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Archive for the ‘Agricultural Education’ Category

Spanish Fork FFA Students Model “Learning by Doing”

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

By J. Merrill Hallam, CTE and Ag biology teacher,
IMG_1937Spanish Fork Junior High School, Nebo School District

This year, Spanish Fork FFA students had the unique opportunity to raise over 400 turkey poults and participate in the processing of the birds from start to finish. As part of the Utah Junior Turkey Show each student was able to purchase up to 20 turkey poults to raise during the summer. Each student raised the poults at different facilities in the area, and at harvest time the students transported the birds to the processing plant located in Bothwell, Utah owned and operated by the Utah FFA and 4-H organizations.

The students were able to watch the facility in operation and to participate in several steps of the total process. Students unloaded the birds, applied identification tags, and hung the birds on the chains on the kill floor. Once off the chain they weighed each bird and recorded the weight by tag number. The students then placed the IMG_2099birds in an ice bath for two hours to drop the carcass temperature. After the ice treatment they removed the birds and pulled any additional pin feathers, removed the identification tags, and applied permanent labels to the plastic shipping bags. From there, the students vacuumed sealed and heat shrunk the packaged birds for delivery to the cooler. Because the facility is state inspected students were not allowed to participate in some of the operations, but they were able to view the process first hand.  Most of the students had pre-sold their birds and were able to deliver them just in time for Thanksgiving.

This event was a great opportunity for students and advisors to be actively involved in the project from start to finish, and learn some great new skills along the way. There was a lot to talk about with peers and parents when they got home from this road trip!

Lindsey Olsen, Kamrey Olsen, Kaitlin Hallam, Taylor Tomadakis, Katie Thomas, Wyatt Jensen, Kassie Christensen, Tristen Langford and Advisor Jim Lotspiech




Students from Nebo School District Strut Their Stuff

Monday, November 17th, 2014

By J. Merrill Hallam, CTE and Ag biology teacher,
Spanish Fork Junior High School, Nebo School District

IMG_1730Students from Nebo School District stole the show at the annual Utah Jr. Turkey Show held in Tremonton, Utah on November 13-15, 2014. The Turkey Show is held annually during the second week of November and is open to students grades 3-12 who are currently enrolled in 4-H or FFA. The show process begins in April and continues through November. The Utah Jr. Turkey Show has been running for over 60 years and its intent is to help students learn livestock feeding and management skills and then provide a competition with others to “Strut Their Stuff”.

This year, Kaitlin Hallam took first place with her 38.6 pound tom, Lindsey Olsen placed second with her 25.62 pound hen, and Kamrey Olsen placed fifth with her reserve champion 35.09 pound tom. Kamrey also competed and received a $1,000 education scholarship for her 4-H portfolio. These students took three of the top six places in the entire show.

Each year, Utah students purchase 3,000 turkey poults from the same hatchery on the same day. They then feed them any type of poultry feed they choose for the duration of the growing period. Each student can purchase up to 20 poults to raise during the summer and then compete in the state contest held in November. The contest is open to all active 4-H and FFA members.

IMG_1723This year, Nebo School District students collectively raised nearly 400 poults for competition and each student had the opportunity to enter one tom and one hen into the contest. At the show there were over 450 birds from all over the state in the running for the top spots. After all of the birds were judged and placed, the top 30 toms and hens were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Jaynee Giffing, Tyler Otteson, Austin Otteson, Tristen Langford, Cecilia Davis, and Jentry Hendricks made the sale list with their top birds. The turkeys brought anywhere from $160 to $570 each.

Congratulations to all on an incredible performance!

92 Utah FFA Members Receive American FFA Degree

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

American FFA Degree - general imageThis year the National FFA Convention and Expo was held in Louisville, Kentucky October 29 through November 1. Each year approximately 3,500 American FFA Degrees are awarded to FFA student members at the National FFA Convention and Expo. This is one of the organizations highest honors.

To qualify for the FFA degree members must have:
> Received a Greenhand FFA Degree, Chapter FFA Degree, and State FFA Degree.
> Been an FFA member for at least three years.
> Completed at least three years (540 hours) of high school agriculture classes, or 2 years of high school agriculture classes,
and one year of college agriculture classes (360 hours.)
> Graduated from high school one year prior to the National FFA Convention at which their degree will be awarded.
> Maintained detailed SAE records, which demonstrate outstanding planning, managerial and financial skills.
> Earned and productively invested at least $7,500, or have earned and productively invested at least $1,500 and worked
2,250 hours beyond scheduled school hours through their SAEs.

Congratulations to the 92 Utah FFA student members, from 36 high schools, who received the American FFA Degree. Click  HERE to read the names of each award recipient.

xx_color ffa crest - trans

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their
potential for premier  leadership, personal growth and
career success through agricultural education.




FFA Members Prepare for National Competition

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Hurricane_Ag_IMG_4940The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through Agricultural Education to 579,678 student members in grades 7-12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In Utah, there are approximately 6,000 FFA members in 80 chapters.

