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Join the 88th National FFA Convention and Expo

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

CaptureThe 88th National FFA Convention and Expo begins today, Wednesday, October 28, 2015. Join the convention live from Louisville, Kentucky. Here are four ways to stay connected with the FFA Convention and Expo:

  1. RFD-TV will broadcast each session. Visit the RFD-TV site for channel listings and more. Most sessions shown live on RFD-TV will also be simulcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio via RURAL RADIO Channel 147.
  2. More than 45 hours of the convention will be streamed live online. The broadcasts will be available at FFA.org/convention and can be viewed live or via the on-demand archive. The streams include nine convention sessions, six events from the CDE Finals Hall, and nine student workshops.
  3. Stay connected via the FFA convention app. This digital guidebook includes all of the convention and expo activities, maps, and more. The app is free and is available in the Apple and Android/Google stores.
  4. Join FFA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat (username: NationalFFA), Periscope, and FFA Pulse. #AmplifyFFA

During the convention FFA members will celebrate 85 years of the FFA Creed. The Creed was written by Erwin Milton Tiffany. The FFA Creed expresses Mr. Tiffany’s strong belief in the industry of agriculture and the core values of citizenship and patriotism.

Experiencing a Tradition

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Wyatt McDaniel - state sentinel V2By Wyatt McDaniel, Utah FFA Sentinel

FFA members across the country have the opportunity to attend the 88th National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, October 28-31, 2015. These members will travel for hours by airplane, bus, train, and vehicles to experience an everlasting tradition that they will never forget. This is a tradition that has been alive and well since the very first FFA convention held in Kansas City, Missouri in 1928.

The theme for the 88th National FFA Convention is “Amplify, Boost Your Impact.” This theme has challenged FFA members to get out of their comfort zone and to be a part of something bigger. Members of the organization have already been boosting their impact by participating in various projects such as the #speakag campaign, which challenges members to stand up and be an advocate for agriculture. As well as the #teachag campaign that encourages members to become an agricultural educator.

The convention itself is split into various sessions in which members, advisors, and guests can attend. In these sessions you can experience live music from the National FFA Band and Chorus, amazing award and degree presentations, inspirational thoughts from the National FFA Officer Team, as well as extraordinary guest speakers such as the creator of Kid President, Brad Montague; past professor of Texas A&M University and character coach for the Aggies, Dr. Rick Rigsby; and our own Amberly Snyder, former Utah FFA Association President.

The Expo includes many exhibits to see as well as opportunities to participate in hands-on activities. Exhibitors include many large companies such as John Deere, Lincoln Electric, Monsanto, CSX, Case, Justin Boots, Dodge RAM, and many more. The purpose of the Expo is for attendees to explore many of the products and careers in the agricultural field.

The tradition of the National FFA Convention and Expo enhances the lives of more than 60,000 members through first-hand experiences that happen at this convention. You can find more information about the National FFA Convention and Expo at www.ffa.org/convention.

FFA Has Taught Me to Reach for the Stars

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Animal science and biology are my passion! There are so many different areas to choose from such as wildlife biology, fish [and game], animal biology, and much more. Becoming a biologist requires a lot of hard work, and passion for animals and the outdoors.

Shaylyn photoI am Shaylyn Knappenberger. Throughout high school I have taken animal science courses, been involved with FFA, and had work-based learning experiences that have allowed me to worked with biologist and conservation officers across the state, on ride-alongs and other field experiences.

Working with biologist and conservation officers exposed me to many different elements of the job. I have experienced writing tickets for going off the posted trails to transplanting antelope. Working with both sides of the Division of Natural Resources has showed me that this job is very diverse and the work is not always easy, but worth it.

I established many relationships with biologist and conservation officers. The more I went on ride-alongs, and helped with transplanting animals, the more confident I became in helping and doing things they asked of me. I love learning new things and advancing what I know in this field. On each ride along I learned new things and got to experience more than I did before.

