FUTURE FARMERS OF AMERICA (FFA)
Madera South Harvest Festival (FFA)
The Madera FFA Crops Cooperative
By Tim Deniz, Teacher, Agriculture
The Madera FFA Crops Cooperative was first established in the spring of 2018. It started as 4 students that took on the task of growing and marketing sweet corn at the Madera South High School Farm Laboratory. The first year, those students grew about an acre of sweetcorn. In 2019, the cooperative grew to 10 students and the crop consisted of about an acre of sweetcorn and ¼ acre of pumpkins.
The project helps students learn about production-based agriculture while developing employable skills, developing a strong work ethic, and building responsibility. A large benefit to the students is that the project allows them to earn money towards receiving their Chapter, State, and American Degrees in the FFA. Students are responsible for all aspects of the project from start to finish. This includes preparing the soil for planting, planting the seed, installing and managing the irrigation, controlling weeds, and harvesting and marketing the crop. There is a great bit of interaction between the students and the community as crops are sold through a roadside stand. This project would not be possible without the outpouring of community support to the students and their project.
The pandemic caused the project to be put on hold for the 2020 school year but, in 2021 the project bounced back with 10 very excited and motivated students. The 2021 project students include Omar Augustin Zarate, Jayden Berry, Brandon Machado, Elvin Orduna, Diana Ortiz Miguel, Logan Trevino, Edwin Rosales, Erick Verduzco, Clifford Ward, and Gabriella Gonzaga Zaragosa.
The project experienced growth once again and the students decided to plant nearly 2 acres of sweetcorn. This year’s project began on May 21st and is scheduled to finish up sometime in late October. The sweet corn was harvested weekly and sold at a roadside stand for six Saturdays during August and September. To date, the students have invested over 800 hours into their project and produced and marketed over 14,000 ears of sweetcorn to the community. Students will complete their project by selling corn stalks to be utilized as fall decorations.
If you would like additional information on The Madera FFA Crops Cooperative or would like to follow their journey, please look for us on Facebook @ffamadera. You can find information there including student activities, crops sales, and upcoming events. The Madera FFA Crops students would like to thank the community for their generous support during the 2021 sweet corn season and we hope you will continue to support future Madera FFA projects.