FFA Chapter Spotlight: Valmeyer FFA

Our next FFA Chapter spotlight isn’t just outstanding in their community – they shine on the national stage, too.  In fact, Beck’s Hybrids seed dealer John Niebrugge, who nominated the Valmeyer FFA chapter located in Valmeyer, Ill., says the chapter continually performs well in both state and national FFA contest.

“Valmeyer just won the 2013 Outstanding High School Agriculture Education Program Award. This award, given by the National Association of Agricultural Educators, recognizes the nation’s most successful agriculture education programs by highlighting the local programs and the teachers that achieve success,” he says.  “They have a thriving greenhouse and sell many varieties of flowers and bedding plants to the community. They also raise fish in the greenhouses which they sell to the community and other FFA chapters.”

Participating in FFA gives the students an opportunity to learn about the different aspects of agriculture – but it also helps give them the tools they need to be successful in their future endeavors.

The Valmeyer FFA Chapter advisor is Howard Heavner.

FFA Chapter Spotlight: Pinckneyville FFA

Our next FFA Chapter Spotlight is Pinckneyville FFA located in Pinckneyville, Ill.

One interesting fundraiser for the Pinckneyville FFA Chapter is their Milk Machine.  The Chapter received the machine from Prairie Farms Dairy and over the lunch hour students have the chance to purchase a variety of milk.  Kelsey Smith, Pinckneyville FFA chapter reporter says the money that is made off of the machine helps raise money to support their FFA Chapter.

Collin Smith, Pinckneyville FFA’s 2012-2013 chapter vice-president says he finds it difficult to not want to get involved in the various FFA activities.  “If you like to be out on the farm or in the classroom,” he says, “there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Like many of the our other featured FFA Chapters, Pinckneyville FFA is actively engaged in the community and works hard to ensure its members get the most out of their participation.

Pinckneyville FFA’s chapter advisor is Brian Bender.

FFA Spotlight: Oblong High School

Our next Beck’s Hybrids/Brownfield FFA Chapter Spotlight takes us to Oblong High School.

Leadership and responsibility are just two of the skills members of the Oblong FFA take from their participation in FFA.  One of the major projects for the FFA chapter is their greenhouse.  Chapter reporter Jolena Visner says their every year in their greenhouse they plant both annuals and perennials and during the month of May sell their plants in their community.  Visner says not only is the greenhouse and plant sale a big fundraiser for the chapter – it also teaches the members responsibility and how to take care of plants.

The Oblong FFA Chapter participates in numerous FFA competitions like horse and dairy judging and agronomy – but chapter president Hannah Lamb says they do particularly well in the poultry judging competitions.

The Chapter is also active in their community.  Every other year the students put on Ag Day event and host between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors from around the county and every October the chapter invites 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students to take part in what they call Pumpkin Palooza.  A day filled with educational activities, crafts, and lunch.

Taylor Musgrave, Oblong FFA Secretary says these community events help develop their people skills and better prepare them for future endeavors.

The Oblong FFA Chapter advisor is Kerry Travis.

They were nominated by Beck’s Hybrids’ Kent Glover.

FFA Spotlight: Miami-Trace FFA

Our next Beck’s Hybrids/Brownfield FFA Chapter Spotlight takes us to Washington Court House, Ohio to recognize the Miami Trace High School FFA chapter.  The chapter was nominated by Beck’s Seed Advisor Jason Gentry.

Like many of the FFA Chapters around the country, the Miami Trace FFA Chapter is actively involved in their community.  Miami Trace Junior, Gus Mitchem says part of what they do as a chapter is help to educate the public about agriculture and about their organizations.

From programs like Paint the Town Pink to raise money for Breast Cancer research, Adopt-A-Highway, Blood Drives, a Fall Harvest program that educates children about agriculture, Leadership Night for the district, and Operation Christmas Child where they send boxes of goods to children in Africa, the Miami Trace FFA Chapter is doing their part in making the world a better place.

The Miami Trace FFA Advisor is Bruce Bennett.

Congratulations to the Miami Trace FFA – our next FFA Chapter Spotlight!

FFA Spotlight: Jay County

Jay County, Indiana FFA Chapter

Located in Portland, Indiana – our next FFA Chapter Spotlight is the Jay County FFA.

The Jay County FFA is our final Indiana Beck’s Hybrids/Brownfield FFA Chapter of Excellence.  As we visited with the FFA members in the chapter – one of the things that they pointed out was the size of their chapter.  Because their membership is 248 members, it allows for more members to engage in a wide variety of activities; allowing each of their FFA members a unique experience.

In addition to the membership giving back to the community – the community is also extremely supportive of the chapter.  Thomas Borgerding, a senior at Jay County says community members dedicate their time and funds to help the chapter when needed.  Some of their support has gone to the Jay County FFA Greenhouse as well as the other shops used by the members to help richen the students’ FFA experience.

The FFA members were in agreement that their experience has been memorable and created an opportunity to learn that will continue to help them grow in years to come.

The Jay County FFA Chapter advisors are: Melissa Wolters, Brittany Bridges, Cody Linville, and Seth Swallow.

Congratulations to the Jay County FFA!

FFA Spotlight: North Posey FFA

North Posey FFA, nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Seed Advisor Gene Hagedorn.

As we celebrate National FFA Week we continue to recognize outstanding FFA Chapters in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

North Posey FFA is our next Beck’s Hybrids FFA Chapter of Excellence.  The North Posey FFA Chapter is located in southwestern Indiana.  Advisor Mike Wassmer says the chapter stays busy by participating in various FFA activities.  Some of those include soils, entomology, livestock, and dairy judging.  They also take part in both the State and National FFA Convention, run test plots on the school farm and even host a hog roast to recognize the plot donors.

