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Ready to Grow

fall 2012

Countdown begins for the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo

Feeding the World, Starting at Home FFA launches powerful hunger initiative

plus: 10 steps to a fantastic first impression


Fall 2012


10 Features


10 Ready to GROW

6 Scrapbook

16 Feeding the World, Starting at Home

8 FFA Faces

cover story

22 National Officer Q&A

Countdown begins for the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo.

National FFA Organization launches hunger initiative.

FFA news and achievements, reported by FFA members.

See fellow members from across the country.

Find out each officer’s favorite school supplies.

24 Ag 101 On the Cover


FFA members from Siegel High School in Tennessee are participating in the national FFA hunger initiative.

27 Personal Growth Reduce backback pains, which lead to health problems.

28 Career Success Chew on these food science careers.

31 Living to Serve Five steps to organizing your next community service project.

Fast facts about apples.

32 All About National FFA

26 Premier Leadership

Case IH auctions off skid steer, donates money to National FFA Foundation.

Tips for a fantastic first impression.

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto FFA New Horizons


Volume 60 Number 1

The magazine of the National FFA Organization Editor Kim Newsom holmberg Associate Editors jessy yancey, BLAIR THOMAS FFA Publications Manager Julie woodard FFA Communications Kristy Meyer Content Coordinator Rachel bertone Proofreading Manager RAVEN PETTY Contributing Writers BEVERLeY KREUL, Jessica mozo Creative Services Director Christina Carden Senior Graphic Designers stacey allis, jake shores, laura gallagher, KRIS SEXTON, VIKKI WILLIAMS Graphic Designers taylor nunley, kacey passmore Creative Technology Analyst becca ary Color Imaging Technician alison hunter Photography Director jeffrey s. otto Senior Photographers Jeff adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers todd bennett, michael conti Web Creative Director allison davis Web Project Manager david day Web Designer richard stevens Web Development Lead yamel hall Web Developer nels noseworthy Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants krystin lemmon, Patricia Moisan Accounting Diana guzman, maria mcfarland, lisa owens Executive Secretary Kristy duncan Executive Vice President Ray Langen Sr. V.P./Operations Casey Hester Controller CHRIS DUDLEY Distribution Director Gary Smith Advertising Sales rhonda graham, Katie newbern For advertising information, contact Rhonda Graham, (800) 333-8842, ext. 324, or e-mail 2011-12 National FFA Officers President Ryan Best, NM Secretary Jason Troendle, MN Eastern Region Vice President Ken QUICK, NY Central Region Vice President Alicia hodnik, WI Southern Region Vice President Cain thurmond, GA Western Region Vice President Seth Pratt, ID National FFA Staff National FFA Advisor steve brown Chief Executive Officer dwight armstrong National Treasurer Marion Fletcher Division Directors Mark Cavell, janet chronic, rob cooper, Dale Crabtree, Bob webster,  Kent schescke, Vicki settle, lee anne shiller,  Tony Small, Bill stagg, dexter wakefield,  christine white Visit FFA Nation to read past issues of FFA New Horizons, nominate a friend (or yourself) for FFA Faces and talk to other members in the online community!

digital magazine Tell your story Ever wondered if you could be featured in FFA New Horizons magazine? You can! Visit and fill out the form on the Contact Us page. We want to share your chapter’s stories and photos!

FFA Faces

National FFA Board of Directors – Members Chair, USDE, VA Steve Brown Treasurer, State Supervisor, AR Marion Fletcher State Supervisor, GA Chip Bridges Teacher/USDE, LA Alice DuBois Industry Representative/USDE, CA Matthew Gonzales State Supervisor, CA Bob Heuvel State Supervisor, WI Jeff Hicken State Supervisor, DE Karen Hutchison Teacher Educator/USDE, FL Brian Myers FFA Executive Secretary/USDE, NJ Erin Noble Subscription Information: FFA New Horizons (ISSN 1069-806X) is published quarterly by the National FFA Organization, 6060 FFA Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art or any other unsolicited materials. For subscription information contact: FFA New Horizons Subscription Services, (317) 802-4235 or e-mail Periodical postage rate is paid at Indianapolis, Ind., and additional mail offices. Postmaster: Please send address changes to FFA New Horizons, P.O. Box 68960, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960.

Copyright© 2012 by the National FFA Organization and Journal Communications Inc. The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Want to see past issues of FFA New Horizons? Visit the Digital Magazine page to flip through issues back to 2008.

Visit to nominate a friend or yourself.

ONline Exclusive!


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2012 National FFA Convention Exhibit & Expo Guide Visit FFA Nation in October to see the 2012 expo guide, filled with career information, college and school listings, a list of all the exhibitors for the expo, and more!

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FFA New Horizons



FFA News From Across the U.S. A place to celebrate your FFA achievements, chapter successes and good deeds

FFA IN THE BIG APPLE This summer, FFA was on prime display in the heart of New York City. A photo of the 201112 National FFA Officer Team and a message about the Washington Leadership Conference appeared on the Times Square Reuters Board. The photo and message appeared eight times in New York City and also five times on the Fashion Board in Las Vegas. That’s primetime exposure for FFA in two major urban areas!

woodbury FFA, connecticut

Donating Garden-Fresh Foods In the summer of 2011, FFA members from Woodbury FFA in Connecticut planted, maintained and harvested potatoes and butternut squash, then donated the produce to the Connecticut Food Bank. This was part of a statewide program, sponsored by the Connecticut Grange, to help feed people in need during the fall. Students in the agricultural production classes prepared the garden site, maintained it during the summer, and then harvested it in the fall. This year, the school received an FFA: Food For All grant from the National FFA Organization, which helped fund new raised beds and the construction of a deer fence around the garden site.


FFA New Horizons


This summer, the National FFA Organization awarded more than 1,000 student scholarships worth over $1.9 million.

Agriculture in Afghanistan


For Jonathan Pike, an agriculture teacher and a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard, the idea of agricultural education is taking on a whole new meaning.

Wild About Wildlife

As part of the Zabul Agribusiness Development Team (ADT), Pike and his fellow 21 agricultural specialists are enabling the government and people of Afghanistan to develop sound and sustainable agricultural practices. Their focus is setting up demonstration farms, providing veterinary clinics, and advising locals on harvesting and marketing their crops.

Emily Schmidt of the Fayetteville FFA chapter in Texas spent her summer marching in formation, studying plants and shooting archery.

There are 10 ADTs in the country, and these missions have been helping Afghan residents since 2008. Learn more at

135 Learn more about FFA global programs at

students participated in a global agricultural experience through FFA in 2011. • 67 students traveled to Argentina • 44 to Costa Rica • 12 to Colombia & Panama • 6 to Japan • 6 to Rwanda

Keep us informed! This is your chance to be a part of FFA New Horizons. Send us a short article about your latest chapter activities, awards you’ve received or even your involvement outside FFA.

Want an easy way to send your story? Email a photo, your story and contact information to All photos need to be in color and a minimum of 1 MB in size.

And she says that for her, it was a perfect summer experience. Emily was one of only 25 students selected to attend the South Texas Buckskin Brigade, a weeklong camp that’s part of the Texas Brigades program. Texas Brigades is a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for wildlife and natural resource conservation. Focusing on deer, Emily and her fellow campers learned deer anatomy, studied deer nutrition and practiced how to age deer. In this “boot camp” format, they also learned to march and safely handle firearms.

your turn

Or, mail to: FFA New Horizons P.O. Box 68960 Indianapolis, IN 46268

FFA New Horizons


FFA faces

Meet Six FFA Shining Stars Wrangler, the sponsor of FFA Faces, will award a pair of jeans to featured members Daniel Flynn

Kati Kindschuh

Daniel raises pigs for his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program, and he also enjoys educating others about the swine industry. Daniel is also part of a state-winning livestock judging team.

This high school junior enjoys promoting FFA by recruiting new members from the middle school. Kati shows Holstein and Jersey dairy cattle at the county, state and national levels.

Olivia Prokosch

Zack Alford

Chapter: Branch Area Career Center, MI

Chapter: LaFayette FFA, GA

Chapter: Lomira FFA, WI

Chapter: samson FFA, AL

A high school senior, Olivia serves as a chapter officer and has participated in the wildlife and floriculture career development events (CDEs). This year, she hopes to increase her chapter’s community activities.

Zack has served as a chapter officer for four years, and he enjoys hunting, fishing and working with his horses. After high school, he hopes to obtain a degree in agriscience and history. Zach’s goal is to be a teacher.

Colton McLaurin

Rachel Raineri

A high school graduate, Colton has been in FFA since eighth grade. He has been a member of the wildlife, forestry and land evaluation CDE teams, and he has also participated in FFA talent contests.

This high school senior serves as a chapter officer and leads the chapter activity committee. Rachel also enjoys decorating cakes, and after graduation, she hopes to be accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Chapter: Livingston FFA, TX

Chapter: Wake Forest-Rolesville FFA, NC

Nominate yourself to be considered for FFA Faces by following the steps below. Questions? Email


Go Online Visit and click on Nominations. You can nominate yourself or another current FFA member. 8

FFA New Horizons


Describe Fill out the form to tell us about you – your FFA involvement, school activities, future plans and more.


Upload Find a great photo of yourself – head and shoulders photos work best – and upload it as part of the nomination form.

Photos by: Brian McCord & Jeff adkins

TO y d a e ARE YOU R


Develop premier leadership, personal growth and career success during the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo


n less than two months, more than 55,000 FFA members, advisors and guests will take over the streets of downtown Indianapolis, all with one common purpose – to attend the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo. The convention and expo kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 24, with the first general sessions and the ribbon-cutting for the expo. This year’s convention and expo theme is “GROW,” which is a fitting representation of both agriculture and the many skills FFA members develop during their years. Check out our top eight ways you can grow during the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo, whether you’ll be attending in person or following along online ( or

The National FFA Convention & Expo has gone mobile! Scan to download the free Guidebook app. Then search for the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo.

FFA New Horizons 11

1. Grow Your Career Opportunities. Make plans to visit the expo (formerly known as the career show). You’ll meet career professionals from the top companies, organizations, colleges, schools and more. This year’s show will be divided into career pathways, to make it easier than ever to find exactly the type of information you’re looking for. Check out the expo floorplan at

2. Grow Your Friends List. Meet your 55,000 new friends! The national convention and expo is a perfect opportunity to meet FFA members from other states, with common interests or supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs, or even just someone fun to talk to. Some of these friendships may last a lifetime. For those of you at home, follow along with the National FFA Facebook page ( nationalFFA) to meet other members keeping up with the convention and expo news.

3. Grow Your Knowledge. Workshops, seminars and career development event (CDE) tours offer a unique opportunity to learn about agriculture, as well as many of the expo booths. You can also learn more about FFA history, as part of

the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo celebration, plus help recognize the contributions made to the organization by Latino members during the Somos FFA, We Are FFA! event.

