Pioneer FFA still leading the way

Pioneer FFA has adjusted on the fly to the changes caused by COVID-19. But the organization is stronger having faced the challenges.

FFA is advised by Pioneer High School agriculture teachers Jon Clayson, Racheal Clayson and Kelsey O'Hare. 

"FFA has looked very different for our Pioneer students," Mr. Clayson said.  "Many of the traditional activities have been canceled or went to virtual.

"FFA like the rest of our society is relying heavily on technology to function," he added. "There was quite a learning curve, but out of this we will be a more efficient chapter."

Mr. Clayson said Junior FFA has also looked different because all meetings have been in Pioneer Middle School, rather than having students come to the high school. 

FFA members are as engaged and involved as they ever were. "We are still seeing a strong group of student involvement at both the junior and senior levels with contests," Mr. Clayson said. "Many students are still active and want to be involved. We have had an increased number of individual awards this year."

Mr. Clayson said FFA accolades in 2020-21 include 10 Empire Degrees, two Proficiency Degree winners, and one student who received a $500 grant from the State FFA to improve her Agricultural project. 

This year FFA held its meetings somewhat differently.  "Due to the hybrid model our regular member meetings were held twice," said Mr. Clayson. "The Cohort A students would have a meeting and then we would repeat the meeting with Cohort B." 

Some of this year's FFA activities and events:

  • Donated seven turkey dinners at Thanksgiving
  • Donated 50 gift-filled shoe boxes to Operation Christmas Child  
  • Held its annual Fruit and Cheese sale.
  • Participated in the Arcade Christmas Tractor Parade.   

Currently FFA members can be found competing in events such as Parliamentary Procedure, Chapter Meeting, Ag Sales, Ag Mechanics,  Farm Business Management, and Agriculture Education.  Other recent leadership development events (LDEs) include Creed Speaking and People in Ag.

Mr. Clayson noted that in 2020, cancellations affected state and county fairs as well as summer FFA camp.  "But we are looking forward to this summer as we anticipate these reopening," he added.