FFA members own businesses and learn to be good employees

 

By GEHS FFA students

Haley Roberts sells one of her market lambs during the Annual Greenbrier/Monroe FFA & 4-H Livestock Sale during the WV State Fair.

In the FFA, every member must have at least one SAE.

Equine SAEs are becoming more popular. Cheyanne Cochran showing one of her horses at the WV State Fair.

Many members have multiple SAEs. SAE stands for supervised agricultural experience. There are currently a total of 163 members in the Greenbrier East FFA chapter, making us one of the largest chapter in West Virginia. An SAE gives students the opportunity to learn the skills and responsibility and learn how to keep good records. When members begin an SAE, it helps them figure out what they want to do with their lives and the skills they will need for that career area.

In 2016, students had a total of 152 entrepreneurship, 76 placement, one research and one exploratory SAEs at Greenbrier East. The entrepreneurship SAEs consist of student-owned businesses or SAEs. Members have more animal science businesses than other SAEs. Animal science SAE include livestock, horse and small animals. Some members have lawn care businesses, vegetable production, and many more.

Placement SAEs allow students to be employed or volunteer in a business or organization all while learning needed career skills. Research SAE can be developed by students who have an interest in finding the answer to problems or learning more about scientific research. Exploratory SAEs are developed by FFA members who aren’t sure which area of agriculture they are most interested in and give them an opportunity to investigate different areas before deciding on their long term SAE.

Students now utilize an online record keeping system called AET (Agricultural Experience tracker).

AET helps students keep up with record keeping just like professional agricultural producers. Members also complete journal entries recording the skills and activities they complete in their SAEs and the leadership skills and activities as part of their FFA experience. In 2016, there were 18,055 hours spent working with SAEs by students. The AET tracker/record book also allows students to see financial and production records over time, which can assist them in making sound production decisions to make their business more profitable and successful or point out skills they either have mastered or need to work towards.