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GROWING OUR FUTURE A TEXAS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION MAGAZINE

WINTER 2020


Online Curriculum, Instructional Materials & Certification Testing

VIRTUAL

Professional Development Seminar FREE ADMISSION

JANUARY 4TH - 5TH

iCEV is hosting two days of complimentary professional development and ALL CTE educators are invited to attend! Whether you are brand new to iCEV or already an iCEV super user, this virtual event is packed with valuable implementation strategies, tools and resources focused on preparing teachers to adjust to a changing educational landscape.

iCEV Platform Workshop Sessions • Distance Learning with iCEV

• Industry Certifications Hosted on iCEV

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iCEV Subject Area Sessions • Agricultural Science

• Career Exploration

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Transportation & Manufacturing • Business, Marketing, Finance, IT & Media

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www.icevonline.com www.icevonline.com /ecology / icev-pd


SUMMARY 2

From the Ground Up

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A Early Career Perspective

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Tips and Tricks to Help Manage A Large Chapter

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Two Texas Members’ Work to Gift FFA Jackets to Peers

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Executing a Chapter Community Service Project

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Gilmer FFA Members Volunteer to Assist Elementary Teachers with Classroom Setup

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The Texas FFA Association Board of Directors and How It Operates

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Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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You Agriculture Teachers Association and How it Operates

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Texas Team Ag Ed Staff Spotlight

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Leadership Roles in Your School and Community

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Serving Our Communities, and Serving Them Well

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The Game of Life…it is Not a Solo Project

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Texas FFA Alumni and Supporters Updates

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Texas Young Farmers Updates

Gowing Our Furture: A Texas Agricultural Education Magazine 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-472-3128 Editor/Layout Designer/ Content Director Ashley Dunkerley Assistant Editor Tori Rosser Cover Photo Acquired from the My Texas FFA Project

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BY: G R E G C RO U CH L E Y P R E S I D E N T A N D C H I E F O P E R AT I N G O F F I C E R AT J U S T I N B R A N D S

FROM THE GROUND UP QUESTION: WHAT DOES A TEXAS FFA SUPPORTER HAVE IN COMMON WITH A TEXAS AG SCIENCE EDUCATOR? ANSWER: COMMUNITY.

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n keeping with the FFA’s mission to make a positive difference in student’s lives by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success, this magazine has explored advocacy, development, and leadership, all subjects of critical importance. As students develop these skills, the results build a lifelong community. The cornerstone of this community is unquestionably agricultural science educators. By engaging with students at their most impressionable, you as agricultural science educators begin a quest by introducing or reacquainting, students to agriculture and the land. As Red Steagall has explained, “We live with the land, not on it.” His poem “Born to this Land” captures this core principle better than I ever could express. Starting with basic agricultural science education, students begin their journey to premiere leadership, growth, and success. As you guide, nurture, motivate, and educate along the way, students develop a growing

sense of responsibility, patience, emotional development, and character. This may be better expressed as “From the Ground, Up!”

learn, practice, and execute communication skills across different organizations.

In addition, in order for students to take full advantage of the opportunities ag education provides and reach their highest potential, they must interact with people across diverse disciplines, organizations, and skillsets.

It is you, the agricultural science educators, who bring this all together.

Communication Effective interaction is a complex and challenging skill that must be practiced often in order to grow. Learning how to communicate with others is essential to maximizing potential and achievement. It is clear the ag education and the FFA recognizes this, as skills such as public speaking are not only taught but also practiced repeatedly all year, culminating in the incredible presentations at the state convention. It is absolutely critical for students across Texas, from the smallest rural towns to the largest metropolitan cities, to get the opportunity to study,

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Cornerstone

By creating opportunities for growth through communication for every single student, from the shy and quiet to the most outgoing. By demonstrating for students how to create community through their own outreach efforts to the vast and diverse array of Texas FFA supporters.

“IDEALLY, EACH STUDENT IS ABLE TO BE PRESENTED WITH AT LEAST ONE OPPORTUNITY THAT RESONATES, IGNITING THE INTERNAL FIRE AND PASSION TO GROW.”


As you bring supporters, old and new, into your community, the potential opportunities for each student grow exponentially. Ideally, each student is able to be presented with at least one opportunity that resonates, igniting the internal fire and passion to grow.

Share your supporter contacts with other ag teachers. “From the Ground Up” is building up communities to engage, enlighten, and excite each and every student is our common goal. You, as agricultural science educators, are the cornerstone.

The cornerstone to this most critical discovery for our students is the agricultural science educators. You, as an advisor, are the finest example for students and supporters alike of the spirit of ag education leadership. Reach out to supporters and draw us deeper into the community you create. We can then match, recognize, and maximize each individual’s potential. Reach Out To Supporters Supporters are always eager to do more to participate in local communities. Working in conjunction with Texas FFA’s extensive contacts and relationships, there are five initial steps that might be useful to ag teachers when working to build up community support. Contact Us! I can assure you no supporter is hard to reach when we hear “I’m an FFA advisor.” Research and study our areas of expertise as they might impact your students. Request meetings to introduce us to your students. Most ag education students seem to prefer questions and answer sessions to speeches or long presentations. Many of us are open to Zoom, or meeting in a big room. If you find us valuable or interesting stay in contact!

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S R E B M E M R U O F S O E I L L I L A M A F TO R I E H T D AN

Y R R E M S A M T S I R H C E XAS H E T T F O M O FR ASSOCIATION

ERS H C A E T URE T L U C I R AG

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Teach Ag Tips RULES AND PROCEDURES IN YOUR AG DEPARTMENT PART ONE: FFA CHAPTERS

BY: RYAN PIENIAZEK, KRUM AND RAY PIENIAZEK, ATAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

1. FFA Constitution and By Laws: Under Texas FFA policy, all chapters must maintain and submit a current constitution. Sample constitutions are available on the Texas FFA website. Constitutions must be filed with the Membership Coordinator of Texas FFA. The bylaws should address things such as officer selection, degrees, and maintaining membership in your chapter. 2. Officer Rules and Election Procedures: Officer Elections can cause many headaches for teachers. Elections must follow what your constitutions and bylaws allow. These should address what is needed to uphold and maintain each officer position. Be very clear as to how the voting procedures will take place. 3. Travel Policies/Permission Slips: Most districts will have policies on who can travel or go on a trip. Having emergency information and permission slips for students to travel is important. Who is paying for the trip and who will be responsible if the student does not go should be also communicated in writing. 4. FFA Calendar: Having a calendar planned for the year allows students, parents and administrators to know where you are going each year. It also allows you to plan hotels, vehicle requests and other important details. 5. Fundraising Procedures: In order to conduct a fundraiser, you may have to fill out forms with district as well as with the company. Having clear guidelines for your members to participate, when money is collected, when orders are due, how pickup will be handled, etc, is key. 6. Collecting Stock Show Entries: Collecting entries, required information, and signatures is very important. Create a process on how these will be collected. Have a verification time to make sure what is being submitted is correct. 7. Social Media: Knowing what can be and cannot be posted is important, including what your district allows to be posted and who can post to your social media accounts. 8. Procedures for Handling Funds: When collecting money, writing receipts is important for documentation. Depositing money in the school accounts will be required to be done in a timely manner. Know who to turn it to and what they require. When you can collect money could also be an issue. It may need to be done before or after class or only after 5school hours.


A EARLY CAREER PERSPECTIVE

AN AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS MENTOR PROGRAM INTERVIEW M E N T E E : A S H L E Y P I E R C E , C O A H O M A H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R M E N T O R : S T E V E F O R S Y T H E , R E T I R E D H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

What made you decide to teach ag?

