There will be a lot of cows kissed, and Western-themed clothes worn around the South Valley during FFA Week, February 20-25. Together, Tulare and Kings Counties have 23 FFA chapters. The Valley Voice reached out to the advisors of all chapters for their input as to their FFA chapter and what they would be doing for FFA Week. These are the chapters which responded.
Central Valley Christian
Central Valley Christian is in its first year of the FFA Program. Students have been involved in variety of local social and fundraising events, and their first competitive events have been in the public speaking realm. The Citrus Judging Team has been active in competition, and the Farm Power & Machinery, Livestock Judging, Dairy Judging and Dairy Products teams are all gearing up for competitions this spring.
They are keeping it “low key” for FFA Week this year, as they ease their way into the FFA World. Plans for the week include a fundraiser event, Kiss the Cow. How it works – the teacher on campus that has the most money in their milk jar at the end of the week, has to kiss the cow. The plan is to give part of the proceeds to charity. In addition to Kiss the Cow, the school will have an Ag Fact read over the morning announcements, each day. They will also be holding Dress-Up Days to earn points, and the winning class receives a prize.
The Dinuba FFA has been active in many ways so far this year. They have had competitions in Cotton Judging and Vine Pruning. They are preparing for Speech, Veterinary Science, Nursery Landscape and Floral contests. This FFA Chapter also hosts a pet food drive for The Cat House on the Kings. Any donations are welcome! This project is student driven from the Ag Leadership class. Other projects coming from the class include an Autism Awareness Day and celebration, while others are helping out at a homeless shelter by helping hand out food.
The group continues to train Guide Dogs for the Blind and is currently training three dogs. Students learn to train dogs for future owners, and are with their dog 24/7. The Veterinary Science class members have the chance to learn to care for these dogs by bathing, brushing teeth, applying parasitic applications, grooming and cleaning their ears. They currently have a dog that has gone through all her training and will be graduating and given to a new owner. Dinuba FFA’s Madasen Gutierrez will with sadness and excitement go to this ceremony and watch a person in need of a dog receive her dog, Gazele.
Since 1947, National FFA week has been celebrated throughout schools, including Visalia’s very own El Diamante FFA chapter.
“It’s a great way to get our members involved and give peers a little sneak peak of some of the fun we have to offer as FFA members,” said Jenna Toor, chapter secretary.
This chapter hopes to bring awareness to FFA and agriculture throughout the school’s student body during FFA Week by hosting various lunchtime activities including Potato Sack races, a Corn Hole competition and Kick Ball tournament. Agriculture-themed dress-up days, and a feature in the school’s weekly video production of EdHews, will be offered.
One of their most iconic activities they have done in the past is their Kiss a Cow fundraiser. One of our chapter members brings a cow, or steer, they plan to show in the Tulare County Fair, and volunteer teachers are lined up, as well as students, so they can give the cow a little smooch!
“One of our biggest goals within our chapter, which applies throughout FFA, is promoting agriculture,” Toor said. “As FFA Week approaches, we plan to use this as an opportunity to excite and educate our members about the importance of agricultural education and to open their eyes to the influence of the industry, and how it affects their daily lives as humans and citizens of the Central Valley. We are constantly encouraging our members to take what they learn in the classroom, and whether it be educating another or participating in a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), appreciate what agriculture has to offer.”
The focus for the Exeter Chapter is to have a complete agriculture education program that consists of the three circles: FFA, classroom and SAE. On the farm, Exeter FFA has a horticulture unit, livestock units and a full agriculture mechanics shop. They offer a wide variety of courses to meet the needs of their students. Exeter has 430 FFA members who all have different interests. They offer hands on learning and leadership opportunities for all students.
The Exeter FFA chapter has four days planned packed with fun activities for FFA Week. Some of the activities include a Dodgeball Tournament, a Giant Game of Clumps, a Staff Appreciation Lunch, and their annual Bed Races. A highlight of the week is the Bed Race activity. It consists of carts made out of bed frames, assembled by past agriculture mechanics classes that are pushed by a team of students around a track on campus. The teacher team is always the one to beat! Exeter FFA is looking forward to this awesome week and providing a special experience its members and students.
