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.
This project may be finished, but it is always a great time to contribute to the New York FFA Foundation.
Giving Tuesday! November 29 to December 5, 2016 - 13 NY FFA Chapters Received Donations
From November 29 to December 5, supporters of the FFA had a new opportunity to directly support an FFA Chapter of their choice, and be included as a donor to the NY FFA Foundation. In total thirteen FFA Chapters across NY received donations, ranging from $17 to $125. These FFA Chapters will be receiving their Giving Tuesday checks this month. The New York FFA wishes to thank each donor who took advantage of this opportunity. Your names will be added to our donor roll and you will receive your letter for tax deduction purposes.
The chapter receiving donations are Beaver River, Stockbridge Valley, Pioneer, Sidney, Cayuga Onondaga, Tri-Valley, Alex Bay, South Jefferson, Letchworth, Randolph, Taconic Hills, Cobleskill Richmondville, and Warwick Valley.
All contributions, large or small are important to the NY FFA. Even though this campaign is over, you can still choose to support the New York FFA in general. Go to the link below or choose to mail your year end gift to the NY FFA Foundation today.
On behalf of the 4000 plus members of the NY FFA and the FFA Foundation Board of Directors, we wish for each of our supporters a holiday season that is filled with joy, peace, and fulfilled hearts.
An example of the impact of your support is listed below...
$15- pays the membership dues for one FFA member (chapter)
$25- Covers participation fee of students competing at Big E. (state)
$35- Covers participation fee of students competing at National FFA Convention (state)
$50- Gives an FFA member a brand new FFA jacket (chapter/state)
$75- Covers registration fee for one member to attend the State FFA Convention. (chapter)
$80- Covers registration for Governmental Awareness conference. (chapter/underwritten by state)
$95- Registration for one member to attend 212-360 conference. (chapter/underwritten by state)
$100- Travel stipend to Big E for one member (state)
$300- One week of FFA Camp at Oswegatchie (chapter)
$500- Travel stipend for one student to attend National FFA Convention (state/chapter)
$800- Registration for Washington Leadership Conference (chapter)
As always, we are grateful for the contributions made to the support the FFA at all levels. Thank you for all past support and thank you in advance for your future contributions.
New York FFA Foundation
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.
What: FFA Night with the Syracuse Crunch-Reduced price tickets.
When: Saturday March 11, 2017- 7 PM
Where: Syracuse War Memorial Arena
Who: FFA members, community members, teaching staff,
Hockey Fans in General
Why: Enjoy an evening of Crunch Hockey and earn a little money for your FFA Chapter - $3 of every ticket sold will go back to your FFA chapter.
Good afternoon FFA Advisors form the great white and icy north.
We have a new opportunity available for any school wishing to participate. On Saturday March 11, the Syracuse Crunch are providing discounted tickets for any FFA Chapter that wants to attend the game against the St John Ice Caps. This is being billed as FFA Night with the Crunch. The evening will include a great Ice Hockey game and a variety of special experiences that will be awarded to randomly selected ticket holders in our block. Throughout the night the FFA will be highlighted on the score board and over PA announcements. The evening will conclude with a group picture on the ice. The FFA Foundation will have an information table in the foyer of the War Memorial as well.
By participating in this, you also can earn $3 per ticket back to your chapter. The crunch will send the FFA Foundation the check and we will cut checks back to FFA Chapters, or you can use the money earned as a credit to your participation in the State FFA Convention.
I will have information to present at the 360/212 conference next weekend. In the meantime you can print the attached flyer and discuss with your members on whether or not they would like to participate.
Lastly I would like to share there is no minimum being required for the FFA to purchase, however after March 1, the block of reserved seats will be released back to the Crunch for general sale.
Let me know if you would like a packet of information.
PS : To the 10 CNY area chapters that have already committed interest to me, you do not need to respond. Your packets will be in the mail.
Todd M. Lighthall, Executive Director
NY FFA Foundation, Inc.
Engaging Youth in Agricultural & Career Success
9340 Long Pond Rd.
Croghan, NY 13327
ITHACA, NY-Ashley Willits, a past New York State FFA President has been elected by the delegates at the 89th National FFA Convention to serve as the Eastern Region Vice President as a member of the 2016-17 National Officer team. Ashley is the first female member from New York to be elected as a National Officer and only the 13th member from New York to hold a national office.
