by JASMYN BILLANO, Polk County FFA Federation Vice-President
From hurricanes to cold fronts, Polk County FFA has had quite an interesting time in the past month. After the recent trouble caused by Hurricane Ian this September and October, we are glad to see many chapters back on their feet or on the road to recovery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by these events.
On another note, at September’s County Competition for Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Polk County FFA Federation announced the current Service Project! We are excited to share that this year, we are challenging each FFA chapter to read to as many elementary school classrooms as possible. Using the books selected by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, we hope to promote agriculture literacy, as well as increase the influence of agriculture in our elementary classrooms. The chapter that has read to the most classrooms by the time of our Federation Banquet will be awarded the “Making a Difference Award.”
We encourage every chapter to participate and can’t wait to see everyone’s contributions! Another way that we are working to increase the inclusion of agriculture in our elementary schools is through the development of elementary agriculture programs. One example of this is the up-and-coming program at Mulberry’s Willow Oak School. The class will have students cover a variety of topics, such as dairy farming and hydroponics, as well as get their hands dirty at the garden beds! We are beyond excited to educate our new generations on the importance and traditions of agriculture. We hope to continue to expand elementary agriculture and wish our chapters good luck with their reading!
As we get further into the school year, FFA members have a variety of upcoming events! These range from cattle shows, such as the recent Wrangler Round Up and Kowtown Classic, to competitive events. Many of our members are busy practicing for the fast-approaching prelims and county competitions. These competitions cover a variety of topics, including Food Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Education, Tool Identification, Citrus, Vegetables, and more! It is always inspiring to see the hard work and passion of our members in their preparation. It is safe to say that the future of agriculture is in good hands! We wish all those who will be competing the very best of luck, we can’t wait to see the culmination of everyone’s hard work. Also approaching is our very own Polk County Youth Fair, alongside both the Florida State Fair and Central Florida Youth in Agriculture Showcase and Sale. As the dates for these events draw closer and closer, many students are hard at work with their projects, whether those be steers or blueberry bushes! We wish all FFA and 4-H the greatest success and are excited to see the product of everybody’s efforts this winter and spring. Stay warm!