I had an amazing experience in high school, I had a few amazing teachers who each taught me something different relating to this profession. One taught me the value of balancing work and home, instilling that at the end of the day, home will always be there and don’t take it for granted. Another taught me being a mother, wife, daughter, and ag teacher are all possible, you don’t have to choose just one or two. And another taught me the ropes of how to train and lead a team and how to develop a curriculum that works for all students in the classroom which really sparked my fire. Creating ways in which students learn using their hands and learn things they can actively see pertain to the real world, changes their perspective immensely. All of those things combined helped mold me into the person I am today and knowing how much impact they made in my life, made me want to do the same for someone else. 6


Why do you believe ag education is so important? I believe ag education is important because it allows students to get hands on with things that will impact them in the years to come. It follows the same principle of give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; but teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. If we teach students where their food comes from, what goes into producing their food, and how to grow their own food and fiber, we have taught them something valuable they can take and apply or even advocate for. While everyone’s role is different, if we are all educated on the subject, we can hold an informed discussion rather than yelling across the table at one another.

kids came together and had solid and valuable input was amazing, I am proud to say that we are at 99% completion, now all we need are plants!

What has been your favorite FFA memory so far?

classify as plastic at one time, it does not mean it cannot be reclassified as glass at another time.

What is one thing you wish What has been your favorite you had been told before classroom memory so far? you started this year? While this is my second year teaching, one thing has resonated with me time and time again and it came from Nora Roberts. When trying to balance FFA duties, classroom teaching, and homelife, I have to realize I am juggling. The key to juggling is knowing which balls in the air are glass and which ones are plastic. If you drop a plastic ball, it bounces and no harm is done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters. You have to prioritize to catch the glass ones. The balls we are juggling are not just the broad categories of teaching and homelife, they can be broken down into smaller pieces such as cutting out 100 pig heads for your ear notching lesson tomorrow and being present for your significant others birthday dinner. While one thing may

My favorite classroom memory for this year would have to be combining classes with the shop teacher to build a greenhouse for the ag department from the ground up. We had five short days to draw up plans and have all materials on campus and neither of us teachers had much experience in building structures. The way all of our

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I have had a few favorite memories so far this year, but I would have to say the memory that comes in first would be when we found out the day of our district contest, one of our team members who was on two teams had broken his leg the night before at the playoff football game and was unable to make it to the district contest. The three girls who were on his teams stepped up the morning of the contest and split his lines and reworked movements to make everything flow, so they could compete and hopefully advance to the area contest making it to where he would have a chance to compete. I am proud to report those girls pulled it off in not just one contest but both and all four of them will compete at the area contest together. To have students work as hard as they did that morning, without faulting or worrying, really spoke volumes to their character and I could not be more proud to be their ag teacher.


AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

GARY GRAHAM

GRAPELAND HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 44 YEARS

WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I have always been involved in agriculture. I grew up on a small cattle ranch and farm, and during high school and college, we truck farmed watermelons. I have also done custom hay baling for many years. Students in ag classes are, for the most part, there because they chose to be there and are interested in the class which makes it more enjoyable for everyone. We must encourage our young people to pursue careers in agriculture. Our population continues to grow and the number of acres for agriculture keeps getting smaller. We need bright young people to discover ways to feed this growing population.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? After 44 years there are a lot of good memories; contests, conventions, stock shows, the list goes on. My son and daughter in law teach ag in Onalaska, which is in our district, so we compete against each other, as well as work with each other, which I love. The most special memory was a young lady that was an officer in our chapter and very active in FFA. She went on to graduate from SHSU with a degree in agriculture. When it came time for her wedding, she asked me to walk her down the aisle and give her away. That was very special to me and I was truly honored; a memory I will always treasure.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? We have been fortunate enough to win the National Invitational Quiz contest, place Reserve National Champion in the Land CDE and compete at nationals several times. The smiles and excitement from those students after all the work it takes to compete at that level is something I'll always remember. Anytime students are successful in the classroom is special. I love the smiles from the satisfaction of success and accomplishment.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? I believe we must get young people motivated to pursue a career in agriculture in order to have farmers and ranchers to produce food and fiber for everyone else.

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Applications due March 2021

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Details at texasfarmbureau.org or email youthactivities@txfb.org

Students also can apply for TFB scholarships through TSTC on the TSTC website. 9


BY: T Y L E R P R I C E J A M E S M A D I S O N H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

TIPS AND TRICKS TO HELP

MANAGE A LARGE CHAPTER

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he old saying “Everything’s Bigger in Texas,” rang true for this small-town boy from Northwest Oklahoma. I left a chapter with roughly 250 members and three agriscience teachers, already a large chapter to me, for the Agriscience Magnet Program at James Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas with roughly 620 members and seven agriscience teachers. My time in chapters of various sizes has taught me that managing a large chapter successfully takes three things: communication, delegation, and the Apple App Store. No matter the size of the chapter, communication is very important. Communication is required amongst your teaching partners, parents, booster club, alumni, administration, student leaders, and more. One way we communicate as a team is through weekly staff meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page. We meet every Monday, same time, same place. This is a time for us all to get together to discuss what everyone has going on for the week and what we as a chapter have coming up. While email and texting are viable options, nothing beats traditional face-to-face communication. Group texts are another way we communicate daily. While a group chat can become overwhelming, most of the time they are useful for getting information out quickly and often with a good laugh! It is also important to have an open line of communication with administration, especially for large chapters, who may not get the attention they deserve. We always make sure to send our administration a 10

chapter t-shirt, invite them to events, and stop by their office if we are in the area. Support from administration is great to have at all times, but even better in times of need. Through my experience with large chapters, I have found delegation and knowing your teaching partners’ strengths is very important. Each of us has strengths in certain areas. Whether it's booking hotels or being in charge of securing vehicles; having connections in the livestock industry or being good at assisting with applications; or being the old wise one with all the wisdom or the young one with lots of aspirations but needing guidance, knowing each other’s strengths is important before delegating tasks. Each year, usually at ATAT Conference, we all get together and make a list of responsibilities. These responsibilities range from campus account responsibilities, LDE/ CDE team responsibilities, application responsibilities, SAE supervision responsibilities, and much more. This allows us to know going into the school year what is expected of each of us.

“MY TIME IN CHAPTERS OF VARIOUS SIZES HAS TAUGHT ME THAT MANAGING A LARGE CHAPTER SUCCESSFULLY TAKES THREE THINGS: COMMUNICATION, DELEGATION, AND THE APPLE APP STORE.”


The next piece of this is holding each other accountable. Just because one of us oversees Lone Star Degrees does not mean teamwork is not important and we do not have to help that person if needed. Establishing who oversees what at the beginning of the year gives us guidance on who to direct students to when they have questions about a certain area. Students also begin to pick up on who is in charge of what and will begin advocating for themselves to those teachers whom they know are in charge.

information. A nice thing about the app is if a student does not want the information, they can leave. In a chapter where teachers don’t know every student or have them in class, this is a great way to get information to a large number of students. We use GroupMe in our livestock barns, our teams, classes, and events. I strongly encourage teachers to take advantage of this great app. And most importantly, it is free! Moving into a larger chapter can be scary at first. Some challenges are not present in smaller chapters, but we also face many of the same obstacles. Learning to be flexible and stay calm in times of chaos is important no matter the size of your chapter. Rely on your coworkers, know your strengths, download GroupMe, and remain calm. With the right tools, a bigger chapter really can be better!

