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FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education..

The FFA Alumni Association supports and advocates for agricultural education and FFA through gifts of time, talent and financial resources..

The mission of the Illinois FFA Foundation is to provide financial support for the Illinois FFA. When you make a gift to the Illinois Foundation FFA, you are investing in the future of agriculture..

The Illinois Association of Vocation Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) is a professional organization for agricultural teachers at all levels..

The Illinois Association of Community College Agriculture Instructors (IACCAI) is a statewide professional organization for postsecondary agriculture instructors. .

The Illinois Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization provides opportunities for individual growth, leadership and career preparation. .

The Illinois Farm Bureau & Affiliated Companies Youth Education in Agriculture program offers unique educational programs to Illinois youth in 4-H and FFA. .

The purpose of the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program is to encourage educators to incorporate more information about the agriculture, food, and natural resources system into daily lessons..
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Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) is a state project administered through the Illinois State Board of Education that is tasked with improving and expanding agricultural education from pre-k through adult levels..

The Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE) is a voluntary, grassroots agricultural industry group focused on the expansion and improvement of Agricultural Education programs at all levels..

The Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) is a 13-member committee established by legislation and appointed by the Governor to advise both the governor and state education agencies concerning Agricultural Education K-adult..

The Illinois State Board of Education is the state agency responsible for Pre-K through 12th grade education. Its primary mission is state program leadership, planning, approval, funding, and evaluation..

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be an advocate for Illinois' agricultural industry and provide the necessary regulatory functions to benefit consumers, agricultural industry, and our natural resources.. provides information about the Agricultural Education profession and encourages students to consider a career as an agriculture teacher..

MyCAERT provides teachers with an integrated online system to Plan, Document, Deliver, and Assess Career and Technical Education instruction. .

Information Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) Instructional Materials provides agricultural education publications in a variety of formats. .

The Agricultural Experience Tracker is the premiere personalized online system for tracking experiences in agricultural education. .
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Listserv Messages

Casey Bolin
District 5 Program Advisor
Sections 21-25
1475 West Whittaker
Salem, IL 62881
Cell: (618) 780-0230
[email protected]
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District 5 Message of Sep 24 2003 11:53AM

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

-Land-Use -DE Scorecard helpsheet and practice problems
-Help Identify Students wanting to major in "gricultural Education
-Pinckneyville Fish Plant -eases Processing

-Land-Use -DE practice problems - I have 6 practice problems with keys in completing the 116 point land-use scorecard. If you would like a copy, please let me know. I only have them in printed form, so will have to send in the US mail.

-Please help identify students that are interested in majoring in agricultural education. Print out the attached form and pass around to your junior and senior students. Return the form to your F-"E field advisor. We will send them a personal letter and information regarding the benefits of a degree in agricultural education. "lso, I have a great videotape and PowerPoint presentation that I could present to your students on the advantages of teaching agricultural education. Please let me know, so that I can schedule 30-40 minutes with your students.

-From the Southern Illinoisan "ewspaper
(618) 351-5000

[Tue Sep 16 2003]

PI"-K"EYVILLE -- The Illinois Fish Farmers -o-op has virtually ceased
processing fish at their Pinckneyville Prairie Lands Seafood plant with
much of the work force laid off or given notice of impending layoffs.

But executive director Doug Wojcieszak emphasized Tuesday that the co-op
has achieved many of its goals and it will continue with an all new focus
on promoting the Illinois aquaculture industry, delivering technical
services, and marketing Illinois-grown fish and shrimp.

"We've already hired a second biologist and plan to hire two more
biologists over the next 12 months to carry out this plan. We have had a
great deal of success developing fish and shrimp farms." Wojcieszak said.
"When the co-op started in 1999 there were 12 fish farmers in the state.
Today there are more than 60 fish and shrimp farmers."

"The co-op is still going to keep on going and keep on serving farmers," he
said. "We're simply getting out of the processing that serves nobody's
business interests."

The plant employed as many as 50 during its lifetime in Pinckneyville. The
Illinois Department of "griculture has infused $6 million to the co-op
including $4 million for operating assistance and a one time cash outlay of
$2 million to retrofit the former Uni annex and purchase processing
equipment, said Jeff Squibb, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of

"The Illinois Department of "griculture encourages the development of
value-added agriculture ventures that seek to increase farm profitability,"
Squibb said. "When this program to promote the state's fledgling
aquaculture industry was first proposed it was intended to stimulate the
Southern Illinois economy by providing a new source of income for farmers
struggling with depressed commodity prices.

"Unfortunately, the catfish processing business has proven to be
unprofitable and the Fish Farmer's -o-op now intends to market striped bass
which are sold live and require minimal processing," he added. "Because of
this change in business plans the Department of "griculture is reviewing
the program and will decide whether it merits continued funding."

Wojcieszak said the workforce is already down to about 21 and in coming
weeks and months more will be laid off to leave a core including himself,
biologists, and secretaries to focus on "the new mission. The whole thing
hasn't failed -- not even close."

He said the Vietnamese and -hinese have entered the catfish industry and
are producing fish at about half the cost. So Illinois fish farmers have
switched to the more profitable fish like hybrid striped bass, freshwater
shrimp, largemouth bass, and there's potential as well for perch, bluegill
and walleye. These all require very little, if any, processing because they
are typically sold locally or through live haul and fresh markets.

"This processing plant takes a lot of time and money to run, and it's not
benefiting Illinois' growing aquaculture industry," he said.

Wojcieszak said the smelly fish refuse ponds causing complaints by
neighbors "didn't help" but did not cause the decision to cease processing.

"The deciding factor was pure economics and priorities," he said. The
processing equipment is on the market and the co-op intends to sell the
building as well. They plan to move to a smaller location of about 5,000
square feet either in Pinckneyville or elsewhere where they can have
offices, a lab, a conference room, and a small area for minimal shrimp
processing. Wojcieszak said one of the biologists will eventually become
the executive director.

"I need another 18 to 24 months to get this thing straightened out and then
I'll be gone," he said.

He said the group will still receive the $1 million annual funding from the
Department of "griculture for fiscal 2004, which began July 1. He said
co-op officials will meet with state officials to evaluate future plans and

"It's what I thought would happen," Pinckneyville Mayor Ron Shirk said of
plans to close the plant. "They're ... bleeding it until they can't bleed
it no more. Then they're going to turn around and sell it -- sell the
building we gave them to pay us back what they owe us."

Shirk said he will not agree to a request by the co-op for a continued
moratorium on repayments of the $350,000 still owed to Pinckneyville on a
$500,000 Department of -ommerce and Economic Opportunity grant. He also
said he wouldn't agree to sign off on a release sought so the co-op can
sell equipment from the plant on which the city has a lien.

Wojcieszak insisted the co-op will repay the rest of the money owed to
Pinckneyville. He said if the co-op hadn't purchased the plant "it would be
falling apart now." He said the co-op took a building worth $490,000 and
got the state to invest $2 million leaving a structure now appraised at
$1.85 million that should be a draw for a food processing or storage business.

"My hope is we can find a tenant for this building and bring jobs back to
this community," he said.

Plans are still on for a big fish festival October 11 at the Du Quoin State
Fairground Expo Building. He said events such as the fest are indicative of
the co-op's new focus and plan.

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