Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reaching out to WV FFA

The Small Farm Center works daily to reach experienced and beginning West Virginia farmers with information to make them more profitable. However, the Center also works to reach high school students with the encouraging message about farming's profitability. Recently, Carrie See, SFC program coordinator, and Bonnie Thomas, graduate research assistant, ventured to WV's State FFA Convention in Ripley. The pair exhibited at the career fair with a number of other agricultural institutions like WV Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit. This past spring, the Center also visited FFA chapters throughout the state with information on risk management practices in farming. The Center's exhibit also displayed information about careers with the USDA's risk management agency.

The message that the Center hopes to encourage in and communicate to these young people is the concept that they no longer must leave the farm to support their families and themselves. West Virginia farmers can be sustainable and successful. Farming can be a career again.

Of course, we like to have fun, too. For the second year, we took our "Wheel of WV Agricultural Knowledge." Students spin the wheel and answer questions about different aspects of agriculture in the state-- anything from our most abundant ag commodity (broiler chickens) to the average farm acreage (157 acres). We've found that the wheel opens a door for dialogue about the students' farms and FFA experiences.

Fundamental to all the work we do, is education of our youth.  We believe in the importance of supporting WV agricultural departments and FFA chapters throughout the state, so they can remain steadfast in their educational efforts.

As always, we're grateful for the invitation from WV FFA, and we look forward to future partnerships. We'd also like to congratulate one of our favorite past conference speakers, Wes Davis, for his new position as state FFA president.

Small Farm Center Team

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