While the above items are important to managing any chapter, I also wanted to give you a tangible tool. Our favorite piece of technology for chapter management is GroupMe. This app is gold! We put students in groups based on Lone Star years, which allows us to get messages out to students quickly about upcoming events they need in order to qualify for their Lone Star. We also make one for seniors where we can send scholarship

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BY: L A N I P I E P E R T E X A S F FA N E W S S TA F F

TWO TEXAS MEMBERS’ WORK TO GIFT FFA JACKETS TO PEERS

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he blue corduroy FFA jacket is a longstanding tradition that unifies members and reminds them they are part of something bigger than themselves. Tuloso-Midway FFA member Emily Dreyer and former Calallen FFA member Kailyn O’Brien are diligently working to give every Texas FFA member the chance to be part of that tradition through their “More Than A Jacket” project.

article of clothing far more than its symbolic blue corduroy or the organization’s official dress, the jacket is an icon of an American tradition–instilling pride and responsibility in those who wear it.

Beginning in May 2020, the duo set out with a goal of providing 25 jackets locally, primarily in the Corpus Christi, Texas area. Along with individual donations, they conducted “We know what an honor it is to have a jacket a couple of fundraising efforts, including an with your name on it,” said Dreyer. “However, online t-shirt sale. After five months, they throughout our years in FFA, we noticed there accomplished their goal. was an abundance of FFA members who never had a jacket of their own.” “We are happy to announce we have met our initial goal and have now set a new goal of 35 According to the National FFA Organization, jackets,” said Dreyer. “Our generous donors only 50% of FFA members own their own not only sponsor an FFA jacket, but invest in jackets. O’Brien and Dreyer want to improve a new generation of leaders.” this statistic, starting in the Coastal Bend district of Texas FFA. “By starting ‘More Than A Jacket’, we hope to raise this statistic, starting in our local district,” said O’Brien. “We strongly believe that every member in FFA should have the opportunity to have a jacket with their name on it.” It takes $55 to purchase a new FFA jacket. An 12


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B Y: C AT I F L O R Y G I L M E R H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

EXECUTING

A CHAPTER COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT PART I - THE PLANNING PROCESS

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lanning and completing a community service project requires time, effort, and commitment. All of our chapter service planning begins at our officer retreat each summer, where our students plan the year’s activities and events. Our advisors begin by asking about needs they see in the community. One of the first groups our officers were excited to serve was their former elementary school teachers; resulting in the “Helping Our Day Ones” activity. The primary focus was giving back to the teachers who helped shape our members into the young men and women they are today.

After discussing the options given to use by the principals, it was determined the best way our members could help was to help teachers decorate their classrooms and to move in school supplies for the 2019-2020 school year. Next, the officers were in charge of securing a date for the service activity to take place. On the day teachers came back from summer

From there, an officer volunteered to be in charge of the service event and called our elementary school principal to see what we could do to help the teachers. Once we contacted GES and determined what we could help with, our officers met with our chapter’s citizenship committee to determine when and how the project would take place. 14

vacation, an army of Gilmer FFA members were waiting for them, ready to serve by helping get their classrooms ready for their students. Our members loved getting the opportunity to reconnect with their elementary teachers, who had done so much for them when they attended Gilmer Elementary School. It was also a great way for our members to make connections with our new teachers and explain to them what our chapter is about. It


was a gateway to invite the new teachers to a few of our public events throughout the school year, including our Gilmer FFA Christmas Party and Chili Cook-Off. A few words of advice for teachers struggling to plan and execute a community service project are: Let the service activity be student-driven. We try extremely hard to let our officers and committee members be the primary planners of service projects because they tend to have a better understanding of what students will want to be involved in. By allowing students to come up with ideas, such as which groups we will serve or what type of service we will participate in, we end up with service

activities that high schoolers find relevant and interesting, which allows us to have greater participation in the projects. The advisor is a facilitator, not a planner. As FFA advisors, we have a tremendous workload just within the day-to-day needs of our chapters. So, why give ourselves more work by adding planning a service event to our schedule? Your officers and committee chairs were selected for a reason, let them lead. Have a specific plan. As our officers and committee chairman sit down to plan an event, the advisors give them a step-by-step sheet to fill out while they brainstorm for an event. This step-bystep plan includes a date,

time, attire, purpose, contact information, and supplies needed, just to name a few. From there, our committee is better prepared to put the plan into motion.

“WE TRY EXTREMELY HARD TO LET OUR OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS BE THE PRIMARY PLANNERS OF SERVICE PROJECTS BECAUSE THEY TEND TO HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT STUDENTS WILL WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN.�

Photos courtesy of Gilmer FFA.

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PA R T I I - T H E P R O J E C T

GILMER FFA MEMBERS VOLUNTEER TO ASSIST ELEMENTARY TEACHERS WITH CLASSROOM SETUP

Gilmer FFA members organized a chapter service project which assisted Gilmer Elementary School teachers as they set up their classes for the 2019-2020 school year. Forty Gilmer FFA members volunteered to help assist teachers build workstations, organize paperwork, and set up for “Meet the Teacher.” “The “Helping Our Day Ones” activity allowed our members the opportunity to give back to the teachers who have shaped them into the young men and women they are today and form relationships with new teachers,” said Flory. As the chapter members helped 100% of the Gilmer Elementary teachers move into their classrooms, they were able to exhibit the importance of community involvement. “By doing this event our members were able to be visible to community members within our school district, and it allowed teachers to see that FFA members are servant leaders,” said Flory. This particular service project aided in Gilmer FFA’s recognition this past October as a finalist for one of the National FFA’s Premier

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Chapter Awards in 2020. These awards are designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization through well-rounded top programs with innovative activities. The national-level award recognizes top chapters with innovative activities in each of the three divisions: growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture. Gilmer FFA’s “Helping Our Day Ones” project placed them as a finalist in the building communities category. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Gilmer FFA was not able to execute this same project at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. However, just as the FFA motto states, the chapter is adapting and “Living to Serve” by executing other service projects.

“BY DOING THIS EVENT OUR MEMBERS WERE ABLE TO BE VISIBLE TO COMMUNITY MEMBERS WITHIN OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT.”


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Encore Hotels are not available in the United States or Canada. *Subject to availability at participating hotels. Blackout dates and certain restrictions may apply. Discount for Texas FFA Supporters is 12% off our Best Available Rate (BAR) at La Quinta by Wyndham hotels and 10% off BAR at all other by Wyndham hotel brands. Savings are discounted from property’s BAR excluding taxes, resorts/service fees, incidentals, gratuities, or additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed. BAR means best, non-qualified, unrestricted, publicly available rate on the Internet for the hotel with equivalent terms, date and accommodations requested. Offer is subject to cancellation or change at any time and void where prohibited by law. Cannot be combined with any other discounts, offers, group rates, or special promotions. Cancel 24 hours prior to 4PM day of arrival to avoid 1 night charge plus applicable tax. Reservations must be guaranteed with a valid credit card. © 2019 Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. All rights reserved. All hotels are independently owned and operated except certain hotels managed or owned by a subsidiary of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.

