Amaris Ketcham

Develop Your Skills and Your Ag Program, Stay Engaged in Ag Ed

Blog Post created by Amaris Ketcham on Apr 30, 2012
Your weekly update from the National Council for Agricultural Education


Proposed Rule about Child Labor in Agriculture WITHDRAWN
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:
?The Obama Administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama Administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations. As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations. 

The decision to withdraw this rule ? including provisions to define the ?parental exemption? ? was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.  To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama Administration.  Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders ? such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H ? to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.?

This is a huge victory for American production agriculture ... and for school-based agricultural education ... and we extend our thanks to all who made the choice to get involved in preventing this proposed rulemaking from being implemented.  Good work Team Ag Ed!

Present a Workshop at the 2012 NAAE Convention in Atlanta. NAAE is accepting proposals for workshops to be presented at the 2012 NAAE Convention in Atlanta, Georgia November 27-December 1, 2012, relating to topics appropriate for middle, secondary and post-secondary educators of agricultural education. Send a proposal to to Alissa Smith at by May 15th to be considered. Find out which workshop subjects are requested by NAAE members>>

Register now to qualify for the early bird rate!
Early bird registration is open for the NAAE Convention.  Register before July 13 for a significant savings over the regular registration rate.  Visit for details and to register.
Book now at the NAAE Convention hotel, the Hilton Atlanta for a special rate.  NAAE has also worked with Delta Airlines so contention attendees can receive a 5% discount on flights.  See details at

Apply to be a Teach Ag Ambassador!
If you are a college student majoring in agricultural education AND you are passionate about spreading the Teach Ag message to others apply today to become a Teach Ag Ambassador during the 2012 National FFA Convention. Application deadline is May 14th! The position description and details can be found at

Apply for a NAAE Award
NAAE award applications are now available. We have awards for every stage of your career?from pre-service student scholarships to lifetime achievement awards.  Applications are available here.

Communities of Practice Video Guide
To enhance your CoP experience, we've created a series of short videos demonstrating important features. In "Setting Your Profile and Preferences," learn different ways to find, filter and organize information on NAAE's Communities of Practice. We will cover predictive searching, different ways to filter results, bookmarking and navigating through communities.Watch the video>>

Communities of Practice


The Labor Dept. cancels plans to tighten child labor laws, and several other key news headlines compete with a menagerie of unusual animal stories at the bottom of page one. Students will find other links to current information, controversies, and entertaining oddities about the varied aspects of agriculture.  

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology's (CAST) weekly online newsletter, Friday Notes, is available due to a grant from Winfield Solutions (a Land O?Lakes company).  Instructors of agriculture have access to the wide range of material from CAST, and they may forward the information to students for educational use with no strings attached.Click here to access the most recent edition of CASTFriday Notes.


It?s time to get off the fence and commit to changing your teaching style and agriculture program for good.  Registration for many of this summer?s CASE institutes will close by the end of the week.  Don?t let this opportunity pass you by. Many Institutes still have a few spots left. Visit to see availability and book your spot.

Two scholarships are available for female agricultural education majors to attend a CASE institute this summer and become certified to teach the CASE curriculum. Read eligibility requirements>>

If you are interested in field testing the CASE Animal and Plant Biotechnology (APB) curriculum in your program next school year, here is an opportunity to get a partial scholarship to the APB institute that will be happening in Ankeny, Iowa, June 11-22, 2012. Read More>>

In addition, Mosaic is sponsoring CASE Institute Scholarships for beginning and experienced teachers in Florida and Louisiana.

From FFA

National Education Startup Challenge
NCC-CTSO members, the due date to submit applications for the National Education Startup Challenge is drawing near. Applications are due onTuesday, May 1, 2012, by 5 p.m.  Thank you all for your help in the development and promotion of this Challenge and your assistance with the recruitment of judges.

Today is the last day to Register early and Save $50 for July?s FFA Alumni Development Conference
For the first time, registrants to the top learning and networking experience for National FFA Alumni members can save by securing their spot early.