4. Grow Your Stack of FFA Swag. No trip to the convention is complete without a trip to the FFA Shopping Mall, where the letters FFA and the emblem are plastered on every type of T-shirt, sweatshirt, pants, hat and accessory imaginable. You can even buy an official FFA jacket at the shopping mall, be fitted on site, and have it personalized and ready for pick up the following day! All new FFA merchandise can also be found online at

5. Grow Your Community Spirit. Join in the FFA National Days of Service, which has become a favorite annual activity of the convention and expo. This year, volunteers will conduct community service projects in the greater Indianapolis area as well as pack food bags for the first-ever FFA Rally to Fight Hunger, in conjunction with Kids Against Hunger.

online Check out to learn even more about what’s to come during the convention and expo.

6. Grow Your Playlist. The national convention and expo is definitely musicoriented, with opportunities to hear great music around every corner. Talented members will be performing as part of the National FFA Band, National FFA Chorus and National FFA Talent, and don’t forget the amazing concert by country music artists The Band Perry and Brantley Gilbert! Back by popular demand, the FFA Dance, sponsored by the National FFA Alumni Association, will be the place to be on Friday night.

7. Grow Personally. It’s almost impossible to leave the convention without feeling inspired. Keynote speakers, national officers and student workshop presenters all motivate convention attendees to further develop their premier leadership and personal growth throughout the coming year. You can watch the sessions live on RFD-TV or online at

8. Grow Your Love For FFA. For many attendees, the absolute best part of the convention and expo is simply reinvigorating their excitement for FFA. This year, whether you’ll be joining us in Indianapolis or celebrating from home, we hope you’ll set aside some time the week of Oct. 22 to reflect on what GROW means to you and your FFA involvement. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year’s convention and expo in Louisvile, Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2013.

What Grow means to us Ryan: To me, GROW is not just an action,

but a promise. It is a promise that FFA and agricultural education will strive to grow the organization, grow opportunities for students, and grow passion within our members.

Jason: The theme GROW shares the idea that

we as humans must never stop developing and becoming who we were created to be. We also can and must grow all aspects of our life; the FFA organization can be a key part to our growth.

Alicia: GROW embodies the appreciation of our agrarian roots and the future of progressive agriculture. This theme lives out our team’s goal for the National FFA Organization and our industry as a whole – growth. Seth: To me, GROW fits in two perspectives. First, growing food is the foundation of agriculture and FFA. And secondly, the future of agriculture depends upon FFA members growing into premier leaders.

Commemorate the Convention AND EXPO! To celebrate 85 years of the national FFA convention and expo, FFA has licensed an official FFA 85th Anniversary Legacy Challenge Coin Set. The set includes a colorized coin, a display package and a booklet detailing the past 85 years of FFA.

Cain: GROW can be applied to every facet of our lives and to every aspect of FFA. We need to strive to grow through every experience every day as individuals, grow the quality of our membership as an organization, and realize we are the ones who literally grow the crops and livestock to supply our world with food and fiber. We are never too old, too knowledgeable or too experienced to grow. Ken: I see GROW as the essential action for our organization. From the field to classroom, we grow our crops as well as ourselves.

Order your set at

14 FFA New Horizons

n o i t a v i mot Awaits Meet the keynote speakers for the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo Scott Hamilton Opening Sessions Wednesday, Oct. 24; 4 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25; 8 a.m.

Olympic gold medalist and philanthropist Scott Hamilton will speak at the opening sessions of the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in October.

Dr. Catlett is an exciting futurist whose knowledge of technologies and their implications on the way we will live and work is addressed in his varied and upbeat presentations.

FFA is excited to welcome the most recognized male figure skating star in the world to our convention and expo! Scott Hamilton first captured the world’s attention 25 years ago with his Olympic gold-medal performances in Sarajevo. Since then, Hamilton has won 70 titles, awards and honors, including an Emmy award nomination, and he has been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Since then, he has shared his love and enthusiasm for the sport as a commentator, performer and best-selling author. Hamilton further inspires others as a speaker, philanthropist, and cancer and brain tumor survivor. And most recently, he has signed on to be part of Season 8 of The Celebrity Apprentice. Hamilton’s biography is among the most inspiring in the history of sports. His remarkable courage, determination and dignity have made him a champion in the truest sense of the word.

Walter Bond Fourth General Session Friday, Oct. 26; 8 a.m.

Dr. Lowell Catlett Third General Session Thursday, Oct. 25; 7:30 p.m.

Marine Corporal Josh Bleill will share his story of hope on Friday evening. After completing college at Purdue University, Bleill joined the United States Marine Corps in 2004 and was activated for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006. While serving in Iraq, Corporal Bleill was severely injured, resulting in the loss of both of his legs. After extensive rehabilitation, Bleill returned to Indiana, where he attacked his new life head-on, including a new career as the Indianapolis Colts’ community spokesperson. Bleill now travels the country to spread his message of hope, “one step at a time.”

Learn more about the role of technology in agriculture from our Thursday-night keynote speaker, Dr. Lowell Catlett. Dr. Catlett is a regent’s professor in agricultural economics and agricultural business and extension economics and the dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Walter Bond is called “Mr. Accountability” because he forces each one of his listeners to learn to be responsible for whatever the situation they are in. Bond believes that personal accountability, confidence and success are possible for all who desire it. A former NBA athlete, Bond rose from being a reserve player coming off the bench to the first rookie free agent to start for the Dallas Mavericks. This astonishing journey provides the foundation for the principles he teaches to help empower people in their own personal journeys.

Josh Bleill Seventh General Session Friday, Oct. 26; 7 p.m.

FFA New Horizons 15

e h t g n i d fee

world, Starting at home

FFA launches powerful initiative to combat hunger


or most Americans, the issue of hunger conjures FFA Takes Action on Hunger up mental images of starving, malnourished The National FFA Organization envisions a world in children in faraway Third World countries. In fact, which hunger is a thing of the past. That’s why FFA there are 925 million undernourished people in members are joining the fight to the world today, including the eliminate hunger at home and United States. One in seven abroad. Through Feeding the people does not get enough food World–Starting at Home, FFA to be healthy. Worse, 16,000 FFA members know members are learning about the children die from hunger-related issues and effects of hunger and ‘Living to Serve’ is causes every day. taking action to support the more than just the last Even though the United human right to safe, affordable States is the world’s wealthiest line of the FFA motto. and nutritious food. nation, 15 percent of our citizens “There is no one better to It’s a pledge to care live in poverty. More than one in address the challenge of hunger about your neighbor. five American children live in than students preparing to be households struggling to put leaders in providing food and food on the table. That’s fiber for our world,” says Ryan 16.2 million children. Best, national FFA president. Dr. Dwight Armstrong, National FFA “Hunger and malnutrition “We are the ones who can and should are the number-one risks to health make a difference.” worldwide – greater than AIDS, malaria and The fight against hunger is already underway. tuberculosis combined,” says Larry Moore, executive “Many FFA chapters have been engaged in hunger director of Kids Against Hunger in Greenwood, Ind. relief efforts, including the FFA Million Can Challenge

16 FFA New Horizons

FFA members are working to combat hunger in their communities and abroad, by educating farmers in other countries, gleaning leftover crops from fields, participating in canned-food drives and partnering with community groups.

To see the food insecurity level in your own county and state, visit www. and click on the Map the Meal Gap link.

FFA New Horizons 17

hunger by the numbers There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union.

Food insecurity, defined: Lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. households were food insecure in 2010, the highest number ever recorded in the United States. This is a significant issue in our country, since many families trade off access to food in order to pay housing, utilities or school costs.

several years ago, and chapters collect canned goods and volunteer at food pantries as service projects,” says Marilyn Ross, program director for the National FFA Organization’s Global and Hunger Initiatives. “Our members want to fight hunger because they, as the future leaders of agriculture, are concerned about food.” In 2011, National FFA Organization CEO Dwight Armstrong appointed a team to examine the hunger issue. The strategy developed was simple: educate members about hunger in their own communities; engage chapters in hunger fighting efforts; and communicate the facts about hunger and how to reduce it. “Anyone who has seen the face of hunger in the United States or abroad will understand why FFA members are committing to this fight,” Armstrong says. “FFA members know ‘Living to Serve’ is more than just the last line of the FFA motto. It’s a pledge to care about your neighbor. That’s the promise and 18 FFA New Horizons


power of Feeding the World–Starting at Home. These young people are taking leadership roles in fighting hunger with purpose and passion.”

FFA: Food for All Grants In 2012, the FFA: Food For All grant program was developed to support qualifying chapters in developing yearlong service-learning projects focused on sustainable hunger-fighting actions. The first year, 140 chapters in 41 states were awarded grants up to $2,500 for projects such as community gardens to supplement fresh produce at schools and food pantries. The grant program is sponsored by Farmers Feeding the World and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The grants helped ideas come together quickly. The Siegel FFA chapter in Murfreesboro, Tenn., created a workshop series for their community

Hunger is the world’s #1 health risk – more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.


One out of four children – roughly 146 million – in developing countries is underweight.


Some U.S. school districts have more than 80% of their students on the free or reduced lunch program, due to food insecurity.

covering topics such as container gardening for edible plants, small-scale poultry production, composting and basic food preservation (freezing, drying and pickling). Many chapters spent the summer planting, maintaining and harvesting community gardens, while others grew lettuce and other vegetables in greenhouses or hydroponically. The fruits of their labor, often totaling more than 1,000 pounds of produce, are donated to local food banks and charitable organizations. “The results that we have seen so far with the FFA: Food For All program are impressive,” says Stefonie Sebastian, the program manager. “FFA members are putting their ag education and leadership into action by addressing real hunger needs in their own communities. Through collaboration and dedication they are changing lives.” For more information on the Feeding the World– Starting at Home initiative and great ideas for fighting hunger, visit

FFA Rally to Fight Hunger at Convention FFA will launch its hunger initiative, Feeding the World–Starting at Home, at the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo with the “FFA Rally to Fight Hunger.” During the week, 10,000 FFA members and volunteers from across the country will pack 1 million meals at Lucas Oil Stadium, Oct. 24-26 in Indianapolis. The Rally is expected to be an inspiring event that will engage volunteers in hour-long shifts over three days to package nutritious meals, half of which will be distributed in the Indianapolis area, with the remainder to be sent to Haiti. “This will be the largest single service engagement event in FFA’s history,” says Kelsey Walls, project manager for the Rally. “Beyond the meals, participants will also learn about the causes of hunger and how to conduct hunger-fighting efforts in their home communities.” The Rally to Fight Hunger is being coordinated through Kids Against Hunger of Greenwood, Ind. It is sponsored through the National FFA Foundation with support from ADM, American Family Insurance, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Cargill, Dow Agrosciences, Elanco, Farmers Feeding the World and Tyson Foods. Your advisor can register you as a volunteer for the Rally, or visit

for more information.

FFA New Horizons 19

FFA national officer Q&A

Get to Know Your National FFA Officers


Why do you think it’s so important for FFA members to address the global issue of hunger?

Ryan: Hunger is not just something that occurs in Third World countries; it is, in fact, happening right in our communities. It’s important that FFA members care about hunger and take the initiative to learn the signs of hunger in order to exert the best influence we possibly can within our homes and communities. We must take an active role in seeking out opportunities to help those around us.


Jason: Food and nourishment is a basic need for all of life. We as agriculturalists have a responsibility of doing

our best to provide food and fight hunger so others can have a higher standard of living.