FFA members are preparing to compete at the National FFA Convention October 29–November 1 in Louisville, Kentucky. Sarah Draper, Utah FFA State Vice President, encourages student members to “Keep pushing full throttle! Practices might be hard to plan and get everyone together but practicing will pay off! Like they say, practice makes perfect.”

Tell me it can’t be done, and I’ll do it.
Tell me the goal is too high, and I’ll reach it.
Place an obstacle in front of me, and I’ll soar over it.
Challenge me, dare me, or even defy me;
But do not underestimate me.
For when I am wearing my FFA jacket, anything is possible.

FFA Officers Team (best)

Little Hands on the Farm Exhibit Returns to the Utah State Fair

Friday, August 15th, 2014

From planting seeds to harvesting crops, from milking a cow (a life-size fiberglass cow) to gathering eggs, Utah FFAstate officers have been working hard this summer preparing numerous interactive displays for the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit at the Utah State Fair. The Fair begins Thursday, September 4 and continues through Sunday, September 14. The Little Hands on the Farm exhibit is a hands-on experience for children ages 2 to 10. Children will learn where food comes from and the process it takes to get it from the farm to the grocery store. The exhibit is included with the price of admission to the Utah State Fair. Located west of the arena, the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit is open each day from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Plan now to attend the Utah State Fair and visit the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit. If you can’t wait until September 4 to visit the Fair, take a virtual tour now of the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit with an FFA member HERE.

The Great Utah State Fair
September 4-14, 2014
Sunday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.


Building Career Success

Monday, May 12th, 2014

By Kaylynn Webb, FFA Chapter Reporter, Lehi High School

Over the past several months, Lehi FFA members have been learning, preparing, and presenting their skills in preparation for the Utah FFA State CDE (Career Development Event) competitions that were held April 22-23 at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. At this event twelve teams participated in various competitions including: Forestry, Agriculture Marketing, Agricultural Communications, Agricultural Issues, Livestock Judging, Horse Judging, Meats Evaluation, Poultry Judging, Food Sciences, Agricultural Mechanics, Veterinary Technician, and Floriculture.

Each team ranged from three to seven team members, with each member playing a key role in building career success. In each competition, each team was judged and scored on a team level as well as an individual level. Depending on how each team competed determined their ranking. Each team was responsible to complete several different tasks in several different areas, in order to test their knowledge and skill relating to their competition. Several of the teams who competed were required to identify key terms and items that were included in their competition. Other teams were asked to present a five to ten minute speech pertaining to their competition. Each team was also required to take a test; each test was based upon simple vocational skills that individuals may see if they were to work within each of these fields.

When all was said and done, each team was able prove their skills to several different sets of judges. We had multiple teams take home the state gold ranking. Others demonstrated their knowledge and skill set and were honored with the state silver ranking.

Each member that competed excelled within their area of expertise and proved to the judges that they have what it take to be successful within their desired career. We had two members who especially showed their knowledge this year. Riley Downs and Collin Hampton both placed in the top three in the Forestry competition. In addition to Downs and Hampton, the entire Forestry team will have the honor to represent the state of Utah at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky October 29-November 1.

The Lehi FFA is proud of everyone who competed, and we know that you gave your best efforts. Just remember, no matter where you placed, you are building career success!

This blog was originally published in the Lehi FFA May Newsletter, 2014.

VIEW the list of 2014 FFA State Winners


FFA: Building a Foundation

Monday, March 17th, 2014

By Courtney Bennett, FFA Ag Awareness Committee Chair, Lehi High School

Food for America is a great program that the Lehi FFA has pride in. The program has been very successful, by placing in the top three at state. The Lehi FFA members had the opportunity, over a course of two days to travel to different elementary schools that feed into Lehi High School, and teach children about agriculture. This year we had the chance to go to Lehi, Meadow, North Point, and Snow Springs elementary schools to teach the first, second, and third grade classes. Belva Parr, from Utah Farm Bureau, has helped our FFA order posters, gathered supplies, and gave us many ideas for new lessons. She stated, “I love watching the students grow an understanding of agriculture. They love what we do, and we enjoy doing this each year.” This year we taught animal science, plant science, and nutrition. The students had the opportunity to rotate from class to class and learn something new.

For the animal science rotation we had students dress up in animal costumes; including a pig, chicken, cow, and a lamb. Each animal had a different script to follow, which helped give the students a common connection.

In the plant science rotation, the students were taught how to make a “living necklace.” A “living necklace” is a seed inside a jewelry bag with a wet cotton ball inside, it slowly grows if it is taken care of. The students were very excited about the idea of growing a corn plant in a jewelry bag. A teacher from North Point Elementary said, “We were really excited to see you guys come for the first time to our school. Our students were very happy and learned a lot of new things, as we did too.”

During the nutrition lesson, students made their own “My Plate” based off the Food Pyramid. They enjoyed putting their favorite foods into the correct categories and learning more about how to maintain a healthy life. A third grade teacher from Meadow Elementary said, “I love seeing the FFA come every year! They always change the lessons they teach, and it is always organized and well planned out. You guys are simply awesome! My students really look up to and admire you!”