Registration is OPEN for the 2012 FFA Alumni Development Conference, held July 11-15 in Bozeman, Mont., and conference participants who sign up by April 30 can save $50. Registration starts at $400 and includes hotel accommodations, workshops, a conference shirt, most meals and transportation to/from local agricultural and cultural tours. Why Should you Attend? What?s the Agenda? What do Participants Need to Know? Find all this and more on the FFA Alumni website, Register Today!

The National Collegiate Ag Ambassador program is designed for college students to be advocates for our industry.  We look for college students who have a desire to promote agriculture and help others better understand the value and importance of the industry to a variety of audiences. Twenty ambassadors from across the US are chosen each year, and given the challenge to help as many people as possible better understand how the agriculture industry directly affects their life.  Applicants must meet the following requirements to apply for the program:

  • must have completed, or be completing their freshman year of college when applying
  • must be pursuing an agriculture related degree
  • must be a full time student the entire year they are serving as an ambassador (2012-13 school year)
  • must have a genuine desire to promote agriculture
Scholarship money ($1,000) and a digital camera are provided to all selected ambassadors, as well as the use of an iPad and LCD projector. Ambassadors go through two intense trainings in August and December to learn about the issues currently facing the industry, as well as proper presentation skills. Below are four important links regarding the application process; I highly recommend students review the FAQ and screen shots link before beginning the application so they fully understand the program and what will be asked of them during the application process.  

All applications must be submitted by 5 PM EST on June 1, 2012.  If you have any questions at all regarding the program and/or application, please do not hesitate to contact me.  If you have any questions, please contact Lindsey Calhoun at

New! Living to Serve: Environmental Grant Program
The National FFA Organization is pleased to announce the availability of grant funds for FFA chapters to develop service-learning projects that impact environmental issues in their community. The Living to Serve: Environmental Grants are provided through funding from CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Chapters may apply for up to $2,000 to support year-long service-learning projects focused on developing and implementing projects that address local environmental needs. Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning that challenges students to identify, research, develop, and implement solutions to needs in their school or community as part of their curriculum.Project topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Wildlife conservation
  • Land preservation
  • Environmental education and stewardship
  • Recycling and composting

Read More>>


Take Your Agribusiness Course or SAE to the Next Level
USDA is continuing to conduct a series of small business conferences to facilitate rural economic growth and increase small business contracting participation by enhancing the competitive posture of small farmer-owned cooperatives and small rural businesses to compete successfully for government and commercial contracts, both prime and subcontracts. Read More>>

Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth School Pilot Program: Training Teachers Coast to Coast
While adding a gardening program to the elementary school classroom, the teacher introduces math concepts ? deftly integrating her classroom lessons into a real world experience. Soon the students will be planting this garden for real ? just as they have planned it ? as will 4,000 other youth in 57 schools in Iowa, Arkansas, New York and Washington participating in Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth (HGHY), a project of the People?s Garden School Pilot Project. Read more »

USDA released a new farm to school grant program designed to help give children a sense of where their food comes from and increase the availability of local foods in schools. Joined by students at Southern High School in Harwood, MD, as well as school and elected officials, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement in an on-campus greenhouse. Read more »


Register today for the most exciting and talked-about CTE event of the year and experience excellence for your classroom, your program and your own professional development. At CareerTech VISION 2012, you will connect, interact, network and achieve with thousands of your fellow CTE professionals from across the country and around the world. Catch the VISION?because together, we make it work!
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    Kick-start your thinking with these 60-minute sessions exploring new models, curricula and partnerships that produce proven results!
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    Dig deeper with these two-hour sessions inspiring action on the fresh ideas and practices that target the goals of your strategic-improvement plans!
  • Comprehensive Tracks
    Focus on comprehensive tracks of proven, successful models of education systems and processes centered on CTE?including ICLE Model Schools and SREB High Schools/Tech Centers That Work!
  • Key Partnerships
    Enrich your professional development with a wider scope of experts partnering with ACTE, including NOCTI, NC3, CompTIA, IVETA, NAAE, ACTER, Cengage Learning ... and many more!
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    Zero in on your specific needs with these focus areas:
    • Certification/Assessment
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    • Teacher Success
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  • CareerTech Expo
    Leverage the power of choice with over 200 companies showcasing the latest products, processes and services for the CTE professional?and, before you decide, experience it all for yourself through hands-on workshops!