FFA students receive hands-on training

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

Technology has grown tremendously over the last two decades. Computers and phones can now do multiple tasks simultaneously, all in the palm of your hand. With farm machinery, things seem to be getting more massive.

Jenna Bostic, Kyle Sloss, Ben Flinchum and Layton Bell, left to right, listen to a Virginia Tech professor speak on what makes a good apple cider.

On Tuesday, September 17, Future Farmers of America (FFA) members at Craig County High School toured the Kentland Beef Farm Beef and Forage Day at Virginia Tech and were able to observe cutting edge machinery and technology in the agriculture industry.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences hosted the event, which highlighted research projects at Kentland Farm, addressed subjects related to grazing practices and pasture management and featured a farm tour.

Said the school, “Kentland Farm exists to support the research, teaching and extension programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Such programs include many of Virginia’s major agricultural crop and livestock species.”

FFA members, Ben Flinchum, Hunter Brizendine, Layton Bell, Kyle Sloss and Jenna Bostic, from left to right, admiring the considerable hay baler at Kentland Farms.

Jenna Bostic, one of the FFA members who attended, said, “We enjoyed learning the most about the advancing technologies in agriculture, the self-driving tractors that Virginia Tech has, and sophisticated drones that are able to map fields, monitor and check crops and livestock for them.”

“We also learned about opportunities for the extended grazing season for cattle from Graze 300 with extension, what makes a good apple for cider, how to check fences to see if they’re grounded right and about the things that goes into growing and harvesting hemp and what it’s used for,” she added.

The faculty and professors from Virginia Tech and extension agents from surrounding counties toured the participants.

CCHS currently has 25 members in the FFA.

Bostic explained that “the FFA was active until 1991 but started back up in 2006 by Stephen Janoschka, a former agriculture teacher at CCHS who now teaches at Franklin County High School.”

FFA believes that the most important part of being an FFA member is developing leadership skills, personal development, career exploration and meeting new people. Said Bostic, “It’s also a fun thing to be involved in getting to spend time with friends and make new friends.”

“Some other things about FFA I’d like others to know is how it provides wonderful opportunities for career exploration and agriculture awareness,” she added. “It also provides students with hands-on learning opportunities.”

FFA members, Hunter Brizendine and Layton Bell appreciating the tractor used for harvesting corn at Kentland Farms.

The Craig County High School FFA Chapter attends different leadership events, competitions and educational field trips throughout the year.

Agriculture teacher Ben Flinchum believed this was an excellent opportunity for students to be exposed to different agricultural careers and the importance of education and research.

The FFA membership is one of the three components of agriculture education, therefore it is open to all students currently enrolled in an agricultural course.

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