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Posts tagged: Future Farmers of America

Opening Doors for #WomeninAg

Earlier this week, I hosted a White House Rural Council discussion with farmers, business owners, board members, commodity groups, youth leaders and academics to discuss opportunities for women in agriculture. The group included women and men, conventional farmers and organic producers and organizations like Food Corps, the Future Farmers of America Foundation and the American Farm Bureau.  There were major corporations including Coca Cola and Land O’ Lakes as well as smaller operations like Sandy Oaks Olive Orchards from Texas.

In preparation for the meeting, I asked the participants to use #womeninag to identify inspiring women in agriculture.  The overwhelming response on Twitter stimulated our discussion and motivated the group to identify what we can do to continue supporting women in agriculture. Read more »

USDA’s Agricultural Ties Run Deep

Mary Louise Reynnells (right) and Shellie Wallace-Polin in their FFA jackets, 1977.

Mary Louise Reynnells (right) and Shellie Wallace-Polin in their FFA jackets, 1977.

Earlier this year, in preparation for the 2015 opening of a new business history exhibition, American Enterprise, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History put out a call for current and past members of the National FFA Organization to submit their FFA jackets accompanied with their own personal agricultural history. The jackets and stories, to be featured in the agricultural portion of the exhibition, will examine the significance that agricultural education continues to play to our national identity.

At a ceremony last week, five jackets and their stories were selected; among them, a jacket from President Jimmy Carter and a jacket from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service employee Mary “Louise” Reynnells. USDA employees work every day to ensure that American farmers have access to the opportunities they need, and many of their ties to agriculture extend well beyond their time at USDA. Here is Mary “Louise” Reynnells’s story, and with it, her contribution to our agricultural heritage. Read more »

Illinois FSA Grants Wish to 5-Year-Old Cancer Survivor

Five-year-old Joe Joe Charles celebrates being named “Cowboy Of The Year.” Photo by Bob Haentzler

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 »

USDA Statisticians Offer Lesson Plans to Enhance Classroom Education

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the U.S. Department of Agriculture blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the agency’s rich science and research portfolio.

During this week – National Agriculture Week—agriculture groups all across the country are coming together to recognize and promote agriculture’s numerous contributions to society. National Agriculture Week also gives the farm community an opportunity to reach out to students and educators to reinforce the importance of agricultural education in the classroom.  To that end, new classroom lesson plans that meet National Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources standards along with outreach kits are available to teachers and students. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Builds Stronger Relationship with National FFA, Urges National Officer Team to Get Involved in the Farm Bill Process

As dozens of representatives from businesses and organizations that support the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) listened yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spent about 15 minutes in a Washington meeting room speaking directly to six college-age individuals.  The six, from across the country, are this year’s National FFA Officer Team.

The Secretary attended yesterday’s winter meeting of the FFA Sponsor Board to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) deepening USDA’s involvement with the FFA and its education mission. But before sitting down for the signing ceremony, the Secretary talked to the officers about their role in creating economic opportunity in rural America. Read more »

The Recovery Act in Your Community: Using Terraces to Reduce Erosion and Improve Water Quality

Creating terraces on the Joens farm.

Creating terraces on the Joens farm.

Jim Joens remembers planting crops on the Minnesota farm where he grew up as early as 1973, when he was 14 years old. Even then he knew that farming was what he wanted to be doing, and he’s been doing it ever since. Read more »