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Officer Profiles

The Story behind Milk Haulers..
May. 16, 2018

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Milkmen...the people who drive to your farm, pick up the milk, and be on their way. For a few of us, wether we live or work on a dairy farm, have seen the "milk man," but have you ever taken a moment to talk to him/her, ask them about their day, and get to know them as people?

I was milking goats in the barn a while back and it was about 7:30 pm. My sister and I were on our last group and our goat milk hauler, Wayne, had just pulled in. It was a bit late, as he usually comes at about noon. So I went off and greeted him when he walked into the milk house. I old him that we will be done shortly if he is willing to wait just a little bit. He agreed willingly and because I didn't want to abandon him, I struck up conversation.. We talked about his day, why he was late, what he did before hauling milk, his family, where he's from originally, nearly everything under the sun!

After the milk had left, I realized two things, A: I had talked to him for over an hour. and B: This man, who usually goes unnoticed, has the most amazing story I've ever heard.

The story of my milkman can easily be related to real-world. There is always someone who tends to be faded into the background. Make someone feel special today. Pull those people out of the background and make them stand out! All it takes is a simple conversation to make someone feel special, start the conversation today!

Elisha Riley
Milk mans #1 Fan

Did you thank your Momma?
May. 14, 2018

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

Yesterday many of us took the time to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to our mom, maybe gave a few gifts or did something special but how many of us took the time to thank them?

Our mothers are take on so many roles to support us in whatever direction our dreams take us. From driving us to Parliamentary Procedure, to FFA meetings and that next FFA event they sometimes get treated like a taxi and they couldn’t be happier to help us achieve our dreams. The early mornings to the late nights they are there with all the love and support in the world. They help pick up the slack that is left when we attend those FFA workshops and events that help to develop us into better humans and prepare us for the next path after high school. Mom is there always willing to work with us to prepare for competition; listening our speeches and practice The Creed. They are always there congratulating us in moments of success and sharing encouraging words with us in the face of defeat; mom always comes up with just the right thing to say. They do all these things and so much more.

Take time today thank your momma today, you know your collar wouldn’t be as white as it is without her.

Lots of love,
Kathryn Lampi

Doing something you love
May. 11, 2018

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

As I sat at my kitchen table at home and flipped through slides on my computers of common monocots, dicots and tree species of Wisconsin I couldn’t seem to stop smiling. I was studying for an exam in Botany and couldn't be happier. Who would've thought that that identifying different species of clovers, grasses and common weeds could make a person so happy? Do something you love. Being able to walk through the pasture and identify broad leaves and grasses that cows will love, plants that are invasive or inedible to cattle, even identifying trees that may be beneficial to a pasture or possibly invasive. That's what I find satisfying.
Admittedly identifying pasture plants by their genus, species is a bit nerdy. However Wisconsin FFA, all year I have seen members who have found something they love in FFA. From public speaking and ag Sales to horticulture and dairy foods. How can we take that passion and turn it into something we can do each day? Well that's up to you. Find a career that includes things you love! Picking a career for the pay is unrewarding, but getting paid to do something you love, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Rejection Proof
May. 06, 2018

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

Quite honestly, I am not a reader. So, you can imagine my annoyance when learning I have a book review assignment for a college seminar course this spring. As the semester winds down, I realized I put that reading assignment on the back burner and only have a week to read the whole book and write up a report.

The book is, “Rejection Proof: How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible” by Jia Jiang. Again, I am not a reader but, somehow I finished this book in just two days. It was so entertaining and inspiring. I was able to learn so much from Jia on his 100 Days of Rejection adventures. He was an aspiring entrepreneur with a deep-rooted fear of rejection. Although on paper, he was happy and successful in life: happily married with a baby and a well-paying, secure job at a Fortune 500 Company but, he never pursued his dream of being an entrepreneur because he feared that others would reject his ideas. When his wife realized his unhappiness, she told him to quit his job and take six months to start-up a business and follow his dream.

He gathered a team, developed his entrepreneurial idea and hit the ground running. Then, he was rejected by his first investor which absolutely devastated him. In this rut, he googled “how to overcome the fear of rejection”. He then came upon the idea of the 100 Days of Rejection where he would put himself into ridiculous situations expecting to be rejected like asking to borrow $100 from a stranger or going to a Pet Groomer to ask for a haircut promising he’d be their most well-behaved customer. In his adventures, he learned how to cope and handle rejection in a number of circumstances while learning life lessons along the way.