My experience in FFA has helped tie all of my learning and experiences together. FFA has taught me to reach for the stars and go for my dreams. I have been able to take my education one step further by participating in science fair projects and competitions such as vet science and judging livestock. It has taught me about more than just wildlife and everyday pets. I have also been able to learn, develop, and use leadership skills that I will be able to use throughout my future career.




Meet Colton Zilles: Future Butcher

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Colton Zilles photo“The CTE classes I have taken in high school, such as agricultural systems and technology, animal science, and floriculture, have given me the basic skills, knowledge and abilities to allow me to obtain employment in any of those fields. These classes have shown me just how many different employment/career opportunities there really are in the world after [I graduate from] high school. The animal science class really helped me with deciding which direction I would like to go with my education and career.

“The steps necessary to obtain my goal are to attend Bridgerland Applied Technology College, become certified in meat cutting, and secure employment in a local grocery store or butcher shop. The CTE animal science class helped me learn about the proper care needed to produce the highest quality market animals, and what to look for in a good meat animal. I plan to use this knowledge to help me get started in my job field.”

—Colton Zilles, Mountain Crest High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Colton on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Bridgerland Applied Technology College. Colton was one of 102 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Kaitlin Hallam: 2015 Utah Sterling Scholar

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Kaitlin Hallam 2015 Sterling Scholar

Congratulations to Kaitlin Hallam, senior at Spanish Fork High School, who was selected as the 2015 Utah Sterling Scholar in the area of Skilled and Technical Sciences. Kaitlin has been an active member of FFA since 2011. From building an 18 foot, dual 7500 pound axle, flatbed utility dump trailer to raising a 38.6 pound tom turkey to placing first in the Animal Systems competition at the 2015 FFA Agriscience Fair, Kaitlin has been very successful in each project she has pursued. In fact, she is currently completing a 32 foot gooseneck electric over hydraulic tilt trailer.

Throughout the past several years, Kaitlin has won many awards as she competed against her peers in a variety of regional and state competitions. Her skill, talent, perseverance, and desire to do well has catapulted her to achieve her goals as she prepares to advance from high school to college and career.

Kaitlin has developed a great deal of self-confidence through her achievements, but says her greatest feeling of self-worth came from turkeys she raised for her agri-science research project, and then donated those turkeys to needy families in the area at Thanksgiving time. “The ability to help those who are truly in need has been the greatest feeling of satisfaction and joy in the world,” said Kaitlin.

Kaitlin FFA Nationals 2014Kaitlin will tell you that much of the success she has enjoyed has been the direct result of an incredible volley of local CTE teachers and state advisors who have continually dared her to step out of her comfort zone on a daily basis and venture to be more. Her toughest challenge has been welding in a nontraditional occupation for women.

“I am usually one of few girls in most of my CTE classes. This triggers one of three reactions from the rest of the boys: instant harassment, showing off, or competition. I try to remain calm in any situation and make friends. I have found that most boys are receptive to my friendship and are eager to be helpful. They even seem to enjoy it when I am able to keep up with a new skill or even out do them from time to time. However, there are a few who expect me to cower to them. This is problematic because I am a fierce competitor and I know that I can do anything that I put my mind to. Overall, I have enjoyed learning how to balance what I say and do without compromising my own skills and performance,” said Kaitlin.

Kaitlin - auto repairKaitlin acknowledges the impact FFA and CTE has had on her education and preparing her for college and career. “My involvement in the Skilled and Technical Sciences [classes] already has and continues to enrich my life by helping me develop lasting values like hard work, dedication, and responsibility. Welding has given me an opportunity to train my hands to be steady, my eyes to be sharp, my mind to concentrate, and my imagination to go wild. Furniture construction has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me gain knowledge in a subject I knew absolutely nothing about. Auto body has shown me that even if something is old and broken down it can still be re-built and have lasting value. Last but not least, leadership has given me the ability to plan, organize and not only lead people through a difficult situation, but support and encourage them to do the same.

farming 2“Beside these skills, I have learned crucial values, including hard work, dedication, and responsibility. I have learned how to set goals which have led to success in many areas. I have also realized how much more I need to learn in order to be truly successful. My CTE classes and my leadership experience in 4-H and FFA have laid a strong foundation on which I can build upon. I plan to go to college to complete a teaching degree. I like the idea of ‘paying it forward.’ I have had a wonderful education experience and I hope to provide that for the future students I will teach.”

