Win a beautifully maintained classic 1952 Chevy truck! Now, thanks to a generous donation from American AgCredit, you have an opportunity to own a piece of American history. The California FFA Foundation is selling raffle tickets ($100 each) at upcoming industry events including:
Blue Diamond Growers Annual Meeting – Modesto (Nov. 16)
California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting – Monterey (Dec. 3)
The Almond Conference – Sacramento (Dec. 6-8)
World Ag Expo – Tulare (Feb. 14-16)
You can also request tickets by completing this form. Tickets cannot be sold online. The drawing will take place during the 95th Annual State FFA Leadership Conference, March 16-19, 2023, in Ontario, California. You must be 18 or older to purchase a ticket and do not need to be present to win. For complete raffle rules, view the official terms and conditions.
The Golden Owl Award Program, sponsored by Nationwide, is designed to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to provide opportunities for their students and their chapter to grow and improve. Students, fellow teachers, and other supporters can nominate their favorite agricultural teacher and summarize what makes him or her the best in their state. Nominees can win the distinction of being their state’s Agricultural Educator of the Year and the following prizes:
$500 and an engraved plaque to each regional finalist
$3,000 and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy to each state’s grand prize winner
In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is donating $5,000 to the California FFA Foundation to further support the personal and professional growth of students and teachers.
California FFA members represented the Golden State well at this year’s National FFA Convention! Highlights include: one American Star Farmer, three National Agricultural Proficiency winners, three National FFA Agriscience Fair winners, and 11 Career and Leadership Development Event teams that were ranked gold.
The Collegiate Agriculture Leaders (CAL) Conference was hosted by the Agriculture, Veterinary, and Rangeland Sciences department (AVRS) of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources at University Nevada, Reno (UNR) from October 7-8, 2022. This was the first year the university has offered the CAL conference since 2019. UNR was selected to host the conference by the California Community College Student Leadership Committee at the CATA conference in June. The theme of this year’s conference was, “Agriculture in a Waterless Future.” The two-day program started with keynote speaker, veterinarian, and rancher, J.J. Goicoechea, who shared his experience in community service and agricultural leadership. Participants toured the school’s AVRS programs—Main Station Ranch, Wolf Pack Meats, and the Desert Farming Initiative. In addition, more than 100 participants were treated to a tailgate BBQ and Wolfpack football game. For more information on AVRS, visit www.unr.edu/avrs.
The California Agricultural Teachers’ Association (CATA) Executive Committee met on September 12, 2022. Below is a summary of the items discussed during the meeting.
CATA membership for the 2021-22 fiscal year was 978, which is a historic high for the organization.
2021/22 Budget Review
The Executive Committee did a final review of the 2021/22 CATA Budget. The budget was finalized after all expenses and receipts were settled from the CATA Summer Conference. CATA finished the fiscal year in the black and put money into reserves. It was noted that CATA is in good fiscal standing with enough funds in reserves to operate for several years if needed.
Highlights from the 2022 Summer Conference Survey
Nearly 300 participants completed the 2022 CATA Conference Survey. Eight-eight percent of respondents rated the conference ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent.’ Conference attendance was at an all-time high for an in-person conference. Survey respondents indicated that changes to the schedule, specifically moving the Hall of Fame to the first session and dividing the New Teacher Introductions over multiple sessions, were welcome improvements.
The Executive Committee expressed the need for teachers to report and supply information on retiring teachers, so people get recognition for their service. However, the committee would also like to note that not all retiring teachers want to be recognized, and some explicitly request that their names not be publicized as retirees.
It was recommended to the CATA Executive Director by the Executive Committee that legal representation be retained on behalf of the organization. It was noted that a firm representing the organization was a prudent strategic move due to the size and scope of the organization.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Assessment
The status of the SWOT Assessment was outlined during the meeting. Dr. Williams, Dr. Colbertson, and graduate students are entering and qualifying the data collected at the CATA Conference this summer. Once the data has been entered and filtered, strands of like themes will be identified and grouped. This data entry and sorting is a long and arduous process, and CATA is extremely grateful for the time and resources Fresno State has dedicated to the assessment. The hope is to review the results from the analysis at the CATA Winter Governing Board Meeting in January. Look for another update once those results are finalized.