Two of the biggest lessons learned are:
(1) “When you are not afraid of rejection and it feels like you have nothing to lose, amazing things can happen”

(2) “What you need is not acceptance from others but acceptance from yourself. Being comfortable with who you are is a prerequisite—not the result—of seeking others’ approval”

Reading this book, inspired me to ask for more and be more confident and comfortable in myself. Rejection is one of the most common fears. People fear the rejection of their thoughts, ideas or even themselves. Maybe the rejection comes from a job interview, a presentation, or simply pitching ideas, but it is important to stay positive, confident and to seek acceptance from yourself first.

With a belief in you,
Liz

Trying New Things
May. 01, 2018

Ciara Koboski - Vice President
Black River Falls FFA Chapter
Section 3

We don’t always want to take a step on the wild side but we never know what may happen if we do. It could be anything from trying a new food to helping out a friend with one of their hobbies. As some of us may know I don’t come from an agriculture background and the hands on experiences I gain come from my friends and their backgrounds. I have spent a lot of my time helping my friend Amber on her family’s farm cleaning pens and doing chores. I have never had the chance to experience helping on a dairy farm.

Well in a short amount of time we have our State FFA Convention is right around the corner. I have the opportunity to be on the decorations Committee with Elisha Riley. Every one of my teammates and I have very diverse Agriculture backgrounds. So Elisha and I have gotten together to work on decorations which also means doing chores.

First things first the extent of my chores experience is helping on Amber’s farm which is raising dairy steers for beef. So anything from feeding grain to bottle feeding calves. When Elisha told me we were going to do chores the first thing I did was look at her and say you’re going to have to teach me. I have never milked anything in my life! With the biggest smirk ever Elisha looks back at me and says it will be easy. So the first thing she does is give me a tour from the calves and kids to the does and heifers and last but not least rabbits and chickens. Now it was time for chores we started bottle feeding calves, No problem I have done that before but wait after calves it was kids. Bottle feeding kids is a whole new change your arm shakes like there is no end. Once we were done bottle feeding Elisha and her sister Everlah were getting ready to start milking.

So my first thought was do I stand here and look like I am doing something or do I try to help? Before I knew it Everlah was looking at me with the same smirk Elisha was early and said that she makes each of Elisha’s friends milk a goat for the first time. So I look at her like all of this equipment is foreign! How do I do this? Before long Everlah was telling me that I was a natural, from wiping the teats to putting on milkers and so much more. Not to long after getting used to milking goats she thought it would be a great idea for me to learn how to milk a cow.

What I learned from my adventures to the Riley’s farm is you never know what secrets talents you may have till you try new things. It may not be your normal but you never know you may just enjoy it. I enjoyed milking goats so much that I would do it again.

Summertime in the Showbarn
May. 01, 2018

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

IT IS FINALLY SUMMERTIME! Can’t you tell that I am excited!? I have been enjoying spending my free time outside in the sun and the fresh green grass. That being said, I have really enjoyed starting to work with my livestock for the summer, and I am looking forward to the first show of the season! Showing livestock has truly been one of my passions since I started showing at our county fair. Over the years I have had my times of success and failures! I know not everyone shows livestock, but maybe if you showcase exhibits in the fair house, this can still help you!

1. Start early! It is never too early to start working with your livestock. Whether this is getting your steer or heifer in to work their hair, sit with your pigs in the pen, or work with your lamb and halter training. All of these can help set you up for success and success in showmanship.
2. Always make sure your animal has access to clean water and feed. This seems to be straight forward and simple, right? It is always important to make sure the feeder is clean, and the water is fresh. It is also important to make sure the water is the right temperature, too hot or too cold can affect how much water your animal intakes.
3. Clean bedding. It is important to ensure that your animal always has clean bedding to ensure their hair coat stays clean and does not become stained. Cleaning pens can be as simple as picking them and cleaning out any wet spots.
4. Training. It is important to spend an appropriate amount of time working with your animal and “showing them”. Have your parent, friend, or mentor act as a judge evaluating your animal, or walk like you would in the showring.
5. Keep your animal cool and clean. In the summertime it is important, especially for pigs to ensure the temperatures are appropriate. Fans, or rinsing and washing livestock can allow you pigs to stay cool.
Best of luck as you being your journey starting to prepare your livestock for upcoming shows and fairs. I hope you find this information helpful!

