ffa chapters

FFA Chapters Use Innovative Microsoft Solution to Delve Deeper Into Agriculture

Dan Education, Industry News Release, Technology

Fifty FFA chapters have received Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits as part of a collaboration between the National FFA Organization and Microsoft Corp.

ffa chapters

For the FFA Blue 365 Challenge, chapters were asked to apply for the FarmBeats Kits by sharing how they would utilize the kits.

“The FFA Blue 365 Challenge and the use of the Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits are key components to transform learning and help with the development of essential digital skills,” said Christine White, director leadership, education, assessment and development at the National FFA Organization.

The easy-to-use FarmBeats kit includes preconfigured Microsoft Azure cloud services and a Raspberry Pi with soil moisture, light, ambient temperature, and humidity sensors to collect data. The data is then visualized in an online dashboard that provides insights to help students. In addition to the kits, FFA and Microsoft are working together to create activity guides and resources to help chapters get started with using the technology. 

 “We are inspired by the innovative ideas from FFA students across the country and look forward to seeing how they utilize FarmBeats to help them drive innovation on their farms, sustain and renew our planet, and enrich their communities,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and lead for Microsoft Philanthropies.

The FarmBeats Kits are part of a collaboration announced last year between National FFA and Microsoft to bring innovative technology, science, research, and entrepreneurship to the classrooms of the more than 650,000 FFA student members nationwide.

“Many of our students have a strong interest in agriculture, food security and sustainability but are suburban students,” Wes Crawford from Sutherlin FFA in Oregon said. “This technology will connect those students with those who are more production-focused and allow them to explore areas of interest.”

Several chapters that received FarmBeats kits have already integrated computer coding into their curriculum and are excited to see how the kits can complement their coursework and help build confidence as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

“Technology is shaping agriculture in several ways now, and it is only getting better every progressing day,” Larry Plapp, advisor at the Badger FFA Chapter in Wisconsin said. “I applied for this kit because of a student who presented his supervised agricultural experience using a processor called a Raspberry Pi that watered plants. I had never heard of a Raspberry Pi until this semester. My student developed something very similar to what this kit does. He demonstrated how this small computer was able to turn off and change water flow rates to water a plant automatically. This got me thinking even more about the potential on a larger scale.” 

 Chapters who have received the FarmBeats kits are located in the following states:

LeCroy Career Tech FFA Chapter
The Palmer FFA Chapter
 Iron Mountain FFA
DTSOI Springdale FFA Chapter
Ripon Christian FFA Chapter
 Surprise Valley FFA Chapter
Calhan FFA Chapter
Roosevelt FFA Chapter
Cambridge High FFA Chapter
Clarke Central High School Chapter
Newton College & Career Academy FFA Chapter
McKinley FFA Chapter
Nezperce FFA Chapter
Weiser FFA Chapter
Hope FFA Chapter
ACGC FFA Chapter
Davis-Rodgers FFA Chapter
Maquoketa FFA Chapter
Mission Valley Chapter
Smith Center FFA Chapter
Montague FFA Chapter
Paynesville Area FFA Chapter
West Central Area FFA Chapter 
Elsberry FFA Chapter
La Plata FFA Chapter
Missoula FFA Chapter
Twin Bridges FFA Chapter
North Carolina
Perquimans County Middle School FFA Chapter
North Dakota
Kindred FFA Chapter
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Triad-OHP FFA Chapter
Collinsville FFA Chapter
Okmulgee FFA Chapter
Stillwater FFA Chapter
Wellston FFA Chapter
Sutherlin FFA Chapter
Bermudian FFA Chapter
West Greene FFA Chapter
Marion FFA Chapter
Chiawana FFA Chapter
Pasco 49ers FFA Chapter
Sequim FFA Chapter
Wapato FFA Chapter
Badger FFA Chapter
Darlington FFA Chapter
De Soto FFA Chapter
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Green Bay East FFA Chapter 
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter

To learn more about FFA Blue 365, visit FFA.org/blue365.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Source: National FFA Organization