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Archive for the ‘Agricultural Education’ Category

Jamie Christensen: Future Agricultural Education Teacher

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Jamie Christensen
Occupational Goal: Agricultural Education Teacher

“I focused on horticulture for my CTE Pathway in high school. Although horticulture was my Pathway I [was] active in every Ag class I [took] and I loved them all. I want to further my education and become an Ag teacher. I have been around agriculture [all] my life and I understand the impact it has on our daily lives. I want to be able to do my best to help teach others who do not understand it.

“Rodeo and my horses are a passion that has helped me realize my dreams. Honestly, if was not for my love and patience with horses and animals I know I would not have learned how to teach others. Due to my success in rodeo events I give riding lessons. . .Teaching about what I love comes naturally and that is how I know teaching is a great fit for me. I have been told, ‘If you do what you love you will never work a day in your life.’ Which I know is true.

“I am a firm believer that not everything in life begins like we all plan for it to be, but to be a champion at life we must be able to take a look where we are and get where we want to be.” —Jamie Christensen, Stansbury High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Jamie on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award she received to Utah Valley University. Jamie was one of 95 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Left: Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Jamie Christensen
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology

Randi Faber: Future Veterinarian Assistant

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Randi Faber
Occupational Goal: Veterinarian Assistant

“The CTE classes I took in high school prepared me for college and my upcoming career by giving me the opportunity to find a field that really touched my heart. I took many CTE classes in high school. There were several classes that really seemed to open my eyes and showed me that maybe I could pursue a career in this field. They were the Animal Science Tech and Veterinary Science/Assistant courses. They have shown me how much dedication it takes to know all the information and then take that information into my own hands, and that gave me the drive to want to attend college and gain the necessary certifications for a great career.” —Randi Faber, Stansbury High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Randi on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award she received to Bridgerland Applied Technology College. Randi was one of 95 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Left: Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Randi Faber
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology

Springville High School FFA Receives Grant

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Q&A with Monica Giffing: Agricultural Education teacher and Utah FFA advisor at Springville High School.

Question: The Springville High School FFA chapter was recently awarded a $2,000 “Food for All” grant. What organization provided this grant?
Answer: The grant is administered by the National FFA Organization in partnership with the Howard G. Buffet Foundation and Farmers Feeding the World. Our chapter was one out of 140 chapters nationwide who received a grant. We applied for the grant in October and are thrilled that we were one of the applicants selected. This application was put together by our FFA Chapter President Christina Nolasco, she will also serve as our Community Garden chairman.

Question: What do you think made your application standout?
Answer: I believe our application stood out because of the completeness of the project. The community service that we will be providing starts from the seed germination in our greenhouse, to planting and harvesting the produce, to donating to the local community and food bank.

Question: How will the Springville High School FFA chapter use the grant money?
Answer: The budget set forth was meant for supplies, equipment, and marketing of the community vegetable garden.

Question: What size is the vegetable garden?
Answer: The vegetable garden is 26,000 square feet. We will grow all types of vegetables, including several varieties of tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, melons, and pumpkins. We will also have an herb garden.

Question: Are their local sponsors who assist with additional costs that the grant may not cover?
Answer: Harward Farms is a great supporter of this project. They helped with their farm equipment to prepare the soil. Last year, SunRoc helped us begin this endeavor by donating a variety of garden tools.

Question: What will be done with the food that is harvested in the fall?
Answer:  During the harvest season we will have a roadside stand once a week. All ripe produce will be available for anyone in need and the leftover produce will be taken to the Utah County Food Bank in Provo.

Question: How many students are in the Springville High School FFA chapter?
Answer:  We have 82 Springville High School FFA members.

Question: What responsibilities do students have with the maintenance of the garden?
Answer: We have one lead garden chairman and five garden co-chairs. Each co-chair is responsible for a portion of the garden. From planting, to managing, to water, to harvest, they will oversee a sub-committee to help maintain the area. This serves as a students Supervised Agricultural Experience and will become their summer agricultural project. 

Question: What are students saying about the community vegetable garden project?
Answer: Christina Nolasco said, “I think this project is good because it gives me and other [FFA] members a chance to give back to our community that is so supportive of us.”

Chapter Vice President Amberly Bradford believes learning about gardening is something everyone needs. She said, “I think our garden project is great because everyone needs a chance to learn how to be self-sufficient. It will help us now as we learn skills like transplanting and later on when we have our own gardens.”

Read about the Springville High School FFA project in the Daily Herald, Springville FFA receives Food for All grant.

UtahCTE.org congratulates the Springville High School FFA chapter on receiving the “Food for All” grant and for their continued excellence in the Agricultural Education program. Keep up the great work!

