Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse (center) with Native American FFA Students: Hannah Nichols (left), Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) (right). USDA photo: Bob Nichols.
The future of America is entirely about its youth. According to figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sixty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older. Will the next generation take over for their parents and accept a rural lifestyle? What options are available for promising students, many of them minorities, living in economically challenged rural areas?
Last week, USDA welcomed two Native American members of the National FFA organization to the Agriculture Department for meetings with Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse, Arthur “Butch” Blazer, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, and representatives of the USDA Office of Tribal Relations (OTR), including Director Leslie Wheelock. FFA members Hannah Nichols (Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana) of Elton, La. and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) of Morris, Okla. were in the capital for the FFA Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) and were accompanied by Kent Schescke, director of government and non-profit relations for the National FFA. Read more »
Five-year-old Joe Joe Charles celebrates being named “Cowboy Of The Year.” Photo by Bob Haentzler
He didn’t want to go to Disney World or meet his favorite superhero. All 5-year-old Joe Joe Charles wished for was one day where he could be a farmer and a cowboy.
It was a wish that FSA County Executive Director Linda Mathews and the Make-A-Wish Foundation brought to life.
“Joe Joe is the first child that had a wish to be a farmer or cowboy for a day,” said Stephanie Hampton-Boeglin, director of Mission Delivery for Make-A-Wish Missouri, “It’s the best wish I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of.” Read more »
Students of the Cody-Kilgore schools and area residents are working to complete a straw-bale building, an environmentally-friendly design that uses straw as insulation. Start-up funding was provided through USDA Rural Development and matched with cash, material and sweat equity contributions. Photos courtesy of the Village of Cody.
In Nebraska, keeping small rural communities alive and vital is a hard road. Part of the puzzle is keeping the rural youth local and involved. Who would think straw built construction could create the buy in needed to interest the youth?
The Village of Cody, home to 150 residents, is mostly farmers and ranchers. Residents know that entrepreneurship is important in creating more businesses and gain jobs but how do you inspire the youth towards this concept? Read more »
Bonnie Chirstenson from University of Minnesota Extension (far right) shows students in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy Elementary how to make pumpkin pudding using a locally grown pumpkin.
On a fall morning in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy, Minn., students are learning how to make pumpkin pudding.
Instead of using a can opener to pry the lid off cans of pumpkin, a real pumpkin is being used. And not just any real pumpkin, a pumpkin that came straight from a local garden and into the classroom.
The classroom isn’t the only place in Tracy Elementary where local foods are becoming more prevalent. The lunchroom also features more foods grown by local producers and served in school lunches. Read more »
Jasper Cunningham, Michigan FFA National Officer candidate, Junior at Michigan State University, and owner of the Seed Boy Seed Company (left) meets with Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager at the Agriculture Department.
Jasper Cunningham is a busy young man. A Junior at Michigan State University, Michigan FFA’s National Officer candidate, and the owner of his own business: the Seed Boy Seed Company.
Like many FFA members, Jasper, of Ravenna, Michigan, didn’t grow up on a farm, but farming and agriculture is in his blood. An Ag Business major, he’s been in the FFA since his freshman year in high school. Read more »
President Obama and I know that today’s young people are critical to winning America’s future. From passing on the long-held traditions and values of American agriculture, to helping Americans live healthier lives by supporting the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative, 4-H and FFA members are truly making a difference.
This September, the White House will welcome 4-H and FFA members from around the country to Washington for a day of discussion on their work, and the future of American agriculture.
In addition, the White House will honor 12 Champions of Change- 4-H and FFA members who are helping America win the future with unique projects that move their communities forward. Read more »