About 125 high schoolers descended on Auburn last week as part of the College of Education’s Agriscience Education program’s first-ever Greenhand Conference. Greenhand is the first level of achievement for high school Future Farmers of America (FFA) students. The students represented 11 different high schools from across the state.
“This was the first of what will be an annual event that is expected to grow in size and impact over the next several years,” said Abby Heidenreich , a graduate student in the Agriscience Education program, and coordinator of the conference. “The Greenhand level is basically like a Tenderfoot in Boy Scouts. It’s where you learn about the purpose and history of the FFA, and begin to develop an understanding of the various careers that are out there in agriculture.”
The students rotated through a series of five workshops that covered FFA, Career Development Events, Supervised Agricultural Experience, Careers in Agriculture, and The Old Rotation history and research projects. The event began in the Ham Wilson Livestock Arena, and activities pread to sites around the Auburn campus.
“The workshops were designed to cover material that is required knowledge to earn the Greenhand FFA Degree,” Heidenreich explained. “Each workshop included hands-on interactive activities to further engage students. Even Aubie made an appearance and participated in some of the workshops. Every event is better when Aubie shows up!”
Heidenreich feels the Greenhand conference has a strong future at Auburn.
“The best way for us to grow the number and the quality of students involved in FFA, the Agriscience Education program here at Auburn, and the agriculture industry in Alabama, is by involving young people. The sooner we can get them involved and excited to be a part of FFA and the world of agriculture, the better. If we can get these students excited, get them interacting with each other and their teachers, they’re going to be motivated and push themselves to achieve great things in life – which is the ultimate goal of everything we do: to impact students’ lives in a positive way. There were a lot of female students, and students from different ethnic backgrounds on hand, so we think the future of agriculture is in good hands. We’re hoping this is just the start of something great.”