Spring 2022 Kansas Future Farmer

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ON THE COVER: Tonganoxie Agricultural Education instructor Beth Schartz and student Dalton Regher water plants in their school greenhouse. SPRING 2022 State Officers Ashley Chandler

President Neodesha

Rachel Sebesta

Vice President Ellsworth

Eric Peterson

Secretary Clifton-Clyde

Jocelyn Dvorak

Treasurer Hiawatha

Lydia Watanabe

Reporter Arkansas City

Josey Schmidt

Sentinel Greeley County

State Staff Mr. Guy Shoulders State Advisor, KSDE Ms. Mary Kane State Executive Secretary Ms. Beth Gaines Kansas FFA Foundation Executive Director Mrs. Johanna Anderes Kansas FFA Foundation Development Coordinator

District Officers EAST CENTRAL Cody Loganbill, Eudora; Taylor Hadl, Eudora; Peyton Sherron, Spring Hill; Seth Aistrup, Paola; Halle Finerty, Burlington; Carissa Dalquest, Council Grove NORTH CENTRAL Weston Schrader, Minneapolis; Reece Geer, Clay Center; Shelby Siebold, Clay Center; Natalee Bray, Pike Valley; Kiersten Morgan, Pike Valley; August Hulse, Minneapolis NORTHEAST Joey Marten, Onaga; Karlie Albright, Royal Valley; Ella Gantz, McLouth; Kaylee Lukert, St. Marys; Tyree Figge, Onaga; Jenna DeRouchey, Wamego NORTHWEST Kirsten Kyger, Russell; Karli Neher, Hays; Bethany Rother, Weskan; Kaley Wagner, Smith Center; Cappi Hoelting, Stockton; Amelia Jaeger, Hays SOUTH CENTRAL Cali Newdigger, Skyline; Mackenzie Anderson, Renwick, Aaron Blagg, Udall, Kyce Morgan, Arkansas City, Sage Toews, Canton-Galva, Mickelly Soyex, Marion-Florence SOUTHEAST Aidan Yoho, Yates Center; Emma Duff, Erie; Emma Kepley, Riverton; Gwen Fry, Uniontown; Zoe Rhodes, Girard; Carly Dreher, Iola SOUTHWEST Alec Walton, Stanton County; Payton Walk, Greeley County; Areli Rodriguez, Stanton County; Grant Theurer, South Central; Paisley Palmer, Satanta; Christian Pena, Sublette

Ashley Chandler, State President


s our Spring semesters begin to wrap up around the state, students are certainly eager for warm weather, sunny days, and dozens of unique opportunities this summer.

My teammates and I are looking forward to the final months of our year of service to Kansas FFA, and we hope you’ll join us at the 94th Kansas FFA Convention!

I am so excited to welcome students to the hustle and bustle of the Kansas FFA State Convention on June 1st -3rd! Students will have the opportunity to listen to incredible speakers, celebrate their successes, and interact with members from all over the state face-to-face! We are certainly ready to unite and celebrate this special occasion in Manhattan, Kansas.

DID YOU KNOW? The Kansas FFA State Convention has been held on the campus of Kansas State University since 1929, when it was known as the Kansas State Agricultural College. This edition of the Kansas FFA Future Farmer is underwritten by Frontier Farm Credit. Learn more about Frontier Farm Credit at www.frontierfarmcredit.com.

SERVICE MINDSET The Neodesha FFA chapter and supporters put an emphasis on service and are rewarded with state-wide recognition.

Story by Amy Feigley


f first year Agricultural Education instructor Emma Lehmann could choose two words that describe the 50 students that make up the Neodesha FFA chapter, the words willing and eager come to mind. Willing to go above and beyond to help not only those within the chapter, but those within the community, too. Eager to attend every event possible. Like most FFA chapters, the community that supports them plays a big role. The chapter makes every effort to help those in need. According to member, Tucker Leck, community service is a fundamental aspect of the chapter and moving forward, they strive to grow their engagement throughout the state. At the beginning of 2022, Lehmann and a group of her students discussed the current events in Northwest Kansas, the Four County Fire. They put their heads together and gathered up supplies. Reaching out to the community about their plan, in no time whatsoever, they had a trailer load of fencing supplies, clothes, hats, gloves, pliers and other items donated to them from various sources. While this was happening, KWCH 12 Eyewitness news reporter, Brityne Rucker, contacted Lehmann about an interview, which was done via Zoom. At the end of the segment came the surprise that Helping Hands was donating $1,200 to the chapter to purchase more supplies. They in turn donated the money to Bar S Ranch so that they would be able to purchase what they needed for their home and operation. That sort of leadership and true character is built when the students reach out to help others and their willingness to, Lehmann said.

