Agricultural education reaches beyond the classroom for Ravenna FFA | Michigan Farm News

Agricultural education reaches beyond the classroom for Ravenna FFA

Category: Crops

by Samantha Ludlam

Ravenna FFA members teach elementary students about livestock care.

Agriculture teachers help students become entrepreneurs and agriculturalists who will help shape the future of agriculture through development of skills, problem solving, and experiential learning.

On September 20, National Teach Ag Day celebrates these teachers and encourages students to consider a career in agricultural education. In honor of this celebration, Michigan Farm Bureau is highlighting the eight Michigan FFA Chapters which received the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture’s #SpeakAgMichigan award in 2018.

This award is given to chapters engaged in agricultural education and outreach activities in their communities. Winning chapters set clear goals and worked with partnering organizations and teachers to deliver dynamic learning experiences for youth and adults. The 2018 #SpeakAgMichigan application deadline is December 1, 2018.

The Ravenna FFA Chapter was selected as the 4th Place chapter for their Farm Days event. Chapter advisor Melanie Block explains the importance of this event to her school community.

Q: What does receiving the #SpeakAgMichigan award mean to you and your students?

A: Receiving a #SpeakAgMichigan Award is going to allow us to reach more students and help them discover more about the agriculture industry. We will be able to offer more programs that will let them take the activities of one day home, and relive them throughout the year.

Q: What are your chapter’s goals for increasing your community’s understanding of agriculture?

A: We host Farm Days, which is a program for students in PreK-5 grades in Ravenna. We invite the public school children, students from Catholic elementary school, local preschools, day cares and from the Head Start program to attend. The animal science classes work in groups of four to choose a lesson about an animal to teach to the younger students. We not only teach students about various farm animals and exotic pets, but also about how their food is made and what type of food comes from each animal. In addition to animals, we also bring in a wide variety of farm machinery. Each student gets to take home a tomato plant that we raised in our greenhouse, along with instructions for growing and using the tomatoes.

Q: What will your program do with the funds from the #SpeakAgMichigan Award?

A: We would like to purchase a lavalier microphone, tripod, and monopod for creating videos. We would use this to help create videos that we would post on our Ravenna FFA Facebook page, to further inform the public about agriculture. We have a very active social media presence, and having this equipment will make our videos of a higher quality.

Q: What does the support of organizations like Michigan Farm Bureau mean to your program?

A: Without Farm Bureau's support, our FFA Chapter would not be what it is today. When we were a new chapter starting up, it was the Muskegon County Farm Bureau that helped us buy jackets and get students into official dress. That helped develop pride in who we are, and build our chapter into what it is today. This #SpeakAgMichigan award continues to not only build our chapter, but further our chapter’s partnership with Farm Bureau. Thank you for continuing to believe in the future of agriculture!

The #SpeakAgricultureMichigan awards are presented by Michigan Farm Bureau with financial support from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)(3) governed by Michigan Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, positively contributes to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.