2021-2022 Golden Owl Nominations Are Open!


Nationwide® is proud of its agricultural heritage and long-standing support of the greater agricultural community, including the National FFA Organization and FFA chapters across the country. The Golden Owl Award® allows us to also extend our support to agricultural educators who devote countless hours, and often their own resources, to positively impact the lives of their students.


The Golden Owl award program recognizes chapter FFA Advisors who demonstrate commitment to the local program. The award is designed to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to provide opportunities for their students and their chapter to grow and improve.

With the Golden Owl Award, 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 honoree
  • $3,000 and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy to each state’s grand prize winner (Agricultural Educator of the Year)

In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is donating $5,000 to each participating state’s FFA to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers, and advisors alike.


Applicants must be a current Agriculture Teacher in the state of California.


  1. Nominee must agree to attend the State Award Interview Process if selected as the Regional Finalist from their region.
  2. Nominee must agree to be in attendance at the Regional and State Award Ceremonies if nominated as a finalist in those areas.

Due Date:

*Submitted by Dec. 31 by 11:59pm

Click here to submit an application.

Updated Cal Ag Ed Calendar

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

Welcome to 2021! With the earlier State FFA Leadership Conference, there was a need to adjust many “normal” due dates. We realize that in the coming months students will be seeking opportunities to apply for various awards, submit scholarship applications, and seek experiences to continue to grow as a leader. To assist you in planning we are providing a summary of upcoming due dates. These applications and forms will be available on calaged.org. Should you not find what you are looking for do not hesitate to reach out.

Looking forward to seeing students and teachers at upcoming events and observing those deserving students as they receive the recognition they deserve.

DateApplication, For or Event
October 15FFA Membership Rosters Due
October 15Ag Incentive Grant Report of Expenditures Due
October 15AET Profiles Updated (Students and Teachers)
November 1MFE/ALA Registration Opens
December 1SLE Applications Due
December 1State FFA Scholarship Applications Due
December 1State FFA Leadership Conference Registration Opens
December 15Golden Owl-Star Advisor Nominations Due
DateApplication, For or Event
JanuaryStar in Ag Placement, Ag Business, Ag Science & Farmer Applications Due
JanuaryProficiency Award Applications Due
January 1National Scholarship Applications Due
January 15State Leadership Conference Early Bird Registration Closes
January 14State Nominating Committee Applications Due
January 14State Officer Applications due
January 14State Conference Committee & Sub-Committee Chair Applications Due
January 24State Degree Applications Due in AET
DateApplication, For or Event
February 1Star Administrator, Counselor & Supporting Staff Applications Due
February 1Star Reporter Applications Due
February 1State Talent Applications Due
February 1National Chapter Applications Due in AET
February 1Hall of Chapter Applications Due
February 1Press Corps Applications Due
February 1Web Page Applications Due
DateApplication, For or Event
February 1Courtesy Corp Applications Due
February 1State Distinguished Service Citation Nominations Due
February 1Honorary State Degree Nominations Due
February 1Ambassador Applications Due
February 15State Conference Registration Due
February 15State Conference Hardcopy Forms & Payment Due
February 25Agriscience Fair Research Papers/Applications Due
March 4State Proficiency Finalists Announced
March 10State Prepared Public Speaking Manuscripts Due
March 10State Job Interview Materials Due
April 1State Officer Banquet Requests Due
MayAmerican Degree Applications Due in AET
June 1National Convention Delegate Applications Due
June 10National Chapter Revisions Due
June 10National Proficiency Award Revisions Due
June 10National Agriscience Fair Certifications and Applications Due
June 15National Band, Chorus and Talent Applications Due
June 15National CDE/LDE Declarations Due
June 30Ag Incentive Grant Funding Applications Due

California Ag Teachers Recognized at the National Level

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Jessica Fernandes Honored by National Association of Agricultural Educators

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) National Teach Ag Campaign honored Buena Park High School agricultural educator Jessica Fernandes during the 2021 National Teach Ag Day. 

Every year the NAAE National Teach Ag Campaign selects individuals and/or organizations who have contributed significantly to the Teach Ag mission of ensuring a quality and diverse supply of agricultural teachers. Jessica is more than deserving of this honor due to her steadfast commitment to agricultural teacher recruitment and retention in California, Region I, and across the nation.

Jessica was selected as a 2021 NAAE National Teach Ag Champions as a result of her passion and dedication for transforming agricultural education into a more inclusive and diverse profession, increasing educators involvement in NAAE, and emphasizing the important work agricultural educators do every day to make their classrooms, schools, and communities more inclusive and equitable places for all students.

Congratulations, Jessica, well deserved!

California Ag Teachers selected as National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA

Amanda Ferguson, Cara Parlato-Butler, and Jason Ferreira from California were selected as National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA for the 2021-2022 school year. 