Keynote Speaker Recommendations
Traditionally, personal references have resulted in the best speakers for CATA Summer Conference. Have you witnessed a charismatic speaker with an inspirational message? The CATA Executive Committee is soliciting speakers for next year’s CATA Summer Conference. CATA typically budgets $10,000 total for speakers at the conference.
As a point of reference, Jocko Willink commands $75,000 per speaking engagement, and Mike Rowe’s fee starts at $150,000 for events. Please forward any potential speakers with contact information to email@example.com.
The meeting culminated with the CATA’s Executive Directors annual evaluation.
Check out the latest episode of the Almond Journey Podcast, featuring California FFA Foundation Executive Director of Development Katie Otto, sixth generation farmer and past California FFA State Officer Daniel Bays, and Almond Board of California Industry Relations Specialist Rebecca Bailey. The speakers discuss the positive difference FFA makes in the lives of youth and how the lessons learned in FFA programs prove valuable in the real world.
It’s not too late to apply for a Wilco FFA Forever grant to improve your chapter. FFA chapters do not need to be located near a Wilco store to apply; all California chapters are eligible. Selected projects will receive $250-$4,000 grants for projects that benefit the chapter and/or community. Past projects have included chapter equipment and facility repair/investment like greenhouses and land labs, educational activities, and service projects. It only takes a few minutes to apply, but applications are closing soon. Apply by Friday, October 14, 2022.
While debate on whether the three-circle model of agricultural education is relevant today, I think back to my time as an undergraduate student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Mr. Gerald Clark was an integral part of my decision to become a school-based agricultural education instructor. One of the most memorable classroom discussions I remember Mr. Clark leading centered around the three-circle model. As a class, we identified the three circles (Classroom, SAE, and FFA) but Mr. Clark told us about another very important circle—one that encompasses all of the other circles; The Fourth Circle of Agricultural Education: Community.
Alone, the three circles represent what happens within our agricultural programs; Classroom, SAE, and FFA. But how do we decide what we teach? What SAEs are successful in our areas? Who are the strongest supporters of the agricultural and FFA programs? The answer to each of these questions is the community.
It’s been more than 15 years since I sat through that discussion, and it still resonates with me today. As I worked with the contributing authors for the most recent issue of NAAE’s The Agricultural Education Magazine, I was reminded more and more about the fourth circle. The people we surround ourselves with in agricultural education are the people who will help us lead a successful program. Our community members support school-based agricultural education programs by guest speaking in agriculture classes, helping coach CDEs, fundraising for and driving students to conferences, and supporting students who go on to college through scholarship programs. The success of the agricultural education program rests on the help from those around us.
Okay, so you’re probably wondering… what does all this talk about the fourth circle have to do with this issue of AgEd Magazine? Well, the simple answer is… EVERYTHING!
There are essentially three things we can take away from the fourth circle when it comes to working with and helping students with special needs.
The RIGHT people are willing to help when you ask for it.
Go outside of your four walls and see what others are doing.
Give opportunities for students to contribute to the community.
The RIGHT people are willing to help when you ask for it. In the most recent issue of NAAE’s The Agricultural Education Magazine, you’ll hear about some extraordinary programs and groups that are doing great things for students with special needs in their area. While it may seem like a heavy lift, none of these people and projects have gotten to where they are on their own. Each person is surrounded by a team of experts and volunteers that help them achieve their program goals. I remember multiple instances where some of my students with special needs were really struggling in class… and I was struggling with the fact they were struggling. I worked closely with the paraprofessionals that were assigned to my students and developed a working relationship with the teacher in our special education department. Lucky for me, their break room was just across the way from my classroom which allowed me to pop in and ask for help with accommodations and/or adjusting lesson plans and activities for the students. My relationship with the special education department didn’t happen overnight but I felt immediately welcomed by them, and found some great mentors through those conversations.
