Wednesday, March 27, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Active on EVERY Level!

Name: Brooke Wente
FFA Chapter: Morris Area FFA Chapter
Year in School: Senior
Favorite Color: Aqua Blue
Fun Fact about you: In October Brooke will be competing for a third time in a Career Development Event at the National FFA Convention.
Brooke was one of those students who always knew she was going to be in FFA because she had watched her family in the past be a part of the organization. Brooke could not wait to get her very own blue corduroy jacket and she immediately joined as a freshman in high school! And as she got involved she discovered her own passion for the organization and enjoys meeting people from all parts of the state and learning from them.
Brooke never passes by an opportunity to get involved in the FFA. She has attending camps and conferences at the chapter, region, state, and even the national level! Developing her leadership abilities every step of the way! She has also competed in several CDE’s at all levels which have further developed those career and technical skills. She then applies all she learns to better her community and those around her. Brooke lives the FFA motto of learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve in the life every single day!
She has put a lot of efforts into developing her FFA Chapter! Their officer team this year set a personal team goal of growing their membership to over 100 members which they accomplished! Also, Brooke and her team started a brand new “Greenhand Day” where they recognized greenhands in their start towards receiving their greenhand degrees. She hopes this will become a permanent addition to their chapters annual activities and that it will grow in the future!
Brooke will be attending the University of Minnesota pursuing a degree in Agriculture Education Leadership and Communications. During college she hopes to be able to study abroad in Australia and New Zealand learning more about the agriculture industries in other countries.
Brooke has clearly demonstrated leadership on every level of this organization! And I am proud to say, congratulations Brooke, you are this week’s FFA Member of the Week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Those SPAM Guys...

A while back the Minnesota State FFA Officer Team had the opportunity to visit the Hormel plant in Austin Minnesota. They are one of the largest meat processors in the country. Best known for- you guessed it- SPAM. They are "Those SPAM guys..."

SPAM was started largely in order to feed troops in World War II so American Soldiers had a source of meat protein. After the war, it put on its civilian clothes and came back to the United States as a consumer food.

Today Hormel is helping fight another war overseas.

A war against hunger.

Inspired by a product called Plumpy'Nut used to fight extreme, acute hunger in children, Hormel launched an initiative called Project Spammy. They developed a Turkey-based spread to fight protein deficiency in Guatemalan children. With the help of their partners Caritas and Food for the Poor, they then distribute it through Guatemala. They are improving the lives of children and impacting their future.

Hormel sees the importance of giving back to their community, be it global in the form of Project Spammy, or to the development of tomorrow's leaders in the form of FFA, Hormel is choosing to make an impact on the future.

The company renowned for SPAM doesn't just stop at what they are famous for. They venture out to new horizons, to new challenges, and to new heights. In the same way, as we are growing through FFA experiences let's not "stop there". Step beyond personal growth to develop others and make a difference in your family, your community, and your world.

If you want to learn more about Project Spammy, you can watch the YouTube link below:

From the Emblem of Washington.

Dare to Do,
Nathan Daninger

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Everyone's FFA PAL!

FFA Member of the Week

Name: Haley Hinrichs
FFA Chapter:  Goodhue FFA Chapter
Year in School:  10th grade
Favorite Color:  Yellow
Fun Fact:  She loves the movie Tangled and her favorite song to play on the piano is "I Gotta Feeling."

Haley is an outgoing and bubbly individual that has been involved in dance, 4H, and other school activities for as long as she can remember.  She had heard about FFA and had been told again and again that she should join, but it wasn't until her best friend forced her, that she finally agreed.  One of her first FFA experiences was Region VIII Greenhand Camp, and from then on she was instantly hooked!  She couldn't wait to become truly immersed in the organization to learn how to be a leader!

This excited and enthusiastic FFA member has been involved in a variety of activities ranging from competing in the Extemporaneous Speaking CDE to sharing her FFA and Agricultural story at Ag Policy Bootcamp!  Her favorite FFA experience so far?  Attending the State Leadership Conference for Chapter Leaders (SLCCL)!  SLCCL changed her life, helped her learn new things about herself, and allowed her to find friendships that will surely last a long time.

