By Guest Blogger Julie Orbeck of Albany FFA
Everyone has heard the saying: “The organization has grown to be more than cows, sows and plows; today’s FFA is about beakers, speakers and job seekers.” Every FFA member exhibits this, but one member in particular truly embodies this ideal. Abbey Schiefelbein of Kimball FFA has gone above and beyond in her FFA career, as well as being a devoted member of the agriculture community. Her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), paired with multiple career development events (CDEs), an internship and jobs in the field of food science, have given her the passion to pursue a career in agriculture.
Schiefelbein is a senior at Kimball High School and lives on her family farm where they raise black Angus for beef. She has been a dedicated FFA member since seventh grade and has served as a chapter officer for five years. She is currently serving as the Kimball FFA Chapter President. Along with FFA, she is involved in 4-H, cross country, basketball, softball, National Honor Society, knowledge bowl, and speech, and is a Minnesota Beef Ambassador.
Schiefelbein joined FFA to compete in the general livestock CDE and advanced to state competition in eighth grade. As a ninth grader, she joined the dairy product evaluation team and fell in love with food. During her sophomore year, Schiefelbein’s advisor introduced her to the food science CDE. This CDE sparked within her an interest in research and development, and she has competed in it ever since.
After competing in the food science CDE, Schiefelbein decided to search for new opportunities in agriculture and completed small projects in 4-H.
“During the winter, I heard about an opportunity to work for a food company. I jumped at the chance,” said Schiefelbein. “ I learned lots from this job because I had to learn facts like what made a product high in nutrition, organic and/or kosher. I also had to memorize the can type that went with certain sizes. Throughout the internship, I was given more responsibility, such as checking the whole spec to make sure nothing was wrong.”
After her internship was over, Schiefelbein decided to make it her SAE or supervised agricultural experience. Her SAE includes her internship and other jobs she’s had within the food science field. She hopes to continue her SAE by pursuing a career in the field of food science.
When asked what she liked most about her SAE, Schiefelbein said: “My favorite part of my SAE is that I get to explore what I want to do in the future. It has taken me down different avenues, and I always learn something about myself or about what I do and do not want to do in the future. I do plan to continue this SAE by finding a job at Kansas State within the food science department.”
Schiefelbein’s goal for the rest of her FFA career is to leave her chapter better than when she joined it. She also hopes to continue promoting FFA within her school. Abbey plans on attending Kansas State University where she will pursue a degree in food science. After college, she’d like to work at a major food company in their research and development department.
Schiefelbein’s experiences in food science truly represents how FFA benefits students.
“FFA taught me about working hard,” said Schiefelbein. “In order to do well in any SAE or CDE, you have to put in time or dedication to succeed. This will help me because to have future successes I have to work hard to achieve my dreams.”
If it weren’t for FFA, Schiefelbein may never have discovered her love for the food science.
“By competing in the food science CDE, I confirmed that I wanted to go into food science,” said Schiefelbein. “It taught me that I enjoyed the research and development part of it. I also would not know how extensive agriculture truly reaches without FFA.”
Abbey is one of many students whose life has been changed by FFA.