FFA Members Reflect on State FFA Convention
Created: Monday, 01 June 2015 10:44
FFA members get taste of college life, hands-on learning during NYS FFA convention hosted at Morrisville State College
MORRISVILLE, NY — They learned about farm-grown biodiesel, made a fence out of pine logs, figured out how to wire a circuit, and had the chance to climb a 120-foot turbine tower. They also gained a better understanding about leadership, personal growth, career success and the agricultural industry.
It was all part of this year’s State FFA Convention hosted at the Morrisville State College campus May 14-16, which attracted more than 1,100 of the best high school students and future NYS agricultural leaders.
Even more commanding than the blue corduroy jackets with gold lettering, widely recognized FFA-member attire, was the enthusiasm they brought to campus. Hailing from as far away as Arkansas, Utah, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Oregon, South Dakota Vermont and Wisconsin, they came to share ideas and camaraderie and to learn more about agriculture.
Local FFA chapters attending the event included Madison, Stockbridge Valley, DeRuyter, Cazenovia, VVS, and Hamilton.
The convention, which helps the next generation of agricultural leaders reach their goals, featured a line-up of motivational and informational presentations. Students also had the opportunity to explore a career show, attend leadership and career workshops and view an array of exhibits.
“This convention was such a success thanks to so many people,” said Chip Ax, host site coordinator and MSC collegiate FFA advisor.
The college campus environment offered participants a variety to see and do. “MSC gave them a ‘realistic college experience’ and showcased what Morrisville has to offer,” Ax said.
“Morrisville State College was an incredible partner for our convention,” said Juleah Tolosky, NY FFA executive secretary. “From lodging and meals to real-life settings for career development events, workshops and tours, the facilities and support available to us made the convention an incredible experience.”
Benjamin Ballard, MSC assistant professor of renewable energy, hosted a biodiesel workshop which allowed students to learn the process of extracting oil from a locally grown sunflower crop, test the oil, and then make their own biodiesel.
A half-day workshop hosted by Philip Hofmeyer, assistant professor of renewable energy, provided information about tower climbing for small wind systems, and the opportunity for participants to climb a 120-foot turbine tower at the MSC Dairy Complex.
Others learned how to make their animals look better in the show ring with a fitting seminar that gave them hands-on experience clipping live animals and even provided a top-line demonstration.
“It’s been a great learning experience for me,” said A.J. Fletcher, from the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District.“Today I got to wire a 120v circuit and yesterday I learned all about diesel motors and emissions. It’s all so educational.”
Collin Andersen of Middleport tested his skills behind the wheel during a chassis dynamometer demonstration in the college’s automotive technology building. “Seeing this college and how advanced the automotive shop is very impressive,” said the 16-year-old who is eyeing MSC as a college choice.
Thirteen-year-old Creed Ossont, of Otselic Valley, was among those who attended a tree climbing workshop presented by Rebecca Hargrave, assistant professor, environmental sciences. “It’s a little tricky,” he said as he twisted rope into a knot he planned to use later to climb a tree.
Outside of Galbreath Hall, Taylor Currie, her brother Matt Currie and their cousin Emma Currie, were waiting for their turn to compete in the Quiz Bowl, a trivia competition about the history of the FFA.
They came with 11 other Tully FFA members, including Spencer George, who was eager to learn more about the campus.
“It’s awesome to have this convention on a college campus,” George said. “I know a lot of kids who come here to study ag and it is a great chance for everyone to see all that Morrisville has to offer.”
“The convention gives you a lot of valuable skills for the future, like public speaking, leadership and team building,” Taylor Currie said.
Many took advantage of the wide array of activities offered throughout the three-day event, including campus and industry tours, a performance by country artists, the Beadle Brothers, and competitions that tested their knowledge of subjects such as agricultural communications, veterinary science, agricultural issues, marketing plan, and food science.
Speakers included Ryan Porter, inspirational author of “Make Your Own Lunch;” Victoria Maloch, National FFA secretary from Arkansas; and Tracee Schiebel, of Vernon, Miss Mohawk Valley 2015. Additional guests included state FFA officers from nine other states including Utah, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Oregon, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
There were numerous recreational opportunities including a Tractor U-Pull and additional activities like ice skating, a talent show, a career fair and an antique tractor exhibit.
Most attendees earned their way competing at local, regional, and sub-state levels. The top students from the state convention will go on to represent New York and compete at the national competition.
In addition to students, nearly 400 volunteers also assisted with the convention, along with judges who included Morrisville faculty and staff, high school teachers from various FFA districts, and business and industry leaders and personnel.
New York FFA Members Meet with State Legislators
Created: Wednesday, 04 March 2015 16:57
On Monday, March 2, 2015, 36 New York FFA members, and their teachers met with their state legislators to discuss agricultural education, and the future of agriculture. Students from Canton, Carthage, Cazenovia, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Greenwich, Schoharie Valley, South Jefferson, Tully, and Vernon Verona Sherrill high schools traveled to Albany not only to meet with lawmakers, but also to network with the state FFA officers and like-minded students involved in their high school’s agricultural education program.
"FFA members from across New York practiced confidence, professionalism and delivered effective messages during their day in Albany,” said Juleah Tolosky, Executive Secretary of New York FFA. “They identified that the story of rural New York matters and recognized that legislators from throughout New York truly care about engaging young people in farming and food production."
Prior to their visit, students worked with their teacher to organize a meeting with their respective State Assembly representative and State Senator. During those meetings in the Legislative Office Building, students learned about the legislative process, and shared their experiences and stories of FFA, agricultural education, and agriculture.
“Even though we live relatively close to Albany, students don't have a chance to visit the inner workings of the legislature and tour the capitol buildings,” said Deborah Fletcher, agriculture teacher at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. “Through the Sunday night leadership training about how to present themselves and personalize their FFA stories, to the meetings they had with Senator Seward and Assemblyman Lopez, I was proud of the way my students advocated for the continued support of FFA and agriculture education.”
FFA members were also able to participate in the New York Farm Bureau’s annual Taste of New York Reception and Issues Forum. There students interfaced with agriculturally based businesses, industry representatives, lawmakers, colleges and universities with agriculture programs, and many others.
The New York FFA Association is a youth organization that provides premiere leadership, personal growth and career success opportunities to students enrolled in agricultural education. It is a part of the National FFA Organization which boasts more than a half million members nationally. New York agricultural education is found in public, private, and BOCES schools throughout the state, offering instruction in courses ranging from small animal care to farm business management, and from pre-veterinary science to natural resources management.