The community of Neodesha is also willing to return the favor to help members with an activity or event put on by the chapter. The chapter had an alumni group, but it became inactive. In 2017, a group of parents of current members revitalized the alumni by contacting the state and national levels to reactivate the chapter. According to Jackie Chandler, president of the Alumni & Supporters, helping the chapter by chaperoning activities, serving as judges for contests and raising funds to be used by the students to attend events, purchase FFA jackets and provide post-secondary scholarships, are just a few of the ways they can give back to these kids. Chandler recommends that those chapters who are wanting to start or reactivate their alumni group that they find five to seven people who believe in the purpose of the organization and want to invest their time to help students. Chapter member Tucker Leck has utilized the opportunities in FFA to grow his interpersonal communication and preparation for adult life. From his involvement in the employability skills LDE to the senior prepared speech competition, and well as other competitive events, FFA has allowed him to find that medium, which in turn has allowed him to grow. As for Lehmann, her students continue to amaze her every single day and the feeling, it is mutual. Whether it is studying for an upcoming contest or pushing up their sleeves to help a community member in need, Lehmann believes these students are the future of agriculture in Neodesha, Kansas, and beyond.

Full circle learning The agricultural education program at Prairie View High School works to immerse students in all aspects of agricultural education. Story by Lucas Shivers


ith a two-teacher program, Prairie View High School in La Cygne showcases dynamic aspects of agricultural education to students, including classroom work, Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAEs), and the FFA. “Every student in our program has an SAE, and every single one is an FFA member,” says Melisa Bertz, teacher and advisor for the past four years. “It’s important to understand that our agricultural education program was built on a three-circle model with a strong classroom, FFA and SAE.” A rural community where the school is the focus of everything, Prairie View is known for producing high-quality and future-focused graduates. “The three areas really propel our program forward to put forth a well-rounded student into the American workforce,” Bertz says. “We make it happen with a lot of work to focus on each component to grow leadership, knowledge and technical skills.”

Origin Stories Trenton Smedley, co-teacher and advisor, went to K-State initially as an Ag Business major because he knew he wanted to be involved in agriculture. “I traveled all over as the Kansas FFA State Sentinel, and I got excited about what was happening in Kansas classrooms so I changed my major to Agricultural Education,” he said. Bertz graduated high school in La Cygne and went to college on a livestock judging scholarship. “After K-State, I took a job in the livestock industry, but when I was home one time, I was asked to fill in as a substitute teacher. A lightbulb

went off. I went back to K-State to earn my degree in education,” Bertz says. “I’ve been teaching for 27 years since.”

Current Stats The Prairie View program has 106 members with six different agriculture pathways in career and technical education, with classes split evenly between the two teachers. “You can’t get caught up in just one component,” Smedley says. “There are days when our classroom is devoted to record keeping, or we’re all gone for FFA activities. We can’t be too focused on just one area. It takes a balance.” Growing the program to its current status, the team credited the positive role of students to influence and make impacts for others. “It doesn’t happen overnight,” Bertz says. “We have to set goals for the program and identify what is needed to make it happen over a few years with students to maintain results. Once you stick with all

three areas, students will crave it and do it. They set the bar for others to follow.” With balanced successes in FFA, SAE and the classroom, younger members see their older classmates achieve their goals. “Every student gets to excel somewhere in the agricultural education model,” Bertz says.

