Greenhand Leadership Conference Goes on the Road

California FFA students returned to Greenhand Leadership Conference in late September through the middle of October. Conference locations were in Bakersfield, Calipatria, Colusa, Fresno, Hanford, Lakeside-El Capitan, Lodi, Menifee-Heritage, Merced, Paso Robles, Petaluma, and Redding. Attendance was capped at 180 students and most of the twenty-eight sessions were at full capacity. Nearly five thousand freshmen participated in the introduction to Agricultural Education and FFA.

The Greenhand Leadership Conference begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. the same day. Six sessions are included. Topics in the morning cover: “Welcome to Your New Beginning!”, “WHO I am,” and “WHY I matter!”

“WHO I am” helps students identify personal interests and characteristics, showing how to translate those interests into their passions and values. “WHY I matter!” builds self-confidence through healthy habits and engaging in conversations of empathy to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. Before breaking for lunch, small groups are formed with team challenges. The activities build self-confidence for the Freshmen students.

“WHERE we can belong” explores California agriculture and identifies how Agricultural Education creates well rounded individuals through the three-ring model of Classroom & Laboratory (Knowledge), Supervised Agricultural Experience [SAE] (Skill) and the National FFA Organization (Relationships).

The final two sessions are: “HOW we use this,” and “my IMPACT!” “HOW we use this” dives deeper into the circle of FFA to explore Career Development Events (CDE), Leadership Development Events (LDE), Conventions and Conferences. Students create a personal plan of action. Their plan highlights one way they will invest in themselves during high school and two things in Ag Ed, FFA, SAE or the classroom. They will ask their teacher about the two interests after the conference, and they also name three new things they will try in high school. “my IMPACT!” defines servant leadership, examining how to have a positive impact on the community

Last year, the conference curriculum was updated and delivered to agricultural advisors on a virtual platform. Registration was available to each chapter and packaged to fit the modules into agricultural teachers’ class plans and adapt to classroom, hybrid, or distance learning. Over 250 chapters participated in the relaunched freshman program.

Thank you to conference sponsor Farm Credit, for supporting the California FFA students.

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Agricultural education strives to maintain its status on the cutting-edge of rigorous classroom instruction, relevant skill acquisition and premier leadership development. Check out the expansive and evolving catalog of resources to generate new ideas, enhance curriculum delivery skills or identify new ways to engage in FFA and SAE activities.


Beginning in the early 20th century in California, agricultural education has a long tradition of preparing students for rigorous, satisfying careers both within and outside of the industry. As a school-based learning program, agricultural education operates as a unit within the California Department of Education and is written into the state’s legislative education code.


Rich in history with an eye toward the future, California’s school-based agricultural education program seeks to prepare all students for satisfying careers in and outside of the agriculture industry. The multi-faceted approach to growing the whole person includes a focus on character and interpersonal skill development, technical acumen and critical thinking capabilities.



From personal growth to career skill enhancement, the focus of California’s agricultural education events is always on the experiential development of the student. With activities ranging from local to national, the statewide organization offers a number of premier events each year that are suited to best meet the interests of an ever-diversifying student population.


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The mission of the California FFA Foundation is to promote, aid, and assist, financially or otherwise, California FFA to ensure the success of Agricultural Education by preparing tomorrow's agricultural leaders, today.




California FFA Foundation’s goal is to provide individuals, businesses, foundations, and others the opportunity to invest in the premier secondary Agricultural Education leadership development program in California: FFA. The Foundation provides award recognition for student projects, competitive team events, leadership development events, as well as leadership training conferences.