Local FFA chapters mark National FFA Week

Feb. 19 – Feb. 23 is National FFA Week 
Students who take part in FFA at the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center are eager to dispel myths and rumors about their beloved organization. In an article for the Career Center’s biweekly newsletter, “The Trade,” chapter leaders created a brief FAQ to educate the community and help increase interest and awareness of the opportunities FFA provides:
Q: FFA is just for farmers… and hicks, right?
A: FFA used to be focused on farmers only, but recently the organization changed its name from Future Farmers of America to just FFA to symbolize all aspects of agriculture, not just farming.
As for the typical FFA member, looks can be deceiving. Many students participate in FFA to explore their interest in agriculture, including raising animals, community service, mechanics and leadership. Everyone, whether they’re from the city or a rural area like Addison County, can get involved in this organization to find and fuel a new passion.
Q: Why should someone join FFA?
A: So many reasons! Many members compete locally and nationally in career development events, like agricultural mechanics, dairy judging and handling, horse judging, and farm business. FFA gives participants the chance to meet people through competitions and chapter, regional, state and national events and competitions.
Workshops, conventions, competitions and meetings unite FFA members on a shared value of making global change in agriculture. Membership and leadership are a great way to directly influence the future of agriculture, learn responsibility, and serve something bigger than themselves. They learn to be leaders.
“(FFA) has taught me so much,” local chapter President Carrie Tracy says. “It has taught me to be comfortable speaking in front of others as well as (how to be) a respectful leader.” 
• • • • • • •
“FFA has given me opportunities I would have never had before. I’ve gotten to show my knowledge in agriculture by competing in dairy evaluation, soils and dairy foods. I also experienced my first plane ride on my way to my first National Convention. I’ve become the Middlebury Chapter Secretary and learned skills on how to run a proper meeting which can help me along with life.”
— Emily Lowell, senior, Mount Abraham
• • • • • • •
“When I became involved with FFA, I didn’t know much about it. I started off with dairy competitions and they got me interested in wanting to do more. Being the president of the chapter taught me leadership and to be comfortable talking in front of people. Going to nationals and all the state competitions gives you the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things. Choosing to be in the FFA was one of the best things I ever did.”
— Carrie Tracy, senior, Middlebury
   ABOVE, PLANT & ANIMAL Sciences students Karah Miller (left), Kira Kemp and Mahaila Gosselin make some cheese. At right, Miller (left), Nadya Sato, Courtney Curler and Gosselin show off the completed product.
Photos courtesy of Hannaford Career Center

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