texas FFA Executive Director
It’s hard to believe that it is September, and the classrooms across the Lone Star State have welcomed back returning students and are helping new students to find a home within agricultural education. If you are teaching Principles of AFNR, undoubtedly one of the first items that you will cover with students will be the three component model of school-based agricultural education, more commonly known as the “three-circle model.” During these activities and discussions you’ll get students fired up about your class, hype them up to participate in FFA activities and have great conversations around getting quality SAE’s up and running. That’s the hope at least. We have all said it before, but the magic of agricultural education happens when we remember that all three components of this model are integral. We can’t truly achieve the vision of agricultural education if we don’t treat each of these components as being vital to our program. My challenge to you, for this year, is to make a move towards the middle. When we look at the three component model, we will notice that each of the circles are of the same size and overlap significantly. If we were to draw what our program looks like, is this what we would see? Do we emphasize finding success in the classroom as much as we do finding it in the show ring or with a CDE/LDE? Do we prioritize helping students find outlets for experiential learning through SAE in the same manner we do hosting labs in class or taking a leadership role in FFA? Do we expect students to step up and lead their FFA chapter in the same way we want them to be self-guided learners in the classroom? When we are able to find balance in those three components, that is when we make the biggest difference. I think we could all stand to take a step towards the middle. The middle is where we show relevance to administrators and parents. The middle is where we build connections and things “click” for our students. The middle is where we make a positive difference in terms of premiere leadership, personal growth and career success. The middle is 4
where the magic of experiential learning happens. Moving to the middle makes a difference, and I’m excited to see you all there this year. Best of luck to you, and cheers to the beginning of an incredible year for Texas Agricultural Education!
Disaster Relief Homes, farms, schools, roads and cities have been severely affected by Hurricane Harvey. There has been an outpouring of support from our agricultural education family here in Texas and across the nation. People want to know how they can help and support those members of our family who are being affected and displaced in this tragedy. Since the rain is still falling, we know that it will be several days before teachers, students and school officials will be able to get in and assess the damages caused by Harvey. Texas Team Ag Ed is reactivating the “A New Day: Texas Agricultural Education Disaster Relief Fund.” Donations to this fund will be dispersed via an application process directly to the programs and chapters affected by this tragedy. To donate to the fund, please visit TexasFFA. org/NewDay. You can also donate by sending a check or money order to: Texas FFA Foundation Attn: A New Day Crisis Fund 614 E. 12th Street Austin,TX 78701 Chapters seeking relief funds can apply online at TexasFFA.org/NewDay. You will be asked to provide a financial estimate of the damage, as well as 1-2 photos. As more information on relief efforts become available, we will do our best to communicate that out to you. If your chapter is organizing relief efforts/ donations, and you’d like the association to share that information publicly, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure the subject reads “Disaster Relief” and that you include the name and contact phone number and/or email of the primary contact.
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UPDATE Texas FFA Alumni News Kelly White, Texas FFA Alumni President
“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all.” - Deborah Day This summer, I was sitting in the lobby outside of the room where the VATAT was hosting a reception for new teachers during the professional development conference. I watched as the crowd dispensed from the room and asked Mr. Barney McClure how many new teachers were in attendance. He estimated that there were close to 300 in attendance that evening. Some were new to the profession and some had made the decision to return to the classroom after being out for several years. All I could think of was my first conference and how excited, insecure, confidant, and outright scared as I entered my first year of teaching. I needed support and encouragement. I found this support and encouragement from two veteran teachers in a school located with 15 miles of the school where I taught. I felt that I kept the phone line busy between our places. They were extremely helpful with the information that they shared. I was extremely lucky to have a Principal and Assistant Principal that were former ag teachers. They shared their experiences with me and gave me tips that would eased me into my rookie year of teaching. Then came working in the community…I needed support! I found that in my booster club. Granted there was some problems with some of the members, but this is another story. Anyway, I had a support group of parents that did not need to be called a Booster Club, an Alumni, or Young Farmers. They were there to support their kids, the FFA, the agriculture program, and also the ag teacher. What kind of support group do you have? There was a recent string of post on the Ag Teacher Buddies Facebook Page. Asking the question, Alumni or Young Farmers? Let me tell you that there is not a “turf war” between the Alumni and the Young Farmers. Both are great organizations. Choose the one that fits your program. What does your community want? What does your
administration want or expect from your support group? I am not knocking booster clubs! I do have a pet peeve though when someone calls a booster club an Alumni group and fails to pay their state and national dues. This would be like an ordinary ag student claiming to be an FFA Member when they did not pay their dues!
