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National Ag Day
Mar. 31, 2017

Brenna Bays - President
Adams-Friendship FFA Chapter

Hey Wisconsin FFA!

Time has been flying by quickly, especially since the State FFA Convention is nearly 70 days away. Two weeks ago, Kari Fischer and I flew out to Washington DC to celebrate National Agriculture Day on Capitol Hill. We met up with Past Wisconsin FFA Officer and current AFA (Agriculture Future of America) member Jared Retzlaff at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. While at the National 4-H Center, we worked with attendees from many colleges and organizations from all across the country to create our message. We listened to Agriculture Policy experts share how agriculture is being brought up in upcoming policy and different proposals included in the upcoming Farm Bill. Within the groups representing our states, we worked together to create the messages we were to share with legislators on Capitol Hill. We created our purpose, shared our agriculture story, and then created an ask of keeping the youth of the agriculture industry at the forefront of their minds when discussing and voting on upcoming agriculture policies.

On National Agriculture Day, which was March 21, 2017, Kari, Jared and I met with the offices of Senator Johnson, Senator Baldwin, and Congressman Ryan to share our agriculture stories. We enjoyed being able to provide a perspective of upcoming agriculturists on topics ranging from internship and apprenticeship opportunities to safety training within the industry. It was a great day spent in at our Nation’s Capitol being able to advocate for agriculture and represent the Wisconsin Association of FFA!

Through this experience, we all learned how easy it is to share one’s agriculture story. Everyone has a unique reason to how they were introduced to agriculture, how they continued their involvement in agriculture, and how they plan to further their involvement within agriculture throughout their future. Though our agriculture story may not seem unique to us, it is a very powerful story that deserves to be told. Everyone has the ability to advocate for agriculture to change the perspective of our entire industry. It only takes one moment, one story, and one voice to make a big impact in our local communities. How will you begin making a difference?

Proudly Advocating,


Pig Season
Mar. 29, 2017

Travis Cadman - Sentinel
East Troy FFA Chapter
Section 10

Guys, Spring is finally here! You know what that means? Show hogs are for sale! I remember when we had our first litter of show hogs and I got to pick out my pig for the year. In my head I went through my mental list. “Crossbred for county fair, Spot for state fair, and a Hampshire for nationals.” When it got down to my pick for nationals I went straight to the hamps, only to find out the hamp pen was empty. “ Well looks like I am not going to Nationals.” I said to my cousin as we stared at an empty pen.
“but there is a nice Chester gilt over there.” Now there is nothing wrong with a chester. But it was not the pig that I wanted to compete with at all. But since there was nothing left we took her. I worked with her all year and thought to myself “she is horrible, chesters are not show pigs, she will not go anywhere.” Finally the day comes where we head off to nationals. I walk my chester off the trailer and into a pen. And then we hear the chester show will start in a few hours.
I groom her and get her ready for the show, as I walk into the ring I just think “well it is time to take last.” and then the unthinkable happens. A meteorite comes crashing through the roof and knocks the judge out cold. Okay that did not happen, but how crazy would it be if it did? The judge points to me and says “your class winner.”
Hard to believe I walk out with my chester and get ready for the champion round. Once the day was almost up we walked into the champion ring. I just kept driving my gilt and kept hitting a figure eight in the show ring. Finally the judge turns on the mike “ It is easy to pick out a champion in this group and it is the young man over here.” as he points at me. And that was the day I won my first National show.
In life we always get the hand of cards we didn't want. The trick is to always find the best card in your hand and find a way to make it even better. With the power of positivity the world is yours.