Knowing that FFA has been such a positive experience and that agriculture is truly important to everyone, Haley has taken some exciting and daring steps to promote them in her school, community, and in the state of Minnesota.

Haley has played a key role in helping her FFA Chapter develop a PALS program.  Partners in Active Learning Support, or PALS, is an outreach program that matches an FFA member with a middle school or elementary student.  Haley loves going to the elementary school every Thursday to teach them about agriculture and expose them to the opportunities FFA presents!

Another exciting event Haley has taken advantage of was speaking in front of the Agricultural Policy Committee at the State Capitol about the importance of Agricultural Education.  Proudly wearing her blue corduroy jacket, she spoke of her personal experiences and how Agricultural Education has benefited her and the other 9,500 FFA members across the state.

Haley lives and breathes FFA and proudly represents the organization.  Her ability to advocate for Agriculture, Agricultural Education, and FFA is admirable.  In the future, she hopes to have the chance to serve as a Region VIII Officer and maybe someday, a MN State Officer.

Congratulations to Haley Hinrichs of the Goodhue FFA Chapter on being this weeks FFA Member of the Week!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: The only girl on the team, yet still stands tall!

FFA Member of the Week
Name: Leah Larson
FFA Chapter: Springfield
Year in School: 10
Favorite Color: Blue
Fun Fact about you: I like strawberry jam on cheese.

Leah joined the FFA the summer after her 8th grade year when she showed dairy goats at the Brown County Fair, and dairy cows at the Wright county fair! She initially joined because of her sister Seena, who is an Agricultural Education teacher and an FFA Advisor. And she has loved it ever since.
Leah has been involved in the Creed Speaking CDE as well as the Dairy Judging CDE and has also been involved on the Chapter FFA Officer team. She manages quite well even though being strongly outnumbered by men on her team! Some of her favorite memories of FFA are when she went to CDE’s or to state convention and got to see her old friends and meet new ones!

It is evident in Leah that FFA has made an impact in her life! And she has worked hard to give others that same opportunity! She has made it a personal goal to really reach out to freshman in her school and community and show them about the FFA. She also is passionate about informing the public about the importance of FFA, Agriculture, and Agricultural Education.

We are blessed as an FFA Association here in Minnesota to have FFA members like Leah! Congratulations on FFA Member of the Week!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pretty Please?! With a Cherry on Top?

Like most kids, when I was younger I really, really wanted a puppy.  I went as far as writing a detailed and organized list of pros and cons of having a pet.  I presented this well thought out proposition including the fact the I would be responsible for all feeding, cleaning, playing, AND doggy doo-doo patrol, and finished up by saying, "Pretty please?! With a Cherry on Top?"  I think we can all agree that adding "with a cherry on top" to any plead gives incentive for the other party to give in.  Well I was reminded of this on my adventures during FFA Week...

Whether it was meeting with legislators at the State Capitol or traveling to local chapter appreciation dinners, the State Officers were kept busy that week.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to Winona FFA's 3rd Annual Talent Show, which was just putting a cherry on top of my already exciting week.  Talents ranged from vocal performances, to exhibiting some outstanding dance skills, to presenting short plays in German!  I love talent shows because I am always in awe of the crazy and awesome things that people can do and are willing to share with others.  And this is when it really hit me...

All of these talents are so unique and something that each individual was very proud of (which they should be!).  We as FFA members, and as humans on this earth, each have different talents.  But what good is this talent if you keep it to yourself and choose to not share it with the rest of the world?  You have something to offer. 

Don't be afraid of what others are going to think and be willing to share your talent with others.  FFA needs you.  Your family, friends, and community need you.  Agriculture needs you.  And the world needs you.  So I'm going to ask you, like I asked my parents when I wanted a puppy--but with a list of all pros and no cons--to discover your talents, share them wherever you go, and use them to better the world around you.  Pretty please?!  With a cherry on top?

Stationed by the Ear of Corn,
Sabrina Kieser

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: A Part of Something Bigger

Name:  Kong Meng Lee
Chapter:  Humbolt FFA
Year in School:  Freshman
Favorite Color:  Blue
Fun Fact:  He loves to make jokes and get people to laugh!