Ashley Willits grew up in northern New York and is graduate of Lowville Academy Central School. Ashely attended Morrisville State College where she earned a degree in agricultural business and now attends Tarleton State University as an agricultural education major. She served as state FFA president during her senior year at Lowville in 2013-14, then that fall was one of 75 people nationwide selected to participate in a trip to South Africa organized through the organization’s International Leadership Seminar for State Officers.
The process to be elected as a National Officer is extremely rigorous. Ashley has been preparing for this moment since she zipped up her first corduroy jacket. Her parents, Jennifer and Melvin Phelps, both agricultural educators have raised an astounding young lady that is such an inspiration for so many of our members. This quote from Seth Browe, 16-17 NYS FFA Vice President, is the perfect example of this, “Ashley said this to me in Getman Lodge on Wednesday of week 3 at camp, ‘whatever happens I'll be happy, but if I don't get elected I don't want people to say sorry, because I'll know that I did the best job I could do.’ It was at this moment I knew that New York would have a National Officer. Congratulations Ashley, you earned it!” There are multiple rounds to the selection process, from the application to delivering a speech, to facilitating a workshop with high school students. The nominating committee is made up of student members from around the country. The New York FFA State Executive Secretary, Derek Hill, had this to say, “This is the most extensive interview process that I have ever seen and will prepare these students not only for the year ahead but for their future careers”.
National Officers are required to take a year off from College to serve the nearly 650,000 FFA members across the United States. Ashley will spend the next year traveling over 300 days and over 100,000 miles spreading the positive influence that FFA has on its members. The six officers will speak with “business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public and more,” states a release from the organization. “The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.”
Joining Willits on the 2016-17 National FFA Officer team are: President - David Townsend, University of Delaware; Secretary – Victoria Harris, University of Florida; Southern Region Vice President – DeShawn Blanding, North Carolina A&T State University; Western Region Vice President – Trey Elizondo, Texas A&M University; Central Region Vice President – Valerie Earley, University of Minnesota.
The New York FFA Association and all of its members, educators, staff, friends and supporters are proud and excited that one of our members has reached such a monumental achievement. We wish her all the best as she focuses on the extraordinary journey ahead and we can’t wait to see the incredible impact that she will have on FFA members, agricultural education and the agricultural industry.
For more information about this year’s National Officer Team, FFA or agricultural education please visit the following websites: www.ffa.org or www.nysffa.org
Media Contacts: Taylor McNamara, 16-17 NYS FFA Reporter or Derek Hill, NYS FFA Executive Secretary, 607-254-2880 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the latest version of the Farm Credit East Financial Partner Publication.
Learning By Doing - Educating Northeast Agriculture’s Future Generations
In this issue, interviews include a few Northeast agricultural educators, including teachers, administrators and program leaders, about the importance of agricultural education in today’s schools to educate about the importance of food and fiber to both prepare students for careers in agriculture-related fields and to help them make informed choices throughout their lives.
As you will read, Farm Credit East is a tremendous partner in agricultural education and agriculture. This publication is a great spotlight on what happens in New York and the Northeast. Its worth the read!
Starting in October 2015, the New York FFA Association has had a new Executive Secretary at the helm. Derek Hill has stepped into this new job with enthusiasm for challenges, changes, and pushing the New York FFA towards the future. In order for everyone to get to know Derek better, we took time to ask him 20 questions.
1) What is your story?
I am originally from western New York. I went to Cattaraugus Little Valley High School and was the FFA Chapter President. I grew up working on my grandparent’s dairy farm. I thought I was going to take over the farm, but one of my aunts beat me to it. So, I went to SUNY Morrisville with the intent of becoming a DEC officer since the outdoors is another passion of mine. However, while I was at Morrisville one of my advisors there suggested that I come to Cornell University to become an agriculture teacher and the rest is history.
2) Were you involved in the FFA?
I was involved with FFA growing up, but not so much with 4-H. I was a chapter officer and competed in several "Career Development Events". I was on the envirothon team and went to Oswegatchie for a winter weekend.
3) Any hobbies or interests outside of your professional career?
I am a big football fan, but I enjoy being outdoors and spending time with my family more.
4) What made you decide to be an Agricultural Educator?
It was really that Morrisville professor that made me aware of the teaching opportunity. That endorsement helped me in my career path substantially.
5) When and why did you decide to work with teenagers?
I thought that I could have a much bigger impact on agriculture if I helped to educate our youth. I am extremely grateful that I made that decision because working with our youth has been the most rewarding part of my career!
6) What is the one story that people would find most fascinating about you?
That I married my high school sweetheart, who also happened to be a foreign exchange student.