“Once you stick with all three areas (of Ag Ed), students will crave it and do it. They set the bar for others to follow.” - Mrs. Melisa Bertz Community Support to Grow Facilities Showing support and engagement, the community recently passed a bond issue to build a new workshop, greenhouse, food lab and three classrooms. The new site will be finished soon to help overcome some of the concerns of ventilation, space and electricity. “We have more than 100 students in this space everyday,” Smedley says. “We’ll have more features to support bigger classrooms, changing areas, offices and equipment to make our space

Classroom & Laboratory Instruction

Supervised Agricultural Experiences


safer. We can have more projects and not overcrowd the areas. We’ll have the equipment to let students see what’s happening in industry and gain real-world experience.” An active community FFA alumni group shares monetary donations and assistance for judges or demonstrations to watch ag in action. “When we ask, they’re all ready to support us with anything,” Smedley says. “They share scholarships and sponsorships.” One recent graduate who started with the agricultural education program as a freshman and recently graduated shows the student-centered model at Prairie View. “He worked with a farmer for his SAE and did a few FFA events to start off,” Bertz says. “Before he realized it, he was becoming one of those wellrounded leaders. He earned an internship and won proficiency awards at a state and national level. Today if I called, he’d come anytime and do anything to support us. He’s a productive citizen, and he can attribute success to agricultural education.”


It is time to


May 31st through June 3rd, over 1,800 Kansas FFA members, advisors and guests will unite in Manhattan for the 94th Kansas FFA Convention. Now that we’re celebrating back in-person, let’s explore what opportunities await at convention.



“The energy in sessions is absolutely ELECTRIC and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my whole life! Being a part of the energy made me feel like I belonged in the organization. I felt at home.”

“The best part was getting close with the people you came with. For us it was the officer team and we always bonded at state convention. We made countless memories that allowed us to have a great year of service.”

“The first step you take into McCain Auditorium and seeing a sea of corduroy jackets is a feeling you don’t forget. Also walking around campus and being in Manhattan felt very comforting.”



“My favorite part is running into members, both new and ones you already knew. Whether eating in Aggieville or seated next to another chapter at a workshop, you end up talking and getting to know each other.”

“As a kid who did not belong in the normal “cliques” of school, state convention allowed me to find people just like me. The sea of blue jackets was one of the greatest “I belong” moments of my life!”

Jocelyn “This will be my first state FFA convention alongside so many members! I’m looking forward to seeing how we celebrate winning chapters, individuals and supporters.”


Learn more about convention registration and opportunties at www.ksffa.org

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1. State FFA Band & Chorus Performaces

5. Kansas FFA Convention Concert

Kansas FFA members will perform in McCain auditorium during sessions and at the Band and Chorus Concert.

Hosted in the heart of Aggieville, get ready to jam to a country music artist at this exclusive FFA concert.

2. State Officer Retiring Addresses

6. State Award Winner Recognition

Each of the six state officers will present their retiring addresses during General Sessions.

Leadership Development Event (LDE) finalists will be announced, plus the unveiling of Proficiency Awards, National Chapter and State Star winners, and more will be made.

3. Opportunities Fair More than 75 business and colleges will participate in the Opportunities Fair, where you can learn more about post-secondary choices and even earn a free convention t-shirt.

7. Socials and Get-togethers Lookout for opportunities to socialize with other chapters and districts throughout convention.

4. General Sessions

8. Leadership Workshops

Considered the main event of state convention, we will fill McCain Auditorium for seven general sessions filled with awards, speakers and celebrations.

Join industry leaders, a national FFA officer, and more to take part in leadership workshops each day, or take part in the delegate process for state officer candidate workshops.

A Blooming Business

A former FFA member develops her love of working with plants in high school and college and now operates an awarding winning floral company in Kansas. Story by Lucas Shivers


tarting a new business called Limestone Floral near Wichita, owner Hannah Reynolds’s inspiration comes from the native Kansas landscape with whimsical grasses, flowers and brambles. “Our name and concept reflects the land that we live on,” Reynolds says. “Our little piece of earth is packed with native limestone. When we strive to emulate nature in our designs, the flowers shine to their fullest capacity.” Reynolds, a Newton FFA Chapter alumnus, now operates a small farm to grow flowers and foliages that give her designs an organic-inspired look. “We believe that flowers are beautiful on their own, but when thoughtfully composed, they can elevate an event and create a story that is unique,” she says. “I work with clients and event planners to design flowers for 30-40 weddings per year. As a full-service designer, I create personal flowers, ceremony and reception flowers and large scale floral installations. I also host seasonal floral workshops, like winter wreath making.”

