Tag Archives: FFA

CropLife America 2014 – I Went, I Saw, I Spoke

Now that I am back on the ranch and have calmed down sufficiently to form coherent thoughts, I want to share my experience at CropLife America’s 2014 Policy Conference. This was the first time I’ve done anything of this caliber, it was quite an eye-opening experience for this ranch kid.

Speaking in public or even performing in public (ask me about the burlesque show I was in!) is not an issue for me. Years and years of 4-H, FFA, and college clubs have honed me into an old pro when it comes to crowds, plus once you’ve sang and danced in your underwear in front of your hometown, there is nothing left to fear!

Or so I thought.

Speaking in front of a roomful of people that I respect and lurk often? Whose books, articles and blogs I go to for information and opinions? With cameras and people live-tweeting what I was saying!? In our nation’s capital?! With no cow poo on me?!? Nope. That was not my natural habitat and more than just a whisper outside of my comfort zone.

I was so scared the morning of the conference that I took almost no pictures, which is rare for me! They had TV's where live tweets where streaming, I could see my friend Jenny's tweeting and it made me feel so much better!

They had TVs where live tweets where streaming, I could see my friend Jenny’s tweets and it made me feel so much better!

I was terrified the morning of the conference. It was so ridiculous because I met many of the other participants and CropLife members the night before, and everyone was fantastically nice. We were going to be talking about a subject that is my greatest passion and deepest love. Regardless, the few hours before my panel I was a hot mess. I was convinced I had made a HUGE mistake by agreeing to do this. I wondered if anyone would notice if I just hid in the bathroom?

I met my fellow panelist, Dee Dee Darden, the night before. She was warm, engaging and knew her ham (seriously I want to buy a country ham from her)! Jesse Hirsch, I was familiar with because of his work with Modern Farmer (subscribe, it’s great stuff). And our moderator was Ali Velshi (OMG). And then there was me – needless to say, I felt out-gunned, intimidated and a long, long, way from home.

I was so scared the morning of the conference that I took few pictures, which is rare for me. I stole this picture from CropLife America. Look how terrified I look.

I was so scared the morning of the conference that I took few pictures, which is rare for me. I stole this picture from CropLife America. I look terrified.

When it was time to start, I nervously stumbled on the stage and tried to smile. I kept reminding myself that I castrate things for a living. That no one in that room was 1200 pounds, mooing and trying to kill me. Thankfully, Jesse and Dee Dee spoke before me, so I had a few minute to acclimatize to being on stage. When it was was my turn to speak, Mr. Velshi brought up Silly pig, and my hogs, which is my happy place. Much to my surprise, I opened my mouth and words actually came out! Once our panel started, I lost my nerves and decided I had made the right choice by not hiding in the bathroom.

As promised, the video of our panel:

Let’s talk about Ali Velshi for a second. A large part of the reason I was willing to leave the ranch and participate in this panel was because I was familiar with his work both on TV and when he moderated the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Dialogues in New York. Mr. Velshi gets it; he realizes how important agriculture is and he talks about that fact. We have a primetime, well respected journalist taking time to moderate conferences and interact with farmers and ranchers –  are we paying attention Agriculture?

What I like most about Mr. Velshi’s moderating style is how he approached this sometimes contentious topic with humor and knowledge, it made me want to send him some Brown Ranch Beef. He quipped that his “perception of food is just fantastic” but at the same time was able to weave serious issues that face agriculture into the conversation. He mentioned that Al Jazeera realizes their main markets tend to be in the northeast but our natural resource-related problems tend to be elsewhere and they are trying to bring attention to that fact. Hey Agriculture, again does that sound like another industry we know?

Since I’ve been home, I have made more of an effort to watch Al Jazeera because I want to be informed about their reporting on those issues that are relevant to me. I urge you to do the same, I believe it is important for agriculture to engage and be aware of journalists and media that are willing to listen to us. Plus, Al Jazeera is right next to RFD TV (at least on my TV) so it makes watching both convenient! I have to say, Al Jazeera does do a stupendous job of reporting the news (no Justin Bieber or celebrity weddings!).

To wrap up, attending this conference was sensational for me for so many reasons. Getting out of my comfort zone, no matter how terrifying it was at the time, forced me to learn and accept new points of view, which makes me a more effective communicator. Mingling and having conversations with national leaders of my industry was enlightening and inspiring. But something I did not plan on getting from this conference was the confidence to do it again. I now know, that if someone asked, I could get on a plane tomorrow, and hold my own anywhere in the world. What a feeling.

I promised myself that if I kept my foul language in check and did a good job, that I could buy myself a new pair of boots....

I promised myself that if I kept my foul language in check and did a good job, that I could buy myself a new pair of boots….


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Filed under Ag, agriculture, Field Trip, Humor, Know a California Farmer, Media, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

CORE Butte FFA Harvest Dinner 2012

You Guys! Remember last year when I spoke at FFA career week? Well I ended up sitting on their FFA advisory board and getting an FFA Intern. I cannot say enough good things about this program, the kids, and their teacher. It’s just stellar.

They are having their Second Annual CORE Butte FFA Harvest Dinner!

