US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits John Bowne High School, Flushing, NY

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October 11, 2017: Today we had the honor of a visit from the US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.  Several of our students toured him around our farm and facilities while explaining our many operations.  After the tour, 25 students had lunch and a Q&A session with the Secretary.  Secretary Perdue stated that he has been all over the country, visited many Agriculture Programs, and he believes ours to be the best he has ever seen. The Secretary noted the comprehensive programming and numerous opportunities we offer our Aggies.  A humorous quote from one of our students, "wow, he's a really cool guy".  This was a great opportunity for our students to feel validated and proud because such a busy and important person would take 3 and 1/2 hours of his day to spend with them.  The highest political person in agriculture told them he was proud of their accomplishments and pursuits in this field.  It doesn’t get better than that.

Steven S. Perry, Assistant Principal
Agriculture Department
John Bowne High School

Actions Influence Members - First AIM Conference

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Syracuse, NY August 29, 2017

On August 26, 2017 students came into the Empire room at the Great New York State Fair, not knowing what to expect out of the next 24 hours during this brand-new conference. Students worked through multiple activities throughout the weekend to not only better themselves, but also develop skills to help improve their chapters’ program of activities. With the hope of coming out of this conference being more prepared for their year ahead. Taylor Rollins, District Five President, says “I was super excited that it wasn’t like any ordinary conference and that we were going to interact with so many different people.”

Throughout the entire conference, members were encouraged to network with other chapters. Icebreakers and other social activities allowed members to learn and really get to know the people they would be working with. One highlight from the conference was the opportunity for participants to interact with the National FFA President, David Townsend! David joined us for 6 days at the fair and was given the opportunity to see NY FFA members in action as they not only participated in AIM but also competed in multiple career development events.  

While developing their chapter’s program of activities, FFA members had to develop a new activity that would promote and educate the public about agriculture. After developing their activity, each chapter was then sent out into the fair to implement it. Three judges, David Townsend the National FFA President, Christina Layne a representative from New York State Ag and Markets, and Eileen Jenson from the New York Animal Coalition were sent out to evaluate and rank each of the activities. The chapter that received the highest score received a $500 grant to help implement their program of activities for the coming year. This year’s grant winner was the Southern Cayuga FFA chapter for how well they educated the public about bees! We received such positive feedback and many chapters look forward to coming back next year!

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career successful through agriculture education. For more information regarding FFA please visit either or 

Respectfully Submitted by,
Kimberly Doyle
NY FFA State Reporter, 2017-2018

Empire Farm Days - August 2017

Students build relationships and compete at Empire Farm Days

 Seneca Falls, NY August 21, 2017

From August 8th to August 10th 2017 students from all across the state traveled to Seneca Falls, New York to attend Empire Farm Days! Students had multiple opportunities to mingle with public figures, including businesses and industries across the North East. Not only did students help advocate for FFA and agriculture, they also competed in tractor driving and welding contests.  Many opportunities like these occur throughout the year for students to take advantage of. Several chapters collaborated with Empire Farm Days to help support this event through manning information booths to parking thousands of cars that come to this three-day event.

Nearly 100 students competed in the tractor driving and welding contests. These contests are not only popular but serve an educational purpose for all students. Throughout the welding contest, students must demonstrate their ability and knowledge of using MIG and arch welders, as well as a cutting torch. The tractor driving CDE allows students to showcase how to safely drive a tractor while towing a 2-4 wheel trailer behind them. However before they are able to get behind the wheel, they must complete a safety and parts ID test. The top three welders receive a scholarship from Morrisville State College if they decide to attend; third place is $750, second is $1000 and first is $1500.

New York FFA had so many opportunities at Empire Farm Days. NYS FFA member and 2014-2015 District 8 President Karen Luong attended and received the 2017 Empire State Potato Growers scholarship! Members also received the chance to connect with people from around the world, including someone from South Korea. Ethan Keller, State FFA President, interviewed with Finger Lakes Radio and spoke about his decision behind joining FFA, what the FFA is, and opportunities members can experience. Ethan and Maria Martinez, New York National FFA officer candidate, attended a luncheon where they spoke with Cornell University CALS Dean Boor about the agriculture teacher shortage and the benefits of becoming an agriculture educator here in New York!

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agriculture education. For more information regarding FFA please visit either or

Respectfully Submitted by,
Kimberly Doyle
NY FFA State Reporter 2017-2018