Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Nebraska State FFA, cultivating strong leaders one chapter at a time


Courtesy Photo

Hanna Rue, left, learns floriculture from Kimball High School teacher Mary Schutz.

The sixth state chartered by the National FFA Organization, in 1928, Nebraska has cultivated 170 chapters across the state with more than 7,400 members, some with little or no agriculture background.

These members reap the benefits of agriculture education courses, supervised agriculture experiences (SAE) and participation in a variety of FFA competitions and events.

Many people don't know that you don't have to be a farmer or rancher or have a background rooted in agriculture to be a member of FFA.

According to the Nebraska FFA website, an agricultural education program is made up of three integrated parts: classroom instruction, FFA and a supervised agricultural experience (SAE).

The SAE, a required component of a complete agricultural education program, is intended for every student and allows students the opportunity to consider multiple careers and occupations, learn expected workplace behavior and develop specific skills within an industry.

Students can apply academic and occupational skills in the workplace or a simulated workplace environment. Through these strategies, students learn how to apply what they are learning in the classroom as they prepare to transition into the world of college and career opportunities.

To further define the types of SAE programs available to and appropriate for students of school-based agricultural education, refer to the following examples:

An ownership/entrepreneurship SAE allows student the opportunity to plan, implement and operate a business. The student assumes financial risks in a productive or service activity or agriculture, food or natural resources-related business.

An SAE based on a paid or non-paid placement or internship program involves placing students in agriculture, food or natural resources-related businesses, on farms or ranches, in school laboratories, at community facilities, or in a verified non-profit organization to provide a "learning by doing" environment.

Other examples of supervised agriculture experiences include research, exploratory, school-based and service-learning projects according to the website.

Courtesy Photo

The Banner County range judging team takes a moment to enjoy their individual and team work following an event.

Nebraska FFA provides members with various other leadership development opportunities including COLT Conference (Chapter Officer Leadership Training), EDGE workshops, state officer chapter visits, and the Activate Conference and Leverage Conference.

Additionally, leadership workshops, sessions and academies are also offered during State FFA Convention.

Career Development Events, or CDEs, are offered in many areas as well, including ag biotechnology, ag communications, ag issues, ag sales, ag technology and mechanics, agriscience, agronomy and farm business management.

Students can further choose from floriculture, food science, livestock evaluation, livestock management, marketing plans, meats evaluation, natural resources, nursery and landscape, veterinary science and welding.

FFA offers students an environment in which they can grow, mature and succeed and cultivates lifelong values for all participants.


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