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Kansas 4-H Tip Sheet

October 16, 2023

Best Management Practices for local 4-H/FFA Partnership

Submitted by Kelsey Nordyke

Partnership with local FFA Chapters: Best Management Practices for 4-H/FFA Exhibition

The Kansas FFA Organization is a long-time and growing organization across the state. As we see new FFA chapters beginning in our local units, additional youth may be seeking the opportunity to exhibit at your local fairs as part of their FFA chapter. Some of you may already have FFA members exhibiting at your county fairs, and some are just beginning. Because the local Extension Office is typically responsible for, or highly involved with establishing project ownership deadlines and exhibit entry deadlines for your local fair, here is a “best management practices” to provide learning and exhibit opportunities for youth in the FFA.

  • Establish clear communication between local Extension staff and local FFA Advisors.
  • Reach out to local FFA advisors at the beginning of the 4-H year to introduce yourself and determine the best method of communicating with them.
  • Communicate dates, deadlines and opportunities. Share with advisors the exhibition opportunities available to FFA members. Typically this will include the following: Beef, Sheep, Swine, Dairy Cattle, Dairy Goats, Rabbit, Poultry, Crops, Horticulture, Floriculture, Poultry and Pigeons, Energy Management, Ag Mechanics, and possibly Horse. Note that some divisions at the State Fair will be separate for FFA or will not be available to FFA. During the Kansas State Fair, the Grand Drive (Beef, Sheep, Meat Goat and Swine) is a combined show. Horse, Rabbits and Poultry are open to 4-H members. Crops, Horticulture, Floriculture, Energy Management and Ag Mechanics are handled separately from 4-H.
  • Add each FFA chapter to your email list and/or newsletter mailing list.
  • Collect student contact information at tagging/weigh-in for communication of future deadlines and correspondence.
  • Ask advisors how and where they’d like to help with projects, weigh-in/tag-in, fair duties, etc.
  • Extension and FFA both recognize and utilize the Kansas 4-H/FFA MOU. It is advisable that you talk to your local FFA advisors and ask them if they are aware of the MOU. The MOU is available at https://www.kansas4-h.org/resources/policy-guide/4H.FFA.pdf
  • Make sure to communicate with advisors regarding approval of state livestock nominations. Some may be unfamiliar with the process. NOTE: Extension professionals are not to verify FFA nominations, and vice versa. So, it is important that if an FFA member intends to exhibit in the Grand Drive or at the Kansas Junior Livestock Show, they 1) nominate as an FFA member and not as a part of your local 4-H program, 2) the FFA advisor be present at tagging or view the tag in the animal’s ear. If an FFA member does show up in your list of livestock to verify nominations, please contact Lexie Hayes and let her know that the youth is enrolled in FFA, not 4-H.

Some things your colleagues in Extension have done and find helpful:

  • Ask advisors for a list of students who are planning on exhibiting livestock before tagging/weigh-in dates
  • Create a separate FFA “enrollment” document so that Extension can communicate directly with FFA students.