Agricultural Issues Academy


Representatives from Nebraska agriculture groups are excited to announce an all new opportunity to Nebraska’s FFA members.  The 2011 FFA State Convention will host the first annual Ag Issues Academy during the day of Wednesday, April 6th.  This leadership development opportunity will provide participants with the skills they need to become spokespeople for the industry. 

Selection of participants will be handled through an application process.  Interested students will need to complete the included application, as well as include a resume and letter of recommendation from his/her FFA Advisor.  Applications are due by February 1st and can be submitted to the Nebraska FFA Association, c/o Ag Issues Academy Application, 301 Centennial Mall South, PO 94987, Lincoln, NE  68509-4987. 

Program Details 

Participants will be selected mid February.  A webinar will be scheduled the first week of March to provide necessary background information to participants and outline expectations and responsibilities prior to the Ag Issues Academy. 

Prior to attending the Ag Issues Academy participants will review materials related to the Misconceptions and Misinformation of Animal Agriculture, network with a local industry representative and begin building a knowledge base about a particular agriculture issue of interest to them. 

At the Ag Issues Academy on April 6th, participants will attend round robin sessions where they will learn how to speak to lawmakers and communicate to the media.  Representatives from the broadcast, news editorial and public relations media fields will present ways of telling agriculture’s story. A trip to the Capitol accompanied by agriculture lobbyists will introduce participants to our state’s Legislature. Participants will also be expected to participate in the legislative breakfast Thursday morning.

Download the Application Today – must be postmarked by February 1, 2011!

NPPA plans celebrations for its 50th Anniversary

By Don McCabe, Nebraska Farmer Magazine

China must wait until 2019 for “the Year of the Pig.”

Nebraska will help make up for that absence in 2011 with what you could call “the Year of the Pork Producer.”

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association marks its 50th anniverssary this year. What was originally called the Nebraska Swine Council first met on May 1, 1961, at Prenger’s Cafe in Norfolk. The first president was George Pick of Hartington.

Fifty years later, NPPA staff and members are planning special events for 2011. Jane Reeson, NPPA domestic marketing director, and Mallory Wittstruck, 50th anniversary event coordinator, are handling many of the planning activities.

The celebration will be launched Feb. 23 at the annual Pork Industry Day at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. A governor’s proclamation declaring 2011 as the 50th anniversary year will be presented at the Pork Industry lunch.

One Big Night

The featured event is “One Big Night” – the anniversary party that is scheduled for Sept. 24 at Stone Creek Event Center in McCool Junction.

“It will gather together past and current pork producers, allied industry members and friends of the pork industry to recognize and honor past industry leaders,” says Wittstruck.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling 402-472-0493 by Sept. 16. You can also go on NPPA’s website at The anniversary information is located under the “Calendar of Events” tab.

Web visitors can also click the “Save the Date” photo on the home page to direct them to anniversary information.

The ticket price includes a meal and a 48-page anniversary commemorative booklet.

As part of the celebration, NPPA and the Food Bank for the Heartland have partnered in an effort to feed the hungry throughout the year. NPPA will “Host a Pig,” the food bank’s custom-sculpted, bronze piggy bank, to raise money and hunger awareness at the Feb. 23 Pork Industry Day.

NPPA has a special logo for the 50th year celebration. Shown to the left, the logo was designed by Taven Zelnio, an eighth-grader student from Lincoln.

“We were looking for the ultimate logo for our year-long anniversary celebration in 2011, and I think we’ve found it in Taven’s design,” says Dee Petersen, NPPA producer information director. Zelnio received $50 for his winning design.

Lessons learned from the farm to the dinner plate

by Lacey Schardt, NPPA Mentor Pigs at Watering Area

Growing up on a diversified farm has created many opportunities for life lessons to be learned.  Recently, as I was power-washing (cleaning the barns), I realized all the lessons that I have learned, but before sharing these, I will share a bit about my background. As I have already said, I have grown up on a diversified family farm where we currently raise hogs (Pork Production Terminology) and grow crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat.  In the past, we have had our feedlot full of feeder calves, but as of now our feedlot is empty.

There is nothing that I enjoy more than being out working with my dad, my uncle, a cousin or two of mine, and our farmhand.  Our farmhand has been on our farm for longer than I can remember so to me, I see him more as family than anything else. To me, this truly defines our operation.  We are a family farm.  My uncle and his family are the ones in charge of our wean-to-finish hog operation(Pork Production Housing Stages).  At one time we will have 2250 head of hogs between our nursery and finisher buildings.  Through the hog operation, there are jobs that no one wishes to do, and those that everyone wants to do.  But none the less, all of these jobs are important and essential to providing a safe and healthy product to our consumers.  I would say that the most enjoyable job is when we load hogs for them to be sent to market.  It is also the time that the most help is needed, but too much help would cause a rough and stressful time for the hogs.  As we work to get the hogs loaded this is a great place to learn lessons.  A lesson that I have learned is to understand who is in charge and listen to his instructions.  As we separate the hogs out of the individual pens, we must be aware of which are to be let out and which are to stay.  This can be a difficult job because the main focus is to not stress the hogs while getting them to do as we wish, so patience is learned through this job.  As the hogs are separated from their pens, they walk down the aisle to the door where they are loaded onto the truck.  The pigs are smart animals so patience is also needed here because this is a change for them from their usual routine.  Some hogs have no problem with this change and load well while others do not agree, and generally tend to be more stubborn. 

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