Fourth generation farmers providing organic produce for the Central Coast.
Future Farmers of America (FFA) is the largest national nonprofit career and technical student organization that focuses on promoting and supporting agricultural education. Founded in 1928, the FFA and it’s network of local chapters continue to serve as a critical foundation for students who are interested in a future in agriculture. As a core component of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (SMJUHSD) Agriculture Program, any Santa Maria Valley public high school student – whether they attend Santa Maria High School, Ernest Righetti High School, or Pioneer Valley High School – is eligible to join FFA as long as they are enrolled in at least one agricultural education course.
Once enrolled in the program, students choose specific agricultural topics or fields of interest. As they hone their skills, they have the opportunity to compete individually or on teams at the local, regional, state, and national level. They also develop leadership skills, activate service projects in their local communities, participate in public speaking competitions, and attend career and leadership development events. According to Pioneer Valley High School FFA Program teacher Tyler Dickinson, “FFA prepares students for a future in agriculture by providing them with career-ready practices that are tailored to specific realms of the industry.”
Pioneer Valley High School FFA was recently awarded Chapter of the Year and their agriculture department is ranked second best in California. Watch the 2021 student presentations below to learn more about how FFA students put what they learn in the classroom to work in the field.
Marc Cabeliza, a 2021 graduate and first generation Filipino-American, made history as the first Pioneer Valley High School FFA member to be elected president of the California FFA Association. In his time at Pioneer Valley, Cabeliza immersed himself in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Agriculture Program, helping to build The Patch Santa Maria, a student-led hands-on agricultural project and community event. “As a future agriculture engineer I’ll be able to utilize the problem skills and creative thinking I gained from my experience starting the Patch to be an advocate for change within the global food and agriculture industry, ”says Marc Cabeliza. He currently represents 90,000 FFA Members statewide and will spend the next year serving in this prestigious position, traveling across the country to educate and inspire students to work in the food system. Following his service, Cabeliza plans to attend Cal Poly and further pursue his passion for agriculture.
Learn more about the FFA and how to join this national organization growing the next generation of leaders.