The Dinner is November 2nd, 2012. 6:00pm Social and Dinner at 6:30pm

It will be held at the CARD Community Center in Chico, CA. (545 Valombrosa Rd.)

All Proceeds go to supporting the CORE Butte FFA chapter. Tickets are $50 a person and includes: A wonderful Tri-Tip and Chicken Buffet (Provided by AS Catering), Silent Auction and Concert by Adrian- Buckaroo Girl and the Matthew Clough Band. Please join us for a wonderful evening filled with fun and excitement. 

Please Contact Jessica Anderson, 530-321-5608 or inspiredequinesol@yahoo.com for questions and tickets.

If you are in the Butte County area I really think you should consider coming to this! It will be a wonderful evening, supporting a wonderful group. Plus you can sit with me!

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I’m Begging for Your Support Again, but it’s for THE KIDS

Remember back a couple months ago when I got to speak to that group of FFA kids? And they were totally awesome and I was really excited? When I ended up being on their FFA Board – which is so much fun! Unfortunately because of my crazy schedule this time of year, I haven’t been able to be that active yet. All I can do is try my best to get some donations. You see, this little charter school wants to start their own school farm!!!! During a time when most schools are shutting down their agriculture programs, this one is trying to start one!!!! So if you have some extra money or farm equipment or anything to help won’t you consider helping them out? I’m attaching the letter they sent out to local business’s so you can see I am being totally serious. Please contact Ms. Anderson or myself if you want to donate. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Dear Sponsor!

Let me start by saying thank you for your time.  The reason I am sending you this letter is to ask for your support and help.  I am privileged with the opportunity to start a new FFA and Ag program at the CORE Butte Charter School in Chico.  The Charter school allows students to have the opportunity to develop an education program that fits their learning style while having the time and flexibility to pursue those passions that interest them as well.  With FFA and Ag being such a huge leadership and skills building opportunity, and the dynamics of the Charter school allowing student to get involved- blending the two is a phenomenal new precedent we are setting.

FFA is the Future Farmers of America.  In FFA students have the opportunity to develop leadership skills which they can use for the rest of their lives no matter the career choice.  Students have the opportunity to participate in events like job interview, public speaking, judging contests, and so much more.  Students can also run for office, raise animals for fair, develop their own business through entrepreneurship- the possibilities are limitless.  Developing a new program is exciting and challenging.  Based on the nature of CORE being a charter school we do not qualify for state funding.  Which is where YOU come in!

We are looking for companies and businesses to support our program and grant these students this tremendous opportunity. We have been fortunate to acquire a school farm and are now in the process of building it.  Building a farm from the ground up is an exciting and huge task. We  are asking for donations and support to our farm in any way possible. Whether it be gravel for our road and ag complex, drip irrigation supplies, lumber for animal houses and planter boxes, soil for the planters, floral supplies, rubber mats for stalls, hoses, animal science supplies, etc. we are appreciative for any support we can receive.

Every bit of support is much appreciated.   Your support will be used to develop and grow the Ag department and provide students this unique opportunity of “learning by doing”.  Students have the opportunity to not only work out at the farm but experience ag in a hands on way. It is community supporters like yourself, which make the dreams and opportunities for students a reality.  With your support, in return, we will add your name to our sponsor list on all event paraphernalia, our event banners that are displayed at fairs, community events, and FFA events, as well as to our website.  Thanks you for considering and supporting our future agriculturalists and leaders of tomorrow.


Thank You,

Jessica Anderson  FFA/Ag Advisor       


  www.corecharterffa.weebly.com                                                                                          530-321-5608         


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FFA Career Week

I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at a local FFA Chapter last night in honor of FFA week. I haven’t been to a FFA meeting in over 10 years, I’ll admit, I got a whisper misty eyed when the members were performing their opening ceremonies.


Mr. Jim Holt, was also a speaker. When I attended CSU Chico, Mr. Holt was “THE Meat Guy”. I worked for him in the meats lab my Junior and Senior year. I was the offical jerky girl, which was pretty awesome. The best part about it was after a long day of making jerky and being a college kid, my friends and I would meet up for some cold, refreshing adult beverages at the local water hole. Let me tell you what, being a cute, blonde girl that smells like jerky in a bar full of drunk college boys is the perfect recipe for free drinks. Not that I would know.

Mr. Holt stressed that the meat industry needs good people. That there are jobs available to people that want to work hard. If he would have gone on much longer, I would have applied to CSU for a masters in meat science.


Colleen Cecil spoke about the Farm Bureau and how wonderful it is, and all the opportunities available to its members – regardless if you farm or ranch for a living or not. Seriously non-aggie people, think about joining your local Farm Bureau, it is a great group, I have lot of fun and learn a lot through this organization. 


This is a slide from my PowerPoint. I basically told them FFA gives them life skills that will enable them to do anything. It’s the truth, I know my time in FFA prepared me for almost anything!


When my talk was over with, the President presented me with a hand-written thank you card and gift. Very classy, I was very impressed.




I had a ball getting to talk to these kids! It was fun to speak in public again, I miss it. I have a feeling this is a start of a new hobby for me!


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