We make changes each year in our lessons to improve quality of the teaching, as this is the most important part. It is a great opportunity and a lot of fun to go with friends and teach younger students about agriculture. They get really excited about us coming every year and look forward to joining FFA in their future. It makes us excited to see them so engaged in the activities. We would like to thank the schools and teachers for allowing us to take time out of their day to teach their students more about FFA and agriculture.

This blog was originally published in the Lehi FFA’s March Newsletter, 2014

FFA Believes in You

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

By Hunter Siggard, Utah FFA State Treasurer

I hope this message finds everyone doing well, learning daily, and achieving success. With the year coming to close, in the next couple of months, it is an exciting time for many. Seniors are preparing for graduation; others are signing up and preparing for further education and new classes in the fall. Spring sports are beginning and several student clubs and CTSOs are preparing for state conferences and competitions. The FFA is no different. As an organization and state association we are looking forward to the coming months.

Utah FFA chapters are preparing for competitions that will be held in the upcoming months. Several career development event judging practices are going on to assist in preparing students for state judging during April. State judging allows students to put their skills to the test and compete in several contests that help develop their potential for career success. These contests involve many of the animal contests, as well as agricultural mechanics, veterinary science, agricultural communications, marketing, forestry, floriculture, etc. We encourage FFA members to practice seriously and do their best in order to learn the most and compete well at state judging. State judging provides opportunities for members to compete in more hands-on contests involving various aspects of the Agriculture industry, whereas the FFA State Convention provides opportunities to compete in speaking contests.

The FFA State Convention will be held March 13-15 at Utah State University. In January, members competed in area contests and those who were selected to move on are busily preparing to compete at the FFA State Convention for the opportunity to represent Utah at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky held October 29-November 1. These contests include: Prepared and Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Creed Speaking, Job Interview, and Parliamentary Procedure. Members not competing will have the opportunity to attend workshops, attend convention sessions, hear from keynote speakers, participate in service projects, and other activities to help members develop premier leadership and personal growth.

As a state officer team we are excited for the events that are right around the corner and for the opportunity we have to interact with FFA members from around this great state. With the year coming to a close we encourage everyone to remain focused and dedicated to their studies in order to maintain eligibility for activities and competitions. All of you are capable of achieving success and as a state officer team and association we believe in you! One of my favorite quotes is, “The difference between good and great is a little extra effort.” I hope that we all put forth that little bit of extra effort to achieve success in every aspect of life. Until next time. . .

Kaitlin Hallam: Welding Her Way to Success

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

By Shaun Black, CTE welding instructor at Spanish Fork High School

In the welding classes I teach at Spanish Fork High School there are multiple opportunities to be proud as an educator. As, student and FFA member, Kaitlin Hallam progressed through the class welding and cutting assignments she realized that she wanted a challenge. She approached me with the idea to make a trailer. With her motivation and enthusiasm for the welding course I assured her it would be achievable and that is exactly what she did. Kaitlin’s trailer ended up being an 18’, dual 7500 lb. axle, flatbed utility trailer. From the design to the last coat of paint she did an excellent job! The trailer was a very sound and professional grade build. This trailer was beyond any high school level project. Kaitlin entered the trailer into several competitions and was well deserving of the awards that followed. She took 1st place at the Utah Valley University Welding Expo, 1st place in the Senior Division at the Utah County Fair, and was the winner of the Ag Mechanics exhibit at the Utah State Fair.

On February 12, 2014, Kaitlin was recognized by the Nebo School District Board for her accomplishments. At the meeting a representative from Lincoln Electric awarded Kaitlin a prize package valued over $500 that included a set of Lincoln tools, an auto darkening helmet, leather gloves, and a leather welding jacket and cap.

Left to right: Shaun Black, CTE welding instructor at Spanish Fork High School;
Kaitlin Hallam; Jason Hart, representative Lincoln Electric Company;
John DeGraffenried, Secondary Education Director at Nebo School District

It was my privilege to accompany Kaitlin to the Board meeting and at the same time promote the welding program in Nebo School District. Kaitlin is welding her way to success and is definitely college and career ready. Great job Kaitlin!

Ignite Your Passion for Agriculture

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

During February 15-22, 2014 more than half a million FFA members across the country will celebrate National FFA Week. This year’s theme is Ignite and it embraces more than 80 years of FFA traditions while looking forward to the organization’s future.

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through Agricultural Education. Today’s FFA members are tomorrow’s leaders of America’s number one industry, agriculture. Through agricultural and hands-on learning, FFA members are preparing for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry.

During the week, FFA chapters will conduct a variety of activities to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and Agricultural Education. Utah FFA chapters will celebrate National FFA Week by:

  • Attending the signing of a National FFA Week proclamation.
  • Participating in the FFA Olympics.
  • Recruiting new members to FFA.
  • Dressing up in their FFA blue jackets.
  • Organizing fundraisers to support FFA.

Did you know?
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.

Join FFA members across the country in celebrating National FFA Week. As part of the celebration, thank the farmers in your community for the food they provide for all of us.The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through Agricultural Education to 579,678 student members in grades 7-12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.