HART looks at FFA

Hanna Agricultural Resources Team discusses growing season, new FFA liason positions


Mike Armstrong

The HART board discusses gardening items at their monthly meeting on March 25 at Hanna Market.

Hanna Agriculture Resources Team (HART) met at 5:30 p.m. on March 27 at the Hanna Mart to discuss how to get the community garden in town ready for the growing season.

David Freeman, a senior at Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) High School and current liaison for the Bow River Future Farmers of America (FFA), will be graduating in May and HART will need to fill this position for next year.

Ellen Freeman put forth criteria for the new liaison. HART is looking at having two of these positions this year. These positions allow for a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) that is required for a Chapter FFA degree. An SAE can be earned for anything from raising livestock at a school farm to a research project for class and, according to the FFA student handbook, there are eight types of SAE projects that work towards the degree.

SAE projects include: entrepreneurship, placement, agriscience research, agricultural service learning, exploratory, improvement, supplemental and directed school laboratory. SAE projects are often exhibited at county and state fairs, whether it is showing livestock or displaying a project. An SAE is one of the three components of agricultural education, the other two being a FFA member and classroom instruction.

Application of experiential learning in agriculture programs has changed a great deal since FFA was established in 1928. A higher percentage of high school students lived on farms back then, so SAE programs commonly focused on farm related activities. As time has gone by far fewer high school students live on farms and fewer students have easy access to farm related experiential programs. HART's community garden project allows Bow River FFA students an opportunity to work towards their degree.

"The Bow River FFA requires 10,000 hours from seventh grade until graduation in SAE," Ellen Freeman said. "So these kids have to have opportunities and Hanna is low on opportunities and that is a lot of hours."

She said although HART would not be able to give all 10,000 hours to a student, the organization could help.

The liaisons would be appointed by the HART board. The position is unpaid because it is an SAE. Ellen Freeman said it would be optimal if a student started as liaison at seventh grade and was with HART until graduation.

The duties will include taking care of the designated Bow River FFA garden bed, advocate for use of the garden to grades K-12 and various clubs in Hanna. The liaison will also help HART and any owner that requests help. They will help with creating the rock garden that is being planned by grades 6-12.

The liaison will present any relevant information at the monthly HART meetings. They will also be facilitators between the Bow River FFA and Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) High School administration. The term will end when the liaison is no longer a member of the FFA or a student of HEM.

There was also a scholarship of $150 proposed for one FFA member that HART could sponsor. The conditions were that a student be in good academic standing and it was likely a liaison would be the first candidate considered. The scholarship would go to a graduating senior.

Nancy Anderson, HART member, proposed looking into becoming a 501(c)3 non-profit. The board agreed research should be done to see if this was a viable option for the HART organization.

Ellen Freeman said the Hanna Library has offered a room for HART to use to start their seed sprouting.

"I think that is a wonderful thing we should take advantage of," Rose Dobbs, HART member, said.

HART meets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Hanna Hometown Market in Hanna.


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