County Farm Bureau board member Kylie Thompson truly embodies this
line from E.M. Tiffany’s FFA Creed: “I believe in the future of agriculture,
with a faith born not of words, but of deeds…”
decades of inactivity, Thompson’s pulled off an achievement for the envy of
rural communities statewide: She’s brought her home FFA chapter back from the
FFA chapter fizzled out in the early 1990s after several decades of activity.
And it’s taken all of Kylie’s passion for agriculture, students and FFA itself
to raise this phoenix from the ashes.
can seem like a daunting task, but if you surround yourself with others who
believe in your cause, all things are possible,” she said.
an ag program at Kylie’s alma mater started with the interest from Bellevue
Superintendent Kathy Mohney. Seeing area schools with FFA chapters and
agriculture programs, she started to wonder: “Why not Bellevue?”
was really all that was necessary to set Kylie in motion. Finding elated
community support, she quickly saw students signing up for agriculture classes
scheduled to be offered in the fall of 2020 — a benefit to the students and a
promising asset for Bellevue Schools overall.
foundation being laid for Bellevue FFA is a strong one, built on leadership,
community and passion,” Kylie said.
truth was verified by a successful fundraiser held last weekend — a clever
drive-through chicken dinner hosted at Bellevue Elementary School and
benefitting the district’s nascent agriculture and FFA program.
totaling $6,700 from approximately 550 hungry community supporters.
hers isn’t the only community in need of a new or rekindled FFA program, Kylie
has several tips for likeminded leaders looking to spark the same kind of
progress she’s made in the southwest corner of Eaton County.
identifying the district in need — the self-evident starting point for most
would-be FFA-starters — the key components of Kylie’s process break down like
- School support is essential from the
get-go, so getting the staff and superintendent on board with your plan is
- Contact state FFA staff early
on to learn important timelines and program requirements.
- Convene an advisory committee of
community members to help maintain that community’s support for your
program and to ensure its priorities are incorporated.
- Coordinating with the school
district’s financial staff, draft a budget to
cover classroom needs, FFA project supplies and event expenses.
- Begin fund raising- be resourceful
and reach out to supporters
- In coordination with your school
district’s curriculum officials, develop class structures and lesson
plans, always keeping in mind your students’ needs and interests.
- Develop an outreach plan to
keep your community informed about — and convinced of! — the value of your
most importantly, she adds: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Good ag education
is worth it!”
Katelyn Thompson represents District 5 on MFB’s state
P&E committee. Hannah Lange is MFB’s regional
manager for the central region.