Background of Beauty As a graduate of Newton High School in 2011, Reynolds earned a degree in Agricultural Education and a minor in Agronomy from K-State in 2015. Organized in 2017 with her husband Kyle, Limestone Floral is a full-service wedding and event floral studio that started from a friend seeking Reynolds talent. “A friend of mine asked me to design her wedding flowers, and then I began getting more inquiries,” Reynolds says.“I was named one of Florist Review’s 125 florists to be celebrated in 2022.”

Small Business Everyday Crediting entrepreneurial skills during her time in

FFA, Reynolds creates designs with a romantic and timeless style. “When I first enrolled in ag classes and joined FFA, I was introduced to a whole new world of opportunities that I had never considered before,” Reynolds says. “I never knew how much I enjoyed working with plants until I enrolled in horticulture in high school.” Reynolds learned practical skills like floral design, flower types and the principles of design. She continued to learn more about growing, design and education through her coursework at K-State. “I participated in the FFA floriculture contest and our team was able to represent Kansas at the national level in 2012,” Reynolds says. “My ag teacher encouraged me to continue my learning by working on an SAE.”

She worked at a local garden center for her Nursery Landscape SAE. “I learned so much about growing plants and customer service, skills that I still use in my business today,” Reynolds says. “With Limestone Floral, I work alongside our clients to create something for one of the most important days of their lives. Customer service is at the foundation of my business.”

“Through FFA, I was able to explore floral design and build my knowledge of flowers and growing as a teenager.”

each event,” Reynolds says. “We also have our own large flower cutting garden that I am able to use for my designs.” Reynolds advice to others: You don’t have to know exactly where you are going when you start. “I never expected to own this exact business, and I certainly did not know I would be a floral designer when I was in high school or college,” Reynolds says. “I couldn’t have predicted where I am today with Limestone Floral, but I let my education and life experiences propel me forward to the next step.” Passion and continuous learning help to connect with others to advance success and next steps. “Use FFA, high school and college as a time to learn and try out new things. You never know when those skills might serve you well in the future,” she says.

- Hannah Reynolds Stepping Up to Serve As a designer, Reynolds knows which varieties of flowers and foliages are in season and will work best. “I work alongside local and global flower farmers and wholesalers to source the best product for

Interested in learning more about Hannah’s story? Join us for the Kansas FFA State Convention where Hannah will speak during Session 6. Scan the QR Code to discover the schedule for convention.


Story by Johanna Anderes


or nearly a century, the Kansas FFA Association has been an organization that has grown a legacy of making a difference in students’ lives. It’s a rich history, filled with individuals who have gone on to find success at all levels, and in turn credit their time in the blue jacket for playing a significant role. Rick Malir is one of those former members. Malir’s name has a bit more significance in the history of Kansas FFA. Malir is one of three National FFA Presidents from Kansas. He served in the role from 1985-86.

Rick Malir (left) awards a student with his Kansas Farmer Degree at the 1984 Kansas FFA State Convention while serving as state president. (Photo courtesy of Kansas FFA Project 1928) What started as a desire to learn to weld in the Wilson High School Vocational Agriculture program, soon developed into the realization of the leadership opportunities that the FFA had in store. “I went to the National FFA Convention as a sophomore and that’s where my eyes were opened up to where FFA was much more than welding in the shop or going to the local contests,” Malir said. Mr. James Patry, the former Agricultural Education teacher at Wilson and Malir’s FFA Advisor, reflected on his former student’s sophomore year when he was not elected to a chapter officer position and a conversation that sparked a new view on leadership for Malir.

