"Don't expect the scenery to change any if you're sittin' on the fence."
In my teaching career, I have lived in two awesome agriculture communities. The first community I taught in (Hermiston), is a community that is relatively young, but boy are they progressive. Most of the agriculture producers came there from somewhere else, and when they were developing their farms they invested in the newest irrigation technologies. This allowed them to experiment with different crops. Irrigation was a must because the soil is extremely sandy and rainfall amounts to 10 inches or less per year. The community has a thriving economy, and it is growing by leaps and bounds -- businesses are always there to support non-profits and the fundraisers are always breaking records.
The community that I now live in is only 20 minutes east from Hermiston, but has a totally different outlook on things. Pendleton is rich in tradition, many of the farms are a century old, and have been in the family for three to five generations. It is all dryland farming here -- the soil is a rich, silty loam and we get 12-20 inches of rain a year. Change in Pendleton is not well received like it is in Hermiston. The population in Hermiston is growing every year, while it drops in Pendleton. Pendleton still farms much the same way as "Grandpa" did it, with the exception of the equipment. We have a historic downtown and a rodeo that has been here for 105 years and still operates the way it did in 1910. I am an outsider to both of these communities, so it allows me to watch what happens as we progress through time. Change can be a hard thing to wrap your arms around.
Have you ever heard that busy people make the best leaders? You are probably already aware of this statement because you recruit the most active and busiest students to be on your FFA officer team. They tend to be the most organized because they are involved in so many different activities.
As we near the NAAE Conference in New Orleans, I would like to remind you that we will have a secretary's position that will need to be filled. MOU's are due to the NAAE office by September 15th, if you are interested in running for a NAAE office. The secretary position is a one year term of service. NAAE pays your National and Regional Conference expenses. I would also like to encourage you to be thinking of running for the Region I Vice President position. My term will be up in 2016, in Las Vegas. Serving in these positions has been a wonderful experience, and I have fully enjoyed my time getting to know and serve the ag teachers in the western region. I would highly recommend running for these positions, you will not be disappointed.
The regional award recipients have been announced. Thank you to those who served on an award selection committee, we had a great turn out of people that took their time to score this year's applications. Fifteen students were selected for the NAAE Upper Division Scholarship, two of which were from the western region. These scholarships help ag education students during their student teaching experience. Please continue to encourage the ag ed majors in your state to apply for these scholarships. Don't forget to register for NAAE conference, the registration fee is now $375 until October 16th. The conference will be at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, and rooms could be limited, as we are sharing this hotel with ACTE. However the ACTE conference will not start until Friday this year -- this will make our last NAAE business meeting on Saturday go later, so if you are a delegate, please plan ahead.