Mia Airsman New CA FFA Secretary

Airsman Found a Passion for Agriculture in the FFA


By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network of the West

Mia Airsman was elected as the new California State FFA Secretary last month. The graduating senior at Galt High School didn’t come from an ag background but developed a passion for the industry through her FFA experience.

“Growing up, I didn’t really have a background in ag. I don’t come from like a farm production or like any sort of ag background. I kind of found that love when I got to high school in our ag program, said Airsman.And so I just dove in headfirst, whether that was ag mechanics, floral, ag biology. I tried it out all my freshman year, and then from there I was able to kind of see that this was something that I could definitely pursue as a career.”

The association had to make an adjustment to elect their officers this year online. Airsman said it was stressful but worth it.

“I didn’t know what to expect originally going into it. This was all completely new to me, and then when everything got switched virtually, it was kind of challenging because you’re running for state office, like essentially from your bedroom, and it’s so anticlimactic, said Airsman.

But I kind of also enjoyed being able to be at home, but there was like a lot of anxiety leading up to it because you’re constantly waiting for your camera to pop on, and then suddenly you’re being interviewed. So I would say it was a little bit stressful and nerve-wracking, but in the end, it was completely worth it.

The FFA organization continues to create passionate leaders for agriculture.

Emma Thorpe is CAL FFA VP

FFA Vice President Discovered a Passion for Food Science in the Organization

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network of the West

Emma Thorpe was recently elected to state Vice President FFA office. The graduating senior from El Capitan High School outside of the San Diego area was first encouraged to join the organization by her sister. But it was a competition during her freshman year that ignited her passion for the organization and also her career choice.

“The agriscience FFA competition. Mr. Meade really pushed me my freshman year because I came in wanting to do science, but I didn’t know how we can incorporate that with agriculture, because I thought our program was primarily focused on farming. And so he told me about the idea of a science competition,” said Thorpe.

Not only did she compete in agriscience, but won it on both the state and national levels in the food science category. This led her to competing again for the next three years, and it will come as no surprise what she hopes to do career-wise after her year as a state officer.

“That’s what I want to major in college now is because I was so involved with it the last four years that I developed a huge passion for food science. And so after this year of state office, I really want to pursue that in college,” said Thorpe.

Helping other students find what they’re passionate about will be a focus for Thorpe as she spends the next year serving over 80,000 California FFA members that span over 320 high schools.

State FFA Sentinel Wants Inclusiveness in Ag

State FFA Sentinel Spreads the Message of Inclusiveness in Agriculture

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network of the West

Maico Ortiz from Galt was elected State FFA Sentinel last month. For the first time, the association had to move their elections online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Throughout his year of service, the newly elected state officer hopes to spread the message of inclusiveness.

“Inclusiveness is something that has really just stuck with me. At Galt High, we were very adamant about making sure everybody felt included and making sure everybody felt like they had a home in the ag department. And I know California FFA has done a ton of work in terms of moving into that direction, Ortiz said. But we also have a lot of work to do, and that’s okay because I mean, not everything’s going to happen overnight. But, we offer so many pathways for students in order for them to find a career or be successful. I was very attracted to the science aspect of it and the leadership aspect of it, but we have mechanics, we have horticulture,” he noted.

 “There’s just so many different parts of it that students can really find their passions within it,” Ortiz.  “So I want to make sure that students always know they have a home in their ag departments or in the association as a whole and to make sure that they find their passions and regardless of what they decide to do after high school, that they can always look back on their time and be like, that was worth it, And I’m happy that I got to be a part of it,” he said

Ortiz, who is already a student at Chico State, will take the year off from college to serve the youth agricultural leadership organization.

FFA Student Anna Kelly Experimenting with Garlic Eggs

Anna Kelly Feeds Her Chickens Garlic to Flavor Their Eggs with Garlic

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s a very interesting concept, garlic eggs. Flavoring freshly-laid eggs with garlic. How to do it is very simple, according to Anna Kelly with the West Sacramento FFA at River City High School, who is working with a Blue Ameraucana chicken. She had the idea of replicating what your grandparents may have done. They just fed their laying hens some garlic.

