Better Together

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

The National FFA Organization is the largest student-led organization in the country. It was built on the three circle model that emphasizes classroom learning, supervised agricultural experiences and leadership development, with the motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, and Living to Serve. What does the National FFA Organization have to do with WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences?  Often, FFA members come to WSU to pursue CAHNRS majors. The skills that these students gain in high school enable them to serve as outstanding students, leaders and researchers on campus.

FFA students stand outside Martin Stadium on the WSU campus.
FFA members stand outside Martin Stadium during their annual statewide conference, held each year on the Pullman campus.

Learning to Do

Agricultural Education and FFA work in tandem to teach students the skills necessary to become productive, successful members of society. CAHNRS’ focus is hands-on learning. Past FFA members come into CAHNRS with impressive soft skills and a solid understanding of what it takes to pursue their desired careers.

Doing to Learn

Hands-on learning is a cornerstone of both FFA and CAHNRS. While receiving lessons in the classroom is necessary to learn content, FFA members and CAHNRS Cougs enjoy endless opportunities to learn in the classroom as well as apply that learning to real-life scenarios. FFA members practice their skills through CDEs (career development events), ranging from public speaking to land evaluation. CAHNRS offers lab and research experience as well as leadership opportunities for students to enhance their classroom learning.

Earning to Live

Career success is a focus of both the National FFA Organization and CAHNRS. The end goal is to send students into the workforce with the skills and knowledge to be competitive candidates for any career they may choose. CAHNRS is a place for students to come and find their place in the world and FFA is a organization that gives students a sense of belonging. FFA members who become CAHNRS Cougs develop their passions and dive into them—which more often than not leads to career success and satisfaction.

Two FFA students talk with a woman in front of a sign for the Department of Animal Sciences at WSU.
FFA students learn about WSU’s Animal Science program at their annual statewide conference in Pullman.

Living to Serve

CAHNRS is unique in many ways, but at its core CAHNRS seeks to teach its students about the fundamental aspects of life. From growing the food we eat and protecting the resources that produce it, to getting those products to consumers, to understanding the consumer’s behavior, CAHNRS students live to serve the environment and the people that live in it. FFA members strive to serve their communities and the agricultural industry as a whole through donating their time and talents.

The Expo

The 90th National FFA Convention & Expo will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana from October 25th to 28th. Each year, close to 65,000 people come together to support FFA members, the agriculture industry and the National FFA Organization as a whole. During the week of convention FFA members compete in Career Development Events, are recognized for endless hours of work on their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) projects, connect with future colleges and employers, and build an invaluable network of people from all over the country. CAHNRS is the proud home to a few of those members.

Juniors Rebecca Foote and Maya Wahl will be facilitating a leadership workshop for FFA members, titled “Find Your Own Right Way.” The workshop will help students define leadership and develop their own personal style. Recently retired past state officers and first year CAHNRS Cougs, Luke Moore and Alyssa McGee, are returning to the National FFA Convention to receive their American FFA Degree, the highest honor an FFA member can receive. Their hard work and dedication to their SAE projects over their FFA careers has paid off and they have the opportunity to be recognized one more time. Freshmen in Field Crop Management and Agricultural Biotechnology, Michael Lipps and Rylie Reed, will be representing the Connell FFA Chapter competing in the Agronomy CDE. Jordyn Hummel from Yelm, a freshman studying Agricultural Education, will be representing Washington FFA in the National Employment Skills CDE. Andrew Gutierrez, a freshman studying Economics, will be heading back with his Agricultural Mechanics team from Kuna, Idaho.

If you want to encourage our Washington FFA members who are traveling back to National FFA Convention or connect with your fellow CAHNRS Cougs, use the hashtags #ICanWeWillFFA, #gocougs, and #CAHNRSCougs.

The National FFA Organization and CAHNRS will always share one thing in common: their students. Together, CAHNRS students and FFA members will fulfill this year’s theme of “I can. We will.” These outstanding individuals know they can accomplish anything and, together, they will.