Students advocate agriculture through FFA Week

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Students from Chilton County High and Isabella High stand in front of a D11 Dozer, the largest bulldozer made by Caterpillar, at Thompson Tractor Company in Tarrant.

Future Farmers of America chapters at several schools in Chilton County recently participated in National FFA Week to celebrate and promote agriculture.

Students from Isabella, Thorsby, Maplesville, Jemison and Chilton County high schools spent the week of Feb. 16–23 hosting teacher appreciation breakfasts, conducting “Ag Olympics” competitions, speaking to the community about agriculture, volunteering for community service projects and advancing their agricultural education through hands-on experience.

“FFA Week gives members a chance to educate the public about agriculture,” Isabella agriscience instructor Landon Lowery said.

The theme of this year’s FFA Week was leadership, growth and success.

Before the week started, nearly 100 students in FFA chapters across the county went on a field trip to Thompson Tractor Company Inc. in Tarrant on Feb. 8 as part of their agriculturally focused activities planned for the national campaign.

Lowery said students were given an overview of the careers available to them at the center, which sells and distributes Caterpillar construction equipment, and were led on a tour of the facility.

They were shown the process by which a Caterpillar machine is totally rebuilt or partially refurbished and how a new machine is assembled, Lowery said.

“The highlight of the day was each student was allowed a brief moment in the cab of the D11 dozer, the largest dozer made by Caterpillar,” he said. “All of the chapters involved believe that this is one step in the long process of making sure all of our members achieve success in their future. We would also like to thank Thompson Caterpillar for giving us an opportunity to visit and greatly appreciate the hospitality.”

Thorsby agriscience instructor Brian Lucas said his students benefited from a one-day land judging event held at a local resident’s farm during FFA Week because it allowed them to apply methods from their classroom instruction in an on-the-job type of environment.

“This is a real-world application for what you’re learning in the classroom,” Lucas said and cited situations in which students had to evaluate soil textures and calculate how much mulch was needed to fill landscape beds.

“What we’re going to try to do next year is as a whole county, all the FFA members come together and do something that week,” Lowery said. “Anything like that to encourage members and participate, we need to do here.”

The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947 at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting, and it traditionally runs from Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday.

For more information about National FFA Week, visit