Best wishes,
Morgan Fitzsimmons

How Lucky are You?
Apr. 21, 2018

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Spring has finally arrived! Just like with the changing of the season many new opportunities are thrown our way and that can sometimes lead to a “busy” frame of mind! However, it is in the moments that we are overwhelmed with the daily opportunities in school, work, and family, that it is important to take a step back and find the joy in something simple.

For me this moment occurred a few weeks ago on my home farm, where we were just finishing up our calving season. The “busy” frame of mind was all I could focus on as I checked items off the afternoons ‘To Do List’ until I decided that it was time to take a break and search for the joy in something simple. As I walked out to the cattle pasture to check on all the new momma cows and calves I noticed one of my past show heifers was showing the signs that she was getting ready to have a calf. She was standing off from the herd, udder swollen, and tail up, I then sorted her into a calving pen and sat back to make sure things would go smoothly for her. As the time passed by I focused less and less about the daily “busyness” in my life, and more on the simple joy of being able to watch an animal in which I spent countless hours working on deliver a newborn calf. It wasn’t long before she was laying down in the clean bed of straw pushing to deliver her calf, all while I had the chance to just sit back and watch her do her job.

One, Two, Three big pushes and the calf was born… As the cow mothered up to her calf, I called my dad to tell him the news! He answered his phone and said something to me that I won’t soon forget: “Isn’t that just amazing! How lucky are you that you get to experience that simple joy… some people never get that chance.” It was in that moment that I realized how fortunate I am to have the chance to do what I love, with who I love on the family farm each and every day… all thanks to that simply beautiful reminder.

Wisconsin FFA, as you work to finish out a strong school year, plan an eventful summer, and take on the many opportunities presented to us through agriculture, be sure to take the time to step back and find the joy in something simple, because it might just make you think: “How lucky am I?”

Agriculturally Yours,
Brooke Brantner

Wisconsin Weather
Apr. 15, 2018

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

Wisconsin Weather. In my opinion, the two most unpredictable words in the English language. Wisconsin weather causes changes in plans, cancellations of important events, and lots of hard work for production agriculturists, snow plow drivers, EMTs, and many other vital jobs. Their hard work keeps us safe on the roads, our stomach’s full, and provide help when we are in danger.

During these unexpected Winter snow storms, it is unwritten rule in my family household that we all go out to work together. As I am bundling up to head out into the storm to help my dad on the farm when I was originally supposed to be heading to a banquet, I realized that Wisconsin weather teaches us something very important. How to be flexible. There are many times when it is hard to adapt to these unexpected changes, when something does not go our way and we become frustrated. Although the banquets that were originally planned had to be rescheduled, and I had to postpone doing my homework to go outside to fight the storm, being flexible was a necessary part in order to finish all of the work so my family could go inside early.

Being flexible is not important in just the agricultural industry, but in our everyday lives. So the next time you feel frustrated because the assignment turned in did not earn as good of a grade as you expected, or your FFA banquet had to be rescheduled, know that it is all going to be okay in the end. Being flexible allows us to bounce back from those curve balls life throws at us, particularly with those two unpredictable words.

Agriculturally Yours,
Meikah Dado

Coffee & Kindness
Apr. 14, 2018

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter
President

Well, I don’t know about you, but all this cold and snow in April makes me want to spend the day inside and stay warm! And for me, the BEST way to do that is to grab my favorite blanket, turn on the fireplace, grab my laptop, and find my favorite spot on the couch with a cup of warm, delicious (caramel flavored of course) COFFEE!

I’m not sure if it was the early mornings, many miles on the road, college, or just the wonderful smell and taste of coffee itself, but these past couple of years, I have definitely become an avid coffee fan! And today as I was sipping my afternoon coffee, I decided to take a little break from checking emails and homework and found my way onto Pinterest.

And yes, as much as I love coffee, I probably love Pinterest even more! You can find so many ideas, tips and tricks, inspiration, and so many cute things on Pinterest – including the cute quote I found today about coffee:

“Kindness is like coffee.
It awakens your spirit and improves your day.
Fill your cup with both.”


For me, drinking some coffee in the morning certainly does this: it wakes me up and gives me some energy, but also it prepares me for a good day. Drinking a cup before I leave home gives me a moment to relax, reflect, and get ready for a great day ahead! Something just as simple as a cup of coffee, honestly warms my heart and does make me happy.

And as much as I love coffee, it’s even more important to fill our cups and others' cups with kindness.

