Christy R. Brown
The Coffee County FFA Chapter will celebrate National FFA Week Feb. 15-22 with this year’s theme, Ignite your Passion.
This year FFA celebrates more than 80 years of traditions while eagerly anticipating the organization’s future. More than half a million nationwide members will participate in National FFA Week activities at local, state and national levels. The FFA Program offers many opportunities to students involved in Agriculture Education, whether they live on a farm or within the city limits. The opportunity to participate in so many diverse activities and learning experiences develops knowledge and leadership among students enrolled in agriculture education and the FFA. Just as the agriculture industry has evolved to include careers beyond production agriculture, the FFA has broadened its scope to include activities, competitions, and events to benefit students preparing for any agriculture related career.
An exciting year at CHS
2013-2014 has been another exciting year for the Coffee County FFA Chapter. Derek Anderson, son of Tommy and Laura Anderson, advanced through district and sectional competitions in the Prepared Public Speaking Contest. Anderson is speaking about the new technologies in agriculture and specifically – unmanned ariel vehicles (drones). Anderson is also serving as a Middle Tennessee Regional Officer and is running for a state office position this spring.
Former National FFA Advisor, Dr. Larry D. Case, stated, “FFA takes classroom knowledge and brings it to life and provides many opportunities for members to develop self-confidence, leadership skills, and positive values.”
FFA offers the chance for members to develop valuable personal qualities. It teaches personal growth, leadership, responsibilities, and self-confidence. After high school, there are many chances to use what students have learned within the classroom. There are 300 or more careers that are directly related to agriculture. With FFA as a guide, it is easier to become successful in one of those career fields.
The future of agriculture, the world’s food supply, and the environment rests on the shoulders of the members of the Future Farmers of America. They are truly the leaders of tomorrow. The success of this nation and the world depends on the expanding knowledge of agriculture, technology, and business. The need for agriculture education in our community is great.
The FFA and Agriculture Education allow students to find an outlet for their talents, and interests. Agriculture Education promotes hands-on activities that give students a tool that will lead them to find real-world success after high school. The state of Tennessee recognizes twenty-five classes of Agricultural Education Curriculum. These classes make up sub-clusters that are geared toward certain careers paths. These sub-clusters include Horticulture, Animal Science, Agriculture Mechanics, Natural Resources, and Ag Business. Currently Coffee County Central High School offers, Agriscience, Honors Agriscience, Horse Science, Small Animal Care, Leadership, and Plant Science. Next year we will possibly be offering Agriculture Mechanics Livestock Management and Natural Resources Management.
Agriculture has a huge impact on our states economy, which impacts use on a local level. More than 15 percent of the jobs in our country are in someway related to agriculture. In Tennessee alone there are 78,000 jobs that depend on agriculture. There are 11.9 million acres of farmland in the state. Agriculture’s impact on the state’s economy is estimated at $20 billion annually.
On a local level we currently have 75 FFA Members. We compete in Career Development Events or contests that include parliamentary procedure teams, dairy judging, horse judging, livestock judging, agriculture mechanics skills contests, land judging, agriculture sales, job interview, public speaking, and extemporaneous speaking. Additionally, Coffee County FFA Members travel to Camp Clements in the summer to participate in the Leadership Training Camp. We also participate in several leadership conferences throughout the year such as Made For Excellence, 212/360, and Greenhand Conference (for freshman).
Chapter members and officers also plan and conduct a parent member awards banquet each spring. Last year there were nearly to one hundred and fifty attendants made up of school board members, business owners, and community leaders. This year’s date is May 6.
Each spring our chapter also travels to the State Convention in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
This year we were proud of the fact that we have four FFA members that will receive their State Degrees. The State Degree is the highest award that can be given to an FFA Member on the state level. The State degree is based upon the students SAE, Supervised Agriculture Experience, or agriculturally related job. The Coffee County recipients are Derek Anderson and Nealie West.
This fall our Alumni Chapter was re-chartered, ignited, and officers were elected. Jamie Weaver is serving as alumni president, Adam Willmore is serving as vice president, Robert Henley is serving as treasurer, and Debbie Bryan is serving as secretary. The advisors and chapter members are extremely grateful for the dedication of the Alumni Officers and members as they strive to improve opportunities for members and promote FFA activities in our community.
We have initiated a major fundraising campaign in cooperation with Brothers Implement Company and Tri Green Equipment – we are accepting donations for tickets for the choice of either a John Deere Gator or a Kubota ATV. Only 140 tickets will be sold and the winner will be announced during a reverse drawing at the annual pancake breakfast.
On March 1, Coffee County FFA Alumni will host a pancake breakfast/silent auction at the Coffee County Fairgrounds. Please see a FFA member or advisor for more information or contact the high school at 723-3309.