Agriculture is the nation’s largest employer with one in seven of American workers employed in agriculture-related jobs. Each U.S. farmer produces food and fiber for 155 people in the United States and abroad. Visit UtahCTE.org to learn about a career in Agriculture.

FFA: An Association of Agricultural Education Students

Monday, March 19th, 2012

FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. There are over 6,000 FFA members in 78 Utah chapters.

On March 8-10, 2012, FFA members from across the state met in Richfield, Utah to compete at the Utah FFA Association State Convention. Throughout the year FFA members prepared for competitive events in the following areas:

  • Agriscience Fair
  • Parliamentary Procedures
  • Public Speaking
  • Scholarships

Winners included:

  • Extemporaneous Public Speaking
    Sarah Peck – Mountain Crest
  • IFA Scholarship
    Whyatt Garn – Bear River High School
  • Parliamentary Procedure
    Dixie FFA chapter
  • Public Speaking
    Bradie Jill Jones – North Summit
  • Western AgCredit
    Katherine Piper – Payson High School

Winners from these events advance to the national FFA competition on October 24-27, 2012 in Indianapolis, IN.

New state officers elected for the 2012-2013 school year are:

Front row: Tylynn Savage, Bailie Richens, Back row: Whyatt Garn, Madison Walker, McKaylie Nelson, Tarvis Cann

  • President – Tylynn Savage – Mt. Nebo High School
  • Vice President – Whyatt Garn – Bear River High School
  • Secretary – Bailie Richens – North Summit High School
  • Treasurer – Madison Walker – Wasatch High School
  • Reporter – McKaylie Nelson – American Fork High School
  • Sentinel – Travis Cann – South Summit High School

We want to hear about the FFA conference, your skill competition and what your FFA chapter has planned for the rest of the school year. Send your stories to utahcte@schools.utah.gov.

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

Meet the CEO of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation: Randy Parker

Friday, February 24th, 2012


Introducing… Randy Parker

A graduate of … Pleasant Grove High School

Now working as … the Chief Executive Officer of a non-profit association overseeing budget, staff, and implementing the policies of 30,000 members under the guidance of a board of directors.

For … Utah Farm Bureau Federation

See the website … http://utfb.fb.org/

Vocational Agriculture were his favorite high school classes. “Coming from a ranching background, I was able to learn about management, production, finances as well as hands on welding and other agriculture shop classes. I was involved in FFA, including election to chapter offices.”

Randy’s first job (after college) – was Information Supervisor for the Utah Department of Agriculture.

Randy reports his most significant training was … a bachelor’s in Agri-business; a master’s in Agricultural Economics.  “My Vo Ag Teacher gave me the confidence to attend Utah State University after graduation. I was the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.

A career highlight … Election as President of the North American Agriculture Marketing Officials Association (NAAMO), which is a “collection of state and provincial marketing officials from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The group works together to increase food and agriculture marketing opportunities between the countries as well as jointly opening global marketing opportunities for North American farmers, ranchers and value added food processors.”

Advice to students …Stick with your educational goals. From a life experience standpoint there are two important considerations. First, there are a greater number of and more fullfilling career opportunities for men and women with college degrees. Second, the earning opportunity today for college graduates far exceeds my generation. In the 1970s, the lifetime earning potential differential between a high school graduate and a college degree was an increase of about 25 percent. Today, with a college degree the average increased lifetime earnings potential over a high school graduate is about 80 percent.

New Livestock Facility Opens in Nebo School District

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

This month a new livestock facility opened in Nebo School District that will support three high schools and their Agricultural Education programs. The new facility is called the “Nebo Agricultural Station” and will house numerous FFA student projects. Buddy Deimler, Agricultural Education Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education, tells UtahCTE.org about the project.

Question: Why was the facility built in Nebo?
Answer: As that part of Utah County becomes less rural students in agricultural education have less opportunity to house livestock projects at their homes. Many students live in suburban housing which does not provide housing opportunities for livestock.

Question: Does this facility replace an older building or it is new to the district?
Answer: Several of the older high school programs have had livestock facilities in place for many years. These facilities have received upgrades in the past few years to facilitate program growth. Maple Mountain High School, Salem Hills High School and Spanish Fork High School will use the new facility.

Question: How many schools will this new facility serve?
This facility will serve three high schools that don’t currently have livestock facilities. In addition, there is land area available for summer plant programs, research and elementary school field trip demonstrations by the associated FFA chapter.

Question: What kinds of student projects are taking place at the facility?
Answer: The facility will house mostly sheep and swine projects. Most of these projects will be market animals for livestock shows; the Spanish Fork Junior Livestock Show, Utah County Fair Junior Livestock Show, and The Utah State Fair Junior Livestock Show. A few of the students may travel to other livestock shows in the state.