22 FFA New Horizons

Seth: Eliminating hunger requires people who have the resources to provide food, as well as the communication and networking skills to spread the message. No group of individuals fits this need as well as FFA members.

Ken: I think it is important for our members to learn to lead American agriculture. It is American agriculture that will continue to be called upon to feed the world. Therefore, we, as the future leaders, should know and care about it. Alicia: Know what it’s like to be sitting in class and feel your stomach rumble and ache before lunch? Picture this feeling for every moment of every day, but more intense. We are

In October, these six officers will preside over the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo. Take a look at what their week will be like.

all in this together, which is something our FFA members understand better than anyone else. The only way we as FFA members can fight hunger is by doing it together and starting right where we know best – home.

Cain: As FFA members, we are the future of American agriculture, which also means we are the future producers of food both domestically and internationally. If the producers (us) won’t take the initiative to combat hunger, who will? It’s time we step up


The national officers attend the convention and expo kickoff luncheon and continue practicing their scripts.


Practice makes perfect! The officers rehearse their convention session scripts. Everything is memorized – no notecards allowed!

and realize the product of our toil is not reaching all people and we need to do something about it.


What’s your best tip for memorizing speeches? Ryan: As strange as it sounds, my best method for learning or memorizing a speech is to put it in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and take it into the shower. I stick it to the shower wall and say the speech over and over again. Jason: I like to put weird voices or rhythms to the words. Connecting concepts with easy-to-remember events in my life brings a speech to life for me. Ken: Just tell a story. I learn my main points and phrases that I want to say.


The convention and expo is in full swing, and the officers will balance leading the sessions with attending other activities.


The convention and expo begins! The officers will cut the ribbon and officially open the expo, then present the opening session twice.

Then when the time comes, I get on stage and tell the story.

Alicia: I’m like Ryan. I print off the manuscript or talking points, put them in page protectors, seal the top, and then tape them to the wall in the shower. My mind learns best in the morning, so I memorize while I shower! Seth: First of all, pick a topic you are passionate about. Secondly, find the time to invest in memorizing or creating a detailed outline. If you are going to memorize it, do so well enough that your delivery is natural. Cain: Practice in the bathroom. A bathroom creates privacy, you can lock yourself in, the fan drowns out all noise, and practicing in front of a mirror is key!

“Just tell a story. I learn my main points and phrases that I want to say. Then when the time comes, I get on stage and tell the story.”


What was your favorite back-to-school item to purchase each fall?

Ryan: Definitely my basketball shoes for ball practice! Jason: Finding that perfect backpack. Ken: Paper bags to cover my books in. My dad would cover them, and my mom would write on them for me. Alicia: I am a geek for organization, so I loved buying binders, page dividers and highlighters. Seth: Shoes. No contest. Cain: New kicks! I always went shopping for a new pair of shoes after a summer of ruining a pair!


A busy day in Bankers Life Fieldhouse! The officers lead four sessions on Friday – delivering speeches and presenting lots of awards.

Ryan Best

national ffa president

This New Mexico native hopes to become an agricultural education instructor one day.

Jason Troendle national ffa secretary

Hailing from Minnesota, Jason’s love for the outdoors and fly-fishing was his first connection to FFA.

Ken Quick

national ffa Eastern Region Vice President

Ken grew up on a dairy farm in New York, where he realized his career goal to work in agribusiness.

Alicia Hodnik

national ffa Central Region Vice President

This Wisconsin native hopes to research aquaculture genetics for her career.

Cain Thurmond

national ffa southern Region Vice President

Cain lives on an Angus beef cattle operation in Georgia, and he is pursuing a career in ag economics.

Seth Pratt

national ffa western Region Vice President


The officers will present more than 2,000 American FFA Degrees, then officially retire from national FFA office.

Seth grew up on a cattle ranch in Idaho, and his ultimate career goal is to return home to raise livestock.

FFA New Horizons 23

ag 101

Apple of My Eye Welcome the fall harvest and October Apple Month with core facts about this popular fruit. Have you had your apple today? Thanks to the 7,000-plus apple growers across the United States, you should never need your doctor again. Celebrate this versatile fruit in October, not only for its health benefits, but as a major player in U.S. agriculture. The United States is the world’s second-largest apple producer, with one of every four fresh apples being exported. Learn more about U.S. apples.

Top Apple States Washington state ranks as the top apple producer, with the crop being its largest agricultural product. Each year, 10 billion to 12 billion apples are handpicked by Washington growers. The crop is actually harvested in every state across the United States, but other front-runners include New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and California.

Take a Bite Out of Popular Varieties Learn the top types of this diverse crop.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Gala: A crispy, sweet variety that can vary in color, from cream to red and yellow-striped. It is one of America’s most popular apples.

Granny Smith: Best known for lip-smacking tartness, this green-fleshed variety is prime for pies and sauces. McIntosh: A tangy tart apple that was named after its discoverer, John McIntosh, in 1811. Pick it for snacking!

Golden Delicious: The crisp, yellow flesh of this apple resists browning, so throw it on a salad for pretty presentation. Fuji: Hailing from Japan, this apple appeared in U.S. markets in the 1980s. It’s loved for its sweet flavor and firmness. Red Delicious: A widely known variety that was born in Iowa in the 1870s. Depending on where it is grown, its shape can differ from round to elongated.

40 Percent

Nearly 40 percent of the crop is processed each harvest into a variety of tasty apple products. Apple foods like cider; vinegar; juice; concentrate; and fresh, canned or frozen slices are some of the leading processed products. How ‘bout them apples? Sources: U.S. Apple Association, Washington Apple Commission 24 FFA New Horizons

Premier Leadership

Fantastic First Impressions First impressions are lasting, so make yours count


hances are, you’ve heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s because researchers say it only takes a person you are meeting for the first time seven seconds to make 11 major decisions about you – including whether or not you are trustworthy, confident, smart and likeable. Studies show people form opinions about you based not only on things you say, but also by your body language, appearance, mannerisms and even the clothes you are wearing. And once a person has formed an opinion about you, it can be hard to undo. Face-to-face etiquette and good manners are more important than ever in today’s technology saturated society, where many teens and young adults text and email more than they talk. Remember that no matter how brilliant you may be on your laptop or smartphone, a lack of social skills and business sense could prevent you from landing some great academic, social and career opportunities.

online Visit in October to see a list of all the companies, organizations, colleges and schools you can visit with during the national FFA convention and expo this fall. This information and more will be available in the 2012 National FFA Convention Exhibit & Expo Guide. 26 FFA New Horizons

Think about the impression you want to make, whether it’s welcoming new FFA members into your chapter, doing outreach projects in your community, interacting with FFA leaders, or even meeting career professionals at the national FFA convention and expo in October. Then consider these tips from Ellen Lubin-Sherman, a career coach from New Jersey and author of the book “The Essentials of Fabulous: Because Whatever Doesn’t Work Here Anymore”:

1. Extend your hand.

6. Don’t chew gum. It makes you appear unprofessional and even sloppy.

“Whether you’re male or female, nothing is more impressive than a young person who exudes poise,” Lubin-Sherman says. “It starts with a firm handshake.”

7. BE confident.

2. Make eye contact.

8. note their name.

Maintain that eye contact throughout the conversation.

3. Silence your cell. Don’t answer any calls or texts while conversing with someone faceto-face – that conveys the message that your phone is more important than the person in front of you.

4. ignore the clock. “Never look at your watch or phone for the time,” Lubin-Sherman says. “That could suggest you’re bored with the conversation.”

5. Listen. You should always listen more than you talk, and ask questions when appropriate.

While speaking to someone, remember to be clear and confident in your voice. Try to avoid filler words, including “um” and “like.”

People love to hear their name, so use it during your conversation. It shows them you have paid attention from the start, and it makes your conversation more personal.

9. Follow up. Don’t forget to follow up with a hand-written thank-you note or a personal phone call. Emails can get lost in cyberspace, but a handwritten note or a friendly call will help you stand out.

10. smile. It’s the simplest way to break the ice, draw the other person in and show that you are friendly, confident and at ease. – Jessica Mozo

Personal Growth

Backpack Pains Heavy packs can cause major health problems – now and later in life


arly mornings. Homework. Pop quizzes. School can be a pain in the neck, figuratively. But if school is literally causing issues with your neck and back, your backpack could be the problem. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 64 percent of high school students who use backpacks complain of pain. Unfortunately, nearly everything students carry in their backpack is essential to classwork. Heavy textbooks, notepads and gym clothes are necessary for school survival, but you don’t want to pay a painful price down the road. Fortunately, following a few simple steps, all recommended by the American Chiropractic Association, can ensure you’re using your backpack correctly and safely.

strap and then the other. Since your legs are generally stronger than your back, this is the safest way to lift your backpack and prevent injury. Learning backstrengthening exercises will help build up the muscles you use to carry a backpack.

3. Choose the right pack size. Make sure to buy a pack that is appropriate for your body. A general rule is that when the shoulder straps are adjusted so that they are snug,

the bottom of the pack should be about two inches above your waist. There are also specific things to look for when choosing a new backpack. Look for wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.

4. Position your pack properly. Wearing your backpack on one shoulder can cause muscle strain and imbalance. Wear both straps and adjust them so that they are comfortably snug. – Beverley Kreul

1. Lighten your load. Your backpack should weigh no more than 15 percent of your body weight. A 150-pound person should carry no more than 23 pounds. To lighten the load, remove any nonessentials. Even a few notebooks or an extra bottle of water can add weight. If your bag is still too heavy, remove a textbook and carry it in your arms.

2. Lift with your legs. When you put on your backpack, face the pack and bend at your knees – not your waist – then lift with your legs and apply one shoulder

FFA New Horizons 27

Antony Boshier

Career success

Chew on This

Demand for food science professionals increases each year


ave you ever stopped to think what the world would be like if there wasn’t a food science industry? • There would be no way to keep food fresh. • Nutrition would be a guessing game. • Food would look and taste bad. • Dinner would take all day to prepare. • Food would be unsafe to eat.

online Visit and click on Careers for more information on the food science industry. 28 FFA New Horizons

These frightening facts are part of a new campaign designed by the Institute for Food Technology to explain the importance of the food science industry. The good news is that the field of food science and technology employs thousands of professionals, dedicated to preventing these frightening scenarios from becoming reality. And, as the public increases its focus on diet, health and food safety, the job opportunities will grow and strengthen for food scientists and technologists — especially in quality assurance and food safety. Food scientists produce food, ensure its safety and develop new products, they deal with food until it goes into the stomach of consumers. Because of

this, as long as people have to eat, there will be careers in food products and processing. For FFA members, the career opportunities in this field will be bountiful. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that universities are currently not graduating enough students with food-related degrees to meet the demands of the food science industry.

Science-Based Work This career pathway offers opportunities to discover new food sources, analyze and evaluate food content and develop ways to process, preserve, package or store food according to industry and government regulations.

food. One example of their work is the inspection of food-processing areas to ensure that sanitation, safety, quality and waste management standards are met.