After graduating from high school in May Kaitlin will continue her studies at Brigham Young University. She plans to complete a degree in education and hopes to teach in some area of agriculture.

Watch Kaitlin’s Journey


2015 Sterling Scholar Awards Ceremony

National Ag Week Omelet Cook-off

Friday, March 20th, 2015

IMG_0203In celebration of the first day of spring, and to celebrate National Ag Week, Utah FFA hosted an omelet cook-off at the Utah State Fair Park. Teams competed to cook the best tasting and most creative omelet in 15 minutes. The competition was “egg-citing” to watch as each competitor “scrambled” to create an omelet that would impress the judges.

Four distinguished guests—Christina Nolasco, former State FFA President; Randy Rigby, President, Utah Jazz; LuAnn Adams, Commissioner, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food; and Governor Gary Herbert—were deemed “egg-cellent” judges for the event. Judges
“egg-amined” each omelet for appearance and taste to crown an “egg-ceptional” winner in two categories.

Haley Smith, KSL TV, won “Most Creative” omelet and an Oakdell Eggs representative won “Best Tasting” omelet. Both individuals were “egg-static” to be named the winner of the 2015 Omelet Cook-off.

Related Story:
KSL Morning Show – National Ag Day Omelet Cook-off

Why Your Kids Should Participate in FFA

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

By Buddy Deimler
Agricultural Education specialist at the Utah State Office of Education
Utah FFA advisor

Hurricane_Ag_IMG_4881Thank you to every Ag teacher in Utah who works hard to make a difference with every student, in every class, every day. Through Agricultural Education and FFA you are making a positive difference in the lives of young people. Your hard work and dedication is evident by the hours that you spend and by the success your students enjoy whether that success is at the local level, the state level or the national level. Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty every day as you provide opportunities for your students. You do a great job!

Katie Pinke, a mother of three who lives in North Dakota, is a huge advocate of FFA. She says, “Do you know what FFA is all about? As a mom of an FFA member I do, but as a student and young adult I had no idea. My husband raves about the confidence and lifelong skills he gained through FFA. Our son, Hunter, joined FFA as an eighth grader and has been an active member for the past four years.” Below is a summary of Katie’s list of the “7 Reasons Why Your Kids Should Participate in FFA.”

  1. FFA is exhilarating.
  2. FFA is part of the agricultural education program offered to junior high and high school students. The FFA advisor and agricultural education instructor teaches and array of classes based on the interests and needs of the students.
  3. FFA is inclusive.
  4. FFA is competition with the highest level of integrity, compassion and encouragement of one another.
  5. FFA Career Development Events (CDEs) afford kids hands-on opportunities to test the skills they learn in a classroom, in industry-focused real-world events.
  6. FFA students learn by doing. FFA provides hands-on learning that teaches through entrepreneurship, internship or job placement, research or experimentation, and exploring new career opportunities.
  7. FFA members are tomorrow’s leaders. FFA teaches essential leadership skills that last a lifetime.

More than 11,000 FFA advisors and agriculture teachers deliver an integrated model of agricultural education, providing students with innovative and leading-edge education and enabling them to grow into competent leaders.

FFA student members participate in hands-on work experiences that assist them in developing life skills and discovering their career path to realize success. Nationwide, FFA student members earn more than $4 billion annually through their hands-on work experience.

Nationally FFA has 610,240 members in 7,665 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In Utah there are 6,012 FFA members in 80 chapters.

