Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Slow Down and Reflect This Banquet Season

As an FFA member sometimes it feels like you never have time to slow down and reflect. As soon as one CDE has finished, that means it's time to start prepping for the next one or writing your proficiency or running for a chapter office. However, throughout that busy schedule there is a perfect opportunity to reflect on your year: the chapter banquet. This is the time when every member is rewarded for all their hard work and success throughout the year. After attending five chapter banquets so far this spring, I put together a list of three things to do at your chapter banquet.

  1. Reflect on your year in FFA. As you receive your hard earned recognition for your success, reflect on each CDE, LDE, and event you attended and consider all the great memories made along the way.  These are the memories that will truly last a lifetime.

  2. Celebrate your fellow chapter members.  When one member succeeds the whole chapter succeeds, so it's important to honor everyone's success. Be sure to take some time to learn the accomplishments of all members and congratulate them for their success.  These are the people who helped  get you where you are today so be sure to acknowledge them for all their hard work.

  3. Set Goals for the next year. As you reflect on your personal memories and the success of your chapter, it is time to start planning how to make next year even better. Consider what your teammates have done and what you appreciated about this year. Then it is time to set some goals.  These goals could include trying a new CDE, improving your SAE, or forming better connections with members at and above the chapter level. These goals provide a firm foundation to make next year even better. 

After you reflect, celebrate, and set goals you have truly honored this year of FFA.  Now it's time to build off the success from this year to make next year even better. If you have already had your banquet go ahead and start setting those goals.  If your banquet is coming up be sure to take that time during the hectic schedule to reflect, celebrate, and set goals for the future. 

Blaine Wagner, Southern Region Vice President

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Agriculture is Everywhere

For Fall Break, I went to Evanston, Illinois to visit some of my family. Evanston is a suburb just north of Chicago, so I was expecting to see a lot of gray concrete. Once I arrived, that was exactly what I was greeted with, tall buildings, busy streets, and stores on every corner. The only signs of life were obviously the people going to and from work and school, the occasional tree beautifying the side of the street, and the neighborhood park. That is until one morning, my family took my mom and I to the farmer’s market that they are weekly patrons of. 

Because I live in the middle of the country, I have never experienced a farmer’s market before this day. I know crazy, right? Our walk to the market consisted of crossing streets and walking through a parking garage. The parking garage truly caught me off guard, but after we exited I was instantly met with a rainbow; orange, red, green, yellow, and blue made their appearance against the gray concrete that was surrounding the market. Farmer’s from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan brought the product of their toil straight to the members of this community. This puts into perspective that agriculture is everywhere. The farmer’s market was one of the most “happening” places I have ever seen. Seeing consumers interacting with producers directly was so rewarding.

I believe that the consumers at the market being able to build a connection with the producers at the market eased some of the trust issues that many people have with the food industry. Seeing this in a concrete jungle of all places showed how easy it can be to establish trust between producers and consumers. 

Obviously, all agricultural products cannot be sold straight from the farm to the hands of the consumer, but we can ensure agriculture’s story is being told. From daily conversations to social media to blogs, each of us have a role to play in the telling of our industry’s story. Agriculture reaches from coast to coast and from continent to continent, it truly is everywhere. Ensuring the future of agriculture is something that FFA members across the country unite around, but it doesn’t have to stop with members. Agriculturalists of all ages from all backgrounds can unify to have a strong presence and an enormous voice.

Share your story, 

Carson Rudd, State Reporter