by Kara Van Wyk / firstname.lastname@example.org and Austin Dart / email@example.com
The PC FFA officer team went to Des Moines for the Iowa FFA Legislative Symposium at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, when they met with senators Ken Rozenboom and Amy Sinclair as well as other leaders in Iowa agriculture. Every year, FFA officer teams travel to the capitol to meet with their legislators. “The chapter leaders are able to take advantage of the opportunity to share their story of how agriculture education have made a positive difference in their lives and encourage our state leaders to continue to support agriculture education programs in our local schools,” said PC agriculture teacher Ellie Rethmeier.
The officer team learned about the current bills and proposals the senators were involved with, their opinions on them, and more. “Rozenboom told us how much he enjoyed FFA day at the Capitol and getting to speak with many young Iowans,” senior Ben Vos said. PC’s officers also shared how agricultural education and FFA has benefited them as students and were given a chance to thank the senators for their work and support.
The visit also helped PC’s officer team develop professionalism, a main goal of PC’s Ag program. “As students visit with our state leaders they were able to put their communication skills into practice,” said Rethmeier. “What better way for students to showcase their skills and citizenship than to visit with prominent state leaders about issues impacting students’ home and community?”
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig spoke about how he enjoys using his leadership position to advocate for agriculture and agricultural education in Iowa. Kelsey Tyrrell, Director of Youth Leadership Development at the World Food Prize Organization, also spoke at the event.
The following Monday, FFA students from PC as well as nearly 700,000 other FFA members began their celebration of National FFA Week from Feb. 18-22. PC began the week with several activities, including the “Ag Olympics,” in which each class competed against the others in different competitions, including the bucket hold, feed sack race, and more.
Other activities included multiple dress-up days: Wednesday was “Wear an Ag Hat Day,” and Friday “FFA T-Shirt Day.” Students enjoyed dressing up with these items to get points in an effort to win the competitions. On Friday morning, FFA members served breakfast to the PC faculty. “I have enjoyed seeing kids who do not necessarily have a huge agricultural background become very excited and energized about competing in the Ag Olympics we have been holding,” said Vos. “It is rewarding to get lots of participation, and that is what is happening. I am most excited about the pancake breakfast on Friday morning for PC’s staff. It is always nice to get our name out around PC, and I think this was an excellent opportunity to do so.”
While FFA as an organization dates back to 1928, when the Future Farmers of America was first officially formed, celebrating FFA Week began in 1948, it was established by the National FFA Board of Directors. “This was done to honor George Washington’s legacy as an agriculturist and farmer, as he is the symbol for the FFA treasure and his birthday is during FFA week,” Rethmeier said.
Students also appreciate the opportunity to promote FFA. “FFA week is just one week out of the entire year where each student can show how proud they are to be part of FFA,” sophomore Katelyn Vos said.