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FFA Day's impact on the changing face of agriculture - Blog

FFA Day's Impact on the Changing Face of Agriculture

By Susan Fotovich McCabe
This article was taken directly from the February 4, 2018 print issue of the High Plains Journal.

The face of agriculture is ever changing. Once associated with only rural communities, today's agriculture is crisscrossing neighborhoods and dotting landscapes in urban areas, as well. In fact, Kansas City, Missouri, will play host to National FFA Organization Day on Feb. 22, during the annual Western Farm Show.

The event is a joint effort between the Western Farm Show, American Family Insurance and the American Royal Association.  Additional financial support is provided by the CHS Foundation Based in Inner Grove Heights, Minnesota. The day will offer youth from Kansas and Missouri FFA chapters an opportunity to explore expanded leadership, personal and professional growth sessions and educational programming while attending the Western Farm Show.

"The Farm Show is an incredible opportunity to reach students from across the two states while they are here at the American Royal Complex. What a great way to celebrate National FFA Week, as well," says Kristie Larson, director of education for the American Royal. "American Family Insurance, the Western Farm Show and the American Royal are each devoted to agricultural education and the future of agriculture. FFA Day is a nice marriage of all our missions."

Educational session, speakers include Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn and 2017-18 National FFA Secretary Erica Baier. Both women have traveled across the nation to speak on agriculture issues and the importance of advocacy in our industry. 

Carrolton, Missouri, American Family Insurance agent Mack Molloy could not agree more. Molloy, along with agents from Kansas and Missouri have partnered with the Western Farm Show as a mayor sponsor for more than five years.

"In rural markets, the farming community is our bread and butter. It's important for us to give back to local FFA chapters, especially in a time when money and resources are tight for school districts," Molloy said.

Molloy says more and more young adults understand the role farming plays in towns and cities, big and small. Without farmers, we cannot feed the world's population, he said. And because food insecurity affects people in rural areas, American Family Insurance continues to offer assistance, helping supply food banks and support efforts to feed those in need. Last year, American Family Insurance funded more than 100,000 meals during the Missouri State Fair Food Insecure Day, which was organized by the Missouri FFA.

American Family Insurance agents have insured 3 million farm-related acres in Kansas and 4 million acres in Missouri in recent years. Combined, the company has nearly 18,000 farms insured in Kansas and Missouri.

According to Larson, 2018 was the first time the American Royal partnered with the Western Farm Show and American Family Insurance to enhance the education of FFA Day.

"It's so wildly successful, especially when the weather is good. We want to make the most of the day and provide more about careers, and youth leadership," Larson said. "This year, we'll continue the partnership with the Western Farm Show, the CHS Foundation and American Family Insurance to offer students a look at thousands of ways to have careers in agriculture."

As part of their career development efforts, the American Royal will provide students with an opportunity to practice job interviews on FFA Day, as well as participate in job skills preparation workshops. Students can worth with their advisors to sign up for a mock interview, Larson said.

"Things are changing with agricultural education," Molloy said. "Urban school districts are adding FFA chapters to educate students not only about where their food comes from but also the career opportunities within the agriculture industry."

During FFA Day, the Western Farm Show also encourages advisors and students to visit the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology booth at the show. There, students can learn about OSU's Equipment Technician Training Program, which gives students the opportunity to earn a degree in equipment maintenance and repair. 

Also, the FFA Canned and Nonperishable Food Border Battle will pit the Missouri and Kansas FFA chapters against one another again. The popular competition encourages students to gather and bring canned and non perishable food to donate to Harvesters Community Food Network. The winning chapter could earn $500 for bringing the most canned and nonperishable food items. 

Chapter advisors can obtain complimentary tickets to the show by visiting WesternFarmShow.com and submitting a request for tickets. 

 

This article was taken directly from the February 4, 2018 print issue of the High Plains Journal.

 

KP