Members of the local chapter will highlight their events and achievements on the Farm and Ranch page

CROOK COUNTY FFA - Crook County FFA members help out at the Central Oregon Ranch Supply tradeshow each year.

The Crook County Future Farmers of America Chapter is gearing up to celebrate National FFA Week with FFA chapters around the country later this month.

This year, the weeklong celebration is set for Feb. 17-24, a time to share with local, state and national audiences what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day.

In years past, the Central Oregonian has teamed up with the Crook County FFA Chapter to produce a special section, celebrating the successes of the local students. FFA members contributed articles and photos about FFA events and achievements, and advertisers supported the publication.

But FFA Advisor Dan McNary said it was challenging for the students to produce several quality articles at one time.

The new plan? Beginning with today's Farm and Ranch page, FFA students will contribute a monthly column, providing news and highlights from their recent activities and accomplishments.

"We're trying to do something where people still know what we're doing, but more frequently," McNary said.

This first column explains just how the nation's largest youth leadership organization in schools operates.

Currently there are 23 local FFA members, ranging from eighth to 12th grade. Students continue to meet in the summer, so McNary hopes to be able to contribute articles year-round.

"We're only here because of the support that we have from the community, and the community supports us throughout the year in a number of different ways," he said, noting that most of the time, their communication is directly with those people who are sponsoring them and those who purchase items during their fundraising activities.

He said the local chapter shares their news on social media but has not informed the community of their activities in other ways.

"We want to be better about communicating that to the community, to not only thank them for the support that we've had in keeping them informed of how that support is assisting us, but hopefully to maybe garner more support," McNary said.

"We know how important agriculture is to our community, and we always look for ways to support our youth," said Central Oregonian General Manager Teresa Tooley. "We're happy to give the FFA this platform."

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