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Officer Profiles

Feb. 18, 2018

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Happy FFA Week Everyone!
As the first day of this impactful week comes to a close, I would like to challenge all of you to think about opportunity. What opportunities have been presented to you throughout your years in the FFA, and more importantly why do you value them?

Today, I spent my time delivering beef calves, and as each one was born I couldn’t help but reflect back on the importance of opportunity. You see, the heifer that was giving birth to one of the calves used to be a past show heifer of mine, and I found myself thinking back on all of the opportunities that were presented to me because of this one special heifer. She gave me the chance to value the dedication, patients, and commitment it takes to raise an animal. She showed me that time spent working alongside my family doing what we loved, with who we loved was something to be cherished. She reminded me of the thousands of miles traveled from show to show and moments spent in the show ring. However, the most important opportunity she gave me was the chance to meet, learn from, and build relationships with people from all walks of life. From the industry leaders who took the time to evaluate us in the show ring, the fairgoers who were so willing to learn and ask questions about agriculture, a complete stranger who would wish us well as we prepared ourselves for a show, to a younger member who would look up to us for guidance. Above and beyond everything else, it is the people we meet while we are doing what we love, who change our lives.

As we, as FFA members celebrate this week ahead, let us keep in mind the importance of opportunity. Maybe that looks like a Proficiency Award, Supervised Agricultural Experience, Leadership Development Event, or a Chapter Banquet. Whatever this opportunity is, take the time to appreciate all that goes into making it possible. Think back on the lessons it teaches you, the places it takes you, and the moments it allows you to cherish. But above everything else the opportunity it gives you to share your why with those around you! This genuine act brought forth by opportunity is what leaves a lasting impact for all involved!

With a full heart,
Brooke Brantner

Being a Servant Leader
Feb. 17, 2018

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

The National FFA Organization takes pride in truly living by its motto- “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” However, it was always those last three words that caught my attention. Living to serve. How do we, as FFA members, live to serve? One of the most important aspects of living to serve is being a servant leader. To me, being a servant leader means doing all things, for others. To do this, I follow three simple steps.

First, I change my mindset. Although it is easier said than done, changing our mindset to think about others instead of ourselves is the first and most important step in order to be a servant leader. In our FFA chapters we can do this by making sure every member feels comfortable in the organization. This could be by talking with them in the hallways walking to class, or even staying late after a FFA meeting so they can finish a funny story about their weekend. By going out of our way to make others feel comfortable, we can change our mindset to think about others instead of ourselves.

Second, I write down my specific goals I want to obtain for others. The goals may include something to better yourself, or to lead by example. By writing these goals in a journal, or even in the notes app on your phone, it is a commitment that can be looked back on throughout the year. A few of these goals could be doing two service or volunteer opportunities in the next three months, or it could be as simple as learning not to talk about your own successes. By having specific goals, we are able to keep servant leadership in our minds at all times and achieve those goals and reach the next step of servant leadership.

Finally, the last step I use when attempting to be a servant leader is making observations about where my talents can be used. By knowing our skills, we are able to serve others to the best of our ability. We each have unique skills, but how are we using them to help others? By knowing if we are good at individual conversations, planning events, or presenting workshops, we are able to help our FFA chapters become servant leaders.

During the 2018 National FFA Week, keep in mind the last line of the FFA motto. Keep these three steps in mind and decide what works best for you. How can we Live to Serve? How can we be servant leaders?

Agriculturally Yours,
Meikah Dado

Strive to Strengthen Agriculture
Feb. 17, 2018

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter

This past weekend, I and over 200 other FFA members and advisors kicked off National FFA Week by attending the 2018 FFA Farm Forum! Farm Forum is a conference for Wisconsin FFA members in their junior year of high school and is hosted by Wisconsin Farm Bureau. I love the WI FFA Farm Forum, because it truly is revolved around the agricultural industry, learning how we can be effective advocates for agriculture, and discovering our future opportunities within this amazing industry!

This weekend at Farm Forum, we had the opportunity to network with other FFA members, hear from amazing speakers, participate in various workshops and breakout sessions, and we also were able to learn more about the agricultural industry!

As I was traveling back home today, I realized that Farm Forum perfectly correlates with the third part of the FFA Vision Statement: Strengthening Agriculture! This weekend, FFA members learned more about today’s agricultural industry, and they filled their toolboxes to help them become better leaders and agriculturalists. Farm Forum is one of the amazing ways that FFA can, and does, strengthen agriculture!

FFA continues to strengthen agriculture in so many ways, and here are a few of my personal favorites:
1. FFA and Agricultural Education help spark a passion for agriculture in today’s youth, and provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful as our future leaders and agriculturalists.
2. FFA members network with each other, FFA Alumni members, and business and industry professionals, building up and strengthening the agricultural community and increasing communication among agriculturalists.
3. After learning more about agriculture in classes, through their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, and through FFA workshops and conferences like Farm Forum, FFA members share their knowledge with their peers and communities to help bridge the gap between farmers and consumers.

Food For America, Partners in Active Learning Support, Ag in the Classroom, Community Petting Zoos, networking and professional development opportunities, advocating for agriculture, FFA Farm Forum and so much more! I have had the opportunity to see so many outstanding Wisconsin FFA members and chapters strengthen agriculture!

What are some ways that you and your FFA involvement have helped strengthen agriculture? Whatever they are, continue the great work helping to strengthen our amazing agricultural industry!

