The Cover Crop

From the Southern Wells FFA

Issue I : November 20, 2013

What am I reading?

Hi! I'm Aly Zoda and I'm making a weekly newsletter about the happenings in FFA and agriculture for my independent study project in the area of Agriculture Communications and Journalism. I hope to provide insight into the ever changing world of agriculture and show what the FFA is doing to learn. I am a senior this year at Southern Wells High School and plan on going to college for journalism and creative writing. I have been a part of FFA for four years.

Upcoming Events

Spreading the Christmas Spirit

The FFA is picking up bells and wrapping paper as the snow begins to fall. With soil judging behind them, members are coming up with ways to stay involved. In the coming weeks, the agriculture classroom will be buzzing with Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is an organization that provides shoe boxes full of toys and other items for children in other countries. The FFA hopes to pack a minimum of twelve boxes with items that children will immediately attach to such as stuffed animals. Operation Christmas Child hopes to reach 1 million shoe boxes filled with love for children overseas.


The sound of bells will soon be heard everywhere you go. FFA will be donning warm clothes and grabbing bells to ring for the Salvation Army. They will be stationed at the entrances of Bluffton Wal-Mart on December 6th and again on December 14th. Bring your extra change and listen to that resounding clink in the red bucket as your heart is warmed with the spirit of giving.




The Next Generation

Each year, new leaders are pushed to the forefront of the FFA to serve as officers. This year, eight potential officers submitted applications and sat down to speak with interviewers who had knowledge of FFA. The interviewers asked a number of questions to get to know the applicants better, such as "If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?" and "How do you avoid conflict?" Then the interviewers put together what they believed to be the best "slate" for the upcoming year. Slate is the proposed officer team for the next year. Slate was passed to the seniors for approval. The elected 2014-2015 officer team are as follows; Jordyn Sills - President, Daniel Schriver - Vice President, Sara Crickard - Secretary, Brandt Couch - Treasurer, Kyle Pinkerton - Reporter, and Zane Herr - Sentinel.

On November 15th, members met at Zane Herr's house for a potluck chili dinner for games and fellowship as well as to get down to business. Current President Nick Thompson opened the meeting and it was moved to adopt the committee's recommendation. The new officers will be inducted in January with their first order of business being to create the chapter's Program of Activities, a tentative calendar of activities planned for the coming year.


Returning Home

2004 Southern Wells graduate and former FFA member, Andrew Pursifull, ventured back into the agriculture classroom to share his background with the Introduction and Agribusiness classes. Pursifull works for the NRCS, or the National Resources Conservation Service. He explained his job description and promoted his company. He encouraged the classes to use the entire spectrum of skills learned in FFA to increase opportunities in the future.

Fellow NRCS co-workers demonstrated soil health and tested the soil judgers true knowledge of their contest. Part of their demonstration included showing the difference between no-till and conventional till farming. The soil as a whole is losing vital organic matter as hay and livestock is being taken out of the corn-bean rotation. Residue from these processes helps to feed the bacteria to create organic matter. A good soil has at least five earthworms to each shovelful. As their environment decreases, the earthworms disappear. The class dipped below the microscopic level to see how protozoa and bacteria work to feed the plant. Then it was demonstrated what happens to the no-till soil and conventional soil as rain attempts to impact the soil. No-till soil drained water efficiently while conventional tillage did not. Andrea Murray got her hands rather dirty showing that the no-till soil still absorbs water. The conventional till sample seemingly melted through the wire net submersed into a cylinder of water. The men from NRCS explained that the major problem with fields today is not a runoff problem, its an infiltration problem. Students were exposed to different aspects of agriculture and were given roads to travel on in the future if they wanted to pursue an agriculture degree.


Contact me!

I'd like to hear from you! Leave a comment or email me directly. Feel free to contact my advisor directly at sstauffer@swraiders.com.