Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a program meant to help students succeed in the agricultural field and McFarland High School’s FFA has been doing just that and more.
FFA has been making great strides in the agricultural game. In fact, students in the FFA club have gone as far as making their own almond oil which they have grown and produced. On October 11th, 2022 McFarland Agriculture will be presenting their own almond oil that was made by McFarland High’s very own students to the McFarland Unified School Board.
“We are hoping to educate the trustees on the value of almonds in McFarland. In addition to growing and producing our own almonds at the MUSD Crop Science Field Lab, students have developed skills in making, bottling, and marketing our own almond oil,” said Nick Griffith, FFA advisor and Agriculture teacher at McFarland High School.
Emily Landeros, student in FFA, also said, “We worked hard on the presentation so I hope they enjoy it and can approve us to start selling it and promote our almond oil.”
McFarland Agriculture also had the opportunity to appear on a PBS show titled, “American Grown: My Job Depends on Ag.”
In the PBS special, it discusses the advantages of agriculture and learning about the community from within. Because McFarland is a city surrounded by agriculture of its own, which provides many jobs for the residents residing, it is of great importance to show what can come from agriculture and to spin the stereotypes that come from working in agriculture.
That has been FFA’s intention since the beginning.
“One of the issues we see is that students have this idea that agriculture means working out in the fields. Part of our mission is to kind of change that narrative,” said Griffith in his interview on PBS.
The students credit their agricultural knowledge to the FFA club.
“Before FFA I didn’t know how to plant a seed. I didn’t know anything about planting until last year when we would go out to the farm we would plant,” said Landeros.
Agricultural knowledge doesn’t just come from the club itself but from a dual enrollment pathway as well.
“Exploring the uses of almonds provides our students with learning opportunities to meet our pathway’s learning objectives,” said Griffith. “It is important to not only provide our students with these opportunities, but to also broadcast our mission to the community.”
The students in McFarland’s agriculture programs aren’t just planning to stop at almond oil. They plan to make more almond infused products such as almond flour, almond milk, and flavored almonds. They are also planning on incorporating technology in their learning processes.
“We want to explore the benefits of using technology in agriculture. We will focus on sustainable farming practices, irrigation management, and the future of agriculture in California.” Griffith expanded.
This is only the beginning of what Future Farmers of America in McFarland has in store as they prepare to advance forward and continue the work they have created.