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B Y: TA M M Y C H R I S T I A N C H A I R M A N O F T H E T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N B O A R D O F D I R E C T O R S A N D P E N E L O P E H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

THE TEXAS FFA ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND HOW IT OPERATES

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his year has certainly been a challenge for everyone. The Texas FFA Association Board of Directors is no exception, and has had to make some challenging and, at times, unpopular decisions. Knowing this, we felt it important to help everyone better understand how the board operates. Every year the Texas FFA Board of Directors works to review recommendations and proposals by the Board of Student Officers (the state FFA officer team) and programmatic advisory committee. The board makes decisions and updates policies to support our organization and follow our constitution/bylaws. As with most organizations, amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws may be submitted by Area Associations as well as the Board of Student Officers or the Board of Directors. Those must be submitted in writing 60 days prior to the next FFA Convention for review. Those proposed amendments must be submitted to local chapters 30 days prior to the FFA Convention by the State Executive Director for consideration by the delegates at the convention. Should anyone have items they want the board to address, they should submit those to Executive Director Austin Large. The board welcomes visitors to attend our board meetings, and guests are allowed an opportunity to address the board on items of concern. The board has 19 members consisting of agricultural educators, agriculture/ agribusiness industry representatives, school administrators, and permanent directorships. Five of the agriculture educators are the officers of the ATAT. Those positions are one year terms and may be re-elected each year. They serve no more than 5 terms. The past-past-President of ATAT serves for one year as the Chair of

the Texas FFA Board of Directors. The agriculture/agribusiness industry representatives include one teacher educator, one at large teacher position, and one school administrator. Those individuals serve 3 year terms and do not serve more than two consecutive terms. The permanent directors are the Executive Director of ATAT and the Executive Director of the Texas FFA Foundation. In addition, there are three Ex-Officio- By- Position seats filled by the Executive Director of Texas FFA, the President of the Texas FFA Alumni Association, and the Statewide CTE Coordinator of the Texas Education Agency. A full list of the current board members can be found on the Texas FFA website: www.texasffa.org > About > Organization > Board of Directors. The Texas FFA Association board meets quarterly. Three of those meetings are typically held in Austin at the Texas FFA Ford Leadership building. The fourth meeting is typically held during the Friday of the State Advanced Degree and Award check at that location. This year has, of course, been an exception, and to date all of our meetings have been held via Zoom. Minutes of past meetings are available on the Texas FFA website, following the same navigation path as stated above. We know these are challenging times for FFA members and agricultural science teachers across the state. We appreciate your patience and understanding as the board works to provide opportunities in accordance with the restrictions and guidelines in place for our students.. Should you have questions or concerns about board operations, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 19


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Teach Ag Tips RULES AND PROCEDURES IN YOUR AG DEPARTMENT PART TWO: SAE/LIVESTOCK

BY: RYAN PIENIAZEK, KRUM AND RAY PIENIAZEK, ATAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

1. Barn Rules: Having detailed rules on usage of your district barn or animal facilities is important so that expectations are met by students. 2. Animal Welfare Agreements: Animal welfare agreements help you to enforce feeding and care of animals. Agreements also provide you the opportunity to remove animals if students are not complying with the rules outlined for care of their animals. 3. Trailer or Equipment Use: Some districts allow members and parents to use the school trailers. They need to make sure to have permission and follow the rules in its use. You may need a policy if FFA members are going to use blowers, clippers, chutes, etc. to make sure they are used and returned properly. 4. Purchasing Projects: Have a clear policy on how animals will be purchased and how much the student and parent will be involved. Receipts from the purchase of the animals as well as when the student purchases the animals are important for students records and school records. 5. Use of School Vehicles: Be sure to know what the policies are for you using the district vehicles. Do the rules allow you to take the vehicle home and can you have your children ride in them are two questions you need to ask.

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oem A P

Peace, Hope and Love Ryan Pieniazek, Krum High School Agriculture Science Teacher and President of the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas

‘Twas the week before Christmas at the high school Ag Teachers were engaging students... using every tool. With the COVID-19 virus out in the air, They had conquered several challenges with positivity and great flair. Accomplishments were realized and lifted with cheer; State and National Conventions were virtual this year. It was harder to get that senior motivated When classes were cancelled, and activities that were slated. The LDE teams had new rules to follow For veteran teachers, it was a tough pill to swallow. Between quarantine and non-stable internet, The challenges kept coming; and there was no time to fret. “Learning to do” had a brand new interpretation As we focused on preparing future leaders of this great nation. One day we will look upon 2020 with pride As we weathered the storm and handled everything in stride. With Christmas on the horizon and drawing near The time is coming to share with those most dear. As we remember our friends and the days gone bye We send a prayer of thanks to the One Most High. As we create a great vision for 2021, There are students to inspire and contests to be won. As your ATAT President, I have one wish for you, Peace, hope, and love all the year through.

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BY: R YA N P I E N I A Z E K P R E S I D E N T O F T H E A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S A N D K R U M H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

W

elcome to the most wonderful time of the year! It’s a time for counting blessings, restoring hope, and celebrating peace on earth. As we reflect upon 2020, our world has experienced great challenges and navigating through those challenges has required all of us to adapt and grow. Social distancing and the wearing of masks have placed barriers. The essence of community has been challenged, as Zoom meetings have temporarily replaced large gatherings. Educators have been required to think outside the box and adapt to teaching in the ever-changing classroom. If there is one thing that 2020 has proven, it is that nothing is for certain. We have tackled many challenges including; but not limited to quarantine, school closures, and cancelled activities; all courtesy of COVID-19. We have lost some of the great legends in our profession during this year, and dear family members. Fortunately, their legacy will still continue because of the impact that they made on our lives and in the lives of their students. If anything, we have learned to hug our loved ones a little

tighter, embrace each moment quarantined right before the with family and friends, and contest. take nothing for granted. For most of us, the schoolhouse Agricultural Science Teachers is the epicenter of the local are a special breed. There is community. School activities no off-season for ag teachers. bring everyone together to A typical ag teacher will go support our students - whether from the State Fair to project the activity is athletics, band, selection, to Leadership FFA, or other school programs. Development Events, to major Our schools are the hub for shows, to Career Development training each generation’s Events, Advanced Awards, Agriscience Fairs, Leadership Conferences, State Convention, “ONE THING THAT I and then the cycle repeats. Our AM CERTAIN OF IS job is multi-dimensional and we THAT AGRICULTURAL seize the opportunity to provide students with a well rounded SCIENCE TEACHERS experience in the classroom, WILL ONCE AGAIN SAE, and FFA activities. Some of us teach several preps, seven RISE TO THE periods a day, and possibly on CHALLENGES AND different campuses. During this CONTINUE TO pandemic, you have balanced the needs of remote learners, ADAPT IN ORDER TO as well as in-person learners, MEET THE NEEDS probably at the same time. OF PREPARING You have secured SAE’s while also training LDE’s in a whole OUR STUDENTS new format. You may have FOR PREMIER even experienced your own quarantine. I, myself, had to LEADERSHIP, miss the State Fair pig show, PERSONAL GROWTH as well as my former teaching AND CAREER partner’s wedding, when our Agricultural Issues Team was SUCCESS.” 22


leaders. During school closures the importance of education and our school community has been made clear. As we prepare for the spring semester, there is a lot of uncertainty lingering about what it might look like for our students. One thing that I am certain of is that agricultural science teachers will once again rise to the challenges and continue to adapt in order to meet the needs of preparing our students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. This past fall, I have been reminded of the importance of the FFA motto. I’ve learned that “Learning to Do” means we are still learning and pursuing excellence, even when we don’t have all the answers. “Doing to Learn” means that we are willing to do whatever is necessary to educate our students, while also modeling lifelong learning as we embrace current challenges. “Earning to Live” has helped evaluate our students’ SAE projects and reflect upon the purpose of livestock or other SAE

projects during a time with possibly no market. “Living to Serve” means that even amidst a pandemic, we still find ways to support our local community. Community service is critical as we teach students that service to others is more important than self. If there is any breed of educator that can rise to meet current challenges, it is Agricultural Science Teachers. So as we enter the holiday season and spend time in reflection, I challenge you to take a moment to recharge, enjoy time with your loved ones, and consider the growth you made as an educator this year. Take a moment to enjoy the season with renewed hope; and be an instrument of peace in your home, school, and community. As you work on your 2021 vision, analyze ways to build community within your classroom, your chapter and your local district. On behalf of the ATAT Board of Directors, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous 2021!

