Things that make you crazy!

Congratulations to all the Homecoming Royalty!  We are especially proud of our own FFA members Tiffany, Derick, Gabs, Olivia, Isak, and Laura!

If you claim to have nothing to do:

  1. Memorize Ag Issues or Ag Comm Script for nationals
  2. Research to be better prepared to answer questions at nationals
  3. Study for your editing or communications quizzes
  4. Work on your BIG Idea
  5. Work on Leadership CDEs for this fall
  6. Work on your records in AET
  7. See the expectations for this semester here.

For today:

What qualities in people make you crazy?  Is it dishonesty, lethargy, selfishness, indecisiveness?  Do people who are always happy and bubbly make you want to smack them? What about those who appear to always be trying out for the role of “Mr. Crabby Pants”?  How do you deal with these people or their personality qualities?

Your post is due Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

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The Man in the Red Bandana

Watch this video:

On your blog:

What traits or characteristics are exhibited by those who act in an heroic manner in difficult and/or dangerous circumstances?  What motivates a person to reach out and help others, including strangers, despite the fact that it may pose a danger?  What is your definition of a hero?  Who do you consider to be your hero?  Why?  What do you remember about September 11th?  How old were you?  While you may not have been aware of the September 11th attack or its affects on our daily lives, many things in our country have changed because of the events of September 11, 2001.  What has changed?

If you are interested in seeing more about the September 11th attacks, check out the timelines here.  

Your post is due Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

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Will Irma Impact us in South Dakota?


Read this article

How are agricultural producers and processors preparing for Irma?  What protection can producers provide for their livestock?  What is the current economic impact of Harvey on Texas cotton producers?  Can sugar cane fields and orange groves be protected from Irma?  When is sugar cane harvest slated to begin?  What has happened to sugar and orange juice concentrate futures markets in the lead up to Irma?  What does this mean for you and I and our families?  What portion of the sugar produced in the US is produced in Florida?  Prices of what other commodity are closely tied with sugar?  Why?  What is the biggest risk to cotton production in North Carolina?  What percent of cotton acres are represented by North and South Carolina?  Where does North Carolina rank in hog and turkey production?  Who is the largest hog producer and processor in the country?  Who owns the company?  How could Irma affect you?  What could we expect to see in the coming weeks and months following what could be devastation in Florida and the southeast?

Your post is due Monday, September 11, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

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2017-18 1st Semester Expectations

1st Semester

Please – make a note of due dates!  These will sneak up on you and you’ll be scrambling to complete your work!

Maintain your blog and respond to prompts as assigned and by the due date.

SAE records up to date using AET.  We’ll be working together to get our records punched in and up to date. Your Records will be a portion of your quarter grade.  Please work along with the rest of the class instead of waiting until the end of the quarter/semester!  We’ll get started as a class soon, but, you can get logged back in and get your summer recorded anytime you have your data together.  Don’t forget – if you are a “green industry” person – get your photos NOW and upload them.

**Optional – Apply for an SAE Grant – due November 9, 2017. Information available here

Proficiency Applications:  We’ll be working through the application together, a little at a time.  Proficiency awards come with CASH prizes for first through third placings on the state level.  Our members could be very competitive in Proficiency awards, last year we brought home a couple thousand dollars thanks to proficiency awards.  This is one of the Officer Team’s goals for the year.  Proficiency apps will be completed online within AET.  The more thorough you are in recording things for your SAE, the easier the process will be.

Seniors (with three years or more of membership – counting this year) will  complete the State FFA Degree Application – due January 10, 2018.  Some of you should consider completing the Star battery for either star in placement, agribusiness, agriscience or farmer.  The star battery requires quite a bit of writing and 6 photos  and captions (very similar questions to the proficiency apps), start early!  Our work on records in AET will help to streamline this process as the information will simply “fly” into the application which we will be completing online.

Complete the BIG Idea.  Your entry is due October 16, 2017

Prepare for Leadership CDEs – whether competing or not, everyone will complete at least the following prior to November 1, 2017:  We will discuss how these items will be handed in.

Choose two or more from this list: **If you are preparing to compete at nationals – i.e.  Ag Issues or Ag Comm team – you must complete ONE or more items from this list.  I’d like you to invest your time in preparing to do your best in Indianapolis in October!

Rules for all Leadership CDEs are posted here.  Check the rules for the CDE you are working on.

Ag Sales Products, pricing and discounts info are located here

Job Interview job descriptions are here: Job Interview Descriptions 2017

Ag Communications Media Plan Scenario is located here.