The largest focus of the Farmersville FFA chapter is to bring agriculture awareness and promote the countless opportunities within the organization to the students of Farmersville High School. The FFA program at Farmersville High School is growing. With growth, comes an opportunity to educate students about all of the opportunities to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. This year’s goal has been to get students involved in more leadership activities, attend more conferences, to become involved in career development events, and increase student understanding and participation in supervised agriculture experience program.
The Farmersville FFA Chapter has some big plans for FFA Week. Each day there will be a themed dress-up day, as well as a scheduled lunchtime activity. Dress-up days include Animal Day, Western Day, Camouflage Day, and Blue-Gold Day. Some of the exciting lunchtime activities will be performed in the center of campus and will be open to the entire student body. Activities for FFA week are Chubby Chicken (a spin on the popular Chubby Bunny game), a cookie eating contest, Cow Pies (melted chocolate bar guessing game), and an obstacle course. The officer team is hard at work to plan fun activities to bring a positive awareness to FFA at Farmersville High School.
Hanford FFA is ready to kick off FFA week on February 20th-24th with a bang! They have multiple lunchtime activities planned for its members, and are looking forward to all student bodies getting involved. Some of the lunchtime activities include Supermarket Sweep, Penny in a Haystack, and a Minute to Win It relay. All games are agriculturally oriented. Supermarket Sweep, for example, helps strengthen the members’ knowledge of California’s top commodities through riddles and a scavenger hunt. FFA week will also consist of school-wide dress up days. These days include Twin Day, Western Day, Blue and Gold Day, and Freedom Friday, which is a patriotic day. Along with these activities Hanford FFA is holding a free lunch time BBQ on each campus throughout the week.
This year Hanford FFA is encouraging their members to “Think Outside the Barn.” They hope through this chapter theme, they will be able to break the stigma behind FFA. Hanford FFA wants their students and school population to know that FFA is much more than farm animals, and farming. It offers leadership opportunities, SAEs outside of animal agriculture, and valuable skills that will benefit students for a lifetime. They are excited to see the chapter grow and continue to help the community through various community service events.
Each year Lemoore FFA conducts an annual Community Pumpkin Patch for preschoolers through third graders, partners with local elementary school classes to implement the Partners in Active Learning (PALS) program, assists with the Kings County Fair cleanup days, conducts canned food drive for local Christian Aid, and provides tour guides for Kings County Farm Day. They have installed a drought tolerant landscape for the City of Lemoore. Lemoore FFA is proud of its more than 25-year history in raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which developed its recognition as a FFA SAE project by the National FFA Association two years ago.
During FFA Week, Lemoore FFA will host a schoolwide dress up days including The Owl, when students may dress up like their favorite wise-old nerd; The Plow, when students may dress up as a farmer or in Western wear, The Flag, when students are to dress up in patriotic colors, and Blue and Gold Day, FFA colors.
Other Activities throughout the Week include the airing of a promo video with a thank you to staff and others for supporting FFA, a Clue Game with advisors – new clues given out daily to see which advisor did the dastardly deed, and a Kiss the Cow event involving the entire school.
Monache has about 400 students involved in FFA with three teachers. Some 24 hogs, 10 sheep and a hundred chickens are kept on the campus farm, some of which will be shown at the Porterville Fair in May. The club hosts a Farmers Market on the farm, held on March 4 this year, with student-grown produce and plants available, as well as floral arrangements and other items.
Monache High School FFA has something planned for every day of FFA Week. A Trivia Day will be held in class and a Tailgate party after school. There will be a Teacher Appreciation lunch and a FFA Mini contest on Friday, where students will participate in a variety of Career Development events in each class.
Sequoia FFA received its charter last year. Its focus is on Natural Resources and Forestry. The program currently works in collaboration with Reedley Junior College to offer a dual enrollment course in Chainsaw Operations, and Sequoia FFA works closely with Sequoia National Park for service learning projects.
