The CHS Foundation is a proud supporter of FFA programs across the U.S. To celebrate National FFA Week Feb. 18-24, we are featuring examples of local, state and national FFA programs that are doing great work in developing ag leaders for life. Read on to learn more about one FFA chapter that is bringing ag careers to life for students.
Agriculture accounts for approximately 10 percent of U.S. jobs, yet it is estimated that agricultural grads make up a mere 1 percent of graduates. To help students envision themselves in agriculture, the Adams-Friendship FFA hosts nearly 250 sixth and seventh grade students to learn first-hand about different ag careers. The project was one of 10, $500 Classroom Grants awarded at National FFA Convention to support ag teachers as they implement innovative ideas that bring agriculture to life in their classrooms.
“Our FFA chapter plans an annual activity for every grade level,” says Becky Grabarski, ag education teacher, Adams-Friendship high school. “We selected sixth graders for the career day because they are starting to pick classes that influence their career choices and may not understand all the options.”
The learning extends beyond the young students and also impacts the high school students who plan and coordinate the event.
“The FFA chapter officers start planning in the summer,” says Grabarski. “They pick the careers they want to focus on and invite local agribusiness professionals to share their stories. Through the planning process they are sharpening their communications and soft skills.”
During the career day, approximately 40 FFA members are involved as group leaders and facilitate two stations about FFA, so they get one-on-one interaction with professionals from local businesses, including several from the cooperative system.
“Our local cooperative, Allied Cooperative, helps with the career day every year,” says Grabarski. “Any given year we might have 3-4 of their employees ranging from an animal nutritionist to an agronomist or plant pathologist. It helps the kids see all the different careers available in the cooperative system.”
For Grabarski, introducing students to careers is important, but it’s the learning beyond the career day that is the most rewarding.
“If students can think and problem solve, then they can do anything,” says Grabarski. “Anytime I see kids work hard and succeed on something -- whether that is large like career day or finally figuring out a smaller problem, that’s when I feel good.”
To learn more about the CHS Foundation’s involvement with FFA, visit chsinc.com/stewardship.