You can never spread kindness around enough! Being kind to someone by saying hello, giving someone a compliment, offering a helping hand, or even smiling at someone as you pass by – that is more important than any cup of coffee! That even small act of kindness can energize another person, can fill their bucket or their cup up, can bring positivity to their day, and truly can make all the difference! Plus, kindness is contagious! If we can show kindness to others, they, in return can continue spreading that kindness, and soon enough everyone’s cups can be overfilling with kindness!

May your cup be filled with Coffee and Kindness,
Ciera

What we Bring to the Table
Apr. 11, 2018

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Which is why I never miss it on any FFA trip. Pancakes, bacon, coffee….need I say more? On one particular trip, I had sat down to breakfast with a man named Mr. Holler and his grandchildren. The breakfast was plated, meaning that it is served to you. When breakfast came, there wasn’t a plate for the youngest grandchild, because he hadn’t bought a ticket. Immediately, Mr. Holler said “That’s alright, my coffee filled me up,” as he passed his plate to his grandson. He pretended he wasn’t hungry at all, so he could split his breakfast. Afterwards, they headed out to go swimming. I stayed at the table, thinking about how that simple gesture spoke volumes about what we have to offer others.

What do you have that the people around you need? It doesn’t necessarily have to be foregoing a meal, or material items. There are 4 important things that we can bring to the table and give to others, without missing out on any bacon and eggs. 1) Knowledge. We all have knowledge that we can impart to others. Maybe we competed in an FFA competition and can now help younger members learn the ropes. By sharing what we know, others can grow. 2) Encouragement. How can we encourage the people around us to accomplish their goals, and even also help others along the way? Consider giving positive feedback on a project they’ve been working on, offering help, and working with them. This is one of the simplest things that we can give, but certainly has a profound impact. 3) Opportunities. What opportunities can you give to others? Whether it is a leadership position, a ride to an FFA event, or giving them a way to grow, we all have a connection that we can share with those around us. 4) Responsibilities. This one is last, because it is the hardest to give, the hardest to bring to the table. It can, however, be the most rewarding. How can we give out responsibility to the people around us? Perhaps through letting them chair an event, asking them to help you with something, or encouraging them to bring what they have to the table to give others. By giving up what makes us important, what gives our positions value, we show the people around us trust & their own inherent value. By bringing what we already have to the table, we help both ourselves and the people around us.

Mr. Holler knew he would be more gratified if he gave his breakfast to his grandson. When they went swimming, his grandson was happier & able to make his older sister laugh, because his grandpa gave something to him. In the same way, when we give what we have to others, it enables them to be stronger leaders & people. And with a result like leadership, we’re really not “giving” up anything.

Listen to what the people around you need, and if you have it, give it. In the words of Mr. Holler, “That’s alright, my coffee filled me up.” When we give what we have to others, what we have is twice as fulfilling. What will you bring to the table?

Amelia

Cocoa The Steer
Apr. 07, 2018

Sam Pinchart - Vice President
Luxemburg-Casco FFA Chapter
Section 9

Last week I was walking my steer Cocoa. Now as some of you may know from my takeover tuesdays/wednesdays on the Wisconsin FFA snapchat, Cocoa is a Charolais, Brown Swiss cross. For those of you who don’t know what that means, Cocoa is half a beef breed and half a dairy breed. Furthermore beef breeds are for the production of meat while dairy breeds are for the production of milk. Anyway, so Cocoa’s mom is a Charolais which is an all white breed. We had bred her AI, Artificial insemination (If you don’t know what that is, youtube it). Naturally I wanted to keep her calf a purebred (meaning 100% Charolais in this case). Nine months later the she gave birth to a male, bull calf. I was quick to notice that he did not have that classic all white pattern Charolais cattle display. So I was like hey this ain't right. And through my sharp detective skills I quickly figured out that she was accidentally bred to a Brown Swiss instead of a Charolais. Well that stinks.
Life has a funny way of reminding us about It’s many lessons.Sometimes life doesn't go exactly the way you wanted it. Maybe you didn’t make that team. Or maybe you didn’t compete as well as you thought you should have. Maybe your project didn’t turn out well. Or maybe you’re struggling to get a goal accomplished. There is a lot of scenarios where we simply just need to make the best of a bad situation, learn from the past and improve the future.
Well I now check the semen straw a couple more times to make sure the cattle is being bred with the right bull. And as for Cocoa. He is becoming a fine show steer. I’m glad I have the pleasure of training and walking him. Even though he’s not a purebred beef steer, with a little adjustment to his feed ration he is looking really good for his show class. It just goes to show “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”


Wishing you the best in life,
Sam Pinchart

Easter Eggs and FFA
Apr. 01, 2018

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Happy Easter, Wisconsin FFA! Easter is one of my favorite holidays, partly because of the candy, baskets,but mainly spending time with family and doing the WORLD FAMOUS EASTER EGG HUNT!

