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State-FFA-Officers .jpg
State FFA officers in Olton, Texas, in October, visit with chapter officers about leadership.

National FFA Week: Celebrating youth in ag

“Thank you. It’s from all my years in FFA.”

This month includes the celebration of National FFA week. The yearly event runs from Saturday to Saturday, Feb. 16-Feb. 23, and includes the recognition of the late President George Washington’s birthday, which was Feb. 22, 1732.

The week-long celebration, which began in 1948, is an opportunity for FFA chapters across the nation to share the story of agriculture with their classmates and community.

In Olton, our local chapter is hosting an Ag Day, complete with animal projects for elementary through high school students to see and touch, along with presentations made by people involved in agriculture. The event is open to the community.

The week will also include dress-up days, such as Blue and Gold Day, Animal Day, and Farmer Day. I wonder if my kiddos will dress like my farmer?

The Olton chapter is also hosting a denim drive for Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green recycling program. Every piece of denim donated will be recycled into insulation and used in building Habitat for Humanity homes. Olton FFA has set a goal of 2,000 items which will help insulate two to four homes. What a great way to reuse cotton and help a family in need!

In nearby Abernathy, their chapter is celebrating by making sidewalk chalk for the Hub City Outreach Center in Lubbock, that will then be donated to center’s summer program, which focuses on reaching at-risk youth.

I was never personally involved in FFA. I never knew the pride of the blue and gold jacket, though I distinctly remember seeing students wearing them in the halls of Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas. I knew they were the “ag kids,” but that’s about it.

As I’ve majored in and married into agriculture, I’ve come to realize the pride represented in that jacket and logo. And as my daughter has become involved in FFA, it has taught me a lot about the program and its emphasis on leadership. But I was never so convinced of its success as the day I met Cortney Cowley.

She’s an economist in the Regional Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Omaha Branch, and I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in 2017 at Oklahoma State University’s Economic Outlook Conference.

Cortney is an excellent presenter. Now, you must know this about me: I’m a writer, not a numbers person, so anyone who can make economics make sense and make it interesting at the same time is gold in my book!

But of everything she said to me in our interview, it was her poised response to my compliment that has stuck in my mind. As quickly as I had said, “Great job presenting today,” she responded, “Thank you. It’s from all my years in FFA.”

You can’t get a better testimonial than that of the power of FFA in the lives of our young women and men. Support your local chapter! They are doing a great job building our future!

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