Be like Cinderella
Mar. 22, 2017

Sarah Van Asten - Vice President
Wrightstown FFA Chapter
Section 9

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” – Cinderella. As a child I grew up in love with the Disney princesses. They embodied everything I wanted – great hair, beautiful dresses, and a dreamy prince. One of my favorites was the story of Cinderella. For those of you who don’t know, Cinderella is a young girl who lives with her step mother and two step sisters. They are jealous of her beauty, and therefore treat her as though she is nothing. Cinderella dreams of one day leaving this life to be with her prince charming. Spoiler alert! By the end Cinderella finds her prince charming, making all her dreams come true. But as many of us know, fairy tale endings aren’t always the easiest to obtain.
Dreams are only dreams unless you decided to do something about it. Everyone has a dream; some more wild than others. Freshman year, I had the dream of becoming a Wisconsin FFA State Officer. This seemed far out of reach at the time but with some hard work and dedication, I could make it happen. As a few years went by, I continued on growing my FFA journey. I participated in events I thought I would enjoy, however, I didn’t necessarily have an end goal in mind.
Senior year began, and I realized I hadn’t done much to further my dream to become a State Officer. I got to work, planning and preparing for the months ahead. A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true. I decided to take action. I decided to make my dreams a reality.
Little did I know, all of my past experiences would help me through my year of service. Although, I can’t help but look back on all the things I could have done to continue to grow me in this opportunity. A dream is only a dream unless you do something about it.
I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given over the past year. With the love and support of so many, I was able to make a dream a reality. Never give up on your dreams, no matter how wild you think they can be. Once there was a small town girl, who didn’t know what FFA was, and yet she became a woman who wouldn’t give up FFA for the world.

Forever Blue,

Spring is in the Air
Mar. 20, 2017

Dani Angotti - Vice President
Freedom FFA Chapter
Section 8

Today is officially the first day of Spring, which means in a few short weeks we will have beautiful blooming flowers, green grass, and a bright warm sun. Spring is one of my personal favorite seasons. I love being able to see everything come back to life after a long harsh winter. One of the only negative sides of Spring is everything gets VERY muddy. Every time our puppy goes outside he gets covered in mud and immediately has to go back into his kennel.

With every positive thing there can be some negative aspects. A negative to Spring is mud and a negative to Winter is ice and cold. But, it is our job to realize the negatives and then to determine how we can benefit from them rather than let them drag us down. A benefit from the mud is now we can have a mud slide or look for some worms for fishing. A positive to the cold and ice of winter is the ability to go ice fishing or ice skating. Instead of looking at the negatives and letting them stay negative, find a way to use them in your favor. I know we are all guilty of sometimes thinking of something to do and then thinking of a negative reason as to why we shouldn't do it instead.

This year I was talking to someone about sports and this is what they told me, "I didn't join basketball this year because I am a freshman and no one likes freshman, so I would just get picked on." This student realized a possible negative side to joining basketball. They realized the possibility of being picked on for the fact that they were a freshman. However, instead of pushing this fact to the side and joining anyways, they let that negative hold them back from something they may have really enjoyed. Yes, they may have been picked on, but they could have used that in their favor and used that to make themselves work harder and to be the best they possibly can be.

Throughout this spring season, we can be sure to realize the negatives, but lets not let them hold us back. Lets turn the negatives into positives!

Tale As Old As Time...
Mar. 17, 2017

Ashley Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Today after the state officers finished our March board meeting some of us decided to go see “Beauty and the Beast.” Excellent movie I will add, definitely go see it! Some of us may remember watching the Disney cartoon version when we were little. Some of us may have had a yellow Belle dress much like a little girl we saw at the movie theater tonight. When we were little we loved watching the colorful characters dancing and singing and watching all of the everyday items come to life! Something we may not have seen in our favorite movies are the lessons that they teach us.

Belle was always known as the most beautiful girl in the village but it never failed that she was called peculiar in her village because she loves to read. When she tries to teach another little girl how to read the townspeople spill her barrel of laundry on the ground. Belle was different than everybody else in the village but that doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with her. Its ok to be a little different from everyone else. As Lumiere says “You don’t have time to be timid. You must be bold, daring.” Be your own kind of beautiful!
While in the castle, Mrs. Potts says “There’s always time for tea!” While you may not be drinking tea, this is a lesson we can all take from Mrs. Potts. Give a little time for yourself every once in a while! We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything that sometimes we forget to take time to breath.

