CSU, Chico

Isaac Valencia, Agriculture Education

Isaac Valencia, Agriculture Education

Like many of his peers, sophomore agriculture education major Isaac Valencia came to agriculture through the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization.  But unlike most, Valencia has found a way to remain active in the high school organization that helped determine his career path.  Since 2010, Valencia has spent each fall traveling around the state to facilitate Greenhand conferences for the California FFA.

“I wanted to give back to the organization that did so much for me and gave me a career direction. Facilitating Greenhand conferences seemed like the perfect way for me to do so,” said Valencia.

Through the conferences, Valencia and his teammates help open the doorway to FFA for high school freshmen. The Greenhand conferences focus on getting new members excited about the program by showing the numerous opportunities available, such as officer positions, Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) projects, and different contests and teams. The team hosts small-group workshops and large sessions to engage the students in the conference and FFA.

After graduating from Galt High School, Valencia applied for the opportunity to be a Greenhand conference facilitator. Valencia and his fellow teammates travel all over the state facilitating and presenting the conferences, often times missing two to three days of school per week. 

“It’s a lot of work to get caught up in my classes, but all my professors are really understanding and helpful,” said Valencia.

Besides facilitating the Greenhand conferences, Valencia also presented a workshop at the 2011 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., October 19-22. His workshop was titled “A change worth making” and focused on encouraging students to dive past initial judgments and get to know people.

“Facilitating workshops at the National FFA Convention was another way for me to give back to FFA and to hopefully make a difference in the way people judge others,” said Valencia.

During the last two summers, Valencia was employed as a summer camp counselor at Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley. The camp is for ages 7 to 12 and focuses on teaching children the steps of farming in a five-stage model: planting, weeding, harvesting, processing, and selling. Valencia spends three weeks at the summer camp teaching the kids and playing summer camp games.

“It’s the best job ever,” said Valencia. “I spend three weeks doing fun activities and teaching youth about agriculture and where their food comes from.”

Valencia came to Chico for its close-knit community and friendly atmosphere. He also enjoys that the College of Agriculture professors are caring and sincerely want students to succeed.

On campus, Valencia serves as an Ag Ambassador in the College of Agriculture and participates in high school visits to recruit potential new students. He is also in the ski and snowboarding club and ballroom dance club. Off campus, Valencia is very active at the Newman Center and participates in community service projects through the Catholic student center.

Through Valencia’s active involvement in FFA, he found his career path and area of study in college. He plans to become an agriculture education teacher and a high school FFA advisor. He is currently on track to graduate in four years and plans to apply for the teaching credential program at CSU, Chico upon graduation.

When not busy facilitating conferences, presenting workshops, snowboarding, and working on school work, Valencia enjoys running, biking, and swimming in Bidwell Park.