Good teachers make all of the difference in the world to our young people. And I’m not saying that just because I happen to be married to a teacher. In high school, I had the benefit of a good ag teacher, Mr. Kyriss, and support from my local FFA chapter to help me decide my career path.
Participating in FFA projects, judging contests, agriculture classes, FFA creed speaking, public speaking and parliamentary procedure competitions and competing in state FFA convention contests not only helped me hone my interests in production agriculture, but also helped to set my path to the College of Agriculture at UNL. In many ways, the best memories of my high school years are tied to FFA.
Nebraska Farm Bureau recognizes this too. It looks like FFA continues to provide these important connections and motivations for students in the state today. Membership is at an all-time high in recent memory. But there is only one problem…a lack of ag teachers to fill the open positions.
Thanks to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, entering into an ag education program at the college level might be a little more attractive. At the recent Nebraska State FFA Convention, NEFB Foundation announced a financial commitment to help ag ed students complete their studies and move into teaching positions. Their new Student Teacher Scholarship program is for students enrolled at UNL in the agricultural education teaching program, offering to pay half of the student’s tuition during their semester of student teaching. Another component of this new initiative offers financial teacher loan assistance to help current Nebraska ag ed teachers who have been teaching between one of five years and have existing student loans. All of these programs are aimed at helping ag ed teachers financially stay in their positions and keep FFA and vocational agriculture strong and vital at the local school level.
Here is this week’s discussion question. What was your favorite memory of participating in FFA as a youth? You can share your experiences here.