Antony Boshier

Applying Classroom Lessons

Food science professionals use biology, physical sciences and engineering to study the nature of foods and the principles underlying food processing. Depending on their areas of expertise, they might develop new food products or test new flavors and colors. Food technologists apply the principles of food science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution and use of

The food science industry incorporates food chemistry, food microbiology, food safety, nutrition, food processing and food technologies in its careers. But this doesn’t mean everyone is going to work in a lab. Good communication skills and knowledge of basic business principles are also important. Some graduates may go into product development or processing, while others find jobs at regulatory agencies or in management and sales. And it’s considered an applied science – food scientists get to see the results of their work, often on a grocery store shelf!

10 Cool Food Science Careers • Food and Drug Inspectors • Flavor Chemist • Nutritionists • Food Microbiologist • Food Safety Technician • Meat Science Researchers • Dieticians • Food Brokers • Biochemists • Quality Control Specialists

FFA New Horizons 29

living to serve

A Plan in Place Five steps to organizing your next service project


hen the Republic FFA Chapter in Republic, Mo., began tilling the soil and planting the crops for the first community garden in the area, advisor Mike Shumaker wanted to make sure the students understood why they were participating. Before the project began, he explained how a community garden worked and whom it serves. “There are people just like you and I in our community who are in a situation where they can’t afford to buy food,” Shumaker explained. “We have the skills and resources to ease their burden and provide a major service for our little town.” In the midst of an economic downturn, there are plenty of people who need help. By planning service projects that are relevant, informative and fun, you can mobilize your chapter to reach out and serve others. And to ensure your project’s success, follow the I-P-A-R-D model.

Investigation The first step in preparing any project is to find the issue that needs to be addressed. Brainstorm with your fellow members, read the local newspaper regularly, walk about and observe your community, or ask a community partner to help identify present needs.

Planning and Preparation After you have uncovered the issue you would like to address, figuring out what to do about it is the next step.

Teachers, students and community members should plan the service activities together, discussing each detail along the way. Even the smallest detail can be a major issue in the end if it’s overlooked in the planning step.

Action Taking action is often the most meaningful and visible step in creating a service project. Action is the “heart” of the project. Participating in a meaningful service experience will benefit both the community and you.

Reflection Once the action on the project is complete, many people see that as the end of the process. But there are two steps left, and they are an extremely important part of any project. Reflection is often used as an evaluation tool to gauge how successful the activity was and brainstorm ways the project could have been done better.

Demonstration The demonstration step is the best way for you to showcase your knowledge and skills gained through the service experience. You can conduct a workshop for the community or present at a local school board. Or you can incorporate these new skills into your own supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. – Beverley Kreul FFA New Horizons 31

all about ffa

FFA News You Can Use Case IH Shows Its Support Case IH has been sponsoring local, state and national FFA programs for more than 60 years, but over the past year, the company found a new – and unique – way to support FFA. Case IH has donated a new, one-of-a-kind Case skid steer nicknamed “Red Power” to be auctioned off to benefit the National FFA Foundation. Specifically, 89 percent of the proceeds will go to the National FFA Foundation, 10 percent to the winning bidder’s state FFA association and 1 percent to the winning bidder’s FFA chapter of choice. “‘Red Power’ is a one-of-a-kind, tricked out skid steer, specially designed with Case IH enthusiasts and collectors in mind,” explains Kyle Russell, senior director of marketing for Case IH North America. 32 FFA New Horizons

The skid steer features unique extras like dual chrome exhaust stacks, custom wheels, tinted cab windows and a custom red leather seat. Over the past year, Case IH has displayed the skid steer at national events – including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual meeting, National Farm Machinery Show, Commodity Classic and Farm Progress Show – to spark interest and attract potential buyers. The skid steer will be sold through an online auction, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 30, but it will also be on display during the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis this October. For more information on this unique sponsorship and auction details, visit en_us/Pages/red-power-skidsteer.aspx.

flip through our


inserts! FFA New Horizons state inserts keep YOU connected to what’s going on in your state or others. • State FFA news and achievements • FFA member profiles • Career information • Meet state FFA officers

To learn about creating a state insert for your FFA association, contact Kim Newsom at

Illinois ffa association Fall 2012

Miles of Opportunity …

Meet Your 2012-2013 State Officer Team



Check out our



Table of Contents Page B – Meet Your 2012-2013 State Officer Team


Page D – Meet Your State President Page E – Stars Over Illinois

and Section Presidents

Page f – State CDEs

Page C – Officers’ Tracks

Page G – Gold/National Chapters and Top 10s

Illinois – A

Meet Your State Officer Team and Section Presidents Major State Officers President Darren Riskedal from the Somonauk-Leland-Sandwich FFA Chapter (Section 7) Vice President Dalton Heavner from the Pittsfield FFA Chapter (Section 13) Reporter Courtney Gerstenecker from the Carlyle FFA Chapter (Section 21) Secretary Joel Limestall from the Waterloo FFA Chapter (Section 22) Treasurer Tyson Schulte from the Sherrard FFA Chapter (Section 3)

Section Presidents Section 1

Cory Snetcher – Eastland

Section 2

Mallory Hopkins – Polo

Section 3

Nolan Robb – Sherrard

Section 4

Rachel Hawk – Mercer County

Section 5

Ethan Wieland – Princeville

Section 6

Christian Thurwanger – Sycamore

Section 7

Austin Granby – Seneca

Section 8

Katie McMahon – Chicago HS for Ag Sciences

Section 9

Sam Detwiler – Flanagan-Cornell

Section 10 Melanie Behrends – Iroquois West Section 11 Taylor Hardy – Illini West Section 12

Tiffany VanMiddlesworth – Lewistown

Section 13

Sarah Sellers – Winchester

Section 14

Cole Baker – Hartsburg

Section 15

August Scheeter – Southwestern

Section 16

Cody Carman – Sullivan

Section 17 Kaitlin Magsamen Section 18 Brice Cannon – Kansas Section 19

Kayley Woker – Greenville

Section 20 Tyler Kessler – Oblong Section 21

Bradley Braddock – Patoka

Section 22 Joe Heavner – Valmeyer Section 23 Morgan Doggett – Fairfield Section 24 Joel Vancil – DuQuoin Section 25 Samantha Davis – Hamilton County

B – Illinois

Officers’ Tracks

Blast-Off Training The 2012-2013 Major State Officers hit the ground running the week after being elected at the 84th Annual State FFA Convention. They attended Blast-Off Training at the FFA Center in Springfield June 20-22.

Heritage & Cooperative Tour The five Major State Officers joined around 60 FFA members on a trip to Washington D.C. sponsored through the Farm Bureau and its family of companies to attend the Heritage & Cooperative Tour. They left on Sunday, June 24 from the Champaign County Farm Bureau Building. They visited many of our nation’s historical sites including George Washington’s Estate in Mt. Vernon, the Gettysburg Battlefield, the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, the Capitol and many other sites! Members returned Friday, June 29 after a fun-filled week touring our Nation’s Capital!

State President’s Conference (Darren & Dalton) July 23-27 in Washington D.C.

Leadership Camp On July 25-28, more than 300 members from all over the state came together at the 4-H Memorial Campgrounds in Monticello, Illinois for the annual FFA Leadership Camp! The dance, water balloon war and team activities were a huge success! Thank you to the alumni for sponsoring scholarships for the members to be able to attend camp!

Illinois – C

Meet Your State President Darren Riskedal

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to become an FFA member when I reached high school. I was excited to get out and learn more about the agriculture industry, but I was very nervous. Growing up in the small town of Leland where my high school totaled no more than 100 students, I knew everybody and probably their parents as well. What made me nervous is that our agriculture program was a co-op between three different schools: Somonauk, Leland, and Sandwich. For the first time in my life, I would be going to a school other than Leland, and I would have classmates who I had never met before. This made me nervous about being involved in all of the activities that my chapter was participating in. I vividly remember that first summer before my freshman year. My chapter needed help pulling weeds in our land lab pumpkin patch. The advisor, Mr. Wilson, called my parents and asked if I was available to come out and lend a hand. I was free so my parents said, “Yes, we will bring him right over.” When I heard that I was going to be going out in the field with all of those big, bad seniors who I had never met before, I was scared. I didn’t want to go, and I made sure my parents knew it. I remember making up all sorts of ridiculous reasons to not go. Things like not feeling good, or having to fix a fence, or needing to mow the lawn. I would have done anything to not go to the pumpkin patch that afternoon. My efforts in avoiding the pumpkin patch were unsuccessful, and my parents dropped me off at the school to go to work. When I got to the field, Mr. Wilson quickly introduced me to the others, and immediately they took me in and began teaching me all the ins and outs of how things worked with the chapter and some of the tricks of working in the field. Even though we were working hard that afternoon, I had a great time and decided that I wanted to go back and help next time. I quickly became involved and had my parents running all over the county dropping me

D – Illinois

off and picking me up from all of our activities. Looking back, I am extremely fortunate that my parents and Mr. Wilson gave me that push to get me out in the field that hot Saturday afternoon. It was in that field pulling weeds with people who I now call my best friends that my FFA career began. I remember sitting in intro to agriculture class that fall learning about horticulture, parliamentary procedure, livestock judging, and even life lessons like how to properly tie a necktie with a double Windsor knot. I was having the time of my life, meeting new friends, learning things that I felt I would actually use in my life and was finally in a class I enjoyed being in. While I got older and became one of those big, bad seniors, I realized that it was now my turn to take in those shy freshmen and show them all of the amazing opportunities that are available to them in the FFA. This realization is what inspired me to run for Section 7 President following my high school graduation and then ultimately to run for a Major State FFA Office. During my years serving in leadership positions I have done my best to inspire young FFA members and to promote FFA to future members. Just like I was inspired by Mr. Wilson and the older members while I was a shy little freshman, I have made it my own personal goal to pass that inspiration on to all of Illinois’ more than 16,000 members as well as to all of our future members.

STARS Over Illinois

Star Farmer of Illinois Dane Hasselbring – The 2012 Star Farmer of Illinois is Dane Hasselbring from the Cissna Park FFA Chapter. He is the son of Troy and Lynn Hasselbring, from Cissna Park, Illinois. Dane’s supervised agricultural experience program consists of corn, soybeans, and feeder cattle. He entered into a 50/50 partnership with his father in their feeder cattle operation three years ago when they built new facilities. He currently feeds out 333 head of cattle each year. His corn enterprise consists of 36.2 acres that yielded 147.56 bushel per acre, and he has raised 36 acres of soybeans that yielded 36 bushel per acre. Dane has served as treasurer, president and TASK officer of his chapter, and reporter and vice president of the section. He is the 2012 State Beef Production – Entrepreneurship Award Winner and has been a member of his chapter’s state winning ag sales and envirothon teams, and has competed in the National FFA’s ag sales and environmental and natural resources career development events. He has attended Leadership Training School, Illinois Farm Bureau Youth Conference and the Made for Excellence Conference. He has helped with the National FFA Alumni/Campbell Soup Barn Restoration Project and has participated in the livestock, agronomy, agi-bowl, parliamentary procedure, ag mechanics, land use, dairy, horse and ag sales career development events. His advisor is Jeff Clifton.