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YOUR TEACHERS AGRICULTURE

ASSOCIATION AND HOW IT

OPERATES A

s a member of the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, it is important to understand our association’s history and how we function. Even if you are familiar with our operations, this summary is an excellent way to refresh your knowledge. Established in College Station, Texas, in 1940, our association was officially chartered in 1951 in Waco, Texas. The charter establishes us as a corporation and is a document that will never change. With the Board of Directors voting in December 2019 to remove the word “Vocational” from our name, we began operating as the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas. As our charter can not change, we filed a DBA Assumed name with the Secretary of State to operate as such. Our association operates under the guidance of a Board of Directors, with the day to day operations managed by office staff. According to the bylaws, an annual meeting of all members in each area must be held before September 1. Our current practice is to hold these area meetings in conjunction with our conference. At this meeting, each area elects its representatives to the Board of Directors. Board members are elected to a threeyear term. We do not have a limit on the number of terms a person can serve.

Board members are currently elected at a rate of one board member for every 28 association members. Board members are the voice of our members and should be communicating regularly with the members they represent. In addition, the bylaws state, “the property and business of the corporation shall be managed by the Board of Directors which may exercise all such powers of the corporation and do all such lawful acts and things as are not by statute or by the Charter or by these By-Laws prohibited, or directed or required to be otherwise done.” This means any change regarding how the association operates or where it does business is subject to directors’ approval. Examples of this would include deciding where the association does business, approving the conference’s location, and determining the employees’ salaries and benefits. The board of directors operates through committees, who make policies and recommendations to the full board for approval. Committees Include Membership Scholarship Cooperation 24


maintenance needed on the building, serving on the boards of the FFA and the Foundation, managing the staff, advocating for the organization at any level needed, and anything else needed to make the association thrive also fall to the executive director. Ray Pieniazek currently holds this position.

Investments Legislative Budget Communication Professional Improvement Human Resources Member Services

The staff consists of four positions beyond the executive director, including the Membership Services Coordinator, the Communications Coordinator, the Special Projects Coordinator, and the Finance Coordinator.

The Executive Committee consists of one director from each area elected by the board members of that particular area and includes the association President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer. According to the by-laws, the executive committee, to the extent provided by the board’s resolution, shall exercise the board’s authority to manage the association between meetings of the board.

The Membership Services Coordinator, Karen Jones, manages membership services, including maintaining our roster, planning tours, and assisting with our conference registration.

Officers of the association are elected annually. These selected individuals serve a five year term, beginning with the election as Secretary-Treasurer and progressing through the other officer positions of Vice-President, President, Past-President, and Past Past President. The president serves as chief executive officer of the association and conducts the meetings of the association. The association’s vice president would fulfill any duties needed by the association and fill in for the president when needed. SecretaryTreasurer is responsible for recording minutes of meetings and chairing the budget committee. The Past and Past Past President provide guidance when needed. Also, The Past Past President serves as the Chairman of the Texas FFA Board of Directors. The President and the Past President are also voting members of the Texas FFA Foundation Board of Directors.

The Communications Coordinator, Ashley Dunkerley, is a shared employee with the Texas FFA and the Texas FFA Foundation. Any duties such as branding, graphic design, video creation, social media engagement, magazine layout designer/ content director, the management of our third-party public relations firm, and various convention and conference visual and logistical duties are the responsibility of this employee. The Finance Coordinator, Carolee Frampton, is also a shared employee with the Texas FFA, Alumni, and Young Farmers. She manages the payment of all bills including managing payroll for the Texas FFA and Agricultural Teachers Association. The Special Projects Coordinator, Tori Rosser, manages the exhibitors and exhibit halls for Convention and Conference, oversees the New Teacher Mentor program, sponsorships, and any other projects arising during the year that need special assistance.

The bylaws state “the Board of Directors shall appoint an executive director and such other officers and agents as the Board may deem necessary for the transaction of the business of the corporation.” The executive director is responsible for executing any contracts related to the conference and operation of the building. Day-to-day operations of the association like contracts for utilities, security, etc. arere left up to the staff’s discretion. Any

Each staff member is valuable and has continuously worked to make the organization what it is today. They are here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them. 25


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TEXAS TEAM AG ED

STAFF STAFF SPOTLIGHT SPOTLIGHT KAREN JONES

WHAT ARE YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES? I keep and maintain the membership records of the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas. I am responsible for coordinating with the board of directors on meetings and other items that pertain to them. I also coordinate with other ATAT staff on the ATAT Professional Development Conference. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? Speaking with the teachers; whether that be by phone or email, helping them with their needs. This has been my favorite part of my job for 22 years. WHY DO YOU THINK AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT? I think agricultural science education is important because the world is made of many types of people and from what I have seen in this position is that ag ed encompasses so many types of students, it has so many opportunities for students to excel and teaches skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. WHEN TALKING DIRECTLY TO OUR ADVISORS, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO THEM? JOB TENURE: 22 YEARS JOB TITLE: MEMBERSHIP SERVICES COORDINATOR EMPLOYER: AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS

Thank you for what you do for the students you teach, for the countless hours you put in and out of the classroom. Thank you for supporting the association for which I have the privilege to work for so many years. Thank you to those that have made an impact on me thought out my time at the ATAT. Keep striving for the best because you bring out the best in your student every day.

ROSEMARY FAZZINO WHAT ARE YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES? I am responsible and accountable for developing and implementing private and public fundraising strategies. I also am responsible for donor cultivation, recruitment, fundraising, and account stewardship. I promote the organization within targeted communities to ensure a broad base of funding resources and donor base growth. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? My favorite thing about my job is getting to learn from so many wise and experienced individuals. WHEN TALKING DIRECTLY TO OUR ADVISORS, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO THEM? Thank you for all your hard work in and out of the classroom. Your time and efforts don’t go unnoticed and we cannot thank you enough for what you do. JOB TENURE: 4 MONTHS JOB TITLE: DEVELOPMENT & PLANNING COORDINATOR EMPLOYER: TEXAS FFA FOUNDATION

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CAROLEE FRAMPTON WHAT ARE YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES? I am responsible for all things related to money coming in to and out of all of the organizations. Everything from making deposits, paying bills, and running payroll, to assisting in the preparation of the annual budget for board and FFA student membership approval. In addition, I assist with the state swine validation system by filling orders and verifying submitted documents. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? One of my favorite things about my job is the “who.” I can be a finance coordinator anywhere, but it is the “who” that makes my role special. All of the work that I do is ultimately for each and every member of Texas FFA, and that is what drives me. WHY DO YOU THINK AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT?

JOB TENURE: 4 YEARS JOB TITLE: BUDGET & FINANCE COORDINATOR EMPLOYER: PRIMARILY THE TEXAS FFA ASSOCIATION; A SHARED EMPLOYEE WITH ATAT, TEXAS FFA ALUMNI, TEXAS FFA COLLEGIATE AND TEXAS YOUNG FARMERS

Agricultural science education is important because, with all of the emerging technologies, we still need to be able to provide basic necessities. The ag industry is vital to daily life in ways most consumers don't even recognize. It is also our job to educate consumers about the value of ag ed. Another component I value is the learned leadership skills - we are raising the future of our country in more ways than one, not only in the field but also in the corporate and political world. WHEN TALKING DIRECTLY TO OUR ADVISORS, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO THEM? Thank you. Even those two words don't suffice. The number of hours advisors put in, the number of miles driven, stock shows attended, entries filled out, training for leadership and competitive events - all of this in addition to the hours in the classroom. I am utterly amazed at the dedication of our advisors and am so grateful for the size of their hearts.