Probably the most prominent lesson throughout the movie is given by Belle and the Beast. Even though the Beast was a rough looking creature that was alone in his castle. When Belle first met him, well, she wasn’t a fan to say the least. As Belle spent more time with the Beast and learned more about him she began to see the beauty underneath the beast. Beauty isn’t based off the appearance of something but rather what is inside. “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius

Beauty and the Beast has messages that we can all learn from and relate to. These messages can also be seen in the FFA. We each find our own place in the FFA with something we are talented in. Even though we get down to business we still know how to have fun. FFA members really do find the beauty in everything they do by keeping an enthusiastic and positive attitude.

Be your own kind of beautiful, take time for tea, and find the beauty in everything! Once again from the wise words from Mrs. Potts, “It’ll turn out all right in the end. You’ll see.”

Forever True. Forever Blue.
Ashley Zimmerman
Wisconsin FFA Vice President

March Madness
Mar. 15, 2017

Hannah Taylor - Reporter
Poynette FFA Chapter
Section 6

Yep, it’s that time of year again, March Madness. I’m filling out a bracket for the first time ever, but with the extent of my basketball knowledge, I’ve decided to choose the winning teams based on whose mascot would win in a fight. I can’t think of a more fitting way to describe this time of year than with the word madness.

It seems like the month of March always sneaks up on you and as soon as it’s here, it’s over. This year my monthly schedule is jam packed with banquets, meetings, conferences, homework and many, many deadlines. My planner is almost scary to even look at. Not to mention all the work that needs done on my sheep. There are fall lambs that need shorn, spring lambs that need vaccinated, winter lambs that need weaned and I’m still waiting on three ewes to lamb yet. On top of it all, the constant change in weather is practically driving me insane. So how does one make it through March Madness?

I guess we have to look at our own madness in the same way that successful basketball teams do: one game at a time. Any team who wants to be successful and make it through the brackets has to focus all their energy on each individual game as they play. They can’t have their heads in a future game, or they will never even make it there.

Just like that, we have to take our month one game at a time. It’s important to focus on one task until we get it done. I find that when I focus too much on the overall insanity of my schedule, I tend to get intimidated and discouraged and turn to Netflix to make me feel better. Then I end up procrastinating and things just build up even more. But if we take it one game at a time, one step and a time, I promise we will make it through this month together!

Bring on the Madness!

~Hannah Taylor~

In Your Jacket
Mar. 13, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - Vice President
Clinton FFA Chapter
Section 5

Everyone recognizes it when they see it. It’s made of corduroy, and FFA members rock it at many conferences, conventions, and many other events. It’s the FFA Official Blue Jacket! It’s a symbol to the National FFA Organization that has so much meaning for every single person who has ever worn it. Although the Blue Jacket is an overall symbol and commonality for FFA, each individual Jacket is unique.

Each Jacket is visually unique as it is customized with your state, chapter, and name. But even more than the stitching on the outside, each FFA Jacket is filled with that individual member’s experiences and memories. When I look at my FFA Jacket, I am reminded of many of the wonderful people I met and places I went while wearing it.

But possibly more importantly than being filled with experiences, FFA Jackets often hold fond physical items too. Inside my chapter jacket, I have an FFA pen from the first conference I went to, a few business cards, a playing card with a quote on it from a state officer’s retiring address, and a fancy key that I received as a token at Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). Every time I reach in the pockets of my chapter FFA Jacket, I am instantly reminded of some of the key moments in my FFA career. As I hold onto each item, I am reminded of how I received that item, how inspired I felt at that time, and the meaning behind that item. For me, my key from WLC empowers me every time I see it. I am able to place myself back into the moment that my facilitator gave it to me, the kind words she said to me, the goals I set for myself that week, and all the ways I was taught to unlock my potential at the conference.

