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Agricultural Education Receives Boost With New Membership at Madison-Grant

2023–2024 FFA students at Madison-Grant Jr./Sr. High School recently went to the FFA national convention in Indianapolis! The students networked with other FFA members and enjoyed fun activities.

Group of happy students attending FFA national convention Students enjoying a game at the FFA national convention

Fairmount, IN (January 2, 2020) - For the first time since the 90's, Madison-Grant Jr/Sr High School received a membership with The National FFA Organization. FFA is an intra-curricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership. With new construction this past summer, the school added on over 1,400 square feet dedicated to Agricultural Education. With both Madison and Grant counties nearing 75% of land use for farming according to Indiana Business Research Center, the program is relevant to students in the area. According to Tate, membership in the FFA will provide new opportunities and access for competition and connection for Madison-Grant students in the new Agricultural Education program.

Madison-Grant students attend the National FFA Organization National Convention in Indianapolis, IN

The students at Madison-Grant led the charge for their membership according to Tate, "It's a pretty intense process. The officer team helped build the constitution and bylaws for their chapter with the class, so it was a great experience. They put quite a bit of work into it. Students built a program of activities of what students want to participate in and how they would execute it. The group planned for four major events for the future. Their planning requires how parts of the projects involves the community, chapter, and members and how all can benefit. We'll do this every year to set the direction of the chapter." Tate says the national membership will give the students access to national level competitions as well as an educational focus at conventions and workshops. While this past year at the National Convention in Indianapolis, students were invited by the FFA and able to walk around to see the possibilities through business, colleges, and tech. As members, students will be able to participate in all of the education offered at conventions and throughout the region. The exposure to these different agricultural outlets shows students how farming now has so many facets, and the professionalism involved in being a member of this organization. Tate explained how the idea gained traction. "Originally when we brought the FFA, they thought it was a bunch of small-town schools just doing this for fun like it was not really a big deal. We took them to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, and it opened their eyes to the possibilities in agriculture and what the FFA can do for them. These kids, some of who had been out late in the fields the night before, arrived at 6:00 a.m. dressed professionally and ready to go on their fall break - so you know they are excited for this. They have put in so much work, understanding the power of connecting within an industry." 

Animal Science students at Madison-Grant creating animal housing facilities. #WeAreM

The Agriculture Education program at Madison-Grant begins in the 7th and 8th-grade, as all students participate with the required coursework. The classes introduce agriculture, as well as leadership skills, opening up the possibility of a more advanced course load when they reach high school level. Similar to the FFA, the focus is not just on farming, but on leadership skills. Tate says, "it's really amazing to see these students at the 7th and 8th-grade level be comfortable getting up in front of a group of their peers to speak. Agricultural Ed is about so much more than farming - we go over leadership, public speaking, and how interconnected we are in this community. At the next level, the focus of the FFA projects reinforce this by thinking about how our projects affect our community along with our chapter and members. It really helps deliver the message that agriculture can be for everyone, you don't have to live on a farm." Madison-Grant Jr/Sr High School carries a charter for membership in The National FFA Organization for the 2019–2020 school year.