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BY: R AY P I E N I A Z E K A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R

LEADERSHIP ROLES IN YOUR SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY Leadership is not a position or title; it is action and example. As an agricultural science teacher, you have many options to show leadership by action and example in your school. There are many opportunities for you to step into a role and be a model for your students. Most schools have committees used to meet requirements of making decisions within the school district, such as attendance, site-based decision making, community relations, and many others. By stepping up to serve on these committees, you show you are interested in and involved with what is happening in the local community.

You may be in a school where athletics is front and center to the community. Show your respect to the coaches and players by attending the events or offer to be an announcer. Also, students will love to see you. What better way to show the community and parents that all students are important to you than by showing up as support at other activities? It thrills me to see when teachers post they were honored by a student at an athletic event. This action shows your leadership is respected in the classroom.

“Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader… they set out to make a difference. It's never about the role, always about the goal.” - Lisa Haisha, If you are asked to assist with Motivational Speaker. an inservice, jump at it! Share how things happen in your Our goal as ag educators should classroom. If you want to show be to create more leaders, not them you are teaching real- followers. It is our job to set an world topics, show off what your example of leadership for our program is doing. Offer middle students. school and elementary teachers help to do agricultural-related Your community will look to you topics in their classroom. If you for leadership. Whether it be at have a greenhouse, offer it to church, the city council, county biology teachers or any science government, civic groups, or teachers to use. If you grow getting your students involved bedding plants, deliver them to with activities, there are the elementary school to grow countless ways to be a leader in their schools or classrooms. locally. I was asked to be a 30

member of the agricultural extension service community advisory council and served four years or more. It was a great way to connect with other members of the community and build a relationship with the extension agents in our county. If you live in a small community, leadership roles may be limited but will be available. Seek out the established leaders in the community to ask how you could be involved in what is happening. Take your students to see how things operate and get them involved in the civic groups or other communitybased organizations. We should be modeling servant leadership for our students. Your visibility in the community as a leader will go far in your relationships with parents, students, and community members. As John Quincy Adams stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, you are a leader.” You will never know the power of your actions until far down the road when your students become the leaders in their communities. Have a great winter, and reach out if you need us.


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Teach Ag Tips RULES AND PROCEDURES IN YOUR AG DEPARTMENT PART THREE: AG DEPARTMENT/CLASSROOM

BY: RYAN PIENIAZEK, KRUM AND RAY PIENIAZEK, ATAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

1. Classroom Discipline: In order to maintain a respectful classroom environment, you should have basic rules students must follow. You can have the students help create it and call it a contract. 2. Safety Contracts in Labs: If your students work in any lab situations, signed safety contracts are important for students and parents to recognize the expectations. Whether it is an ag mechanics shop, floral lab, foods lab, or animal lab, your students need to know the safety rules and procedures. 3. Handling Animals in the Classroom: If you bring or handle animals inside or outside the classroom, make sure all students have permission to be able to do so. It is important parents know what types of situations, as their student may be handling them and the issues related to their interactions with them. 4. Lesson Plans: Each school has a different policy on if, when, and how lesson plans are submitted. An administrator can ask to see lesson plans at any time and they are important for documenting special education students modifications. 5. Grading Procedures: Each school district will have grading policies for you to follow. Make sure all students and parents know what your procedures will be for you students to earn grades. Be upfront, fair, and clear on what your grading policy is and that it is in line with the district guidelines.

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EMAIL: INFO@VATATCU.ORG or go to www.vatatcu.org FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RATES


AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

MINDY HOWARD TROY HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 18 YEARS

WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? Agriculture has been a big part of my life, as I grew up on a family farm in Haskell, Texas. I remember sitting on the arm of the chair in the tractor bouncing up and down listening to stories from my dad and grandad. When mamaw and mom would come to the field with lunch we would sit on the truck tailgate, eat a sandwich, talk about what needed to be done, and tell stories about what happened that morning. Normally those stories were about something I did or should have done. Listening to their stories and learning first hand the hardships and the joys of agriculture made me excited for each day on the farm. While I always knew I wanted to do something in agriculture, my vision became clear after a very long talk with my ag teacher, Mr. James Bevel. He always believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. He told me to take the things I loved the most and put them together. I loved working on the farm, helping mom in the garden, and showing livestock. What better way to put it all together than becoming an ag teacher. Each day is a new day that brings something different to the table. I tell stories about the family farm and the lessons I learned. While many of these kids know their food comes from the grocery store, they don’t realize how it got there. Teaching them the hardships the farmer goes through for that little piece of joy each time they take a bite and every stitch of clothes on their back is important. I hope they take pride in what they have and not take it for granted.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? I feel agriculture education is important because we are getting further away from traditional farming. Agricultural science education is going to help keep the generation gap from closing up on us. As we take a look into the future, we are going to depend on the kids in these ag classes. While we hope that the kids in our classroom are going into the agriculture field, we have to realize some of them will be choosing different paths, all of which still benefit in some way from agriculture classes. We are helping create responsible and dedicated individuals who will one day be taking care of us.

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BY: AU ST I N L A RG E T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R

SERVING OUR COMMUNITIES, AND SERVING THEM WELL

I

t’s the most wonderful time of the year! Winter is a time I look forward to each year because it provides a break in our busy schedules to rest and reflect with our friends and family. If only for a moment, the world seems to collectively pause to reset everyone for the new year looming on the horizon. While I love winter for holiday treats, sweater weather, and family time, I love it most because it’s a time when people shift the focus from themselves to others. From November 1st to January 1st, my social media timeline is often filled with FFA chapters, members, and advisors sharing their efforts to help those in need. Serving at soup kitchens, hosting canned food drives, collecting coats and toys, sponsoring families through angel trees, the list goes on and on. This is when many of us take steps to serve our communities, and it is inspiring to see the “Living to Serve” portion of the motto play out in real life! But what happens after January 1st? How do we continue to build up our community and support those who need it most? While giving is a hallmark of the

winter season, it’s a mindset that can be harnessed and capitalized on all year long. Serving our communities, and serving them well, can become a year-long process for agriculture programs and FFA chapters rather than an annual event during the holidays. There are many benefits to our programs and students: Everyone wants to make an impact. Human beings are wired for connection, and helping others when need is a great way to connect. Those connections make real the issues being faced by others and increase our desire to want to solve those problems. Service allows students to take control of situations and circumstances and actively take steps to bring about a resolution. As the last paragraph of the creed states, service allows your students to “exert an influence in your home and community which will stand solid, for my part…” of making the world around them better.

global economy, understanding those who are different from us must start at home. Serving causes and organizations within your community expose students to people from various backgrounds, who each have their own unique experiences. Rolling up our sleeves and serving others not only helps us to learn about and appreciate differences, but it also helps to see how exactly we are similar. Engaging in service is an opportunity to broaden our students’ perspectives. Meeting others. Volunteering is an excellent outlet for meeting other people. Serving others can put you faceto-face with people in your community. You’re able to form bonds and connections with those you serve for and with. Additionally, partnering with other community organizations is a great way to expand your own personal and professional network. These connections can be invaluable as we seek to grow opportunities for young people.

Develop a richer perspective of the world. The world is more Skill attainment and interconnected now than it has refinement. Serving your ever been. If we want to prepare community is an excellent way students to find their role in the for students to learn new skills 34


and practice the skills taught in the agriculture classroom. Often this new learning and sharing of skills only come with the expense of a time investment. Serving your community is a chance to put your students and their skills on display, as well as a means to help bring to life why what you are teaching in the classroom is important!