Does This Answer Your Question? Who can become an Alumni member? Anyone can be an Alumni member; membership is open to anyone who is interested in supporting and promoting agricultural education and the FFA on the local, state and national level. How much does an Alumni membership cost? Texas FFA Alumni Dues deadline is February 1st Annual National membership. Texas has opted for the National FFA Affiliation Program - Annual fee of $100 per local affiliate (plus state dues that may apply) for the affiliate program providing basic support to all volunteers at the local affiliate. A minimum of 10 local affiliate members will continue to be in place for the affiliate to be considered active. Annual fee would be waived if the local affiliate has at least 25 life members (as of the end of the preceding membership year). Annual State Membership - Annual fee of $100 per local affiliate for the affiliate program providing basic support to all volunteers at the local affiliate. A minimum of 10 local affiliate members will continue to be in place for the affiliate to be considered active. Life membership (National) - $150 per individual + $10 processing fee – onetime payment; you will receive a membership card, certificate, life subscription to New Visions newsletter and New Horizons magazine as well as a voice in alumni business. Corporate membership (National) - $300; this membership is extended to businesses and corporations. and maintains an appreciation of the American. 7
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UPDATE Notes From
Don Beene, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary
I want to express my appreciation to those of you that visited our Texas Young Farmer’s booth at the Texas FFA Convention and the VATAT Conference this summer. I can’t recall another time when I had as many individuals express interest in learning about the Texas Young Farmers. I was able to have an excellent visit with the Texas FFA Alumni Association representative Kelly White, and I appreciate all the information he shared with me. Both of our organizations are striving to assist local FFA chapters, as well as FFA members and advisors. I am here to assist you with your program, or help you establish a new Young Farmer chapter. I would be glad to come and visit with your interested members. I have a couple of presentations scheduled over the next three weeks, and I look forward to visiting with these chapters and their members. The Texas Young Farmer’s board of directors will be meeting on October 14th. If you have something that you would like them to consider, please get in touch with your area Vice President. The meeting agenda will include working on our state convention that will be held January 1-6 at the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville, Texas. We have excellent tours and activates scheduled and I promise you will leave with valuable information. I know that each of you have started the new school year, and I wish you the best!
We are still looking for ideas to get more members involved in state activities; especially the younger generations. We have a relatively young group that we work with, but we still have an entry age level that needs to grow. If each one of us is not positively trying to deliver enthusiasm and passion for the Texas Young Farmers all the way to the state level by our own actions then there is where we can start. Come to and bring others to our Texas Young Farmer State Convention 2018 in Kerrville.
Digital Scrapbook: Competition is open to all Young Farmer Chapters attending the State Young Farmer Convention in January. The format is electronic digital submitted on a flash drive at registration on Friday night at the convention. Content of the scrapbook will follow along with dates of the Outstanding Chapter Report (at this time September 1- August 31 of the previous year). It may be created in a power point or similar program presentation not to exceed five (5) minutes in total length. Participation in this event is worth (5) points towards the Sweepstakes Award. Three places will be awarded extra points and possible monetary awards if sponsored. First place received (5) extra points, Second place received (3) extra points and Third place received (1) extra point. Young Farmer Newcomer: The purpose of the Convention Update Newcomer Award is to recognize first or second Last year we created a Newcomers Award year members of the Young Farmers who have for young members, of no more than two years shown participation in the Texas Young Farmers of membership. We created this award hoping at the state level as well as with their local chapter. they wouldn’t feel threatened by competition from members with more membership years. membership We changed the scrapbook award from rosters and paperand books to electronic on a flash drive. The final product was to not exceed five minutes. Most dues are due every activity done by a group today has some form November 1, 2017. of pictures taken because most participants have phones. Not sure how to do it? Find a young’un! 10
Texas Young Farmers at the Texas FFA Convention & VATAT Conference
[Left to Right] Dustin Bostick, Foundation scholarship winner; Cody McQueen, Sharon Beene Memorial Scholarship winner; Robert Bland, Texas Young Farmer State President; Tanner Choate, Sharon Beene’s granddaughter; Kyle Kirgan, Young Farmer Scholarship winner; Dixon Baird, Billy Harrell Memorial Scholarship winner; Don Beene, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary; Hunter Choate, Sharon Beene’s grandson. [Not Pictured] Rachel White, Past President’s Scholarship winner; Dylan Angel, Texas Young Farmer Scholarship winner.
Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors
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Upcoming Events September
1 - 30 Regular Swine Tag Orders (Major Shows)
1 - 31 Sheep and Goat Validation
1 Fall Texas FFA Roster Deadline
11 Texas FFA Board of Directors Meeting
1 - 31 Late Swine Tag Orders (Major Shows)
1 - 7 Late Priority Swine Tag Orders (Major Shows)
10 State Fair of Texas Agriculture Awareness Day
7 Tarleton Invitational LDEs
12 Prairie View A&M Invitational LDE Contest 21 Aggiefest Judging Contest
7 Late Priority Swine Tag Order Deadline 30 Last Day to Validate Swine
25 - 28 National FFA Convention
Officers Michael Meadows, President Barney McClure, Executive Director
Tammy Christian, Vice President
Ashley Dunkerley, Communications
Terry Baize, Secretary/Treasurer Karen Jones, Membership Services