When I was in eighth grade, I chose to join the FFA chapter at my school. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do because everyone else was doing it, but over time FFA proved to be an organization that would teach me far beyond what I ever imagined to learn.

I gradually became more and more involved in my chapter over the years. I held my first major role in the chapter my junior year when I became an officer. That year, my officer team and I decided that we wanted to take a leap of faith on Connecting Chapters, a program that was new to our chapter.

Sydney Pelster1Connecting Chapters is a program through the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation that equips high school students with the tools and knowledge to advocate for agriculture and improve agricultural literacy in younger generations. FFA Chapters get their Connecting Chapters Certification by completing agricultural literacy training. This training must be completed yearly.

The first step in Connecting Chapters is going to a training day that is led by a Farm Bureau Foundation representative. At training day, you get acquainted with the material for that year and read the book provided by Farm Bureau. On training day, my officer team also got the opportunity to practice by presenting to another group of high school students. This helped to prepare us and highlighted how we could engage elementary students in our presentation and activity.

Sydney Pelster2This year we chose to do a popcorn activity with several different elementary classes. First, we read the children the book and asked the students to explain to us what agriculture means to them. Then we had the students remove popcorn kernels from a cob of corn and pop their own popcorn. The last thing we did was donate the book provided by Farm Bureau to our local library. The students loved getting to learn about where their food comes from and making their own popcorn!

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is giving students of all ages a chance to become involved in the agricultural industry. Sharing the agricultural knowledge that we have with younger generations is a key to success in the future of the agricultural industry and our FFA chapter. Together we can continue to advocate for the industry that meets our needs and wants.

Sydney Pelster3Sydney Pelster is the fifth generation on her family farm and ranch, where they grow wheat, corn, and soybeans and run a cow/calf operation. She is a three-sport athlete at her high school and is also involved in various other activities such as FFA and 4-H. After graduation, Sydney plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.