I cant express my love and dedication to this enormous youth education program. Get involved, and take something from it. Agriculture education is not what is used to be, the umbrella of the National FFA Organization stretches far wider than I can explain in this blog.
My experience in FFA was pretty unique, but whose isn’t.
Due to an unfortunate circumstance, my small rural high school had gained a new Principle. My Mom had informed me that Mr. Koehn used to be agriculture educator, with that I wanted to find out what we could do in the ways of livestock judging through FFA. Either way, I had no idea what that one thought would lead into.Side note: I was just ok at judging livestock in high school it turns out my sister and well my other sister who isn’t really my sister and the girl who had no idea what a heifer was, and Miss Mariah pretty much rocked livestock judging in the state of Oregon for a few years. I am not about living in the past, but it was big moment in those girls lives.
We started down the road to establish an FFA chapter my Senior year of high school. We had no classroom; therefore we shared the high school library, thanks Ms. Talley for letting create chaos in there. Mr. Koehn, or how I better know him as Toby, was not getting paid to instruct us, but was taking on extra duties so we could dream a little. He was still the full time Principle and part time Ag teacher.
I will honestly say that we spent a lot of that first year encouraging kids to join this program, preparing for contests and traveling to contests. It wasn’t anything like the program is today. We had a hugely successful first year, and we enjoyed every minute of the controlled chaos we were living in.
Now Cove, Oregon is a pretty special place. This small school is one of the only 1A schools in the state to still had a band, art, and shop programs in 2006. We were a small school that options for kids no matter their interest, now they may not be as extensive as other schools, but most schools the size of Cove had lost all of those programs and were dependent on sports and student councils to keep kids involved. I am very proud to say those programs are still growing!
I have been able to go back and spend time with the next generation of students that are going through this program, and it’s EXCITING. Toby is now the full time Ag teacher, we have a school farm that has chickens and crops year round. Toby has activated the interest from the teachers throughout the school to become involved in process of agricultural production. The elementary students are involved in gathering eggs and vegetables each day. High school Ag students also have the opportunity to look over the younger students during this process. Also, the fresh vegetables are served in the school cafeteria. How many schools in the country can you say that happens in!
A La Grande Observer article that discusses the new greenhouse that is going up on the school farm, this is a student led project. Learning leadership, communication, management, team work, and dedication skills, you bet! I just get all excited thinking about the doors this program has opened for 540,379 students across this country!
I am so thankful for everyone who has contributed to this program in some way shape or form. I am also thankful for a great Ag teacher who let us dream, and has continued to be one of my best friends and a man who pushes me to think outside the box.
So go celebrate National FFA Week, be proud to be a part of agriculture. And if you aren’t involved in agriculture, this organization may be away for you to learn a little about production agriculture, but its not just about sows, cows, and plows any more!