Illinois’ Star in Agribusiness Conner Builta – Illinois’ 2012 Star in Agribusiness is Conner Builta from the Blue Ridge FFA Chapter. He is the son of Greg and Karen Builta, from Farmer City, Illinois. Conner started his own lawn mowing business when he was 10 years old. As a freshman, when it came time to decide on a supervised agricultural experience program, he already had an established mowing business so it was natural to continue with that. He started with four yards, increased that to six yards his sophomore year, and expanded to eight yards this past year. He is also a partner in Swigart Cattle Photography. Conner helps set up the photos, uploads the pictures to the computer, and enhances and crops the pictures as needed. In addition to photography, they also have added ad and website design. Conner has served as chapter treasurer and president. He has received the DeKalb Award and been recognized as a WIXY Classic Top 20 FFA All-Star. He is a Farm Credit Scholar and has received the chapter Star Farmer Award. He has attended Leadership Training School and participated in the ag sales and livestock career development events. His advisor is Adam Swigart.

Illinois’ Star in Agricultural Placement Josh Harding – The 2012 Star in Agricultural Placement is Josh Harding from the Farmington FFA Chapter. He is the son of Darren and Julie Harding, from Trivoli, Illinois. Josh works for Harding Farms, which is his family’s 1,500 acre corn and soybean farm in Central Illinois. He has been helping on the farm since an early age. In 2006, he began working for the farm for pay. This made it an easy choice for his supervised agricultural experience program when he entered high school. At first he was mainly assisting his father and grandpa as needed and hauling in wagons during the fall harvest. As he gained experience, he took on more responsibilities. He is now able to do a lot of things on his own and has received his Class B driver’s license so he can operate a grain truck. Josh has served as chapter Greenhand historian, junior president, vice president and president. He has received the DeKalb Award and the chapter Activity Award. He has attended the Leadership Training School and the state and national FFA conventions. He has participated in the ag sales, horse, agronomy, livestock, forestry, land use, parliamentary procedure and dairy career development events. His advisor is Scott Riden.

Illinois’ Star in Agriscience Rochelle Meteer - The 2012 Star in Agriscience is Rochelle Meteer from the Taylorville FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of W. Lee and Karla K. Meteer, from Blue Mound, Illinois. Rochelle began her agriscience program her freshman year with an agriscience fair project titled A Comparison of the Viability and Motility of Bovine Semen at Different Thaw Temperatures. The project tested the effects of thawing bovine semen at different temperatures. Her second year she expanded her project by using semen from different breeds of bulls to see if the ideal thaw temperature varied from breed to breed. Her third year she again expanded her project by adding diary bull semen to the study. Her program also includes two years of experimentation with artificial insemination protocols. She used Controlled Internal Drug Release and Lutylase protocols, and tested their effectiveness for synchronization and conception rates. Rochelle has served as chapter Greenhand president, vice president and president. She is the 2012 Agriscience Research – Animal Systems Award Winner and was the District IV Emerging Agriculture Technology Award Winner in 2010 and 2011. She has received the chapter Star Greenhand and Agriscience Awards, the Section 16 Star Greenhand in Agriscience and Best in Show Awards. She has attended Leadership Training School, the Illinois Farm Bureau Youth Conference, and the state and national FFA conventions. She has participated in the land use, livestock, job interview and ag sales career development events. Her advisors are W. Lee Meteer, Sue Schafer and Matt Beyers.

Illinois – E

State CDEs

State Livestock CDE Reasons

Prepared Public Speaking

1) Webber-Bluford

Jacob Miller – Geneseo

2) West Central


Extemporaneous Public Speaking

1) Ridgeview

Samantha Bolen - Carrollton

3) Eureka

2) Olympia 3) Payson

Creed Speaking

4) North Clay

Sydney Miller – Iroquois West

5) Altamont 6) Blue Ridge 7) Hartsburg-Emden 8) Cambridge 9) Nokomis 10) Seneca

State Dairy CDE 1) Stewardson-Strasburg 2) Newton 3) Cissna Park 4) Greenville 5) Prairie Central 6) Carlyle 7) Dwight 8) Belvidere 9) Odin 10) Lincoln

State Horticulture CDE 1) Glenbrook South 2) Paxton Buckley Loda 3) Byron 4) Nashville 5) Gillespie

F – Illinois

Ag Mechanics 1) Prairie Central 2) Newton 3) Goreville

Ag Business 1) Princeville 2) Prairie Central 3) Carrollton 4) Seneca 5) Payson-Seymour

Gold/National Chapters and Top 10s Presidents/Reporters FFA Chapters Receive Gold Ranking * * * * * * * * * *

Ashton-Franklin Center Arthur Athens Bushnell-Prairie City Carlyle Chicago Ag Sciences Cisne Cumberland Dakota Dwight Galva Goreville

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Greenville Hardin County Marion Mattoon Midland Mt. Vernon Nashville Newark North East Vermilion Oregon Orion Pinckneyville

* * * * * * * * *

Pittsfield Pontiac River Ridge Somonauk-Leland-Sandwich Seneca Taylorville Unity – Mendon Waterloo West Carroll West Central

(* National Finalist)


Chapter Reporters

Top 10

Top 10

1) Jozi Steele (Oregon)

1) Danielle Horst (Oregon)

2) Michael Long (Hinckley Big Rock)

2) Dallas Boehne (Indian Creek)

3) Cassidy Hamman (Newark)

3) Jessica Andre (Herscher)

4) Megan Bloemer (Heyworth)

4) Stephanie Zimmer (Peotone)

5) Dane Hasselbring (Cissna Park)

5) Taylor Hardy (Illini West)

6) Mackenzie Buyck (Liberty)

6) Chance Vose (Griggsville-Perry)

7) Mason Vincent (Rushville Industry)

7) Carol Wickenhauser (Maroa-Forsyth)

8) Marlee Bradshaw (Griggsville Perry)

8) Morgan Dodson (Nashville)

9) Josiah Klokkenga (Hartsburg Emden)

9) Lanie Moore (Odin)

10) Tommy Justison (Hillsboro)

10) Crystal Dunstan (Hardin County)

section presidents

section Reporters

Top 10

Top 5

1) Mallory Blunier – Section 5

1) Michael Long (Hinckley Big Rock)

2) Kye Witek – Section 6

2) Besty Kirbach (Jerseyville)

3) Darren Riskedal – Section 7

3) Tyler Bouslong (Paris)

4) Megan Bloemer – Section 10

4) Bridget Niederhofer (Bluford)

5) Dalton Heavner – Section 13

5) Katherine Schmierbach (Marissa)

6) Jacob Dickey – Section 17 7) Thea Fruhling – Section 18 8) Alex Russell – Section 19 9) Sarah Luce – Section 20 10) Courtney Gerstenecker – Section 21

Illinois – G

H – Illinois


Fall 2012

Learning Agriculture off the Farm

Class project transforms to successful agribusiness Advisor: Keep it real... BY STEPHANIE MORGAN


he school stands in the middle of cornfields. Still with 105 active FFA members, less than 2% actually come from a farm background. MidBuchanan FFA Advisor Michael Stephenson, explained his philosophy for keeping all students involved, “Keep it fun, but keep it real and relevant. This is what keeps everyone involved, and this is what keeps them learning about agriculture even if they are not from a farm.” Two years ago Stephenson instituted a class project for his bio-technology course, which involved an agriculture product. He never dreamed the project, designed to last only a few weeks, would become a thriving agri-business. CONTINUED ON PAGE H Mid-Buchanan FFA Chapter members are hands-on in their candle-making business. First a class project, the chapter now makes candles for a fundraiser. More than 600 soy-based candles were sold last year alone.

Table of Contents Page B

Page F

Page N

The President’s Position

State Officer Q&A

Speak Out

Page D

Page J

Page O

Norman Rohrbach Retires

In Their Words

FFA Calendar


THE PRESIDENT’S POSITION Fundraising takes involvement from everyone

2011-2012 State FFA Officers Area Officer 1 Ryan Messner Stanberry


2 Samantha Gibson Norborne 3 Rhian Beldon South Shelby 4 Jaelyn Bergmann - President Paris 5 Sonja Perry - Secretary Bowling Green 6 Kenneth Swope Boonville 7 Allyson Smith Crest Ridge 8 Katie Gibson Nichols Career Ctr 9 Sarah Bastin Carthage

10 Cody Stewart Ash Grove 11 Courtney Spencer - 1st V.P. Aurora 12 Ashlee Jones Sparta 13 Mallary Burris Bakersfield 14 Cody Shoop Linn 15 Anna Eftink Bloomfield 16 Sam Turner Bernie 2

Brady James - Past President Knox County

Department of Elem. & Sec. Education P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102 Phone: (573) 751-3544. District Supervisors: Nancy Alford, Leon Busdieker, Oscar Carter, Keith Dietzschold, Lisa Evans & Steven Rogers Missouri FFA Today • Joann Pipkin, Editor 3674 S. State Hwy N • Republic, MO 65738 Email: Phone: (417) 732-8552


BY JAELYN BERGMANN STATE FFA PRESIDENT undraising is a crucial part of every FFA Chapter. Fundraisers are not only a way to raise money for an organization, but also a way to build community connections and friendships. Our FFA chapter hosts the “well known” annual FFA fruit sales. Along with fruit we offer homemade jams and jellies, beef sticks, cookie dough, hams, smoked turkeys and the everpopular pizza! Chapter members jump in and get excited to see how much each one of us can sell and who will be the top merchandiser! Some faithful supporters have even labeled me the “fruit girl”. Others keep asking, “Who am I going to buy fruit from after you graduate?” This activity is a huge success each year! Even though fruit sales are a town favorite, our chapter decided to try our hand at a new, thrilling event this past year. We organized and hosted a community-wide “ugly sweater exchange” and donated the proceeds to our local Christmas

is Caring campaign! Christmas is Caring is a community project that provides local families with gifts, so their children will have presents to open on Christmas morning. We decided this would be the perfect way to give back to our community for supporting our FFA chapter fundraisers and activities. Our advisors purchased a few cheap “ugly sweaters”, while the officers raided our mom’s closets! We even created our own sweater by taking a stylish red sweater and pinning a strand of battery operated Christmas lights to it. We advertised the event with flyers in the school halls, around town, and in the local newspaper. For a few dollars you could arrange for your friend or foe to wear an “ugly sweater” for the day. We enjoyed delivering sweaters around town to the lucky models and watching the community leaders work in style. We were excited about the amount of community participation we received, and I am sure this will become a yearly event with even “uglier sweaters” than we collected last year! CONTINUED ON PAGE G

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. Inquiries related to Department programs and to the location of services, activities, and facilities that are accessible by persons with disabilities may be directed to the Jefferson State Office Building, Office of the General Counsel, Coordinator – Civil Rights Compliance (Title VI/Title IX/504/ADA/Age Act), 6th Floor, 205 Jefferson Street, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480; telephone number 573-526-4757 or TTY 800-735-2966; fax number 573-522-4883; email