Strive to Strengthen Ag,

Can you see it?
Feb. 14, 2018

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

Pop quiz! Who knows the three parts of the National FFA vision statement? If you don’t, you’re not alone. While interviewing as a state officer candidate, I was asked the very same question. And I didn’t know the answer – in my head, I’m thinking, “We have a vision statement?” Yikes. A vision statement is a brief statement that outlines where you want to go in your organization. If everything goes according to plan, your vision will be the end game. So FFA’s vision statement showcases what FFA members will achieve through their involvement in FFA and agricultural education.

But in that particular interview, I didn’t know it. I didn’t know where FFA was going – the vision for FFA members. If we don’t have a vision of where we are going, it’s kind of hard to plan to get there. We might accidentally bump in to it, or have someone put us in the right direction, but when we are trying to intentionally achieve something, it’s kind of important to know what that “something” is. What is your vision? Where do you want to go?

Maybe it is tangible, like winning a tournament, or taking a certain challenging class in school. Or maybe it’s more of a characteristic, where you are working to be more outgoing, to develop your leadership, or to be more service minded.

Knowing where you want to go can guide you to get there. Take your vision, and now make 3 steps that will help you personally get there. Put intention into working to get there, and you will.

And the three parts of the National FFA vision statement?
Growing leaders,
Building communities, and
Strengthening agriculture.
When we are a part of FFA, we go down a path of leadership, building up our communities and agriculture.

Focus on your vision now. Can you see it?

The Dash
Feb. 11, 2018

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

We often think about what others would think if we were gone. What would be our legacy? Would they remember good things? Bad things? I would like to think we are remembered how we live our life. Our core values impressed in the memories of those who have crossed our path. I would also like to think that the legacy we leave behind is not of ourselves but what we have instilled in others. I would like to think that our legacy never truly dies or ends but rather pieces of it are picked up and carried on by different people. The influence we have given to people during our lives remains well beyond our time. We can only hope that we have influenced positively throughout our lives. But why wait until the end of your life to define your legacy?
With each person we cross we have the ability impact them in some way, shape or form. Sometimes we don’t even see how we affect those around us but influence is an ongoing process that never ends. Sometimes words influence, sometimes actions influence and sometimes lack of words and action influences. Remember that there are always people who will look to you for direction. What do you want them to learn from you? What is the legacy you want to leave them with?
As I attended my FFA chapters local Alumni meeting I was reminded of what legacy truly is. This past summer the Luxemburg-Casco FFA Alumni and Luxemburg-Casco FFA unexpectedly lost a great friend, Robert “Bob” Baudhuin. Bob was involved in many community activities and was a strong supporter of agriculture. Bob was also involved in numerous FFA Alumni activities and fundraisers and always went out of his way to support both the FFA and it’s students. Bob has impacted many Luxemburg-Casco agriculture students, including myself. It never seemed to be about where Bob started or ended rather where he spent his time in between. That time is Bob’s legacy. A legacy of family, friends, faith, supporting FFA, agriculture and being welcoming to all. A legacy that lives on in the lives of everyone he has impacted. This past banquet the Luxemburg-Casco FFA Alumni had talked about creating a scholarship in Bob’s honor.
So If you truly want to leave a legacy, leave a legacy in others. In the words of Scotty McCrery “It ain't about the numbers chiseled in concrete, it's about how they lived their lives in the dash between”

Carrying the legacy,
Sam Pinchart

Fail Forward
Feb. 08, 2018

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Today, as I was scrolling through Facebook I came across a Facebook video from Will Smith. In this video he talked about failure. He stated that we need to swarm ourselves in failure and to "Fail Early, Fail often, Fail Forward." How can we fail?

Failing early isn't usually what people think of as a positive aspect. We often choose to avoid failure, but in that time we loose to opportunity to truly succeed. When we fail early, it allows us to succeed and move onto bigger and better failures.

When we fail often it allows is to persevere. The more we fail, the more we succeed. Successful people fail a lot, they fail a lot more than they succeed, but they use that energy and wisdom to go to the next phase of success. Having the ability to fail and try again is a strong attribute to being successful.

Failing forward is my favorite aspect to this quote. It reminds us that failure is a natural aspect in our lives. We need to learn to accept and cherish failure. We need to use our failure to fuel our success.

Failing is a natural aspect in all of our lives. We can either be afraid of failure, prolong it, and fail late; or we can accept and cherish all parts of failure. Swarm yourself in failure, fail early, often, and always fail forward.

Your truly,
Elisha Riley
Section 8
State Treasurer

Generations of coffee
Feb. 04, 2018

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

It’s likely you’ve been told before to, “Respect your elders”. Though we are nothing short of respectful, we often fall short of taking the time to learn from them. Since middle school I have enjoyed going to my local coffee shop in the early afternoon for “Education Hour”, where local farmers from the ages of 55 to 95 hang out. They talk about the future of agriculture, what’s new in the neighborhood and simpler times. Though I know many of there stories word for word having heard them repeated so many times, each visit does bring a new lesson to be learned. This week I had the privilege to attend the funeral of one of the last of these original coffee drinkers. A neighbor and close family friend who had been farming for more than 70 years.
This week I’ve thought about the lessons I could learn from these old farmers, most of whom have passed on over the last few years. As much as I enjoyed their stories and the laughs shared over countless cups of coffee. I think it was the lessons learned that I’ve enjoyed most. Lessons on perseverance, lessons on how to cherish family, what a good day's work is like and most importantly the importance of good friends regardless of competition, age or what color tractors you like.
The stories during education hour were well told, rarely accurate, always entertaining and anything but educational. However, the lessons learned were invaluable. Cherish the elders in your life, start a conversation, learn about them and find out what they can teach you. I know I've enjoyed each moment with those in my life and am thankful I reached out and took the initiative to hear a new perspective.

Samuel Jesse

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