This last week at the Section 5 Leadership Development, I had the pleasure of meeting the only other State Officer from my chapter, Mr. Mark Taylor. Mr. Taylor and I had a great conversation about some of our best memories as a state officer. But one thing really stood out from my conversation with him and that was his story about a rock.

He told me that he and his teammates overheard someone saying something about someone having a “rock personality.” They all were a little confused and a little put down by the statement at first. But then, Mr. Taylor decided to take that statement and build up from there. He and his teammates used that claim as a place to grow.

From that moment on, Mr. Taylor kept a rock in his FFA Jacket. When he reached in his Jacket pocket, he remembered the statement and was reminded of how much he had grown from it. In fact, he even took the rock out of his pocket at all of his Section 5 Chapter Visits to share his story with FFA members. Now, 25 years later, Mr. Taylor and the story of the rock he keeps in his FFA Jacket, was able to make an impact on me. It was a great reminder to use criticism as a way to grow and to always build up from weak points.

Mr. Taylor keeps a rock with a great story in his FFA Jacket. I keep a few different FFA mementos in my FFA Jacket, including my key from Washington Leadership Conference. What do you keep in your Jacket?

Forever Blue. Forever True,

Mar. 12, 2017

Kari Fischer - Parliamentarian
Argyle FFA Chapter
Section 4

Throughout my time as a state officer, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things. I’ve seen members that have huge, expansive honey bee SAEs, schools that have multiple award winning CDE teams, and some that have some of the most talented public speakers that I’ve seen. While all of this is wonderful to see, I can easily say that one of the most amazing things I’ve seen throughout my travels is the dedication of our Agricultural Educators. Now, I’d seen it in chapter visits, LDEs, and other events, but it didn’t hit me so hard as when I was at Proficiency Judging the other weekend. As I walked into the room, I saw over 40 agricultural teachers, many that I knew, patiently waiting at tables to judge the over 500 proficiency applications. I assumed that these teachers got some sort of compensation for their time there that weekend, so I turned to my teammate Ciera and asked, “What do these advisors get for coming here and judging proficiencies?” Ciera looked at me and said, “Nothing. They just come to for the good of the students.” I was blown away. These advisors, who had family, friends, and other priorities outside of their jobs, had come and offered their time and talents during their free time for the betterment of FFA members. It isn’t just this weekend either. It’s multiple weekends, holidays, and vacation days over the course of the school year and summer that our agriculture educators give to help us as members and give us an amazing experience in FFA. So, make sure when you see your agricultural teacher, to give them a huge thanks for everything they do for you and Wisconsin FFA.
If you would ask most of these teachers, despite how hard they have to work, they would say they love their jobs and they love their students. Agricultural Education is such a rewarding career, and oftentimes, a lot of us forget it as an option in the vast field of agriculture. The job opportunities in agricultural education are tremendous, and span across your county, state, and nation. We need agricultural educators for the future of the FFA, so don’t forget, when you’re looking into possible careers for your future, consider agriculture education as one of them.

Signing off,

Kari Fischer

The Gift of Patience
Mar. 04, 2017

Laura Munger - Secretary
Holmen FFA Chapter
Section 3

Back in January, I started milking on another dairy farm. This farm has a double ten parlor, with 130 Holsteins, Jerseys, and Brown Swiss. Since I was a freshman in high school, I milked on farm with a stanchion barn and 45 Holsteins. Switching from that farm to a new place was quite an adjustment, and I had to be open to learning multiple new techniques. For starters, I had to learn the process of hooking up the pipeline, turning on the milkers, and figuring out the automatic takeoff. I also learned how to treat mastitis and give an injection of Oxytocin (It’s a pretty big let down). Immediately, I fell in love with this new farm. With over twice as many cows as the first farm I milked at, everything was more intense. The number of calves born each day, the number of cows that required veterinary attention (this excitement is coming from a girl who wants to be a vet), and the number of cows I could potentially work with for the county fair. One thing I did not expect however, was that with so many cows, came so many different personalities.