2012-13 Missouri FFA Officers Who’s who on this year’s team

Front Row L-R

Middle Row L-R

Back Row L-R

Brady james Past President • Knox County

Rhian beldon V.P., Area 3 • South Shelby

katie gibson V.P., Area 8 • Nichols Career Ctr

Allyson Smith V.P., 7 • Crest Ridge

Ashlee jones V.P., Area 12 • Sparta

ryan messner V.P., Area 1 • Stanberry

Cody Shoop V.P., Area 14 • Linn

Courtney spencer 1st V.P. • Aurora

Jaelynn Bergmann President., Area 4 • Paris

Sonja Perry Secretary • Bowling Green

Samantha gibson V.P., Area 2 • Norborne

Kenny Swope V.P., Area 6 • Boonville

Mallary burris V.P., Area 13 • Bakersfield

Sam turner V.P., Area 16 • Bernie cody stewart V.P., Area 10 • Ash Grove Anna eftink V.P., Area 15 • Bloomfield sarah bastin V.P., Area 9 • Carthage


“I was Lucky ...” Rohrbach retires after 37 years in agricultural education

Former FFA’er gives back BY SAMANTHA WARNER


he power of FFA, the influence of a great FFA advisor and agriculture roots, lead Dr. Norman Rohrbach to a rewarding and successful 37-year career in Missouri agriculture and education systems. Rohrbach grew up in California, Mo. where he was an active FFA member. He raised sows and crops for his SAE project, while also participating in public speaking, parliamentary procedure and agriculture contest teams. After graduating from high school he served as the Central District FFA Vice President his freshman year of college. “I was lucky to have a great ag teacher, Mr. Robert Denker, who inspired me to do good things in agriculture education and FFA, and encouraged me to go to college and become an agriculture instructor,” Rohrbach said. Rohrbach began his teaching career at his home FFA chapter in California, Mo. in 1973, where he taught for six years. During

Norman Rohrbach says it was inspiration from his own FFA advisor that moved him to a career in agriculture education. He taught at California, Mo., in addition to working with the University of Missouri and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


his tenure at California he worked on his master’s degree in agricultural education. In 1980 he started working as the state Farm Business Management analysis coordinator at the University of Missouri-Columbia, while also earning his PhD in agricultural education. After four years at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Rohrbach accepted a position in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a district supervisor in agricultural education. As district supervisor, he also served as the executive secretary for the Missouri Young Farmers and

Young Farm Wives Association. Rohrbach left the Department of Education after 10 years to return to California where he served as the high school assistant principal for one year and principal for seven years. Even though he was not working directly in agricultural education, Rohrbach couldn’t stay away completely. During his tenure as principal he coordinated the state FFA Parliamentary Procedure contest and assisted with various other agricultural education projects. When asked to pick a favorite position Rohrbach said, “I can’t

really pick a favorite – they were all great jobs, with each providing unique opportunities for productive and worthwhile work with people.” With 37 years of professional experience in agriculture and education, Rohrbach has seen many changes in the field. He said the biggest change in agricultural education has been the shift in focus of high school education programs from strictly traditional production agriculture to incorporate other areas, such as horticulture, agriculture business, conservation and natural resources. Rohrbach pointed

out that as the agriculture industry has changed, so have agricultural education programs. “When you near the end of a career in this business, you tend to reflect on how important agriculture really is in Missouri and the nation, and how unique it is to have become friends with people in all walks of agriculture across the state,” Rohrbach said. “We tend to take things that come from agriculture for granted, but the health and strength of our nation depends CONTINUED ON PAGE G

Norman Rohrbach, seated at right above, attended one of the first Greenhand Motivational Conferences held in Missouri with a group of freshmen. Rohrbach retired this past summer after serving Missouri ag education for 37 years.


State Officer Q&A Who’s that underneath the blue corduroy?

SAE: Cattle backgrounding, lawn care business, popcorn, sweet corn and watermelon. State FFA Vice President Ashlee Jones (center) challenges FFA members to “dream big”.

ASHLEE JONES FFA Chapter: Sparta

Hometown: Pleasant Hope, Mo. College/Major: Dual Major in Accounting/Agribusiness at Missouri State University. SAE: Outdoor Recreation Placement Who is your hero and why? My hero is my very first Ag teacher, Mr. Jim Spencer, he is the one who convinced me to begin my FFA career, and he has always been there to help me with anything I needed even after I moved out of Aurora. What are your plans for the future? My ultimate goal is to become a CFO of an agricultural business or be prestigious in the banking industry. What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you? I am completely terrified of birds.


Advice to FFA Members: My advice to FFA members is to dream big and never feel like you are not good enough to do something. If you do not have confidence in yourself, then who will? Also, follow the Lord and thank him every single day because all of your successes are blessings from Him.

RYAN MESSNER FFA Chapter: Stanberry FFA Hometown: Stanberry, Mo. College/Major: Northwest Missouri State University. Major Agricultural Business, Minor Finance

State FFA Vice President Ryan Messner (right) plans a career in agricultural lending in addition to running the family farm.

What motivated you to want to become a state FFA officer? I wanted to help people succeed in not only FFA but also in life. Who is my hero and Why? My grandfather is my hero because he is an amazing man who would do anything for anyone. I admire him because no matter how bad things get he has a positive attitude and always wears a smile on his face. What are my future plans? I plan to work in an agricultural lending Institution, along with coming back and running the family farm. Advice for FFA Members: Some advice that I have for FFA Members is to never give up. No matter how bad you think things are, always keep trying. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Also, believe in yourself. You can all do extraordinary things.



on our industry much more than most folks realize.” Through the many changes agricultural education has been through, there have been rewards and challenges as well. Rohrbach said funding has always been a challenge, especially for adult education. He said agricultural education always finds a way to keep moving, and the challenges are always outweighed by the rewards. “Working with the people – the students and teachers, both secondary, post-secondary and adult, the university and state staffs in agricultural education, plus all of those agriculture supporters around the state that give time and money to support our programs – that is the joy of being an ag teacher,” Rohrbach said. Officially retired, Rohrbach plans on tackling several projects he’s avoided on his 400-acre farm, he and his wife Joyce own. He is also excited to spend more time with his grandchildren. Rohrbach said, “I do look forward to not having an alarm clock go off every morning. I intend to wake up at the sound of quail calling and calves bawling around my house every morning.”

Participation is the biggest and most important part of fundraising. One member is unable to sell enough fruit or wear enough sweaters to support a whole chapter, but as a group a lot can

be accomplished. To be successful each chapter needs its members to participate, be motivated and be dedicated to all aspects of FFA, and through this, every member’s FFA careers will prosper. Members can and will make a BIG difference!


MID-BUCHANAN CONT’D FROM PAGE A After going through a question and answer period with his class, and researching how to make several products, Stephenson’s class opted to make soy candles as it would allow full class involvement. Once the learning process was completed and several candles were made, Stephenson thought the project

would be a good opportunity to include in his agriculture sales class. “The candle-making expanded. It was quickly decided to include my ag sales and management class, where (the students) put their talents to work by making brochures, flyers, name tags and order forms. This is how the Mason Candle Company was formed,” Stephenson said. The first year goal was to sell 100 candles, which the chapter exceeded by selling 300 candles. This past year alone, 600 candles have been sold and the chapter has added four more fragrances to the original four. In addition to the added fragrances, the popularity of candles melted by a

Mid-Buchanan FFA Chapter plans to take its candle-making business to the next level by offering it to other schools and organizations for fundraisers.


hotplate is another venture Mason Candle Company is exploring. “The next step,” Stephenson said, “is selling the product to other schools and organizations where they will use it as a fundraiser, some are even as far as Iowa.” Mid-Buchanan FFA already has a relationship with a company who sells cookie dough, candles and other products, but after this year will no longer be offering candles as a product. The FFA chapter is using this connection to pick-up customers for its business. Stephenson said the biggest challenge will be keeping up with the demand and changing their production system along with the time the candles are made. “Currently, the idea is to run this as an agri-business thru the FFA chapter at the school and employ students to work during the summer. Since candles do not go bad, they can be mass produced for inventory,” Stephenson noted. When making the product, the chapter strived for not only an affordable and reliable product but also one that is completely agricultural based. Stephenson explained, “The mason jars used for containers can be brought back and filled for a cheaper price.” Each student of the chapter plays a direct role in making the candles and bringing success to the Mason Candle Company brand. To make sure everyone is motivated, an incentive program was started to keep sales high, since 100% of the profit goes to the chapter for activities and trips.

“Making sure the students use diligence, such as weighing out the product, learning not to waste any materials or if something breaks money is lost, this is all important,” Stephenson said. “The combination of all this is what helps you be a successful business, and my students have learned to understand this.” The candle company is even used in FFA contests. The sales team is able to take what they know about the product and company and use it for competitions. Stephenson said, “The biggest thing from a selling point that the students take away is the organization of a sales presentation and then understanding the importance of product knowledge and customer satisfaction.”

What About FFA After High School?

FFA Beyond high school

Join Collegiate FFA

Sign up to receive the FFA Beyond High School emails and newsletter!

If you are wondering how you can stay involved in FFA after high school, consider joining Collegiate FFA.

It’ll keep you up to date on the latest post-high school scholarships, programs, service opportunities, and more.

Being a member of Collegiate FFA helps you get the most out of your college experience. You’ll put your leadership skills into practice through service and engagement activities on your campus and in your community.


You’ll also develop into a better leader, grow as young professional, network with top employers and industry leaders, and meet a lot of great people!

Email: Phone: 317-802-4356

Collegiate FFA in Missouri • Missouri State University • Northwest Mo. State Univ. • Southeast Mo. State Univ. • Truman State University • University of Central Missouri • University of Missouri —Source:

FFA members at MidBuchanan are able to learn about agriculture even though less than 2% of them live on a farm. The chapter’s soy-based candle business keeps all members involved.


In Their Words Up close with your Missouri State FFA Officers



know a girl who joined FFA because she wanted to be in the FFA choir. She didn’t know much about agriculture, but she liked to sing. She attended the state convention before she was in high school to watch her older brother receive his state degree. It was during that convention that she heard the choir sing. So, she joined FFA. They didn’t have a SAEP project in singing, so, like her brother, she got some sheep and worked in the family’s soil testing lab. She was not terribly fond of her sheep, but she took good care of them and did well at the fair.


