NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF FFA 300 KENNEDY HALL, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, ITHACA, NY 14853 Derek Hill, NY FFA Director email@example.com | www.nysffa.org (607) 254-2880
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release For more information contact: New York FFA Phone: 607-254-2880 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New York FFA State Convention Morrisville, NY | May 11-13, 2017 New York FFA announces our 92nd State Convention on the Morrisville State College campus. State Officer Taylor McNamara “can't wait to come together again in May as one big FFA family to recognize members for all their hard work throughout the year and celebrate New York FFA!” This “one big FFA family” will consist of nearly 1200 students and over 300 advisors and guests.
Set in the heart of upstate New York, we are excited to return to Morrisville with new opportunities. FFA members will be participating in local community service-learning projects including a playground build. State Officer Katie Killenbeck shares “I'm most excited about our service project! It is for a great cause, our No Member Fights Alone campaign. Members will be able to join us in a nighttime glow run/ walk to show their support and raise awareness for the fight against childhood cancer! It's going to be Legendary!” Service projects will support cancer research for all of our citizens. Students and adults from across the state will participate in career and leadership development contests and engage with agricultural colleges, business and industry representatives. Seth Browe, State Officer notes, “I recommend that every FFA member goes to State Convention, not only will it be Legendary, there is something for everyone. From workshops, CDE's, talent and so much more.” Speakers include Ashley Willits, currently serving as a National FFA Officer and the Keynote Speakers will be the Peterson Brothers. For entertainment, we have an evening concert with country musician Jerrod Niemann, and an evening Fun Run followed by fireworks!
With over 4300 members, New York FFA’s annual convention recognizes all of our members amazing accomplishments for the 2016-17 school year. Our programs support agricultural education in New York by incorporating leadership conferences, scholarship programs, career development and investment of time in our young leaders, which helps to develop confidence, skills and passion as our students move on to college and careers in agriculture. As noted by State President Camille Ledoux “Convention is a special time of year for FFA members to come together and celebrate all the work we have put in throughout the year. It is a gathering of great people, great minds and the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication.”
The New York State FFA Association is a youth organization that provides premiere leadership, personal growth and career success opportunities to students enrolled in agricultural education. It is a part of the National FFA Organization, which boasts over a half of a million members nationally. New York agricultural education is found in public, private and BOCES schools throughout the state, offers instruction in courses ranging from small animal care to farm business management and from pre-veterinary science to natural resources management. For more information regarding New York FFA and this year’s convention, please visit our website: www.nysffa.org.
February Marks 100th Anniversary of National Agricultural Education System State Agriculture Commissioner Participates in Anniversary Celebration with New York Future Farmers of America
Governor Cuomo Proposes Record Funding for Agriculture Education in 2017-18 Executive Budget
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball commemorates 100 years of formal agricultural education in New York State in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act of 1917. As a result of this landmark federal legislation, a cohesive national system of career and technical education was developed and continues today.
Commissioner Ball will join the New York Future Farmers of America (NY FFA) for an anniversary celebration tonight in Albany that will promote the value of agricultural education programs to both students and the industry and spotlight New York’s leadership in agricultural education. On behalf of Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Ball will present a citation during the celebration to commemorate the anniversary.
“For years, agricultural education programs have encouraged millions of young people to pursue higher education and become strong leaders in their chosen fields. The Smith-Hughes Act was a major part of strengthening that effort across the country and I am thrilled to be part of the celebration of this historic milestone,” Commissioner Ball said. “Here in New York, we are proud be a national leader when it comes to agriculture education and I am grateful to be part of an administration that recognizes the importance of carrying that legacy forward.”
The Smith-Hughes Act was named for Senator Hoke Smith and Representative Dudley Hughes, both of Georgia, who introduced the legislation in Congress. It was passed on February 17, 1917 and signed by President Woodrow Wilson on February 23. In celebration of this historic anniversary, the NY FFA is holding career development workshops this month to help more than 100 students better understand public policy and State government.
The Smith-Hughes Act paved the way for youth leadership development organizations, such as FFA, whose members gain valuable workforce training and professional management skills that often lead to meaningful careers in agriculture and related fields. New York State has a rich history with the National FFA Organization being one of the oldest chapters in the country. Currently, Ashley Willits from Copenhagen, NY, is serving as the Eastern Region Vice President for the National FFA. She is the first female national officer from New York.
Terry Hughes, Career Development Event Coordinator for NY FFA said, “As a product of Agricultural education myself, it is exciting to see that even after 100 years this dynamic school based program continues to prepare young people to fill the growing demand in the ever changing Agriculture, Food, Fiber, and Natural Resources Industry. Agricultural education is positioned well to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of students by recognizing the critical importance of developing premier leadership through the FFA as an integral part of career success and civic engagement.”
Ashley Willits, National FFA Eastern Region Vice President, said, “New York FFA Association, along with FFA associations across the country and in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, give students opportunities to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to relevant, real world experiences. With more than 235 careers in agriculture, FFA and agricultural education play an integral part in preparing students to be competitive in a global workforce.”
Record Funding For New York Agricultural Education
Agricultural education has long been a priority in New York with programs that pre-date the Smith-Hughes Act and the oldest urban agriculture program in the U.S. The State was also one of the first in the country to allow girls to pursue these curriculums and continues to set an example for the rest of the nation with cutting-edge programs that influence more than 10,000 students annually.