In my family it is tradition to hide over 450 Easter eggs around my grandparents farmhouse and yard and compete with cousins to find as many as possible! Its always the highlight of my day, even with the minimal bruising (kidding). In many ways, I find that an Easter egg hunt can be similar to us FFA members finding our perfect pathway in the FFA organization!

1: Sometimes you'll Find it in be the oddest Places

If it be a garden, an old hay rake, or even on the roof; Easter eggs have an odd way of making their way to odd places to be found. Much like in FFA, sometimes our niche is found in odd and unknown areas. None the less, these eggs are just as important and need to be stowed away in our baskets!


2: There is always other people with you

Now some of these people will be our best friends, allies, in this great hunt. Although, others will be our friendly competitors, opponents, in many competitions. But all the same, these people all have the same mission; to achieve a common goal.


3: Sometimes our Eggs will get stolen or the Basket will Fall

We all know this has happened to us at least once, you trip, or drop your basket and every eggs falls to ground. It can be the same in FFA. There are times in all of our lives when it can be really difficult. We can be stressed, overloaded, bogged down, whatever it may be. But as we always do at times like these, we get up, collect our eggs again, and keep marching on.


Although I can only name a few, i'm sure we can all think of many other ways FFA can correlate with the Worlds Greatest Easter Egg Hunt. I encourage all of us to always search for opportunities in hard places, know your competitors and appreciate them, always get back up after hard times, and of course...Have a HAPPY EASTER!!

Toodles,

Elisha Riley
Wisconsin FFA State Treasurer
Section 8

Career Development Events
Mar. 28, 2018

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

The past week the State Officer Team and I have been traveling to Career Development Events. While attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Agriculture and Technology Contest, I was over joyed to see so many FFA members working together, studying and genuinely have a wonderful time with each other.

Those exciting competitions and events that FFA members have competed in this past week while being a fun had a few hidden benefits to them. Career Development Events or CDE’s may have helped launch us into a career path that we are interested in. Through CDE’s they help us to gain real word experience in the agricultural industry and in the specific areas that are interest for our exact career area. Even if the CDE area that we competed in didn’t pertain specifically to our career path, but we still learn treasured skills that will be invaluable to us now and into the future. Time management is a huge skill learned, from setting up study sessions with the team to organizing the travel to the competition. Maybe the biggest thing is gained happens the day of and that’s camaraderie through competition. We gather to compete; most times getting split up from the rest of your teammates, but along the way we make friends and life long bonds with those that used to be strangers.

-Kathryn Lampi
Section 7 State Officer

Tell your story
Mar. 22, 2018

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

This is past week, I had the opportunity to spend my National Ag Day in Washington D.C along with one-hundred other young agricultural advocates from all around the country. Our first day in D.C, focused on how we could have effective visits with national legislators, while our second day was spent on the hill. On the hill, we had the opportunity to meet with congress men and women and even got to hear from and speak with vice-president Mike Pence and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Through all these encounters, one thing was very apparent. Regardless of political affiliation or home state, everybody was eager to hear our stories. To hear how agriculture has impacted us. Whether you grew up on a thousand cow dairy or in the middle of town, we all have connections to agriculture and stories to share.
How are you sharing your story? If stories of agriculture can resonate with the busy people in washington, imagine what it can do in your school in community. Post on social media with the hashtags, #agday365 and be sure to talk about how agriculture has impacted you.

Enter the Growth Zone
Mar. 20, 2018

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

“There is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone” is one of my all-time favorite quotes because it reminds me that I need to step out of my comfort zone in order to grow and that by remaining in my comfort zone I am missing out on the opportunity of growth.

In the world of FFA, there are many ways to step out of your comfort zone; whether that be serving as a chapter officer, competing in a Career or Leadership Development Event or traveling with your chapter to the State or National FFA Convention. There are so many ways within our organization to work toward personal growth, just take that step outside of your comfort zone. I promise it will be worth it. It’s time to enter the growth zone!

With a belief in you,

Liz


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