SONJA PERRY State Secretary

She was also selected to perform in the talent portion of

the state FFA convention. She met new friends and learned a lot about agriculture from her FFA friends. She started to understand how hard farmers worked to feed America. Her senior year in high school, she was selected president of her FFA chapter. At National FFA Convention she was voted to be National FFA Chorus president and sang a solo in front of 50,000 people. After high school, she attended the University of Missouri-College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources majoring in soil science. After a few internships in Washington D.C., Senator Bond offered her a full time job as his agricultural legislative assistant. She did her senior year in college by correspondence while she worked for the Senator in Washington. She graduated from Mizzou five days after the passage of the 2007 Farm Bill. After three more years, Senator Bond retired from the Senate and she returned to Missouri to work in the family agri-business. A few months ago, she got married—to a farmer. She joined FFA to sing, but learned the importance of agriculture. She has advocated for farmers in Washington D.C. and she works for them now in Missouri. She taught me that FFA is important, not for the friends we make or the contests we win, but that it is important to promote American agriculture. She is my older sister, Meagan. She taught me the real importance of FFA.

cody shoop

CODY SHOOP State Vice President, Area 14

Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you’ll be able to see farther”. This famous quote by Thomas Carlyle is exactly the viewpoint that FFA members should hold in everything they do both in and out of the organization. When we join FFA as Greenhands most of us have no idea what we can accomplish, the places we will go, the things we’ll do, or the difference that we can make in our homes and communities. For most, the FFA experience lasts only four years in high school. And while that may seem like a long time, it truly isn’t. The question is, what can you accomplish in four years and how hard are you willing to try to get there? While every member has the same opportunities in the FFA, every FFA member’s experiences are different; you choose what CDE teams you want to be on and

how hard you will work to advance in competition, what activities you will participate in, and whether you want to be just a member or if you have what it takes to step up and be a leader as an officer or committee chair. Throughout your years in the FFA you will have successes and you will have failures. While success is nice, failure is important. When we succeed it is a great feeling because we know that we worked hard to achieve our goals. However, when we fail it opens up opportunities to grow, learn and see what we need to change to be better prepared for the future. You see, “failure is simply the opportunity

to begin again, this time more intelligently”. FFA members, when you fail don’t let it stop you—just get back up and try again. Failing or succeeding is not about you, it is about how YOU wear the BLUE. As you go throughout high school, just remember you have to value the past and embrace the future.



ever let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Since day one I knew that I was going to join FFA. My freshman year, though, I was not sure where my place in the FFA IN THEIR WORDS CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


In Their Words Up close with your Missouri State FFA Officers CONTINUED FROM PAGE K would be. I knew I wanted to accomplish great things, but one thing was holding me back —fear. As a freshman I was doing what all Greenhands were doing— practicing the Creed. Just standing in front of my classmates to say those five paragraphs took every ounce of courage that I had. I dreaded the day I would have to present the Creed to the chapter. After a few weeks of practice my advisor approached me. She told me that I was going to be the division one public speaker. Immediately I felt my heart hit the bottom of my stomach. As a freshman, I was scared and extremely shy; those are not exactly

quality characteristics of a good public speaker. I thought there was no way I could stand in front of a room of people and speak. I constantly fought with my advisor trying to get her to see my fear, but she would not back down. Finally, area contests had come. I remember sitting in that waiting room shaking and pacing back and forth. I kept saying my speech in my head, praying that I would not mess up. Then, an advisor called my name; I was next. I took a deep breath and walked into my speaking room. I stood in front of the judges and began to speak. After the first sentence I saw smiles appear on their faces. My heart rose and I instantly knew I

SAMANTHA GIBSON State Vice President, Area 2

was in my element. I had overcome my fear. Public speaking has become a huge passion of mine and in 2010 I won the Missouri Farm Bureau public speaking contest. I did not let the fear of striking out stop me and I hit a home run. Each of you are also capable of that home run. Keep swinging and remember the sky is the limit!



s I entered high school and joined FFA I was excited to take part in the various contests FFA has to offer. As contest season quickly approached, my advisor asked me if I would participate in the Division 1 Public Speaking contest. I remember looking at him like he was crazy! I mean, I was always that shy student who only spoke up when called upon by the teacher. How could I ever stand in


front of a group of people and give a speech? Still, I am one for challenges, so I agreed. I picked a topic I could really relate to and began writing. I soon figured out that

What mattered most was that I came out of my shell and learned key communication skills. I also developed self-confidence and interview skills. FFA members don’t be afraid to take on a challenge. Through challenges like public speaking, you will discover who you are and develop key character traits. The thought of stepping out of your comfort zone may scare you at first, but you will be rewarded for trying something new! Remember, the final placing doesn’t matter. What matters is how you grow as a person!

DID YOU KNOW? FFA Fast Facts •

FFA chapters are in 18 of the 20 largest U.S. cities including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The 2011 National FFA Convention was host to 53,358 members FFA advisors and FFA supporters.

The top 5 membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma.

10% of FFA members live in urban/suburban areas.

COURTNEY SPENCER State First Vice President

writing the speech was the easy part; memorizing it and delivering it would be the challenge. By great surprise my first contest went over well. I got through my speech and felt like I had done the best I could. I soon learned that giving a speech was not nearly as bad as I had imagined. In fact, I rather enjoyed giving my speech! After my speaking experiences my freshmen year, I went on to give a speech every year! As I look back on my experiences, I could not be more grateful for taking on that challenge my freshmen year. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter what place I earned.


Speak Out Opportunities abound for speaking contests this fall

Mo Institute of Cooperatives Contact: Kristi Livingston:

Mo sheep producers Contact: Leon Busdieker PO Box 157 Hawk Point, MO 63349

Mo pork association Contact: Diane Slater Missouri Pork Association 6235 W. Cunningham Dr. Columbia, MO 65202 573 445-8375

(above) Kylie Dicket, former Clinton FFA member, competes during the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives state speaking contests. (right) Bernie FFA’er Jerra Ingle gives a thumbs up during state district public speaking contests in December. So far, so good! Competition at Farm Bureau’s FFA Speaking Contest is tough, but the experience is well worth it.


mo assoc. of soil & water conservation districts Contact: Peggy Lemons 1209 Biscayne Drive Jefferson City, MO 65109 573-893-7238 Email:

mo young farmers/young farm wives assoc. Contact: Lisa Evans 573-751-8467 Email:

missouri farm bureau Contact:Eric Volmer Email:

FFA Calendar Missouri FFA is on the move


October 4

Northeast District Grasslands Contest - TBA

8-15 SEMO District Fair Cape Girardeau


Central District Grasslands Contest-TBA


Southwest District Grasslands Contest-TBA

8 MYSSA Fall Classic Youth Trap Tourney Linn Creek

5 Ozark Fall Farmfest Springfield


6 Northeast District Trap Shoot Macon


BOAC Grant Project Completion Deadline

American Royal Entry Deadline

11 Ag Ed/FFA Day Bradford Research Ctr., Columbia 13 Ag Ed/FFA Day MU Southwest Ctr., Mount Vernon 16-22

National Farm Safety & Health Week


South Central District Postal Trap Shoot Dates


South Central District Grasslands Contest-TBA

16 Angeline Conservation Area Ecology Day Shannon County

21 Horticulture Open House SEMO, Cape Girardeau

18 State Grassland Evaluation Contest Columbia vicinity

22 MU South Farm Showcase Columbia

24-11/4 American Royal Livestock Show Kansas City

28 Garmin Invitational Youth Rodeo Hale Arena, Kansas City

24-27 National FFA Convention Indianapolis, Ind.

25-29 Delta Fair Kennett

27 CAFNR Homecoming Tailgate Columbia

27 Ag Ed/FFA Day Hundley-Whaley Center, Albany


28 Ag Ed/FFA Day Graves-Chapple Farm, Corning 28-30 American Royal Pro Rodeo Hale Arena, Kansas City

October 2

Southeast District Grasslands Contest-TBA

2 9 a.m. Northest Mo. State Univ. Fall CDE’s Maryville 3 Barton Ag Research Center FFA Field Day SEMO, Cape Girardeau 4 Ag Ed/FFA Day MU Wurdack Farm, Cook Station 4 Northwest District Grasslands Contest Maysville

5-7 State PAS Convention State Fair CC, Sedalia 6 South Central District Fall Speaking Contest Rolla 8 Southeast District Fall Speaking Contest Bloomfield 8 Southwest District Fall Speaking Contest MSU, Springfield 13 Northeast District Fall Speaking Contests South Shelby 14 Central District Fall Speaking Contest UCM, Grinstead, Warrensburg 14 Northwest District Fall Speaking Contests Cameron



oklahoma outlook

Fall 2012

How To Make Your Dreams Come True Here’s a story about a farm boy from a small town in Oklahoma who worked hard and persisted in light of several things he really wanted to happen, but didn’t. He kept going anyway and, because of his persistence, he now has his dream job. That could happen to you, too.

Bart Fischer joined FFA during his freshman year at Chattanooga High School. “One of my primary activities in FFA was public speaking. Starting with the creed competition and then, by my senior year, doing prepared public speaking and extemporaneous.” Fischer was also involved with production agriculture. “If I wasn’t taking care of livestock, I was sitting on a tractor. I had my own cattle operation. Started with showing, at first through 4-H and then FFA, and also had some crop production.” The high point came during his senior year. “I was the Star Farmer of Oklahoma in 1998. That was kind of the pinnacle for me.” The next step was college. Fischer enrolled at OSU and five years later had a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics, and a second bachelor’s degree in Business, with a double major in Accounting and Finance. That alone is pretty impressive, but there’s more to the story. During his last two years at OSU, Fischer applied for, and came very close to winning, three major scholarships to do graduate work in England. In each case, he was selected as OSU’s nominee, made it to the national finals, interviewed with the national panel, and then ... didn’t get it. “Obviously, it was a time for reflection: ‘What am I doing? Nothing is working out.’” Or so it seemed. But near the end of his last year at OSU, there was a reception for students who had gone through these national scholarship competitions. They were recognizing

students who’d won. At the end of it, “they brought me up there and (announced that) a few OSU donors had put together a scholarship that paid for my graduate degree at Cambridge. It was incredible - none of it worked out like I anticipated, but I was still able to go to Cambridge at the end of the day.” My motto is, ‘It’s all about persistence.’ You just keep moving forward. Fischer completed his master’s degree at Cambridge in one year. He studied environmental policy. From Cambridge, he moved to Washington, D.C. and took a job as an analyst with the US Government Accountability Office, which is the investigative arm of Congress. “I did a lot of work on food safety issues and that sort of thing. But at the end of the day, my passion is agricultural and farm policy and the effect of policy on farms. I wasn’t able to do that work there. So in 2008, I decided to go to Texas A&M to work on my Ph.D. in agricultural economics.”

continued on page H


You can learn more about Bart Fischer’s dream job at

Meet Your Alex Cash

State Secretary

FFA members, over the last four years in this organization I have learned many life lessons that will forever have a lasting impact on my life and those around me. Whether you have an entire FFA career in front of you or this year is your last go-around, push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and make a positive impact. All of us have our reasons, our unique stories, of why we enrolled in agricultural education and became members of our local FFA chapters. I’ve heard some say that they actually wanted to get out of ag after the first day of school! Some of you might be able to relate to my story. Throughout my junior high years, sports were my life and I wanted nothing more than to be the starting point guard on the high school basketball team.


When tryouts for the eighth grade team rolled around, I failed to make the team. I was devastated. A few days later, my good friends Grant Hickman and Zach Croslin invited me to the Owasso school farm after school. That was all it took! Ever since that day, my perspective has changed from sports teams to show teams, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. FFA members, I may not know your individual stories about why you enrolled in this amazing organization, but I hope I’ve caused you to reflect upon them. It might be time for you to re-engage, to recommit yourself to the dream. Don’t ever give it up. Believe while others have doubt. My advice to you is very simple: make the most of whatever time you have left in FFA. Nothing else has prepared me for college and life better than this organization.

Alex would secretly like to be a fighter pilot.