If you are not a member of FFA, and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the FFA advisor in your school.

FFA Utah jackets 2011

Student Members Celebrate FFA

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Salem Hills FFA Chapter.jpgUtah FFA student members will celebrate National FFA Week, February 21-28, 2015. This year’s theme is Go All Out! The theme embraces more than 80 years of FFA traditions, while looking forward to the organization’s future. More than half a million members will participate in National FFA Week activities at local, state, and national levels. These members have a passion for agriculture.

In 1947, at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting, the week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week. Today, FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses February 22, Washington’s birthday. FFA Week gives FFA members an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters will conduct a variety of activities to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and agricultural education.

Today’s FFA members are the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural and hands-on learning, they are preparing for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry.

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 610,240 student members as part of 7,665 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In Utah, there are 6,012 members in 80 chapters.

The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs.

Have You Ever Wondered Where Beef Comes From

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Kenyon Munk 2My name is Kenyon Munk and this year I am involved with the Career and Technical Education Internship program at my school, Richfield High. I have really enjoyed working and learning at the Cowley Farm and Feed Lot.

When you go to the store or a restaurant and get a yummy juicy hamburger, have you ever wondered where that beef comes from? At the Cowley Farm and Feed Lot I have learned what it takes to raise, feed, doctor, and take care of the cattle that are used to produce all of our beef.

It has been really interesting to see the daily operations of a feed lot. Every day we feed over 2,500 head of cattle. During the winter the cattle are [taken] off the mountain grazing land and stored at the feed lot. We have been expanding our operations weekly as more cattle come in. We take care of them until they get big enough and then they are sent to the butcher to be processed for packaging and then delivered to your local store.


Animal agriculture in Utah represents the single largest sector of farm income in Utah. According to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, cattle and calves are raised on 6,458 farms throughout Utah. In 2013, cash receipts for cattle and calves totaled more than $360 million.

Join Kenyon and become involved in the Agricultural Education program at your school. Talk to your school counselor to sign up for a class today.


From Raccoons to Anacondas

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Mario Thurston with dog 2In the field of veterinary medicine, you are exposed to many different kinds of species, diseases, medicine, and procedures. Becoming a veterinarian is extremely difficult, just getting into a vet school is more competitive than getting into medical school. In the end, it is worth all the hard effort.

I am Mario Thurston. In the fall of 2014, I completed a CTE Internship at North Cache Veterinary Service in the field of veterinary medicine.

During this internship I was exposed to many things. For example, I have been able to assist in taking x-rays of a pet raccoon, and extracting maggots that had gotten into the animal bites on a raccoons leg. The only way to do this was to inject salt water in the hole and squeeze all the maggots out. This was the only time during my internship that I felt queasy, but it was definitely an eye opening experience for me. I then realized that sometimes the things the veterinarian has to do are not always fun, or cool, but just down right gross. Because of this experience, I will be ready and not surprised when an owner tells me to shave off half the hair on their pet’s body and get hundreds of maggots out.

I also established a relationship with all of the workers during my internship. The veterinarians were comfortable in asking me to do certain things. After a while I was comfortable enough to complete tasks that I knew had to be done during the day. In doing this I earned respect from the workers at the clinic. Although I did have to ask questions when I was not completely sure of what I was doing I was able to learn most tasks quickly. From documenting and filing to taking vital signs and injecting vaccinations.

Dog kennelsUnfortunately, there was a cow that died when two of the veterinarians were trying to save it. While I was pushing liquids into the cow, through an IV, it started thrashing around, and eventually died. It was intoxicated, and the owner waited three days to bring it in.

The clinic also takes dogs for boarding. So every time I arrived at the clinic, there was a new dog. In this picture, all of the kennels are occupied, and one even has two dogs in it. My responsibility was to make sure they had food and water and were taken to a grassy area often. I also helped clean all of the dog kennels and enjoyed spending some time playing with them.