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"APS Exhibits at Future Farmers of America (FFA) Annual Convention"

By David O. TeBeest
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Arkansas

The Youth Programs Committee and Office of Public Affairs and Education (OPAE) of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) sponsored a booth at the Annual Convention of the FFA. Each year, approximately 49,000 high school students, teachers, school administrators, parents and other supporting adults from most of the states and territories participate in agricultural related education and activities through the FFA. 

In 2001, the convention was held in Louisville, Kentucky from October 24 through October 26. The APS booth was staffed by APS members from North Carolina, Lisa Ferguson, North Carolina State University (NCSU), and Betsy Randall-Schadel, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. In addition to staffing the booth they also provided specimens, microscopes and other materials to present to the visitors at the booth.

Among the specimens and display materials were diseased pumpkins (Figure 1). Appropriate "oohs" and "ughs" were prompted by the Jack O' Lanterns infected by Sclerotium rolfsii provided by Lisa Ferguson. (APS thanks graduate student, Elizabeth Fitchner of NCSU for a great idea befitting the season). FFA student members participated in a "fungal race" at the booth by choosing the "fastest fungus" from among a series of fungi growing on different culture media (Figure 2). Winners took home one of several prizes provided by NCSU and APS.

Figure 1. Click image for enlargement.

Figure 2. Click image for enlargement.

Teachers received resource packets that included information on careers in plant pathology and the online K-12 web site maintained by APS. Various products provided by APS press were displayed.

Additional contributors to the booth included the staff of the NCSU Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, Tom Mitchell who provided handouts on the Fungal Genomics Laboratory, and APS staff members who provided the basic booth supplies and teacher packets. 

The FFA convention will be held in Lexington, Kentucky again in 2002 from October 30 through November 1. APS will be there again, also. APS member Kimberly Gwinn, University of Tennessee will be the contact member in charge of the APS booth next year.


Views: Bean rust is caused by a fungus called Uromyces appendiculatus. Click images for enlarged views and more information.