A N E XC E R P T F R O M A PA S T A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N OF TEXAS NEWSLETTER

Personal well being. There’s no doubt that this current generation of students is bombarded by overscheduling and competition from an early age. We are teaching a generation of mentally and physically exhausted young people. Anxiety and depression within our student populations are at all-time highs. Serving your community can provide an outlet for students to reduce their stress and anxiety.

THINKING OF THE

PAST

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Please don’t interpret this message as “you aren’t doing enough,” because that is certainly not how it is intended. Serving at soup kitchens, hosting canned food drives, collecting coats and toys, and sponsoring families through angel trees are meaningful experiences that have significant impacts. I am encouraging you to empower your students to think about how they can support their community through more frequent action. What are those things daily, weekly, and monthly which can be supported so that our students can recognize the benefits of actively engaging in service to their community?

YEARS THE DOINGS AND HAPPENINGS IN YOUR ASSOCIATION

Thank you for the work you do to help empower students to bring our motto of “Living to Serve” to life. I wish you all a joyous Christmas and holiday season. Get some rest, and I look forward to working with you this spring!

From July 1987 Comments made at public hearing on Vocational Education: “Agriculture related industries here in the State of Texas already employ over 20% of the workforce and that is a number that can grow. Our content at the Texas Department of Agriculture is that the future of the agriculture industry in Texas is not just forty acres, a plow and a mule, but high technology agriculture, both production and processing, that will require trained entrepreneurs, the key to making that work is an education work force; educated and led by a strong vocational agriculture program.”

“WHILE GIVING IS A HALLMARK OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON, IT’S A MINDSET THAT CAN BE HARNESSED AND CAPITALIZED ON ALL YEAR LONG. SERVING OUR COMMUNITIES, AND SERVING THEM WELL, CAN BECOME A YEAR-LONG PROCESS FOR AGRICULTURE PROGRAMS AND FFA CHAPTERS RATHER THAN AN ANNUAL EVENT DURING THE HOLIDAYS.”

- Mike Moeller, Deputy Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture, Austin.

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BY: A A RO N A L E JA N D RO T E X A S F FA F O U N DAT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R

THE GAME OF LIFE … IT IS NOT A SOLO PROJECT The game of life can be one of the most exciting competitions we will ever know. We all play a role. We have a chance to help write the history of the game, our teammates, accomplishments, set-backs, and moments of incredible inspiration. Much like a replay, we can assess successful plays and duplicate them for future success. Here is a glimpse at the game we have been given and the chance to play a legendary role. The game of life starts with an inhale and ends with an exhale, simply a breath. A friend of mine said life can be broken into four quarters. First Quarter (Age 0 – 25) is figuring it out; position, strengths, passion, and tempo. We are full of energy and all the “want to” in the world, but we can use some outside help to ensure our success. Second Quarter (Age 26 – 50) we are fully engaged and learning the depth, scope, and who is going to be recruited, drafted, or acquired for future team success. We can become more comfortable in a position but must refuse to

become complacent and be playing the game of life, running replaced by another player. our chapters, organizations, and businesses with more intent, Third Quarter (Age 51 strategy, and expectation than a – 75) we have a better pick-up game of kickball. understanding of our physical limitations, we The game of life also includes know the importance of time individuals who take on outs, and playing smarter important roles that help craft not harder. the game and, possibly, its result of win or loss. The roles Fourth Quarter (Age 76 – of some of these individuals will 100) we embrace the reality never change. At times, we may of legacy by reflecting on seek outside expertise to ensure the previous three quarters, we are training and executing we look toward the end of best practices, a strategy of this game and begin being effective leaders. If we are not inspired by the players winning or are just running the recruited, developed, and clock down, maybe it is time motivated to play on in a to change coaches, plays, and game which never ends. strategies to bring successful components to our game. We Our game must have an need cheerleaders, coaches, identifiable field where we and trainers as we play the can see progress made. We game of life to ensure a thriving need markers, sidelines, out of community. bounds, goal posts, and ways to know we have advanced the Cheerleaders – no one may ball. Could you imagine playing ever replace our biggest a football game with no yard cheerleaders, moms and markers, rules for first down, sidelines, boundaries, or goal “OUR GAME lines? We need the same in life. What are our targets, goals, MUST HAVE AN benchmarks, and timelines? IDENTIFIABLE FIELD Are we running our chapters, businesses, and organizations WHERE WE CAN SEE with a plan to get a first down, PROGRESS MADE." score, or win? Surely, we are 38


dads. We will encounter other cheerleaders in the game of life, individuals who share an encouraging word and inspire our hearts and minds. Sometimes their cheers will come when we are winning and are simply words of validation, or they may come at a time of struggle to encourage us to reach deep and overcome.

sure we have done the work to be our best. They may challenge us to read, participate in a webinar, take on extra responsibilities, broaden professional networks, or volunteer for an activity outside of our norm to stretch our possibilities. We will not like it at the time, but a good trainer makes us stronger in the game of life.

Coaches – will assess our talents and make sure we have the right people in the right positions to win. Organizations can encounter disruption, chaos, or lack of progress when we have players in the wrong position or not excelling in their jobs. If the coach is not paying attention or looking for effective plays to run, they too may be stumbling blocks. Effective coaches are always assessing, reviewing, empowering, and ensuring their team has the assets they need to perform and excel at optimum levels and are equipped for the best chance to win. They watch the winning strategies of other teams, organizations, and businesses and move with a sense of urgency to incorporate positive change.

The clock is ticking. We are playing a quarter of the game. We never know when the coach of the game may decide it is time to take us out, but while we are here he knows we are serving a purpose. Our games may change, our fields may look different throughout a career, and we may have many cheerleaders, coaches, and trainers. In addition to those who mentor our journey, we too will find ourselves playing the role of cheerleader, coach, and trainer.

Trainers – the people in our lives who tell us what we need to hear versus what we want to hear. Trainers make us stretch our limitations. These folks will create tension in a chapter or organization because they will typically challenge the status quo. Trainers are typically not interested in checking boxes; to the contrary, they will push to make

I believe it does take a village to raise a child, a community full of people who recognize the significance of the clock running on the game of life. We must have a sense of urgency and passion because you never know when the game may be called, and what we do today will be written in the history books of how we played the game. We are wrapping up the fourth quarter of 2020what a game! Are we looking forward to 2021? Do we have a plan? Have we surrounded ourselves with cheerleaders, coaches, and trainers that can help us win? Breathe in, breathe out. What are you doing with your breath today? Lead on!

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NATIONA GUAR

EDUCATION CAREER COMMUNITY GUARD

TEXAS STRONG! TEXAS PROUD! THE NEW YOU

1 - 8 0 0 - G O - G41U A R D | N A T I O N A L G U A R D . C O M


B Y: K E L LY W H I T E T E X A S F FA A L U M N I P R E S I D E N T

TEXAS FFA ALUMNI AND SUPPORTERS

UPDATES

T

he Building Our American Communities Program (BOAC) was initiated in 1971 to provide a vehicle for Future Farmers of America members to make direct contributions to their communities, practice good citizenship, and develop leadership skills. This initiative achieved widespread success in the 1980s and was incorporated into the National Chapter Award Program. The National Chapter Award Program recognizes a chapter's work to emphasize growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture through a chapter's Program of Activities.

agriculture, and recreation. What does your FFA Program or FFA Alumni and Supporters Affiliate do for your community? Can you do more? The Texas FFA Alumni allows active affiliates the opportunity to apply for a $500 grant. This money is allotted to affiliates to assist their local FFA chapter. Some programs utilize the grant to purchase items for the chapter, yet several utilize them in their community. I have seen this money used for nursing home visits, food drives, and community beautification projects to name a few.

patience, empathy, and we found a need for community. We found we missed seeing family, friends, and co-workers. We missed attending social events such as conventions, conferences, school, church, concerts, and recreational activities involving more than 10 people.

