Reflections from a former member; local chapters celebrate

Thursday, February 18, 2021

When thinking about my high school education and what lessons really stuck with me throughout the years, it’s my time spent in agriculture classes and experiences I gained as a member and officer of FFA which stand out the most.

I grew up with uncles who owned and operated farms and going to friends’ houses whose families ran full time farming operations, and aside from all that, growing up in Myrtle, Mo., it is nearly impossible to not have some connection to farming. However, my immediate household was not a farming household. I was fortunate to gain an appreciation of farm life through experiences mentioned above, but it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that my appreciation for the overall agriculture industry began and continued to grow each year, inside the classroom and out.

I was the first member of my family (among my mom, sister and myself) to enroll in an agriculture class, and I’ll admit the only reason I did so was because a lot of my friends were taking the class and I needed an elective. As a result of signing up for the class, I became a member of the Couch High School Future Farmers of America (FFA). I thoroughly enjoyed my years of high school and know my involvement in the FFA was a big contributor.

As an agriculture student, I acquired skills no other class could teach. As a member of the FFA, I gained lifelong friendships, travel opportunities and leadership skills, but most importantly, it shaped me as a person and gave my confidence the boost it needed. I discovered a love of writing and delivering speeches and excelled. Those skills acquired are very important to what I do today.

Feb. 20-27 is celebrated around the country as National FFA Week. It’s not so much about agriculture, but the organization centered around agriculture, an industry which represents hard work, authenticity and quality.

Our intern at Areawide Media, J.R. Schaufler, prepared a brief history on the origination of National FFA Week, along with what local FFA chapters are doing to celebrate. Also please note, due to the weather, contact with some schools may not have been possible. Some schools’ plans are also contingent upon the weather in the coming weeks.

Whether it be buying a new pair of shoes or buying food at the local grocery store, agriculture is a part of our everyday lives, providing us with our every day needs. With clubs like the National FFA (Future Farmers of America), today’s youth can learn and participate in every day agriculture. The club was founded in 1928 in Kansas City, Mo. and is now composed of over 700,000 members nationwide. Through the week of Feb. 20-27, National FFA Week will be recognized by the organization’s members. FFA clubs all across America will celebrate agriculture and the many things that it provides.

The week began in 1948 in recognition of George Washington’s legacy as an agriculturalist. The week also always encompasses Washington’s birthday of Feb. 22. Now, many clubs celebrate in many different ways. Some by hosting special events or others simply by spreading awareness about agriculture and the many gifts it gives. “Our FFA week is all about spreading the word of agriculture to all ages and showing the appreciation we have for our students, teachers and faculty that support the program all year,” said Thayer FFA Coordinator Teanna Simpson.

While COVID-19 and its guidelines have hindered many things, it has not stopped our local FFA clubs. Many are still doing activities and events to celebrate the week. The local Thayer and Koshkonong schools both will hold petting zoos that are a big hit with their elementary students! Students attending will be able to see all sorts of animals, be allowed to hold and feed them, and also learn interesting facts about them.

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