FFA uses innovative Microsoft solution to dive deeper into ag


Fifty FFA chapters have received Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits as part of a collaboration between the National FFA Organization and Microsoft Corp. For the FFA Blue 365 Challenge, chapters were asked to apply for the FarmBeats Kits by sharing how they would utilize the kits.

“The FFA Blue 365 Challenge and the use of the Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits are key components to transform learning and help with the development of essential digital skills,” said Christine White, director leadership, education, assessment and development at the National FFA Organization.

The easy-to-use FarmBeats kit includes preconfigured Microsoft Azure cloud services and a Raspberry Pi with soil moisture, light, ambient temperature, and humidity sensors to collect data. The data is then visualized in an online dashboard that provides insights to help students. In addition to the kits, FFA and Microsoft are working together to create activity guides and resources to help chapters get started with using the technology.

The FarmBeats Kits are part of a collaboration announced last year between National FFA and Microsoft to bring innovative technology, science, research, and entrepreneurship to the classrooms of the more than 650,000 FFA student members nationwide.

Several chapters that received FarmBeats kits have already integrated computer coding into their curriculum and are excited to see how the kits can complement their coursework and help build confidence as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

“Technology is shaping agriculture in several ways now, and it is only getting better every progressing day,” Larry Plapp, advisor at the Badger FFA Chapter in Wisconsin said. “I applied for this kit because of a student who presented his supervised agricultural experience using a processor called a Raspberry Pi that watered plants. I had never heard of a Raspberry Pi until this semester. My student developed something very similar to what this kit does. He demonstrated how this small computer was able to turn off and change water flow rates to water a plant automatically. This got me thinking even more about the potential on a larger scale.”

Chapters who have received the FarmBeats kits are located in the following states:

LeCroy Career Tech FFA Chapter

The Palmer FFA Chapter
Iron Mountain FFA

DTSOI Springdale FFA Chapter

Ripon Christian FFA Chapter
Surprise Valley FFA Chapter

Calhan FFA Chapter
Roosevelt FFA Chapter

Cambridge High FFA Chapter
Clarke Central High School Chapter
Newton College & Career Academy FFA Chapter

McKinley FFA Chapter

Nezperce FFA Chapter
Weiser FFA Chapter

Hope FFA Chapter

ACGC FFA Chapter
Davis-Rodgers FFA Chapter
Maquoketa FFA Chapter

Mission Valley Chapter
Smith Center FFA Chapter

Montague FFA Chapter

Paynesville Area FFA Chapter
West Central Area FFA Chapter

Elsberry FFA Chapter
La Plata FFA Chapter

Missoula FFA Chapter
Twin Bridges FFA Chapter

North Carolina
Perquimans County Middle School FFA Chapter

North Dakota
Kindred FFA Chapter

Arcadia FFA Chapter

Arcadia FFA Chapter
Triad-OHP FFA Chapter

Collinsville FFA Chapter
Okmulgee FFA Chapter
Stillwater FFA Chapter
Wellston FFA Chapter

Sutherlin FFA Chapter

Bermudian FFA Chapter
West Greene FFA Chapter

Marion FFA Chapter

Chiawana FFA Chapter
Pasco 49ers FFA Chapter
Sequim FFA Chapter
Wapato FFA Chapter

Badger FFA Chapter
Darlington FFA Chapter
De Soto FFA Chapter
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Green Bay East FFA Chapter
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter

To learn more about FFA Blue 365, check out their website.

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