The members are also actively engaged in the community.  They help with the Kid’s Pedal Pulls around the area and also are platinum donors to the Posey County Relay for Life.

Jacob Bender, a senior at North Posey says the four years students participate in FFA can be a life changing experience – because it builds character and helps develop students in to responsible young adults.

The North Posey FFA Officer team is:  president, Brooke Sturgell; vice-president Briana Perry; secretary Anna Will; treasurer, Ryan Gish; reporter Abby Bender; sentinel, Kayla Hoenert; second vice-president, Olivia Goebel; and second reporter, Daniel Motz.

This week North Posey FFA will prepare a meal for the North Posey faculty, staff, administrators, and their advisory board to celebrate National FFA Week.

Congratulations to the North Posey FFA!

FFA Spotlight: Indian Creek FFA

Indian Creek, Shabonna, Ill., FFA Chapter was nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Seed Advisor Ashley Hartmann.

Like many of our FFA chapters, the Indian Creek FFA program is actively engaged in their community. Nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Seed Advisor Ashley Hartmann, she highlights one of their programs in her nomination.

“Their largest activity is their ‘After School AG Program,’” she says. “Twice a month, FFA students volunteer their time to visit the local elementary schools and educate approximately 60 students from pre-K to 5the grade each month about the importance of agriculture.”

Some of the other activities include a Tractor Day, where they educate students about tractor safety; they participate in Adopt-A-Highway; host a petting zoo; and partner with their local Farm Bureau to help with Ag In the Classroom.

The chapter also runs a 40+ variety test plot. During their August field day – area farmers are invited to observe the plot, listen to the speakers, and enjoy a meal.

The Indian Creek FFA is working to encourage people of all ages to learn more about agriculture and FFA. Ag teacher and FFA Advisor Corrine Wengelewski does a great job engaging her students and shaping the industry’s next great leaders.

Congratulations to the Indian Creek FFA!

FFA Spotlight: West Prairie FFA in Illinois

The West Prairie FFA Chapter in Illinois was nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Team Dealer Manager Glen Barber. 

“Rough Hands, Farmer Tans, Dirty Boots, and Country Roots” that’s what the back of the shirts read for the West Prairie FFA Chapter. Although their school is small – their presence is mighty.

From organizing Blood Drives, participating in local activities – like Sodbuster Days, to hosting meals to raise money for the Great River Honor Flight, West Prairie FFA is engaged with and serves the small communities in northwestern McDonough County.

The chapter was nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Team Dealer Manager Glen Barber.  “The FFA chapter here offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in service and vocational activities which would not otherwise be available,” he says.  “Leadership skill development is promoted by the tremendously dedicated and supportive chapter advisors and FFA alumni.”

Barber adds, “The West Prairie FFA chapter is vital to the community as a key source of civic and personal character development for our youth.”

The 2012-2013 Officer Team consists of Carley Foxall, President; Collin Anderson, Vice-President; Katie Moore, Secretary; Danielle Moore, Reporter; Kody Bowman, Treasurer; Syanne Thomas, Historian; and Jessica Herndon, Heritage Chair.

Ann Knowles is their FFA advisor.

Congratulations, again, to the West Prairie FFA chapter!

FFA Chapter Spotlight: Heyworth FFA

Our next FFA Chapter Spotlight, Heyworth FFA, was nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Seed Adviser Shaun Tyson. 

Like many other FFA Chapters around the country, the make-up of the membership is diverse.  Tyson says the chapter is an “impressive group of kids who are passionate about learning more about agriculture and how it affects the world around them.”

But the chapter activities encompass more than agriculture.  In their nomination, Tyson points to their monthly community service day.  “Sometimes they go to a retirement home with fresh baked cookies wrapped with pictures that the local 3rd grade class paints for the residents,” he says. “They also volunteer at the Midwest Food Bank in Bloomington and in the past have put together items for schools in need in Africa.”

Every year the chapter also restores an antique tractor, which members work on in their spare time.  Raffle tickets for the tractor are sold throughout the year and the winner is announced during the chapter’s Community Dinner.

Funds from the raffle are used to give students scholarships, send members to leadership conferences, and restore the next tractor.

When we visited the Heyworth FFA Chapter, they were harvesting their test plot, which is planted with seed from area seed dealers.  “They maintain a great plot and learn from every experience, from rain delays to droughts, planting and harvesting, they do it all with enthusiasm and a smile,” Tyson says.

All of these activities and learning opportunities would not be possible without their FFA Advisor, Jestun Nutter – who Tyson says goes above and beyond to make sure that his kids get the full FFA experience.

He adds, “There is no doubt that some of tomorrow’s agricultural leaders and innovators are learning and growing with the Heyworth FFA Chapter.”

FFA Spotlight: North Mac FFA

Nominated by Beck’s Hybrids Seed Advisor Andy Kuenstler, the North Mac FFA Chapter is located in Girard, Illinois.  When talking to the officer team, they said they value their FFA experience not only for what it provides them now, as students, but what it better prepares them for in the future.

Kuenstler says the chapter is very active in their community.  For example, the chapter takes part in a Barn-to-Barn Golf Outing where farmers in their area have a putt-putt course in their barns.  Teams of four participate and travel from barn to barn to raise money.  Last year their outing raised nearly $25,000.  In recent years the funds have been used to purchase a SMART board for the ag classroom as well as build the chapter’s greenhouse.  Now that the greenhouse is in place North Mac FFA advisor Lisa Bolsen says the money raised will go towards scholarships for students. 

Chapter president Marrisa Boster says, “One of our goals is to extend an invitation to all students to participate in FFA because there is a place for everyone in FFA, no matter what you want to do.”