Oklahoma State FFA Speech Winner Emily Garrett of the Kingfisher FFA Chapter Headed to IndyWed, 17 Oct 2018 17:24:29 CDT
Over 60,000 FFA members and supporters are headed to Indianapolis for the 91st Annual National FFA Convention. Several hundred Oklahoma FFA members are competing for national honors- including high school senior Emily Garrett of the Kingfisher FFA Chapter. Garrett rose to the top this year in Oklahoma's State FFA Prepared Public Speaking Contest with her speech on urban agriculture and is now preparing to compete on the national level in Indianapolis next week. She sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn to talk about her topic and the journey that has led her to compete at the upcoming National FFA Convention. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Garrett, urban agriculture is a growing trend in the greater ag industry that has developed substantially in just the past few years as new, supportive technologies have emerged.
"We've seen a large, dramatic increase in the last five years in the amount of food that is produced in urban areas. So, my speech talks about how we can not only improve technology on the urban agriculture side, but how we can take the artificial intelligence systems to the conventional side of agriculture," Garrett said. "I mention the pros and cons of this type of agriculture within my speech. The overall theme is 'Fixer Upper' and how we are fixing up abandoned buildings and practices to make them more efficient and prettier to the human eye."
One of the arguments Garrett makes in favor of the popular urban agricultural practices of hydroponics and vertical farming, is that yield loss is significantly reduced due to the controlled environment in which it is produced. With an average total yield loss of five percent, a farmer's net production can be well-sustained and total production costs reduced. However, the initial start-up costs to launch an urban farming project can be quite expensive when done on a large scale. Garrett says that is a main challenge that faces this segment. Although, she adds that the USDA has grants available now to help producers interested in undertaking such projects.
Growing up in a family with traditional ties to the farming community, Garrett has always been fond of agriculture but confided that when searching for a topic to speak on- she wanted to find a subject that truly sparked her interest. She says learning about urban agriculture did just that.
"My dad and grandpa are both big beef and cattle producers in my hometown of Kingfisher. That side of production agriculture was never necessarily my cup of tea. It was always some thing that, yes, I am interested in and I definitely back conventional production 100 percent. But it was never something that I completely wanted to do," she said. "However, when I was approached with the topic of urban agriculture, I really found a way to relate back to my dad and grandpa from a production standpoint. Because, now I could understand how urban agriculture is so beneficial and how it is not only helping us produce more food but also the type of technology that we are producing in urban agriculture is being taken back to the conventional side. And, in turn, we are creating special crops that are drought resistant or pest resistant. So, it is helping them produce more efficient yields with advanced technology. So, it is really killing two birds with one stone."
Garrett plans to attend Oklahoma State University upon graduating from high school to pursue a degree in Agricultural Communications with aspirations of a career in public relations within the ag industry.
Our exclusive coverage of the 2018 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis October 24-27 is a service of ITC Great Plains, Your Energy Superhighway- learn more about this high voltage, transmission only utility and their commitment to the communities they serve which is the cornerstone of their business - Click or tap here for their webpage. We also appreciate the support of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click or tap here for more information about one of the top states in the US in the FFA- the Oklahoma FFA Association. FFA is a student organization for high school-aged students interested in agriculture and leadership. Oklahoma FFA impacts the lives of over 27,000 members in 359 chapters across the state.
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