The National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA program provides ambassadors with professional development experience, more specifically addressing combating factors that lead to teacher burnout, such as tedium, volume, environment, work-life balance, and low levels of professional development at the midpoint of the career. In addition, the program educates ambassadors and their peers on time-saving educator resources.  In its fifth year, the program allows ambassadors to connect with their peers through workshops, giving them the tools to manage the challenges of being an agriculture teacher. The program is also a direct connection between National FFA staff and agricultural educators.

Great Job, Amanda, Cara, and Jason! Enjoy the journey.

Proficiency Awards

By: Shay Williams-Hopper, Agriculture Education Consultant, San Joaquin Region

This year, California has 29 members representing us as finalists in the National Proficiency Awards Program in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Hours of hard work in SAE development, application revisions, and interview preparation can truly be seen by not only these individuals but all of the students who completed proficiency award applications last year!

As we prepare for this year’s application process, I wanted to give a few tips to help your students be successful with their applications.

1. Choosing the appropriate category: One of the hardest parts of the whole application is determining if your student is in the correct category.  National FFA updates categories every year and those descriptions can be found here: https://www.ffa.org/participate/awards/proficiencies/  One thing to keep in mind as you are determining the correct placement is that with 48 categories, some of the hours and finances accrued in an SAE project will not fit perfectly into one category.  For example, a student who owns dairy cattle and milks those cows and produces butter to sell at a farmers market, cannot include the sale of butter or the time invested in producing that butter on a Dairy Entrepreneurship Application.  Those dollars and hours would need to be pulled out into a separate SAE for Ag Processing.  Also, all skills must be applicable to the Agriculture Industry Sector.  Information that can be deemed part of another industry is subject to disqualification.  Please check in with your regional supervisor if you have questions or feel free to contact me to assist with proper placement.

2. Compare the application to the rubric:  The rubric is followed at both the State and National levels.  While some areas are worth fewer points than others, you should be striving to earn as many points as possible in ALL areas.  You are likely giving up “free” points if you are not reviewing the rubric. Better yet, find a friend in the English department and have them read the application and score it on the rubric. They will give you honest feedback for grammar, spelling, point deductions, and questions they have after reading the application!

3. Have your student tell their SAE Story:  We say this repeatedly, but agriculture in California is extremely different from anywhere else in our country.  Your student will need to explain as much of their project as they can. Things that seem common sense here are not so common in other places.  Try to vary the application and use as many different examples as possible. Repetition of the same skills makes for a less interesting read.  Connect to industry practices if possible. Also, make sure the student’s voice is heard in the application.  Interviewers can tell when the student has had assistance writing the application, and when they have not.

4. Keep accurate records:  As students are entering financial and journal entries, be sure that they are accurately documenting how those hours have been earned and categorizing finances correctly.  Students with an entrepreneurship/research project must have financial entries.  Entrepreneurship projects should also have some type of inventory entries.  If they do not, then that needs to be explained in Question A1.  For example, why does that student own a tractor if they are farming 50 acres of cotton?  Placement projects need to record hours and income earned on their financial entries pages.  Hours from the journal will not transfer over to the application on placement applications.

5. Be sure that SAE Plans are complete: This is a disqualification area at the State Level if they are not complete!

6. Do NOT include information from 2022 on the application: Applications are closed as of December 31, 2021.  Plans can be mentioned for the future, but you cannot say, “In January 2022, I … with my project.”  Leave 2022 for next year’s application! This is also the same for that student’s resume.  Awards earned in 2022, such as a Sectional Proficiency Award Winner, cannot be included.  The resume will be awarded zero points!

7. The “clipboard” is your student moneymaker:  This is the largest amount of points on the entire application.  Make it count.  The clipboard, which can be found on the student’s SAE Program Manager, allows for students to briefly describe their project.  Please coach your students to explain what the project was, what skills they learned, and make sure they are showing growth from year to year in their skill attainment.  Fill in all the space provided.

8. Pictures:  Use the pictures to highlight the awesome skill attainment these students have acquired.  Stay away from “posed” pictures with groups of people.  Make sure that the skill being showcased and the student can be seen in the photo.  Start collecting photos now!  Do not wait until January when the application is due.  Remember that as you are doing SAE visits and you are documenting those visits in AET, you can add a picture from that visit that then drops into the student’s AET files for easy access later!  Start collecting these pictures when they are freshmen. Try to stay away from “showing” livestock pictures.  Your descriptions need to describe what I can’t see in the picture.  I can see you giving an injection; tell me why we are administering the vaccination.  What does it prevent? What method are you using to administer it and why?

I hope that these hints will help your students to be successful as they are moving forward. I am always willing to help should you have a question and so are your regional supervisors.