Fresno State Launches New Agricultural Leadership Program

Fresno State’s Avery Culbertson Launches Solid Agricultural Leadership Program


By Lauren Dutra, Associate Editor


Dr. Avery Culbertson, who is passionate about agricultural leadership joined California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) in August, in a newly created position to develop an Ag leadership curriculum for the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

Dr. Culbertson’s interest in Ag leadership was initially sparked by “being a product of National FFA Organization* (FFA). You have a lot of role models and influences around you. You start getting an idea of what Ag leadership is,” said Culbertson.

“After I got my degree in agricultural education and was looking for a job, I met with a colleague who said, ‘There are adult leadership programs around the country, and I want you to start one at New Mexico State University.’”

Having been trained by the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Culbertson was confident that she could successfully launch a program. “They really opened their arms to me,” she commented, “and provided resources. As that progressed, I started defining what leadership was.”

Culbertson asserted, “An agricultural leadership program is not only [about] understanding our industry, but understanding our customer. That became very important to me in and outside of the job. The only way that agriculture can lead in society is by understanding our stakeholders.”

Culbertson thinks it is critical not only to know how to lead—having the skill set to be a great speaker or to be knowledgeable in different fields,” she explained, “we also need to know who we are leading. As I’ve been discussing with my classes right now, leadership is a matter of taking a group of people and accomplishing a collective goal,” she said.

*National FFA Organization (FFA), formerly known as Future Farmers of America, helps students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

2016-09-21T10:50:45-07:00September 21st, 2016|

FFA Members are #FFAProud

FFA Members are #FFAProud

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor


Thousands of National FFA Organization (FFA) members have taken to social media to support a growing campaign known as #FFAProud. Sydnie Sousa, the 2015-2016 California FFA state vice president, said the #FFAProud movement stems from the pride its members feel at being a part of an organization that builds leadership skills and more.

“#FFAProud started,“ Sousa said, “because we want to be clear what we do in agriculture and what FFA was founded upon: premiere leadership, personal growth and career success. Students achieve all this by working with animals and caring for those animals properly.”

Sousa said students are proud to advocate because, “We work hard and diligently within this organization to make sure it is being showcased correctly from all different stages. We are in this organization developing leaders to educate people on the accurate story of agriculture. We truly are proud of the truth behind agriculture and the FFA,” Sousa said.

Sousa said the clear and confident response of FFA members to questions about agriculture and its practices demonstrates that FFA is strong. “It’s the core of our foundation; students rise to meet these challenges within agriculture,” Sousa said. “We are proud to share our stories and to be a part of this organization.”


The National FFA Organization website reports the letters “FFA” stand for Future Farmers of America. These letters are a part of our history and our heritage that will never change. But FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more. For this reason, the name of the organization was updated in 1988 after a vote of national convention delegates to reflect the growing diversity and new opportunities in the industry of agriculture.


Photo Source: Twitter

2016-05-31T19:24:09-07:00March 28th, 2016|

Bayer CropScience and National FFA Organization Announce Grants to Encourage Students to Seek Careers in Agriculture and Apiculture

Partnership will provide $50,000 in grants that promote career paths in science and challenge students to make advancements in improving honey bee health

Next year, Bayer CropScience, in partnership with the National FFA Organization, will provide grants to inspire interest in agriculture and apiculture professions among America’s youth. The grant program will help FFA members develop their unique talents and explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers with a focus on finding solutions that will help honey bees thrive. The program is a demonstration of Bayer’s continued commitment to engage with partners who focus on developing future STEM leaders, improving science literacy and driving bee health awareness.

“Bayer CropScience has been a long-standing advocate of FFA and supports its mission of building the next generation of farming leaders across America,” said Dr. Becky Langer, manager of Bayer‘s Bee Care Program. “Through this new initiative, we can help inspire young people to learn more about agriculture, create innovative solutions to some of our greatest industry challenges and pave the way for the future of farming.”

“We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership will give to our members,” said Molly Ball, president of National FFA Foundation. “Thanks to supporters like Bayer CropScience, FFA continues to grow future leaders in the agricultural industry.”

As a special project of the National FFA Foundation, Bayer’s investment of $50,000 will go toward three types of grants: Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) grants, Environmental Chapter grants and State grants.



Ten SAE grants worth $1,000 each will be awarded to students proposing projects focused on bee health. These grants feature hands-on learning opportunities as students work with their agricultural teachers to plan and execute their projects.


Environmental Chapter Grants

Bayer will give $20,000 in Environmental Chapter grants to support selected FFA chapters in implementing year-long, service-learning projects that address local environmental needs. Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning that challenges students to research, develop and implement solutions to identified needs in their school or community. Projects will be encouraged to focus on increasing forage by planting pollinator-friendly gardens and other pollinator-focused health initiatives.


State Grants

Bayer will give $20,000 for state-specific grants focusing on improving bee health through habitat and forage.


How to Apply

Environmental and state grants will be awarded in the spring of 2015 and work can begin immediately after notification. SAE grants will be awarded in fall of 2015 for activities to be conducted in 2016.

For more information about the Bayer and FFA grant program, please visit the FFA website.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

2016-05-31T19:32:11-07:00December 15th, 2014|
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