  • Complete the letter of application and resume for the Employment Skills CDE.
  • Prepare for the Ag Broadcasting CDE.  Have three 30 second commercials for fictitious agricultural products written and memorized.  Develop an outline for a 4 minute broadcast complete with times for each section (markets, weather, news etc).
  • Using the 2015 National Extemp Speaking Topic list, available HERE, collect and compile reference materials for each topic in preparation for the Extemp Speaking CDE.  (Print articles on the various topics and compile in a folder or notebook.)
  • Prepare a written manuscript for the prepared public speaking CDE – 6-8  minutes in length on an agricultural topic.  In your own words with a works cited/bibliography page.  No plagiarism!  Check the rules for proper formatting (MLA vs APA)
  • Form a team and complete all necessary product and presentation for the:
  • Ag Communications CDE (team of 4) Prompt for this year’s Media Plan is linked above.
  • Prepare for the Ag Sales CDE – research the specified products, develop a portfolio of product information for your category.  Develop sales pitches for each of the  products in your category.  Search for and study Written tests
  • Market Plan CDE (team of 3)
  • Ag Issues (team of 7)

There are a lot of samples available on the national ffa website at  You’ll need to log in (I can help you with that) and surf to Participate>CDEs> on the right hand sidebar there is a link to “Free CDE Q & A 2008-2015”  From there you can select any year in that range and it opens up materials for all 24 CDEs!  If you’re thinking about Market Plan, Ag Issues, Job Interview, Prepared Speaking etc – go read the samples – which happen to be the top four in the country.

Our District includes 11 chapters.  To advance to the State Leadership CDEs you must place in the top three individuals or top two teams. District Leadership CDEs will be held either Tuesday, November 14th after school here at West Central.  Each Chapter may enter two individuals and one team in each CDE at the District Level.  We will attend preliminary CDEs at the Jackrabbit Invite November 1st.  We may also compete at the Harrisburg Leadership CDEs on November 7th – we also have Parent Teacher Conferences that night so, I’ve got some things to figure out there before we commit to attending.

These requirements and expectations are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor!

For today:

If you could spend one whole year doing anything you wanted, what would you do?  We’ve just come off of a glorious four day weekend.  I really didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped to, but we really had a lot of fun with friends!  If four day weekends never ended, what would you do with yourself for an entire year of freedom?  If you didn’t have to work to make money to feed yourself, what would you do? Tell me all about it!

Your post is due Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.


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Goal Setting Time!

What do you want to accomplish this year?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: Having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.

To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can’t simply say, “I want” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between there are some very well defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

We need to learn to set SMART goals.

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.  However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

Your turn:  On your blog – write down three SMART goals.  One for academics, One for activities, One for FFA.  We’ll check back on them later this year.

Your post is due TODAY by the end of the block

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What’s new with the pipeline?

You’ll be doing a bit of research today.  We haven’t checked in on the Dakota Access Pipeline in several months.  What’s been happening with the pipeline?

Read this article.

Read this article.

Read this article.  

In your blog post – please provide a brief synopsis of each of the three articles linked above (tell me what the story is about).  Also – react to the following:  So – who’s suing whom?  Why?  Does the judicial system have anything to say about the situation?  if so – what?  Have there been any leaks in the pipeline?  If so – tell me about them (where, when, how much etc.) When did oil start flowing in the pipeline?  How has agricultural production been impacted by the pipeline? How has the economy been affected by the pipeline?  Did President Trump have any impact on the DAPL or pipelines in general?  If so – what did he do or say about them?

Please restrict your research and information only to the Dakota Access Pipeline!

Your post is due Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.


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First Post of 2017-18

Refer to this post if you need a refresher course on how to create and publish a post.

Before we dig right in, let’s take a look at what I’m expecting you to be completing when it comes to blog posts.


Let’s compare three blog posts from the same prompt:

This was the prompt: What’s one opportunity you have now that you have not taken?  Is it the ability to try something new, take an online or college class, go out for a team/club/activity?  Or is it something less concrete? Tell me all about it.  What’s been holding you back from stepping through the door that opportunity is presenting you?

First post

“i wish i had gone out for foot ball”

Second post

“one oppertunity i had that i didn’t take was National Honors Society.  i shoulda done it my junior year, this year it woulda been pointless tho cuz i wouldn’t have been able to use it on any scholarships.  last year I was 2 lazy to fill out the paperwork is why I din’t do it.  at least I didn’t have to be in the NHS SRB though.”

Third post

“I am incredibly fortunate to have really supportive parents. They have let me do anything and everything that I have wanted to try (with the exception of Girl Scouts) in my entire life. From ballet and gymnastics to FFA and soccer they have always been on the sidelines cheering as loud as they could. The fact that they are always there is amazing considering the fact that they both wish that my main focus would involve the 4 legged creature living in the barn. The opportunities that I have to excel in rodeo and 4-H are endless. My parents would be 100% willing to pay hundreds of dollars for clinics and new equipment. However, I haven’t really taken advantage of the opportunity. I absolutely love riding, and competing but I have always known that I wouldn’t compete in college or anything like that. If there was an way that I could spend as much time with my horse as I do for soccer I would love it, but it’s simply not possible. Nevertheless I hope to be involved in the equine world forever, I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

In comparing these posts you’ll notice one is too short and didn’t really answer most of the questions. The second is also very brief and has several spelling or grammatical errors.  The other is a bit more thoughtful and explains what the writer is talking about in greater detail.  The second writer also makes fewer grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Let this serve as a reminder that I’m not asking you to do brain surgery here, but I am expecting you to put forth some effort!  I realize that on some posts you simply won’t have as much to say as on others.  That’s OK.

Follow the directions on this post for accessing your “Dashboard” and creating and publishing a post.