I recently had the opportunity to see communities gather in support. One was serving as the officiant at my nephew and his beautiful bride’s wedding. We rejoiced in this union with our masks on and paying close attention to COVID protocol. I also served as the officiant at the funeral service of the The year has had a great grandmother of an ag family. impact on communities all I saw the support of friends over the world. We have seen and community. I saw this the impact of COVID-19 and the devastation it has had on communities through death, “THE TEXAS FFA economic uncertainty, mental/ emotional health, and more. It ALUMNI ALLOWS brought school closings, virtual ACTIVE AFFILIATES conventions, virtual contests, virtual lessons, and more. The THE OPPORTUNITY year has also brought division TO APPLY FOR A and negativity. “The greatness of a community $500 GRANT. THIS is most accurately measured by MONEY IS ALLOTTED the compassionate actions of its members.” - Coretta Scott TO AFFILIATES TO King ASSIST THEIR LOCAL

A study was done to determine the effectiveness of the BOAC Program. Two major findings of this study were: Benefits to FFA members and vocational agriculture programs represented the major program outcomes. These outcomes were increased citizen participation, increased human relation skills of members, and increased public awareness of the vocational agriculture program. Students and advisors involved numerous individuals and groups in their projects which primarily improved the following community sectors: school/ Yet, this year has also brought education, civic facilities, compassion. We learned 42

FFA CHAPTER.”


same support of my own family as I lost my dear precious mother-in-law in October, from communities in Texas and her home town of Natchez, MS.

for a MEANINGFUL CAREER in

NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

I mentioned the ag family and the FFA community. I would be amiss if I failed to mention the greatness of and compassionate actions by the members of this community. Recently we lost a fellow ag teacher, John Ford, from Cinco Ranch. His wife, teaching partner, and life partner, Kim, was also injured in the accident. Several of us lost a good friend and we continue to pray for Kim and their family. We saw compassion and the greatness of community as they rallied behind this family, friends, teaching partners, students, and former students. I was lost in the words of praise left by his Facebook community of friends. He touched the lives of many and made a positive difference.

Responsible land and water use, along with conservation methods, are vital to ensuring the future of natural resources. To help the next generation understand ecology issues and gain experience in the field, Ducks Unlimited has developed the Ecology & Conservation Management Certification. The certification verifies individuals’ knowledge and skills in the areas of ecological principles and wildlife management, as well as habitat, forest, grasslands, wetlands and waterfowl conservation and management.

INDUSTRY STANDARDS The certification exam consists of 100 questions and assesses knowledge and skills from the following weighted industry standards:

20 %

Ecological Principles

10% Species Identification 30% 40 %

“I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.” E.M. Tiffany

Ducks Unlimited utilizes iCEV, a division of CEV Multimedia, as the certification testing platform. As the testing platform, iCEV offers optional exam preparation materials, utilizes secure testing technology and provides certification verification to employers.

Wildlife Conservation & Management Habitat Conservation & Management

“It’s important that students understand not only the conservation and ecology of wildlife and wildlife habitat, but also their personal roles as future stewards.” Mark Horobetz Manager of Youth & Education Programs Ducks Unlimited

Stand Solid and Inspire.

LEARN MORE:

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www.icevonline.com /ecology


THERE CAN’T BE A GAME WON WITHOUT A GAME PLAN See what Texas FFA students have to say at mytexasffa.org

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Ag Agrricultu icul re T ture eac Tea hers che rs AAssoc sso iatio ciat n o ion f Te of T xas exa s

Teach Ag Ag Tips Tips Teach PLANNING FOR SPRING TRAVEL RULES AND PROCEDURES IN YOUR AG DEPARTMENT AND OUT THE CLASSROOM PARTIN THREE: AG OF DEPARTMENT/CLASSROOM

TAMMY PENELOPE BY: RYAN PIENIAZEK,BY: KRUM ANDCHRISTIAN, RAY PIENIAZEK, ATAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Secure Substitutes - Every district has a different system for securing 1. Classroom Discipline: In order to maintain a respectful classroom environment, substitutes. Start as early as the start the school year if the possible. Make you should have basic rules students mustoffollow. You can have students helpit acreate habititofand revisiting your calendar at the beginning of each month to be sure call it a contract. there are no necessary revisions. 2. Safety Contracts in Labs: If your students work in any lab situations, signed Secure School Vehicles and Trailers - Once early, submitting all safety contracts are important for students and again parentsstart to recognize the vehicle requests whenityou secure your substitutes. always be expectations. Whether is an ag mechanics shop, floralRevisions lab, foods can lab, or animal lab, your needthey to know safety and procedures. made, butstudents the earlier are the done the rules better! 3. Handling the Classroom: If you bring or handle inside or Leave GoodAnimals Lessonin Plans and Instructions - Leave goodanimals plans for classes outside the classroom, make sure all havebecause permission be able do so. and keep them relevant. Always bestudents thorough, youtomay not to always It is up important parents what types of your situations, as their student may end with the same know substitute. Leave contact information so ifbe handling them and the issues related their of interactions them. anyone has questions, they can gettoahold to resolvewith issues quickly. 4. Lesson Plans:Buddy Each school hasare a different policy on if, show, when, contest, and how lesson Have a Travel - If you attending a stock or other plans are submitted. An administrator can ask to see lesson plans at any event you are not familiar with, find a friend who has been there totime tagand they are important for documenting special education students modifications. along with. Those people can help you avoid glitches or lost time. 5. Grading Procedures: Each school district will have grading policies for you to

Thank Your Administrators - Take the time to thank key people for allowing follow. Make sure all students and parents know what your procedures will be for you the opportunity to take students on off campus for various experiences. you students to earn grades. Be upfront, fair, and clear on what your grading policy is and that it is in line with the district guidelines.

Start early, double check yourself and keep the lines of communication open! Safe travels and good luck this spring! 45


B Y: S A N D R A C H O AT E S TAT E E X E C U T I V E S E C R E TA R Y

TEXAS YOUNG FARMERS

T

UPDATES

he purpose of the State Association of Young Farmers of Texas is to provide educational programs designed to meet the needs of men and women with a vested interest in agriculture. These interests include, but are not limited to: Leadership training and experiences for leaders and good citizens. Participation in civic and community service work designed to improve the way of life in their community, state, and nation.

txyfaes@gmail.com or 903-286-0520. If you would like a taste of what the Young Farmer organization is, we invite you to attend our Virtual Conference Saturday, January 9th. For more information visit our website above or follow us on Facebook at Texas Young Farmers, @txyoungfarmersassn. We want to extend our community to you, your family and friends, and your community. Join us!

Cooperation with FFA chapters and their activities. Cooperation with other organizations and agricultural agencies in programs benefiting agriculture. Recreation for families. Although only one of these purposes mentions community, all involve the members of the communities we serve. 2020 has brought on a new meaning to community and serving our communities. The agriculture industry has had to reinvent ways to work as a community and to serve our communities. The Texas Young Farmers are adapting as well! The Texas Young Farmers have adopted the State of Texas as our community. We want to serve the entire state by having a chapter in every county and community. If you are interested in serving youth and adults interested in agriculture in your community, we invite you to join us! For more information on how to start a Young Farmer chapter in your area, please go to our website www.txyoungfarmers.org or contact our Executive Secretary Sandra Choate 46


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MAKE YOUR CATALOGS STAND OUT. FOIL STAMPING, EMBOSSING, DIE CUTS, RAISED UV, SOFT TOUCH

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