Question: What was the involvement of CTE/FFA students in building this facility?
Answer: The project was designed and directed by J. Merrill Hallam who is a Nebo School District science teacher and CTE Coordinator for Agriculture and Welding. Appropriate personnel were used for electrical and water installation, but a majority of the work was done by J. Merrill, high school FFA students, and community volunteers.

Question: Who else contributed to the building of this facility?
Answer: The concrete was subcontracted, but all other construction including electrical, plumbing, framing, sheeting, and installation of all feeders, waterers and fencing was done by J. Merrill, his son Riley, high school students and other community volunteers.

Question: Where did you obtain the equipment for the facility?
Answer: Previously used feeding, watering and fencing material was purchased out of Iowa for about 20 cents on the dollar.

Question: Will this livestock facility be expanded in the future?
Answer: The livestock facility is phase one of hopefully a continuing expansion of agricultural opportunities and experiences for all interested students.

Question: How will this facility be supervised?
Answer: Each school agricultural education teacher is assigned to one night a week, after school, to supervise students from all area schools in Nebo School District. Each teacher also takes one weekend a month for supervision of students. Additional time is spent by each advisor and student as the projects move toward completion.

Meet the Director of Ag in the Classroom: Debra Spielmaker

Monday, February 13th, 2012


Introducing… Debra Spielmaker

A graduate of … Bingham High School

Now working as … Director of Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, providing professional development for K-12 and pre-service teachers, regarding the integration of agricultural concepts into science, social studies, and nutrition.

Employer … Utah State University

Check out this website … http://utah.agclassroom.org

Debate was her favorite high school class because … “This course/activity prepared me with the real-world skills of organization, gathering evidence to support my thoughts/opinions, how to do research, how to think on my feet, how to speak and communicate effectively, how to take initiative, work as a team, and be a leader. These are characteristics that employers desire.”

Debra’s first job … was as working at a turf farm.

The worst job?  Shelf Stocker … on the night shift … during the holidays.  (Enough said?)

A Career Highlight … In 2004, Debra earned the E. G. Peterson Extension Award. This award is a high honor; Utah State University lights the ‘A’ on Old Main as a part of this recognition.

Advice to students: Practice, practice, practice, in the area of writing is very important. Writing is a skill you can always use in both technical and academic fields!

And more …

  • Debra describes her most significant education/work experience beyond high school: “I participated in an internship/work-experience job every summer in my area of interest, agriculture. I worked for the forest service, in a nursery, on a dairy farm, and horse breeding farm.
  • About developing core skills: “I wish I had done more to improve my math skills. My parents weren’t great at algebra and gave up helping me with math in 8th grade. I took college algebra and trig in high school and was a B student, but I really question my comprehension of the subject. I didn’t pursue this frustrating subject as a senior and in college I avoided more math…wish I had sought out a tutor in high school it would have really helped in so many university courses. I also wish I had done more writing and had more constructive feedback from teachers. Practice, practice, practice, in the area of writing is very important. I learned this after five years in my profession. High School debate helped with writing but I am amazed how much writing I have to do now.”

Why Agriculture Matters!

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Agriculture is the art or science of cultivating the ground, including the harvesting of crops, and the raising and management of livestock. Or, as Bob Stallman—president of the American Farm Bureau Federation—puts it, America’s farm and ranch families harvesting crops and managing livestock is what puts food on the table for our citizens and for many other people around the world. . .America’s farmers and ranchers provide food security for this nation and much of the rest of the world.

However, some groups/people today feel that a career in Agriculture is “useless.” NOT true! Ag Students, take heart. Your degrees aren’t useless. Today’s agriculture industry is far more diverse and offers more opportunities than most people realize. And, people who choose agriculture careers know that they are doing work that matters. They are feeding and clothing the world, creating jobs and protecting our planet’s natural resources. What’s useless about that?

Agriculture careers are everywhere. There are 2.2 million farms in the U.S. and the agriculture and related industries that support those farms employ 21 million Americans, which are 15 percent of the U.S. workforce.

MYTH: Agriculture is not important to Utah’s economy.
FACT: Utah agriculture was a $1,329,421,000 industry in 2010.

MYTH: Family farms are a thing of the past.
FACT: Today, 98 percent of all U.S. farms are owned by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.

MYTH: Farmers destroy the environment.
FACT: Farmers and ranchers have installed 1.54 million miles of conservation buffers on their farms and enrolled 33.6 million acres of their own farm land in programs designed to protect the environment and provide habitat for wildlife.

MYTH: Food prices are high; the farmer must be getting rich!
FACT: Farmers and ranchers receive only 19 cents of every retail dollar spent on food. In 1980, farmers received 31 cents out of every retail dollar spent on food.