To continue New York’s progressive leadership in this area, Governor Cuomo has proposed a record $1.3 million in his 2017-18 Executive Budget to support 100 new FFA chapters through start-up grants, expand the New York Agriculture in the Classroom program, which is administered by Cornell University, and to double the number of certified agricultural educators from 240 to 480. The Governor’s plan will enhance opportunities for students and educators and help meet the growing demand for agricultural programs across the State.
The Governor has also proposed a state-of-the-art test kitchen and food science lab at the New York FFA Oswegatchie Educational Center in the North Country. This test kitchen will offer instruction in food safety, basic food preparation, and food processing to more than 6,000 annual visitors, including both students and veterans from nearby Fort Drum.
Kathryn J. Boor, Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said, “I appreciate this important partnership commemoration as it recognizes the full spectrum of Cornell’s agricultural education, which begins in the primary schools with the New York Agriculture in the Classroom program, to the Cornell FFA program’s emphasis on developing high school students, and ends with our excellent undergraduate and graduate programs in agricultural and life sciences. The importance of agricultural education in today’s economy has never been greater, as we see ongoing needs to cultivate the next generation of New York’s farm families, food and business entrepreneurs, and plant and animal scientists to keep feeding a globally increasing population efficiently and sustainably in a changing climate. I am thrilled that the Governor recognizes the importance of building a reliable pipeline to Taste NY and New York Grown and Certified programs through supporting the future farm and food entrepreneurs in New York State.”
Tina Miner, President of NY Association of Agricultural Educators, said “This is an exciting time for agricultural education in New York State. So many school districts are seeking to start agricultural education programs and our State leaders have demonstrated that they recognize the power of these programs to develop a strong workforce. We are thrilled to have this level of support and we look forward to our role in supporting one of New York’s most important industries.”
Transplant. It is what we do each spring with our tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Moving our seedlings from smaller containers to our garden beds, allowing root systems to spread and our plants to grow. It is also one of the most fun lessons to teach students. After starting seeds and watching them sprout in their classrooms, working to build raised beds, and filling the beds shovel by shovel with soil, the student’s enthusiasm has started to boil over. As little bodies kneel around the garden bed they are instructed on how to gently squeeze the bottom of the container to loosen the soil, where to put their fingers on the stem, and shown how to wiggle it free without damaging this living, breathing plant that will produce delicious food. While there are always a few seedling causalities along the way, the first time one of those students finds a worm or gets mud up to their elbows is truly when that school garden begins to grow.
New York Agriculture in the Classroom, an outreach program of Cornell University, partners with teachers across the state to facilitate these types of garden-based learning opportunities and connections to agriculture. We know that the students sitting in our classrooms today are at least four generations removed from agriculture, even in rural Upstate New York. As our farmers today provide the nation with a safe and abundant food supply, we do not have to think about where our next meal is coming from and it allows us the luxury to pursue careers we love. However, this leaves our students with a knowledge-gap in how food is produced. Our goal as a program is to help increase the agricultural literacy of students, with the hope that they will be able to understand and communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects their quality of life.
Since 2015, New York Agriculture in the Classroom has been happily transplanted in Lewis County, based in Turin. With a program focus on training teachers how to integrate agriculture into their curriculum through school gardens, books, lessons, and contests, there is no better place to have our office than in a county with more cows than people. Knowing that we are a key piece in the continuum of agricultural education, it is an added benefit to be close to the excellent FFA chapters of South Lewis, Lowville, and Beaver River. During a visit to Beaver River FFA last March, six high school agriculture students participated in our Agricultural Literacy Week program, where we select one agriculturally accurate book that is read in classrooms across the state and over 52,000 students are led in a hands-on lesson related to the book topic. The FFA members wrote and delivered their own apple-based lessons to pair with the selected book The Apple Orchard Riddle. Watching them lead experiments with the elementary students on slowing down apple browning, identifying apple parts, and taste testing apple cider is a testament to the partnered work New York Agriculture in the Classroom and FFA have in helping our students understand, appreciate, and transplant knowledge of agriculture to the next generation.
While Ashley Willits was working at the Oswegatchie Educational Center, she had a strong desire to understand the work of Agriculture in the Classroom and served as an intern updating lessons and working on special projects. After shooting through the ranks of New York FFA as a state officer, summer camp counselor, and future agriculture teacher, she was elected to the highest possible office in the organization. In October 2016, Ashley was named the Eastern Region Vice President for the National FFA Organization and is spending this year traveling across the country to train FFA members in leadership development, personal growth, and career success. Ashley’s roots grew strong as she developed her passion for agriculture, and we are proud that she is now flourishing and thriving through this unique opportunity.
Through teaching students to garden, introducing lessons about food systems, or helping kids boil their first sap to syrup there are no boundaries to integrating agriculture at any grade level. We encourage you to connect with New York Agriculture in the Classroom to help transplant your passion for foods produced in Lewis County to our local schools and teachers. To learn more, visit our website at www.agclassroom.org/ny. To engage with the Oswegatchie Educational Center visit www.oswegatchie.org or call 315-346-1222.
Katie Carpenter is the State Director of New York Agriculture in the Classroom, and can be reached at email@example.com. She and her husband, Derek, were recently married at the Oswegatchie Educational Center where they met as staff 12 years ago.
Article to also be published in the Lowville Journal Republican Progress Edition.
The New York FFA Foundation
The NYSFFALTF, Inc., chartered in 1946 by the New York State Board of Regents, is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that provides businesses, associations, other foundations, and individuals the opportunity to contribute to the growth and success of our New York youth. Our mission is to build and maintain a financial base that will allow the New York FFA to generate well-educated and career focused productive citizens. Email our Director at firstname.lastname@example.org .