I found that the Holsteins were the most skittish, the Jerseys were the smallest, but also the hardest to move, and the Brown Swiss had one speed (slow), and would not change speeds even if they were being chased. I soon realized that the Jerseys were my favorite, they were smart animals, and never kicked the milkers off. The other two breeds, Holsteins and Brown Swiss, I have little patience for. The woman I milk with, Donna, is well accustomed to the behaviors of the different breeds.

Donna is a very small, soft spoken woman, it is often hard to hear her over the sound of the radio and milk pump. Although she rarely speaks, she has taught me so much more than just setting up the pipeline, turning on the milkers, or giving injections. Donna taught me the value of patience.

One afternoon, during the first group of cows, I tried to put the milker on a Brown Swiss. Sensing my haste, she quickly kicked the milker off. I sighed, and tried again. For a second, then third, and then fourth time she kicked off the milker. Extremely frustrated at this point, I muttered under my breath, and quickly tried placing the milker on her again. This time she left it on for about a minute before kicking it off again. Making an angry grunt, I huffed and asked Donna to do it instead. Without saying anything, Donna takes the milker, waits for the Brown Swiss to quit jumping around, rubs her belly, and puts the machine on for a sixth time. Convinced that the Brown Swiss had it out for me, I moved on to the next cow. I continued to watch Donna however, and observe how she worked with the cows.

Although most of the cows I cleaned and placed the milker on kicked out, the cows Donna worked with rarely raised a foot. When they did, she would step back, let them calm down, then try again.

When it came to milking, I was always in a hurry, and I always had an excuse for it. Whether I was hungry, tired, had plans after chores, or needed to finish homework, I was always ready to be finished with milking. In order for us to complete a task early, we usually pick up the pace. What I never realized, is that cows work the opposite than that. If we are in a hurry to finish chores, then we need to do everything at a steady pace, cows respond better when they do not feel rushed. The slower we go; the smoother chores will be.

See, the cows knew when I was in a hurry, and it made them anxious. Just like humans, they can often read our body language. Since this realization, I have paid more attention to my behavior around other people too. People can tell if I am in a hurry, if I am tired, or even if I am bored. By being fully present in the situation and giving the person I am with my full attention, I will be able to enjoy myself more, and help who ever I was with enjoy themselves too. We have all talked to that person that made it obvious they would rather be anywhere but where they currently are. How did it make us feel? That we were not worth their attention? By giving someone our full attention, it gives them the feeling that what they say is important, and that they matter.

Earlier this year, the state officer team chose a quote to live by. This quote is "Wherever you are, be all there." For the months leading up to convention, let's remember that wherever we are; at school, at work, or at FFA events, to be all there.

Keep On Keeping On
Mar. 01, 2017

Caleb Green - Vice President
Stanley-Boyd FFA Chapter
Section 2

FFA Week is now behind us and it was awesome! Through the travels of myself and my teammates, I saw and heard of a ton of great things that happened all over thanks to the fantastic FFA members we have. I want to congratulate everyone for making this year's celebration extraordinary. From local activities to section wide events, each chapter did their part in getting the word out about our great organization. Also, great job on the community service put forth by the members. Many chapter had a collection for Easter Seals and also served food to your community members. Everything we do for our chapter and community not only helps our home, but also helps us grow as individuals.

With the year coming to a close sooner than we all would like, we need to make sure that we finish strong and stay focused on our end goals that were set at the beginning of our year. Just as we made FFA Week a spectacular week, we must stay engaged and make 2016-2017 a spectacular year as well. Be sure to finish strong and keep it rolling!

Rolling on,
Caleb Green
State Vice President

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