One of the greatest allies to our agriculture department was the transportation supervisor at our school. In addition to always getting the best vans for our FFA trips, he also became like a bonus advisor for our chapter! On multiple occasions he would drive students to CDE and Leadership events and even attended the State FFA Leadership Conference with our chapter. His involvement with the Backcountry Horsemen was an integral part to our FFA Member Awards Trip, and his relationship with our faculty led to one of the coolest Living to Serve opportunities for our students. Over the course of three summers, I had the opportunity to take students into the Trinity Alps to work on three different trail restoration projects. More than half of the students that went on this trip were students on IEPs who were enrolled in our courses and active members of our chapter. This opportunity presented itself as a physical challenge for all the students, but also gave them a chance to bond outside the watchful eyes of potentially judgmental peers.
Go outside of your four walls. While you might think your impact is best felt in your classroom or on the school farm, get out into your school and see what your students are doing in other classes. If your school has a program for you to substitute in other teachers’ classes during your prep, take this opportunity to see what systems and routines teachers have in place. I found multiple opportunities to connect with students when I interacted with them outside of my classroom.
If you are invited to IEP meetings for your students, even if they are not required of you, make an honest effort to attend! With special education students enrolled in my Ag Science class, my class was often the only mainstream class my students had outside of their designated special education classes. By attending the IEPs, I learned a lot about my students, met their parents/guardians, and made a connection with school counselors and psychologists. This is also a great opportunity for you to pump up your students about their involvement in your class and your school-based agricultural education program with compliments, or maybe address some concerns.
Give opportunities for students to contribute to the community. I am no longer in the high school classroom, but I can tell you some of the greatest memories with students happened outside of the classroom and outside of the “normal” ag teacher duties. Show students what it is like to give back to the community through community service. Incorporate projects into your Program of Activities that are designed for the students to interact in hands-on activities.
One of the most humbling experiences of my years as a high school agriculture teacher was working with the local VFW post on Memorial Day to place flags at the local cemetery. I didn’t think it possible to have 20 to 30 students volunteer at 6am on a Monday of a three-day weekend, but this event was one the students looked forward to every year. Activities that engage your students in the community are important because they allow students to see the value of service to the community and the added bonus, they give students with special needs an opportunity to be just like every other student in your program. You don’t need an IEP to place flags for Memorial Day, there are no accommodations necessary to honor our servicemen and women, and to honor your community. The relationships within your community are the backbone to your SAE program. Invest wisely in the community that invests in you.
I would like to finish by sharing my gratitude to the authors who contributed to a special issue
of The Agricultural Education Magazine. It is through your hard work and dedication to students with special needs we continue to break barriers in agricultural education and provide opportunities for students of all abilities.
Viva, Las Vegas! It’s not too late to register for the 2022 NAAE Convention, which will be held November 29 through December 3 in Las Vegas. The convention offers networking and professional development opportunities unlike any other conference or convention—more than 60 innovative learning sessions will be presented by agricultural educators for agricultural educators. Members can register for the conference in advance by visiting www.naae.org/convention2022/registration.cfm.
After thirty years of working in special education at Anderson Union High School in Anderson, California, Tim Klaiber reflects on the impact agricultural education programs have had on his students.
“Getting to know the teachers in our agricultural education department over these past 30 years has convinced me why students who tend to struggle elsewhere on campus, don’t within your realm. I believe it is two-fold. First, I believe you accept these students into your ranks as they are, but you put expectations on them as far as conduct. They seem to fall in line because they want to be a part of this “school within a school.” Secondly, I believe you offer a variety of activities such as animal raising, Christmas tree cutting and drive through BBQ fundraisers, hands-on activities at the school farm, applied learning classroom activities—all of which our IEP students do not feel overwhelmed by.”
Mr. Klaiber shares about how his school’s agriculture department and special education department created a mutually beneficial partnership that encouraged students to thrive.
“Thank you for working diligently to provide for our students and helping our students to not only embrace the whole concept of the agricultural education program, but also giving them a home where they can grow and succeed!”
This thoughtful tribute to agricultural educators is included in the September/October edition of the NAAE’s The Agricultural Education Magazine. Read the complete article here.