Blue Ameraucana Chicken

They wanted to try to change their chickens’ diets cause their chickens were not eating much

And low and behold, the eggs started tasting as if they were seasoned with garlic.

Kelly got the idea of feeding her chicken garlic as a research project.

“I took one garlic clove, and I fed it to my chicken, whose name is Monster, and she loved it,” said Kelly. “And every time when I gave her daily garlic, she would meet me up at her bedding, and it was so cute.”

She found that her chicken wanted the garlic, and sure enough, the eggs had a garlic taste. She asked her culinary arts teacher, Cheryle Sutton to see if she could cook one of her chicken’s garlic eggs. The teacher said okay.

“I cut it up, and I asked several of my teachers to try it,” Kelly said. “And it was amazing; the teachers said it tasted like an actual garlic egg. No salt and pepper, no other additional seasonings.”

“What I’m hoping is to grow my project more. I am incubating more chickens, and I’m going to put them on the same diet. I want to test different varieties of chickens to see which one’s eggs taste more like garlic eggs,” Kelly explained.

Eventually, she may grow the project into a wholesale operation supplying grocery stores with garlic-tasting eggs.

To hear a podcast with Anna Kelly on her garlic eggs experiment, click here.

CA FFA Leadership Conference April 24-28

91st FFA Annual Conference is in Anaheim

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The FFA is a leadership and career development organization found in many California high schools. It represents more than 91,000 members from 320 chapters across the state.

About 7,000 of those FFA students will converge on Anaheim from April 24 to 26 for the 91st Annual Conference.

“There’s going to be some public speaking contests, and the students will participate in workshops by the agricultural colleges and universities throughout the state,” said Matt Patton, Executive Director of California FFA. “They’re also going to conduct the business of the FFA association. It is a true student-run organization.”

All 320 chapters from California will send two delegates to do the organization’s business. There are a couple of items that they’re going to debate on and vote on what will be a change in the bylaws of the FFA. Additionally, they are going to elect their new state officers that will represent the state of California for the upcoming year.

Patton noted the diversity of the California FFA.

“Of the more than 91,000 members, 48 percent are female, and 51 percent are male. Hispanic and Latino members represent 41 percent, 43 percent are Caucasian, with three percent African American. We are very diverse in a large demographic of areas.”

For more information on the upcoming convention: https://www.calaged.org/stateconvention

FFA Jackets Giving Tuesday Campaign

FFA Jackets Needed for Members

By Laurie Greene, Associate Editor

We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the newest opportunity, #GivingTuesday—a global day of giving that has grown into a movement uniting people around the world on November 29th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

There’s a big #GivingTuesday campaign for the California FFA to purchase 100 of those iconic blue FFA jackets for members in need.

FFA Members explore a diverse range of opportunities in agriculture

Katie Otto, development director of the California FFA Foundation said, “We have approximately 84,000 members in California, and 324 different chapters. Our members say having a jacket makes them feel like they are a part of something,” she said.

“It’s something that they hold on to. It makes them feel unified in what they’re doing. ‘Not to mention, a lot of our students wear jackets to field days,” Otto noted.

“They wear them at their county fair when they show, at chapter meetings and conferences. The list goes on and on in terms of opportunities where they wear their jackets.”

Each $65 raised will purchase a jacket along with an FFA tie for young men and a scarf for young women. 

Black Friday and Cyber Tuesday are all about getting things; #GivingTuesday is set aside for giving. Of course you do not have to wait for #GivingTuesday for the FFA campaign. You can donate anytime, now and even beyond Nov. 29.

How can you donate to the FFA #GivingTuesday campaign? Go to calaged.org/givingtuesday.

Credit cards and Pay Pal accounts are accepted.