There was a record attendance at the 90th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last week. Another record was the FFA elected the first African-American female to be the national president. The National FFA Convention is exciting. It is like a 30 ring circus with all types of workshops, competitions, and entertainment going on.
One event that occurs during the FFA Convention is the annual meeting of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education (NASAE). It was my pleasure to speak to the NASAE members about “After 100 Years It Is Time for a Change in SAE!” The Snith-Hughes Act of 1917 which provided federal funds to support the teaching of agriculture in public schools required all agricultural students to have “farming projects”. Even though the types of projects students have conducted has changed over the past 100 years, more change is needed.
I wrapped up the summer speaking tour in Spokane, Washington speaking to the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education. I was in my alter ego – Representative Dudley Hughes of Georgia. The Washington ACTE has their act together and has a quality convention.
After the presentation, I had the opportunity to explore Washington State. I really enjoyed seeing the expansive wheat fields, the fruit growing area, the mountains around Seattle (including Mount Ranier). I also enjoyed a whale watching trip and a flight around Seattle in a float plane.
It was an honor to present the keynote address to the North Carolina Agriculture Teachers Association last week in Greensboro. I have been the keynoter at agriculture teacher conferences from Arizona to New York, so it was nice to be invited to speak in my home state. We discussed what the agriculture teachers need to do to become a “Real” Wizard of Oz in their classrooms.
There is a good bit of difference between the Chautauqua in Indiana and the one in New York. However, they are both enjoyable. It was a pleasure to speak about the history of the outhouse to the Fountain Park Chautauqua. The name is derived from the landmark fountain located in the park like center of the Chautauqua grounds. However, once you get outside of the park-like setting, you are surrounded by corn and soybean fields.
I traveled on up into Michigan after this engagement to speak to a group of retired agriculture teachers about the Smith-Hughes Act. My presentation was unique in that I spoke from behind a sheet with a backlit spotlight because I was appearing as the ghost of Dudley Hughes.
It felt like old home week at Purdue University this past week. The occasion was the annual meeting of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). This group is comprised of university professors of agriculture who value teaching and want to learn more about being better instructors. I presented a research paper about when is the best time to share the PowerPoint presentation used in teaching with the students. The basic question was should the presentation be shared with the students prior to the class in which the PowerPoint is used or after the class. There are some very strong opinions among students and professors. I don’t claim to have the answer but the audience did learn more about the views of both groups and the issues involved.
I was on the faculty at Purdue between 1976 and 1982 and had a chance to see if the house I built on Moore’s Bay Road still existed.
June 27 marked the 7th consecutive year that I have spoken at Chautauqua. The topic this year was “World War I, Food Production, and Suffrage: The Story of the Woman’s Land Army.” The venue was different this year (the Hall of Philosophy) which does not have facilities for showing slides, so I asked various members of the audience to hold placards (such as we demand the vote) and had them march around at appropriate times during the presentation. The audience seemed to enjoy this activity and I think it made the presentation come alive. I really would have loved to use some slides because there are great images of the Women’s Land Army. The bottom line is that women proved themselves equal to men during WW I by going to work on the farms to produce the food that was needed for the war effort. And shortly after the war, they were given the vote. One can read about the presentation at http://chqdaily.com/2017/06/agricultural-academic-gary-moore-to-share-history-of-trail-blazing-farmerettes/
I had never been to Camp Oswegatchie in New York State. It was impressive. There are 1,200 acres and they have horses, mountain bikes, ropes courses and a number of other activities in a beautiful location. There are 4 lakes on the property and 15 campsites for groups of students. This is a crown jewel among FFA camps (even if they are so remote there is no cell service). I spoke about the Smith-Hughes Act during their awards banquet for the New York Association of Agricultural Educators. The banquet was in the Gettman lodge and was typical of the Adirondack region. I then spent the next 36 hours exploring the Adirondacks. I had never been in this part of New York before and thoroughly enjoyed it. I arrived back home just in time to pack my car and head back to New York, this time to the western edge of the state.
It was a treat to speak at the North Carolina FFA Convention as my alter ego – Representative Dudley Hughes who co-sponsored the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. A number of teachers told me their students really believed I was Dudley Hughes. Gray’s Creek FFA decorated the statue of Sir Walter Raleigh outside the Raleigh convention center.
After a good bit of traveling in the past few weeks, it was nice to drive just 30 miles to speak to the Johnston County Government workers about balancing work and their personal life. We meet at the extension service facility which was very nice. The photo shows the facility – Neat and Intimate. The presentation was done twice – once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
It is always exciting to attend a state FFA convention. The Wisconsin FFA Convention was no exception. They really did a bang up job. I enjoyed making a surprise visit as the Honorable Dudley Hughes, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1908 to 1917. He co-sponsored the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 which provided federal funds to support the teaching of agriculture in the public schools. I discussed why the act was needed and the consequences if it had not been enacted. As I posed with students for photos after the presentation, one wanted to know if I was the real Dudley Hughes. This student might be knowledgeable of agriculture but could use some help with math as the real Dudley Hughes would be over 150 years old.