By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 —
Danny Blake is an instructor in the Agriculture Department at North Stanly High School (NSHS), and he’s also the supervisor for the school’s FFA club.
FFA stands for the Future Farmers of America, but they changed the name to the National FFA Organization in 1989.
“They changed the name because they didn’t want to discourage students who didn’t want to become farmers,” Blake said.
To be in the club, aside from paying state and national dues, students must be enrolled in an agriculture class. This year there are more than 19,000 members statewide, according to Blake.
There has been an FFA club at NSHS since the school began 50 years ago, Blake said.
“We have 60 in FFA, now. The club is for students to participate in agricultural activities outside of school time,” Blake said.
In other words, for the students who can’t get enough of the hands-on activities involved in landscaping or horticulture, they can come participate in FFA after school.
Blake said he took about 35 students to the state fair in Raleigh.
“We had two students showing lambs, four showing cows and we had two students in the Federation Truck and Tractor Driving competition.
“It’s an honor to get there,” Blake said about the truck and tractor competition.
“The students came in 17th and 19th places. It’s a good honor to compete. To even go to the state competition you have to win locally. Our local federation is Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Stanly county. They won locally first.”
Students involved with FFA are interested in horticulture, landscaping, agricultural production, animal science and agricultural mechanics.
“I love it,” said Joey Chavis, a senior member of FFA.
“It gives us more of a hands-on approach, something I find useful. We learn more than we do in class.”
“The club is really an extension of the Ag classes. It’s another tool for classroom education,” Blake said.
FFA members participate in a number of competitions, including plant identification, nursery landscaping, tools and agricultural sales practice.
“I have four students participating in the agricultural product sales competition. For the Ag sales competitions, students will pick an agricultural product and try and sell it to the judges,” Blake said.
FFA meets once a month, but the individual teams that go to competitions meet with Blake more frequently to practice and prepare.
This week is FFA Week and NSHS FFA will have special activities planned for each day: candy bags, chicken stew, doughnuts and a camouflage day.
For more info on NSHS or the FFA program, visit nshs.stanlycountyschools.org.
To submit story ideas, contact Ian Faulkner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (704) 982-2121 ext. 21.