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Plant Pathologists Educate Future Farmers

Kisha Shelton,
University of Georgia

Louisville, Kentucky, is home to the Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger Museum, and, for four days in October, it was home to the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention. The 2003 convention hosted a record 51,338 attendees from all over the United States. Another first for the convention was the election of a
Puerto Rican member to National FFA President (Congratulations Javier Moreno).

The Career Show was held October 29-31, 2003, and the American Phytopathological Society (APS) was represented by APS members Kisha Shelton (Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia) and Johanna Takach (graduate student, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia). The APS booth welcomed educators, students, and parents to view printed materials from APS Press in the form of disease compendia and books about social aspects of plant diseases and management of plant diseases. Career show attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a short laboratory exercise in which they extracted DNA from a banana. The exercise provided a great opportunity to talk about the role of biotechnology in plant disease management. Also available was a demonstration of the APSnet Education Center with off-line access to the web site via a touch screen monitor. Packets containing information about the Education Center and posters about plant pathology were given to educators. Posters were available to the students interested in learning more about plant pathology.

Many of the show attendees were interested in learning more about plant diseases, as many of them are starting to see the effects of disease in the greenhouses or gardens they use for teaching. Many educators were interested in adding a plant element to their current classroom curricula. The APS booth was fairly active with many people stopping simply to find out just what was wrong with the ear of smutted corn on the main poster hanging over the booth. Corn smut drew them in and from there the conversation covered many topics. APS at the National FFA Convention Career Show was a success.

Next year's FFA meeting is October 27-30, 2004 in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information:

In addition to apples, peaches and plums are popular backyard trees for homeowners who wish to grow their own fruit. When peaches and plums are harvested, homeowners may notice blemishes and blotches on their fruits.
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