Last year, Sequoia FFA won the Western Region Hartzog Award, and had the opportunity to meet the then Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel when she visited the Cesar Chavez Memorial, last October. Through this program, students receive employment and internships with the National Park Service. Sequoia FFA is excited to continue expanding their unique program.
For FFA Week, Sequoia FFA will be having a Logging Sport competition and a Salsa Making contest, in addition to doing community service projects in the National Park.
Strathmore FFA celebrates National FFA Week in many ways. This year, the chapter officers have planned a different lunchtime activity for each day. They also plan to hand out a special treat on each day. All members and non-members are encouraged to get in on the fun. The chapter also puts on its annual Drive Thru Dinner. The money raised will be put toward sending members to the State and National Conventions, and scholarships for seniors. The Drive Thru Dinner will be held on February 23, from 4-6pm at the Strathmore Ag Department Parking Lot.
Strathmore FFA’s strongest and most popular areas are hogs and chickens. But, they also have a growing Floral and Ornamental Horticulture component to their program. They have a Crop Box (indoor hydroponics growing system), several greenhouses, and an aquaponics system going up this year.
A California Ag Curriculum is taught during FFA Week to celebrate and help further knowledge of the importance of California agriculture.
Tulare High School Farm is home to the Tulare High School Agriculture Program and Tulare FFA. This is one of the most unique agriculture programs in the United States, due to the fact that its site is separate from the three campuses it serves – Tulare Union High School, Tulare Western High and Mission Oak High School. Additionally, this site is home to the programs 60-acre commercial farming operation and its Land ‘O Lakes affiliated 100 cow dairy. These facilities offer students a truly hands-on experience in agriculture as it prepares students to be college and career ready.
In February, the Tulare High School Agriculture Program celebrates National FFA week differently than others by making it a month-long event. Already under way, Tulare FFA promotes FFA and Agriculture during the entire month of February. Tulare FFA members will visit each of the 14 feeder schools into the Tulare Joint High School District, promoting FFA and agriculture. Also, Tulare FFA will host the Sequoia Sectional FFA Public Speaking Contest, the San Joaquin Regional FFA meeting, the Tulare FFA Blue and Gold Dash, and many of the members of the Tulare FFA chapter are donating many hours of community service in the support of the events and operation of the World Ag Expo – the largest showcase of agriculture in the world. The members of Tulare FFA understand that we all celebrate agriculture each and every day – three times a day, at meal times.
The Woodlake FFA chapter focuses on the success and involvement of its members. It highly encourages members to be active by joining CDE teams, attend sectional and regional activities, and participate in our chapter level leadership and team building. Advisors put in a lot of effort and time to see this chapter succeed. The program has grown in size and score over the past four years, and hopes are to accomplish more by getting others involved.
For FFA Week, the officer team came up with dress-up days and activities to celebrate the mission of FFA. Dress-up Days include: Tuesday is Tuxes and Tiaras, when FFA members will dress in formal business attire, Wednesday is Western Wear (country apparel), Thursday is Tiger Pride Thursday, when members will wear school colors of orange and black for the annual Donkey Basketball game that afternoon, and Friday is FFA Friday where members will wear a lot of National Blue and Corn Gold to represent the colors of FFA.
Activities planned include a Decorated Door competition, in which teachers will decorate their classroom doors with a theme of agriculture and organize their teaching content, so that each teacher can show their students how agriculture relates to their school subject. The officer team will judge the classroom doors and whoever does the best job will receive the award of a pizza party for lunch. Another activity, is a mini CDE field day on campus, where advisors will host different CDE competitions to promote involvement in FFA Competition teams. The annual Donkey Basketball game is held against Exeter FFA. This event will take place on Thursday, February 23, in the Woodlake High School Old Gym facility. Tickets are available at the door. Woodlake FFA plans carefully in order to make their FFA week fun and informational for members and the community.