Why is Supporting Agriculture Education is Important? How Can You Help?

When I think of food I think of the farmers, ranchers and livestock producers who work every day to provide healthy and nutritious food. I also think of the millions of people who DON’T understand where the food in their grocery store begins. Nor do they grasp how many millions of people are involved in providing easily available, healthy, nutritious food.

When an opportunity to write a sponsored post about Farmland products and their partnership with the National FFA Organization appeared through the Mom It Forward Influencer Network I jumped at the chance. Not only do I love to cook (see my Ham Croquette recipe at the bottom) but I have a personal connection to agriculture and feel supporting agriculture education is extremely important.

I majored in Animal Science, worked in the livestock nutrition and worked with Nebraska pork producers supplying high-quality pork to Farmland. However, I experience more and more people, especially on social media, who don’t have a clue how ham, eggs, or even bread arrives on the shelf.

Learn how Farmland is supporting agricultural education through the Farmland, a leading brand of bacon, sausage, and ham, is proud to partner with the National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, to support the future of agriculture.

How The National FFA Organization is Supporting Agriculture Education

I was honored to be selected by Farmland to create a sponsored posts on how to support aagriculture in our schools through the National FFA Organization and by purchasing Farmland products.I would like to introduce to you Sophia, pictured in her blue corduroy FFA jacket. Sophia and her family sit in front of me in church. For 18 years I have sat in the pew behind her family in church and have had the privilege of watching her grow up. I’ve bounced her curls, I taught her in Sunday School and I am so impressed with her maturity, outlook on life and goals
she sets for herself.

It didn’t surprise me when she joined FFA in high school and started showing livestock. Sofia is just one of several local kids involved in FFA and when I told her I was writing a post on FFA and wanted to get her impression on how FFA has impacted her life she quickly replied and included photos.

“FFA has had an impact on my life because it not only has taught me about the agriculture industry but how to be a better leader in my school and in my community. Also FFA has impacted my future because going to certain events and activities has given the opportunity to network with different businesses in agriculture so when I get out of college I have a job opening waiting for me when I am ready.” – Sofia

Sophia is now in her first year of college and majoring in elementary agricultural education and sports operation.

How FFA Prepares Students for Life, Not Just Agriculture

The National FFA Organization plays an important role in defining the future of agriculture.  Students learn animal science, agronomy, and horticulture through their integrated high school FFA classes and projects. But it’s more than just the practical agricultural education applications.

There is 250 career focus areas students can explore to prepare them for the workforce.The organizations’ historical name was “Future Farmers of America” and has changed as agriculture is redefined.  The future of agriculture is more than just production farming.  Agriculture includes veterinary medicine, landscape architecture, horticulture and many other fields.

I watch the younger generation smile with pride at county fairs as they exit a show ring with their steer. The projects they take to state or National FFA conventions amaze me.

What Proud FFA Families Say About Their Experience

In collecting information about this post I wanted to get input from not only actual FFA students but their families. Jackie was gracious enough to submit the photo below of her son and daughter showing calves at the Otoe County Fair in Nebraska. They are a VERY proud FFA family and her daughter even got married wearing her FFA boots under her wedding dress.

“…I feel the American Degree is similar in thought to the Eagle and Gold Awards for Boy and Girl Scouts, only ag based. It’s something that is earned through hard work.  ” – Jackie

Learn why agricultural education is important and how you can support the National FFA Organization in your schools.

They learn confidence, speaking, and leadership skills. National FFA Organizations will expose more people to sustainable agricultural practices, horticulture, and veterinary assistant programs. When you think of it, agricultural sciences are all around us.  Agriculture is the food we eat, the pets who share our lives, our golf course greens, and the gardens we enjoy. Ag education is more important than ever.

High school students, from all backgrounds, participate in the FFA intracurricular agriculture leader programs. These FFA youth are future agriculture advocates. FFA Alumni are found in all industries including State Senators, Army Colonels, business leaders, teachers, and yes, even farmers.

Learn here why is Ag education is important and how to support agriculture in your schools through the National FFA Organization and Farmland.

Kate not only showed goats at the county fair but was a Nebraska State officer.