“Sometimes you see the potential when they don’t. When Rick didn’t get an officer position, I know he was disappointed, but he learned that you have to go through some disappointments sometimes to achieve your goals. That has certainly been the case with Rick. He has found a lot of success.” Patry said. Malir recognizes that FFA made a significant impact in his life and he and his wife Bonnie now have the means available to make a difference in the lives of young people for years to come. “If I could sum it up into one word, FFA gave me confidence,” Malir said. “I went to work for the John Deere company and through the interview process, I had confidence in interviewing and my communication skills thanks to FFA. Those skills have continued to be important to me, and I was able to take that confidence and start our company, City Barbeque.” City Barbecue was born out of an idea that began with competitive barbecue that was being done in the couple’s garage at their Ohio home. The couple opened their first location in Arlington, Ohio in 1999. Today the company has over 50 locations across eight states and employs more than 2000 people. Much of the success in Malirs’ business is because of the skills he was equipped with during his time in the FFA. “FFA taught me the organizational skills, especially as a state and national officer, I had to be organized and had to be goal-driven,” he said. Their success has also opened the door to share with the organization which has provided a firm foundation for his career. At the 2017 Kansas FFA State Convention, students were reintroduced to the individual who they knew from those FFA History lessons. Through a video message, Malir shared that he and Bonnie would endow a gift of one million dollars to Kansas FFA for the expansion of opportunities for future generations of members.

“We both did some soul searching together and discussed what it is that we are both passionate about. Rick and I both have strong backgrounds in youth organizations, plus are very passionate about giving back to what gave so much to us.” ColeyMalir said.

LeaveA LEGACY The Kansas FFA Legacy Club recognizes individuals and families who have contributed to the Kansas FFA Foundation in a significant way. Through planned giving, significant annual gifts, and more. See the list below to learn more ways to support Kansas FFA: • Recurring monthly, quarterly, semi and annual giving • Planned Giving: Charitable gift annuities, remainder trusts, lead trust • Bequests • Gifts of grain & livestock

Rick Malir and Bonnie Coley-Malir at their home with their pets. (Photo courtesy of the Malirs) This gift provides opportunities for students to attend the Washington Leadership conference, provides grants for chapters to attend leadership training, and an annual scholarship for a pre-service ag education student in honor of Mr. Patry. Rick recognizes that Mr. Patry helped connect him to opportunities throughout his time in the blue jacket and that the influence of an FFA advisor can make a lasting impact on young people. Rick and Bonnie structured their gift to help with immediate needs of the association as well as long term stability of the Kansas FFA. A portion of the gift would be divided up into annual gifts to fit those immediate needs and the remaining portion as a part of their planned estate gift for a total of $1 million. Because of their significant contribution, which to date is the largest gift ever received by the Kansas FFA, Rick and Bonnie will be the initial inductees into the Kansas FFA Legacy Club. When asked why others should give to Kansas FFA, Malir stated that giving is very personal to each individual. “What thrills me about giving to Kansas FFA is that I see an absolute direct impact with every dollar that we give,” Malir said. “We don’t ever want a kid in Kansas to not have an experience because of financial means.”

• One-time contributions • Gifts of farm equipment, auto • Stocks, bonds & mutual funds • Employer Matching gifts • IRA/Retirement plans • Life insurance • Scholarships • Honorary & memorial gifts • Retained life estate • Sponsorships • Our Youth, Our Future, Our Kansas FFA Endowment Plus Contribution The Kansas FFA Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Every donation receives an official receipt from the Foundation that can be used for your tax records. Questions? Contact the Kansas FFA Foundation and your financial advisor to learn more about planned giving.

“We didn’t just want to endow money to the FFA, we wanted to make an impact today so that’s why we committed to the gift each year in a significant way for the foreseeable future.”

-Rick Malir

Kansas FFA Association 110 Umberger Hall 1612 Claflin Road Manhattan, KS 66506


oin us for CLT 2022! Chapter Leadership Traning is a two day hands-on program for chapter officers and leaders, as well as Program of Activities committee chairs. This experience provides chapter leaders an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with other FFA leaders, learn about chapter opportunities and issues while discovering their own leadership potential.

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In addition to the training, there will be an agricultural experience specific to the area coupled with each training if your chapter would like to participate. Our locations for 2022 are:

digitally CONNECT

See our website (www.ksffa.org) for more information on the following: Calendar of Events List of Chapters and Districts List of Foundation Sponsors Awards Programs

Dodge City - July 5th & 6th Salina - July 7th & 8th Topeka - July 11th & 12th Registration for the event opens April 15th.

Give to the Kansas FFA Foundation by scanning the QR code above!

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