State Officers Barrett Powell

NW District Vice-President

No matter where you are, you are being watched. Last summer, my little sister and I were cleaning pig pens at our school farm. Decked out in our rubber boots with shorts and sleeveless shirts, we were not expecting company. We were just cleaning pens when something caught the corner of my eye. A roadrunner had jumped in the doorway and started to eat feed scattered on the floor. We did not want to harm him, so we tried to convince the bird to leave. After making some world-famous roadrunner noises (best described as jibberish) and swinging shovels around, my little sister and I heard uncontrollable laughter coming from behind us. A close and very well respected family friend had witnessed the whole thing. After laughing at our actions for a good 20 minutes, he simply said, “Remember, no matter

where you are, you are always being watched.� This really stuck with me. I realized what he had said jokingly was very, very true. Every day we are all being watched, whether by friends, family or, as in my case, someone who will always use that experience against me. This is why many emphasize the importance of character, which is by definition what you do when you believe no one else is watching. We all need good character. Regardless of what we think, our stance on our faith, family values, morals and even the FFA organization is being watched. Because we are members of FFA, it is important for us to have good character. So my challenge to you is simply this: Be true to yourself. Be real, be honest, and stand firm in your beliefs every minute of every day, because you never know who might be watching.

Barrett writes left-handed but does sports right-handed. Go figure.


Meet Your Kelsie Williams

SW District Vice-President

When I was little, Daddy would take me with him every Sunday afternoon to check cattle. I would run as fast as my chubby little legs could carry me and climb up into the cab of the pickup. While we worked, I talked my daddy’s ears off about things like my ballet shoes and my pink softball cleats. But every time, my daddy would tell me I was the best fence opener and cattle counter he’d ever seen! Little did he realize at the time how much these Sunday excursions would impact my future, kindling a spark in me that grew into a passion for agriculture. When I made it to the eighth grade and enrolled in ag, my FFA advisor introduced me to the FFA organization and all it had to offer. The next summer, I found myself sitting on a cot in Birch No. 3. During that climatically challenging week at Alumni Leadership Camp, my small group leader, who also was a state officer, taught me many things. Most importantly, she showed me how to make a difference in the lives of others through positive leadership.


She wrote me a Happy Gram that says, “Your smile always brightens my day. God is using you to impact lives.” This bright yellow piece of paper has hung on my bathroom mirror since 2008 as a constant reminder that inside of me is the ability to affect others in a positive way. FFA members, my dad, my advisor, and a state officer took advantage of the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in my life. Now it’s my turn, and it’s your turn. We’re the cream of the crop, the best of the best, and it’s time to leave our mark. We all have the power to be successful, to overcome and to accomplish great things. Yet it often starts with one person inspiring and believing in us. I urge you to take every opportunity to be that one person for someone else. Your time in FFA is short. Don’t waste a minute! Do something that matters. Say something special to someone special. And always make a difference.

Kelsie’s ag teacher called her “bug” because she bugged him all the time in class.

State Officers Steven Vekony

SE District Vice-President

A young man asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him toward the river. They walked into the river, and when the water was up to their necks, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled the boy’s head out of the water, and the first thing the young man did was gasp and take a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, “What did you want the most when you were there?” The boy replied, “Air.” Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it.” There is no other secret. We all have the perfect picture of success implanted in our minds. To me, success is earning what your heart desires. Five years ago, I zipped up my blue and gold jacket for the first time. I will never forget my first speech contest, livestock

show, state convention or Alumni Leadership Camp. There was, and still is, a burning desire in my heart for everything FFA. Bill Cosby once said, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” So often in life, we let our fear get in the way of success. The thought of failure becomes so overwhelming that we avoid the very things that may bring us the most success. Don’t listen to the deceitful voice of fear. Strive to quiet its voice, today, as you go forward to reach your goals. FFA members, I challenge you to crave success as you crave the air you breathe. I believe you can achieve the goals your heart truly desires.

Steven’s dad was in the Pentagon on 9-11.


We’re in Waukomis, Oklahoma, standing next to what has become known as “The Rock.” Tim Vanover, the local ag teacher, tells a story about driving down from Enid and seeing a car with Florida plates pulled over next to the rock. There were three people, two of them were standing next to the rock and one taking a picture. “They were just traveling through and saw that rock and were just taking a picture with that rock.” What’s so special about that rock? A lot, as you’ll find out. Going back a year or so: “We had welcome signs on both ends of town. On the north end of town, a man had an accident and rolled into our sign and tore it up. So we had an FFA meeting. The president and a couple of the officers decided we needed a new sign and we needed something unusual. We decided to try to come up with a rock or something that was flat or unusually shaped, something we can put out there instead of having the same old metal welcome sign that you see throughout 95% of the communities in the state of Oklahoma.” Something a little more substantial. “Just so happened that my FFA president’s dad, Mr. Gary Sharp, worked for a construction company in Enid. He worked with highway crews, with heavy equipment. He knew a lot of people who dealt with stones and rock and things. So he put the word out that we were looking for some type of unusual rock that was flat that could be engraved for a welcome sign. He calls


me about a month or so later saying he found a rock. He said there was a problem. He said the problem was the rock was great big, but that the good news was that it was free and shaped like the state of Oklahoma.” “Gary contacts me and I say, ‘Well, sure. Surely we can find something to do with this rock.” (Mr. Vanover had never considered that “the rock” would weigh ten tons and be 18 feet tall.) “Problem is going to be getting it to where we need it.’ Gary said, ‘There’s no problem. We’ve got the manpower and equipment. We’ll get it done.’” And get it done, they did. “Through a process of one donation of time, labor and equipment, one right after another, we got the rock loaded, hauled, stored, weighed, and brought down here. Great big crane lifted it up. We had concrete donated.” The ag kids did the metal work and the concrete work and set the stone. “Lots of people who we’re really grateful to helped us get this rock set up.” “We’re doing this for a community project. We put ‘The Waukomis FFA Chapter and Community.’ We wanted to make sure this was a community rock, not just ‘Waukomis FFA welcomes you to Waukomis.’” They got the rock put up, got it engraved, and added landscaping and lighting. So now and for years and years to come, “The Rock” will be the legacy of Tim Vanover, the Waukomis FFA chapter, and all the people who contributed to help make that dream a reality. “I’ve made remarks to every kid who’s been out there, I

Waukomis is located in northwest Oklahoma, just 10 miles south of Enid.

One Heck of a Rock said, ‘You guys don’t realize this, but thirty years from now, you’re going to be out here with your kids, and you can tell them you were a part of this. Thirty, forty or fifty years from now, you could be here with your grandkids.’ That rock is going to be there for a long, long time. I’ve had that conversation with every one of them. ‘Your kids and grandkids will see this stone and you’ll be able to tell them that, yes, you helped with this setting the stone, landscape the stone, waterproof it—whatever you did that was your part of this, you can tell them that this was part of you. It can be your legacy, too.’” Indeed. But there’s another kind of legacy at work here, too: The legacy of all the students Tim Vanover has taught during his career at Waukomis. Mr. Vanover is retiring after teaching in Waukomis for 38 years. He’s been there so long that some of the students in his last ag class were grandchildren of the kids he taught when he first started teaching. This was his first and only teaching job, which he started right after getting his degree at OSU. That was in 1974. The plan was to work one year while his wife finished school. “We were both from eastern Oklahoma and our intentions were to graduate and move back over to the eastern part of the state. We settled in and were here for a year. The second year, we didn’t really find anything we needed over east yet, so we were here another year. Next thing you know, we were about three years in and the community just brought us in and accepted us. We became part of the community and next thing you know, this is our home. The thought of moving east hasn’t even moved into the picture.” Mr. Vanover knows that most of his students will not become farmers, and that’s OK because he also knows that when they leave his class, “they will understand how important

it is to be a person in the community who cares about the community and other people.” And they will have gained the other skills that are such a big part of FFA. “That’s why I taught agriculture and have been involved in the FFA. I don’t know any other organization that kids can be involved in to get the type of leadership skills and community involvement. That’s what I’m really big into is community involvement. Helping the community and helping people who need help.” “We’ve done water drives for the Haitians when they had the big disaster down there. We do food drives, clothing drives, toy drives, we’ve painted a little over a third of a mile of cemetery fence and all the benches out at the cemetery this year. We go down and put on little programs for the senior citizens. We clean up the town. Pick up things around town. We go up and help with the soup kitchen in Enid and help serve food. We donate food, Blue and Gold sausage, we’ve donated a case of that to the shelter up in Enid.” “Not everybody can afford machinery to farm or land to run cattle. Most all those kids can’t. But everybody can get speech, leadership, community service…everybody can do that.” In his 38 years teaching ag at Waukomis, Tim Vanover figures he’s had about 2,000 students, each one special in their own way. He will miss them all, but he’s ready to move on. “My wife and I, we retired together. It’s time for us to retire and turn it over to younger people. I think we just want to chill out. We just want to have time to ourselves to do things we never had an opportunity to do because we’ve been busy, teaching an accumulation of 80 years. 80 years is a long time to deal with classrooms and students. And that is one heck of a legacy.

You can read the transcription of our interview with Mr. Vanover at


Make Your Dreams Come True (continued from page A)

piece of legislation. Fischer will be working on it for at least the rest of this year. After that? “I think once the farm bill is finished, my focus will be on finishing the Ph.D. and beyond that, I don’t know. I got married in May of last year, so I’m sure part of my focus will be on spending time with my wife, who I don’t get to see nearly enough.”

The focus of Fischer’s doctoral program was evaluating the farm level impact of policy. “If you make a change in Washington, what impact does that have at the individual farm level? That’s where my biggest passion is: how policy affects people down at the ground level.” In January of 2011, Fischer got a call from Washington asking if he would be interested in coming back to DC to work. Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas had been appointed chairman of the agriculture committee. “I got a call asking if I’d be interested in coming back and serving as chief economist of the committee.” He hadn’t finished his Ph.D., so he had to decide whether to finish his degree or take the job. He took the job. “It was my dream job. You cannot be more involved in ag policy than being right in the middle of developing it.” In his new role, Fischer spends a lot of time working on budget issues, specifically, helping to write a new Farm Bill that addresses the needs of farmers and consumers but also cuts costs and contributes to reducing the nation’s budget deficit. “The big pressure is, how do we design policy and how do we design an effective safety net, while cutting a tremendous amount of money at the same time? I think the chairman (Mr. Lucas) has a tremendous challenge in doing that.” Fischer speaks highly of Mr. Lucas and is very appreciative of the opportunity to work for him. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him asking me to come back. It’s a tremendous privilege to get to work for him. He’s a former FFA kid from Western Oklahoma, who is now chairing the most important committee in the country for agriculture.” The Farm Bill is a tremendously important and complicated

Thinking back to his days in FFA, Fischer says what he learned during that time has contributed to his success. “Had I not had those experiences, I don’t think I’d be where I am now. One of the things I look back on the most is the public speaking competition. Now, as part of my job, I’m constantly in front of large groups of people. That experience in FFA opened my eyes. It gave me the confidence to get up in front of people.” “The other big component is showing livestock. I was the fifth generation to grow up on a farm, so it’s always been ingrained in me. I do what I do now because I love production agriculture, because I love the people who are in production agriculture. It’s important to me to have policy that works for the people who actually need it.”

Next time in Outlook: How the US military can help you pay for college.


Fall 2012, FFA New Horizons  

The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premie...