Remember that Agriculture is much more than just food. America’s farmers and ranchers also produce fiber, fuel and shelter. . . Agriculture reaches far beyond the farm and is important to everyone. Agriculture includes farmers as well as the urban and suburban residents who process, package and transport our food to America’s consumers.

How can you get involved in agriculture? Over 1 million students (540,379 FFA members) in 7,500 high schools across the nation are involved in their high school agricultural education programs and FFA chapters. They are engaged in developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through hands-on education and personal and leadership development.

George Washington made numerous contributions to agriculture throughout his life and stressed its importance by stating, I know of no pursuit in life in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture. FFA students honor his words every day as they plan, prepare, and become ready for college and career. What students are learning in high schools and colleges throughout the country benefits each one of us, now and in the future.

Join the Facebook and Twitter communities of FFA, both nationally and locally, and learn how these students are making a difference.

  • Nationally there are over 540,000 FFA members in 7,500 chapters. Like national FFA members on Facebook. Follow national FFA members on Twitter.
  • Utah has approximately 6,000 FFA members in 77 chapters. Like Utah FFA members on Facebook.

Meet a Biologist: Monaca Noble

Sunday, February 5th, 2012


Introducing… Monaca Noble

A graduate of … Park City High School

Now working as … A Biologist and the Public Relations Coordinator for the Marine Invasions Research Lab

For the … Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD.

Check out the website … http://www.serc.si.edu/labs/marine_invasions/index.aspx

U.S. and World History were her favorite high school classes because … of a great teacher – Mr. Krinkle – who made history interesting and relevant.

Monaca’s first job – obtained through the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) at age 14 – was at the Kamas Fish Hatchery (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources).

The worst job? Mold Cutter! Monaca had a temporary job cutting the mold off cheese in a factory; once the mold was removed, the cheese was turned into processed cheese products.

Advice to studentsStart working early and try to find jobs in your field as early as possible. Don’t wait until you have your degree to start getting experience. Look for opportunities and internships that allow you get experience and meet people as soon as you’ve selected your major. Don’t be afraid to leave home for the summer if that opportunity isn’t local.

And more …

about early work experiences:

  • My most significant job was probably the summer job I had at the Kamas Fish Hatchery. I worked there every summer from the time I was 14 though the end of high school. This job got me interested in natural resources and going to college. During college I had several great jobs that helped me towards a career in science.
  • The JTPA program was a program to help children in low income families get jobs and develop job skills.
  • During college I did several temporary jobs in order to earn money to live and continue with school. Many of these jobs were in local factories and were easy but monotonous. Working in the factories was an eye opening experience and gave me a new perspective about food and brands.

and other highlights:

  • Over the 6 years that I have been with the Marine Invasions Lab, I’ve been involved in a range of projects including conducting extensive port surveys along the US west coast, Canada, Asia, and New Zealand. Some of this research is described on the website: http://www.serc.si.edu/labs/marine_invasions/vector_ecology/bw_verification.aspx
  • Over the last year my focus has shifted from conducting research to writing about it and helping people understand the importance of introduced marine species and the transport mechanisms that result in new introductions. I also work to promote and grow our citizen science projects which help us collect information from a wider area and also help citizens get involved and learn about scientific research.
  • I always wanted to travel, and I have been so lucky to have been able to take so many jobs that allowed me to visit new places and really experience those places. Don’t be afraid to leave home!

Photos @work: (Taiwan, New Zealand, Korea)

Meet an Agriculture Teacher: Vay Jensen

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012


Introducing… Vay Jensen

A graduate of … Bear River High School

Now working as … An Agricultural Educator, teaching Agricultural Systems and Technology, Animal Science, Ag. Biology, and Natural Resources.

For … Altamont Jr./Sr. High School in Altamont, Utah.

Building Trades was his favorite high school class because … he learned how to build a house!

Vay’s first job – was a Groundskeeper at Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville, Utah.

The worst job? Customer Support worker at a call center. What made it the worst for Vay was a combination of rude customers and sitting in a closed space for 8-10 hours a day.

Advice to studentsRegardless of what you do after high school, you need some kind of post-high school education, whether it be a trade school or college. They both have their pluses and minuses.  

And more …

After high school I spent the next 8 or 9 years working on ranches from Montana to Texas. It was a great time and I loved and still love the work. However, it taught me the importance of a post-high school education.”

  • “While I was working on my Bachelor’s degree, I worked answering phones for cell phone customers. I did not like sitting on the phone for 8 to 10 hours a day. The customers were generally rude, and I felt like I was a dog on a leash. I like to be able to move around, and work. It gave me incentive to keep working on my degree.”
  • I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree at 33 years old. It took several years due to being married, going to school full time, working a full time job 40+ hours a week, and shoeing horses everywhere in between. As of Dec 2011 I completed my master’s degree.