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Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter - Section 2
bbrantner@wisconsinffa.org
Why did you join FFA?
I began my membership in FFA as a way to expand my knowledge of agriculture and the variety of career options available. The public speaking skills, leadership roles, mentors, and friends gained were all just added bonuses that I didn't realize possible as an 8th grader. Thinking back to the first time I zipped up my blue corduroy jacket I remember my hands were trembling as I fumbled with the collar. I was preparing to participate in my first ever speaking contest; FFA Creed speaking. To think of how much I've grown not only as a leader but mentor, friend, and competitor has all lead me to this point of serving as a state officer. It's for these reasons that the first line of the creed replays in my mind, and is why I believe in the future of agriculture.
What was your Supervised Agricultural Experience?
My Supervised Agricultural Experience project began as a beef production entrepreneurship which focused on improving the quality and outcome of my family and I's 30 cow beef herd. Through the tasks of building upon our breeding programs, enhancing care, and show cattle management/sales. Over the course of my high school career my SAE has grown in multiple forms. First, it became a diversified livestock production placement due to my internships and experience at larger cattle farms like Five Star Dairy and DAMAR Farms. Both placement settings allowed me to challenge myself in new ways. At Five Star Dairy I was able to take over the position of assistant calf health manager. This allowed me to fulfill feeding requirements for up to 120 calves, maternity care for new moms, newborn health, breeding cows, and diagnosing and treating sick calves. A large focus of my SAE was numbering all the calf pens in the facility, and observing where calves were getting sick more often within the building. At DAMAR, I was able to focus my SAE around the sale side of the show cattle industry by helping clip, picture, and produce sale catalogs for their annual female sale. My SAE has grown from my own 30 cow herd into large beef and dairy herds, occupying two different aspects of the cattle industry.
What made you want to be a State FFA Officer?
I wanted to become a state officer for the Wisconsin Association of FFA because of those who have come before me and shared their passion for the FFA. My mother had served as the first female FFA President in the Menomonie Chapter her senior year of high school and it brought my family great joy when I was elected President of my chapter in 2015. A picture that comes to mind when I consider just how deep of an impact the FFA has made on me is one that was exhibited by a special newspaper write up during National FFA week last year. When we look at this picture, we see my mom and I wearing our blue corduroy jackets with the gold stitching of President across the front. We will also see my mother's FFA advisor, and retired agriculture teacher of 50 years alongside my own FFA advisor and agriculture teacher. This picture speaks volumes to show just how powerful FFA and the agriculture industry is and how it ties all of us together. In this simple yet memorable picture, there are countless memories, contests, conventions, county fairs, and banquets that can be retold, relived, and cherished all the same. Ingrained in this picture are generations of lessons learned and a truly remarkable passion for the FFA Organization. However, there is more to this picture than what meets the eye. You see, my beloved grandmother had passed away the same week this picture had been taken, and when it was printed in the paper, her obituary was as well. When we hold this newspaper article up to the light we can see her picture shine through the middle of the articles picture, directly between my mom and I. When most people look at this article they see three generations of agriculturalists, but I can also see three generations of my family, a family that has been built around agriculture, farming, and the FFA. It is because of those who have come before me and shared their passion for the FFA, and the ones who are next in line that need a helping hand is what made me want to serve as a state officer for the Wisconsin Association of FFA. I feel that impacting others in a way that allows them to see the potential for not only this association, but within themselves in life is key to being a leader, advocate, and member of the FFA for generations to come.
If you could choose from any song in the world, what would be your theme song?
If I were able to choose any song in the world as my theme song, I would choose Humble And Kind by Tim McGraw. This is a song I can listen to on repeat and always make a new connection to within my life. Its message is one that I have built my values around as leader and strive to portray in all that I do.