Kates Mom sent me the photo above. Not only did Kate show goats in FFA but she was also a state officer, participated as a State officer and was extremely active in extracurricular events in school. In fact, the high school Kate attended did not even have an FFA program. Kate took the extra effort to participate in a neighboring schools program so she could be a part of the National FFA Organization.  This is the type of dedication and motivation that will bring her far in whatever career field she chooses.

How to Support Agricultural Education in Your Area?

The easiest way you can support FFA in the next two weeks is to purchase Farmland bacon, sausage, and ham from your local HyVee or Bakers grocery.  For every purchase of Farmland bacon, sausage and ham now through Sept 30, 2017, Farmland will donate 0.10 to FFA up to $75,000. This will go a long way in expanding agricultural education programs in our schools. In addition to this program, Farmland will provide grants to select Midwestern FFA chapters providing financial support to high school students working on animal care projects.

Second, encourage your schools to add an FFA Organization to their curriculum. Third, support and encourage the students in the program by attending the county fair, donating supplies or even your time.

Learn More About Farmland Products 

Since 1959, Farmland has been passionate about making high-quality foods, working alongside American farm families to offer the best quality products such as bacon, ham, and sausage. More than 50 years later, Farmland’s unsurpassed passion and pride are stronger than ever, serving retail and foodservice customers across the United States.

  • All Farmland products are products of the USA and are free of hormones and MSG.
  • Participating Farmland products include everything from Farmland bacon and breakfast sausage to boneless ham and lunch meats.
  • For more information on Farmland, and how to donate, please visit FarmlandFoods.com, their Facebook page or on Twitter at @FarmlandFoods.
  • Buy any Farmland bacon, sausage or ham at local HyVee or Bakers grocery stores now through Sept. 30, 2017.

Cooking Farmland Ham is easy with the recipes on the Farmland website

My Favorite Ham Croquette Recipe

Sponsored recipe brought to you by Farmland This ham croquette recipe is perfect for using your leftover potatoes and Sunday ham dinner. I couldn't wait for my Mom to make these ham croquettes the week after Easter and would beg for Sunday ham the rest of the year as I knew she would make them using leftovers. She was the best at leftover recipes.This ham croquette recipe is perfect for using your leftover potatoes and Sunday ham dinner. I couldn’t wait for my Mom to make these ham croquettes the week after Easter and would beg for Sunday ham the rest of the year as I knew she would make them using leftovers. She was the best at leftover recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C Farmland boneless ham
  • Cold Mashed Potatoes (cooked fresh and chilled – or use leftovers)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • Crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 C Milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Vegetable Oil

Directions

  1. Use leftover Farmland boneless ham from dinner, or buy the “easy” to use Farmland Diced Ham (which is also great for omelets)
  2. Mix Farmland Diced ham, mashed potatoes, onion, ONE egg, 1/2 cup flour in large bowl (it will be thick)
  3. Whisk milk and ONE egg in shallow bowl
  4. Blend 1 cup flour with crushed crackers and salt and pepper (to taste, you can omit salt, I like more pepper, I add 2 tbsps)
  5. Shape croquettes in the palm of your hand the shape of 4-5 inch logs 2-3 inches thick (it will be sticky, coat your hands in flour often)
  6. Roll in milk and egg mixture, then liberally roll in flour and cracker crumbs
  7. Heat 1″ of oil in frying pan to about 350 (or until a test drop of flour “sizzles”)
  8. Place croquettes in a pan and carefully brown on all sides, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 additional minutes.

Inside should be “cooked” and hot.

Make Homemade white gravy to top it off

Nothing is better than homemade white gravy poured over ham croquettes and the recipe is easy. There are no “real measurements” for making this gravy, it is all about feel and technique.

  • (about) 2 Tablespoons butter
  • (about) 2 TBSP flour
  • (about) 1 cup milk

To make white milk gravy melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. When melted add flour and whisk until hot, gradually add milk whisking all the time. Raise temperature until boiling whisking until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper. This is the same white country gravy recipe used for country fried steak and biscuits and gravy.

How will you use Farmland products in your meals?