7) With all you have done in your life, what role has been the most important?
My role as a father is the most important. I have 2 beautiful boys that I love with all my heart. The next thing would be my role as an FFA advisor. The ability to connect with students because I am their FFA advisor and they know that they can count on me makes a difference in their lives.
8) What is your favorite place on earth?
Any place with my family!
9) What is your favorite part of New York?
I love all of New York State. I would really have a hard time picking just one area. I have been all around our great state and each area offers something different.
10) What is your favorite book or the best book you have ever read?
I really like the Last Lecture. I have never had a book bring out that much emotion in me before.
11) If you were going to drop everything today and go grow something in agriculture, what would it be?
I would probably raise beef cattle. I enjoy working with cattle, but I don’t want to have to milk them every day, which I did for almost 10 years. I have had beef cattle in the past and really enjoyed taking care of them. I will definitely have some animals for my two boys. I can’t think of a better way to teach children responsibility than for them to care for an animal.
12) Do you have a favorite quote?
There are many quotes that inspire me, but I have always believed in hard work and perseverance. “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing."
13) What do you think is the most important quality of a leader?
"Character", everything stems from your character.
14) What do you think is the best opportunity for a FFA member to experience while in school?
The ability for students to meet new people, discover new things, and grow individually while in FFA. If we are talking about a specific event that can make a huge impact, it is probably National Convention, but we also do many things on the local and state level that have just as big of an impact.
15) What is the best advice you would give to a new agricultural educator / FFA advisor starting out?
"Be prepared to put in the time." This is not a normal teaching position, and if you want your program to grow and succeed, you will have to work hard and put in the time.
16) What is the best advice you would give to a student in their senior year of high school getting ready for graduation?
Challenge yourself, but also make sure you are doing what you love and always remember that your friends and family are here for you!
17) One of the big trends in the last 15 years of agricultural education has been the large increase in female participation and fulfilling leadership roles. Why do you think that has happened?
I think female students mature sooner and want to challenge themselves more at an earlier age. Therefore, they are better prepared when leadership roles are available.
18) Do you think male participation is actually down or could be increased?
Yes, male participation is down and we need to figure out a way to increase their participation.
19) What do you think is the biggest opportunity the NYS FFA has to work with in the near future?
I think our continued growth and the number of schools that are interested in starting new programs is amazing and we need to capitalize on this.
20) What do you think is the biggest obstacle the NYS FFA has to overcome in the near future?
Our biggest obstacle is training enough teachers to keep our programs and chapters growing.
Foundation Executive Director
Full Disclosure: This app was fully developed by the NYS Agricultural Education and Outreach Program.
Below please find URL links to a new New York FFA Convention App being tested at this week's event.
Please be thorough in reading the instructions below. Additional links are available to help you overcome any trouble with apple devices.
Please click the appropriate URL for your mobile device:
Android Device: http://snappy.appypie.com/media/appfile/1c2a682f24cf.apk
Iphone or Ipad: http://snappy.appypie.com/user/download-plist/appId/1c2a682f24cf
If you are getting “Untrusted App Developer” message when trying to run Appy Pie’s test App on iPhone then follow instructions on this link.
WindowsMobile Device: http://snappy.appypie.com/media/appfile/1c2a682f24cf.xap
NYS Agricultural Education and Outreach
The New York FFA Foundation in partnership with the NY FFA Alumni Association is hosting the 2nd Annual State FFA Officer Reunion on Friday May 6 at the OnCenter in Syracuse, NY. This will be held during the State FFA Convention which runs from May 5-7, 2016. Registering for the reunion is simple........either call the FFA Foundation office at 315-346-1222 or email Robin Waite at email@example.com.
The reception will include a sit down dinner to be held at the OnCenter Ballroom. Prior to the reception you can walk through the Engagement and Career Expo. After the reception we invite each of you to attend the evening session. Reserved seating will be available for all attendees. You will each be escorted to the stage to be recognized as groups. Addtionally we will pay special tribute to the teams listed on the invite below celebrating key anniversary years.
The highlight of last years gathering was the opening ceremonies of the evening session, which was chaired by Gary Swan, 64-65 State President, and performed by other members of his team and a few others. Once again we have invited this years golden anniversary team to join us to perform the duties of the opening ceremony.
We hope that many will join us for this celebration of our past, recognition of the present, and great expectations for the future members of the New York FFA. And if your jacket fits, bring it along.........Please RSVP by April 15, 2016.
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 .