Cyndi's Two Cents

Feeding minds; feeding the world

Commentary.

Of course, we had an unprecedented storm with historic cold that swept across our entire country last week.  The polar vortex fueling it all delivered extreme, record-breaking winter weather.  Why would we expect anything less, considering how we have all learned to expect the unexpected over these past twelve months?

If you look at the calendar, you will see that the first day of spring is less than a month away and daylight savings time begins Sunday March 14.  It was on that week-end last year when we set our clocks forward into what I jokingly call “The Twilight Zone.”  Who knew the reaction to COVID-19 would continue to impact many aspects of our lives for so many months?

Take another look at that calendar and you will note that this is National FFA Week, a week to celebrate this great organization.  This is not your grandpa’s FFA.  I laugh at that statement because my grandpa was a founding member of the FFA chapter at his high school (which later became my high school.)  So, in a way, it really is my grandpa’s FFA that I joined as a freshman at Winchester High School in 1976.

FFA was organized nationally in 1928.  Congress granted FFA a federal charter, making it a key part of agricultural education under the National Vocational Education Act.  Now, almost one hundred years later there are 760,113 student members who belong to one of the 8,739 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

I wonder if those 33 farm boys from 18 states who came together all those years ago in Kansas City, Missouri to organize the FFA and hold its first national convention had any idea the impact their actions would have on the lives of so many men and women over the course of the next one hundred years. Their mission was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. The population of the entire world at that time was around 2 billion people. Today’s world population is approximately 7.8 billion with projected growth to 9.7 billion by the year 2050 and 11 billion by the year 2100. 

To be an agriculture educator is to be engaged in a noble profession.  To have a hand in feeding the hungry minds of those who will feed a nation, a world, must be rewarding indeed.  There are more than 13,000 FFA advisors and ag teachers.  They teach agriscience, biotechnology, agricultural mechanics, horticulture, animal science and much more.  During meetings of the FFA chapter, the advisor is stationed by the owl.  Why by the owl?

The owl is a time-honored emblem of knowledge and wisdom.  Being older than the rest of you, I am asked to advise you from time to time as the need arises.  I hope that my advice will always be based on true knowledge and ripened with wisdom.

I am certain that many of you have heard those words spoken during opening ceremonies of many FFA meetings.  The advisor can make or break an FFA Chapter. It should concern us all that the greatest challenge facing FFA and agricultural education today is a shortage of qualified agriculture teachers.

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