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FFA Spotlight: Ag world celebrates National FFA Week

By Kim Schechinger and Nick Schiltz

Austin FFA Advisors

Did you know that Feb. 20-27 is National FFA Week across the country?

National FFA Week was started in 1948 and has continued to showcase the next generation of biologists, chemists, farmers, crop professionals, engineers, and veterinarians. Many chapters will be performing service projects and celebrating their love of agriculture in many ways. In fact, over 653,000 FFA members will host activities this week that aim to raise awareness about the role that FFA plays in agriculture education and the development of tomorrow’s leaders.

Currently, the Austin FFA Chapter has 20 active students, an Ag teacher/advisor, and a co-leader. Inside of agricultural education, students learn in the classroom the many facets of agriculture. Within FFA, students co-curricularly expand on that education to provide a well-rounded agricultural experience. Our students have been busy participating in career development events (CDEs), leadership development events (LDEs), and supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs). In many ways, students can tailor their education to the background, interests, and career goals of their choice, providing a pathway into future education programs and career opportunities.

Our students have also completed State FFA and Star Degrees and applied for Region 8 FFA Officer positions. Not all of this would have been possible without the help of some of our area community members that have helped mentor students in Ag Communications, Ag Mechanics, Small Animal/Vet Science, Prepared Speaking, Parliamentary Procedure, Horse Evaluation, Milk Quality, Dairy Evaluation, and General Livestock Evaluation. It has taken all of us to make it all happen in a positive learning manner. On top of all these added activities, our students continue to participate in our chapter officer meetings and a monthly chapter meeting. We are so fortunate to work with such a dedicated bunch of students.

Here in Austin, our FFA Chapter has still been able to participate in our yearly service projects while practicing safe COVID-19 restrictions. We started our year off with our Feed-A-Farmer project and carried on by creating a virtual Third Grade Farm Tour in place of the annual Third Grade Day on the Farm event. This project came about to make up for our area third graders having to miss the field trip to visit local farms to experience for themselves what agriculture looks like. Our chapter members did an exceptional job with both of these service projects despite having to do things a bit differently.

FFA Week at Austin High School will look a bit different through the week. But never fear, our chapter members will still be wandering the halls in their nationally known Blue and Gold corduroy jackets and official dress. Each day brings a different activity either on Microsoft Teams, various photo contests online, and other fun games. We will meet for a special meeting on Wednesday where we will be able to be together while socially distancing and practicing safe Covid-19 restrictions. It should be a fun week for our chapter and all of those connected or interested in agricultural education.

We would like to thank all those who have supported Austin FFA this year. Without your support, all these things wouldn’t be possible.

Austin Ag Ed/FFA Advisors/Leaders: Kim Schechinger and Nick Schiltz. Follow the Austin Ag Ed/FFA program on Facebook by ‘liking’ the Austin FFA page. Visit the Austin FFA webpage at www.austinffa.theaet.com.