For today:

What things are on your bucket list? Do you want to skydive? Drive a race car? Ride a really good cutting horse? Travel the globe?  What’s something you have always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?  What is it about this thing or things that attracts your attention?  When in your life do you think you’ll be able to check it off of your bucket list?  When did you become interested in this activity or experience?  Are your friends or family also interested in the same activity or experience?  Tell me all about it!

Your post is due Monday, August 28, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

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2017-18 Blog Set Up

Here are a few rules that we’ll need to follow:

1.  For student blogs we will be using WordPress. WordPress is very user friendly and as you get more comfortable you can change and edit things so the design and style fits your preferences.

WordPress has a great, easy to follow tutorial for setting up your blog.

Styling your blog in WordPress becomes a game of learning to read code; some themes are more user friendly than others!  I recommend starting with the default theme Twenty Ten.  You will be able to add your own graphics and changes colors. Also, you can change the theme as you become more comfortable with it

2.  Your blog may not contain your entire first and last name.  Only first names or an appropriate nickname.  Your blog url and title will be something like

3.  All graphics must be school and FFA appropriate.  No scantilly clad young men or women.  If in doubt, ask!

4.  Any music associated with your blog must also be school and FFA appropriate.

5.  When posting to your blog, keep in mind that your blog is a reflection of you, your family, your school, our FFA Chapter and your FFA Advisor.  Once it’s out on the web, it’s really hard to take it back!  Keep all language appropriate, use spell and grammar check! If you are talking about a specific person (or classmate), don’t use that person’s real name.

Let’s begin by going to

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.57.14 AM

2.  Your blog may not contain your entire first and last name.  Only first names or an appropriate nickname.  Many students in the past have used their school email login, for example – lp3456.Your blog url and title will be something like this:  If you enter a name or slug that is already in use you will get a screen something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.01.08 AM

When you find a combination that works – WooHoo, you’ll get a screen like this:

Choose a username and password and enter them in the appropriate blanks.  The default username will be the slug you came up with .  You can change your user name later if you need or want to.

Enter your school e mail address:
Be sure to select English in the pull down menu and click “Create Blog” Choose the Free option!
An e mail will be sent to the e mail address you entered.

Click on the link within the e mail you received.

We’ll get back to blog set up in a minute.  Be sure to book mark the dashboard page!  You will be using it again!

Before I totally turn you loose.  Make note of these things:

Your blog url and the login url, something like this:

Write down your user name and password!

When you need help, please ask.

Send me an email with a link to your blog (

Happy Blogging!

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End of Year Thoughts!

For some of you, this marks the end of four years in at least one ag class, three years of ag leadership, many hours together on buses, planes, suburbans etc.  For some of you, you’ve just spent more time with me than with your family!  We’ve been FAMILY in many cases.  Take a look back at all the blog posts you’ve written – especially those of you that have spent three years in Ag Leadership.  Has your writing improved?  Has your thought process changed or matured?  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, I look forward to seeing what happens in the next chapters of your lives!  Underclassmen – we’re not done yet.  There are still a lot of adventures to be had, success stories to write, and memories to make!

EVERYONE – Please log in and update AET.

  • Make sure your cell phone and non-school email address are listed in your profile.
  • Update any community service
  • Update any FFA Activities, CDEs, State Convention, new offices etc
  • Update any SAE information – hours, income, purchases, expenses

Address the following questions on your blog:

  1. What is something we did this year that you think you will remember for the rest of your life?
  2. What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
  3. What was the nicest thing someone in our class/school did for you this year?
  4. What was the most challenging part of this year for you?
  5. Where is your favorite place in our classroom (or school)? Why?
  6. If you could change one thing that happened this year, what would it be?
  7. What are three things you did this year to help your classmates/friends/family?
  8. What are the three most important things you learned this year?
  9. What is something that was hard for you at the start of the year but is easy now?
  10. In what area do you feel you made your biggest improvements?
  11. What is your favorite part of the day in our school? Why?
  12. What is something you taught your teacher or classmates/friends this year?
  13. Of the books you read this year, which was your favorite? Why?
  14. What was the best piece of work (for any class) that you did this year? Why do you think it is your best?
  15. What person at our school has made the biggest impact in your life this year? Why?
  16. What is something your teachers could have done to make this year better?
  17. What are six words that best describe this school year?
  18. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive it at the start of the school year (or high school career for seniors), what advice would you give your younger self?
  19. When you consider the rest of your life, what percentage of what you learned this year do you think will be useful to you?
  20. What advice would you give students who will follow you at WCHS next year?

Your post is due for Seniors – before I can sign your sign out sheet.  Underclassmen, your due date is Friday, May 19, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

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Listen to the podcast here:

Monsanto developing nematode fighting chemistry

What are nematodes?  Why are they a concern in agriculture?  What are nematode caused symptoms sometimes confused for?  What is the name of the new technology to fight nematodes being developed by Monsanto.  What is it, how does it work?  What is hydrophobic?  Why is that important in controlling nematodes?  What crops are nematodes specifically problematic in?  When should we expect this product on the market?

What other method(s) are there for battling nematodes?

Your post is due Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

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