Kong Meng Lee is a member of an FFA chapter that is located in the middle of St. Paul and was first exposed to Agricultural Education in 7th grade in a Small Animals class.  He had seen signs and posters for FFA around the school and classroom and was curious, but it wasn't until 8th grade that he became a member.  After hearing about the history of FFA, the motto, and the creed, a light bulb came on and he knew he wanted to be a part of this national youth organization.  He is glad to be a part of something that challenges him while presenting the opportunity to have fun and laugh with friends!

Since becoming an FFA member, Kong has tried a little bit of everything!  He is so excited to try these new things that he can't pick just one!  From the Small Animals CDE to Nursery Landscape, and from Food Science to Poutlry Judging--Kong's gotten his hand on all of it.  He looks forward to participating in the Parliamentary Procedure CDE next year as well as Poultry Judging again.

Kong loves being a part of FFA because he knows it can help him, and any other students, shine and succeed!  He has learned the importance of agriculture and leadership.  He believes that Agricultural Education is one of the only places where there is hands-on learning that really prepares you for college.  This young and excited FFA member truly loves being a member and some of his favorite things include letting other people know about our organization and passing on his knowledge to other younger students.

Kong received his first FFA Jacket through the MN FFA Foundation's Blue Jackets Bright Futures program and was able to wear HIS own jacket for the first time at MN FFA Day at the Capitol during FFA Week.  He loves wearing his jacket because it makes him feel professional and because he gets to tell anyone and everyone about FFA when they ask him about his "uniform."  He is no longer feels like just a student, and is inspired to help others, do something awesome, and be a leader whenever he puts on the blue jacket.

Within the Humbolt FFA Chapter, Kong is not yet an officer, but that doesn't mean he doesn't find other ways to better his chapter.  He has made a positive difference by organizing and displaying the membership roster that everyone wants to become a part of, or making FFA informational fliers and putting them in the teacher's mailboxes to have them talk to other students about joining.  He does this because he wants everyone to feel inspired to be a leader just like he has been!

Another fantastic event that Kong is a part of is the agricultural literacy event that Humbolt FFA coordinates at the Cherokee Elementary, an urban school.  Kong and other FFA members help the 3rd graders make butter and explain how butter is only possible because of agriculture.  He loves working with the students and practicing his leadership skills while teaching about agriculture, an industry that is so important to everyone.

In the future, Kong wants to become an Agriculture Teacher.  Why?  Because he wants to stay involved in FFA and help future generations to see how great of an organization it is.  He wants to pass on all of the life lessons and advice he has received because it has helped him be successful and proud of who he is, and he wants all students to feel the same way.

Congratulations to our newest FFA Member of the Week, Kong Meng Lee, a proud Humbolt FFA member and leader!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Passion for their Pigs....

The smell of hogs?


The smell of success.

Last week the Minnesota State FFA Officer Team had the privilege to travel to Christensen Family Farms in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. While there we saw demonstration of  many of the key principles FFA members learn. We realized the results of hard work. We saw evidence of the care farmers take with their livestock, and finally we saw how Christensen Family Farms gives back to their community and Minnesotan agriculture.

Bob Christensen founded Christensen Family Farms in 1974 with two sows for 4-H and later FFA. When he graduated high school six years later he had expanded to a 140 farrow-finish sow farm. Today the business is the largest family-owned hog farm in the United States with the capacity to feed twelve million people a year. Bob Christensen certainly believed "that to live and work on a good farm, is pleasant as well as challenging". Aspiring to improve, to be innovative, and to take care of their environment is something Christensen Farms does every day.

Along with the effort the family has poured into their work, we had the opportunity to see how Christensen Farms- like so many farmers across the country- care for their livestock. Though they have large farms, they manage to care for each pig individually and work to protect them from disease through providing a climate that is conducive to growth. One farm goes as far as filtering all the air that comes through the barn to prevent contaminants from reaching the animals.

Christensen Farms gives back to their community through support of 4-H and FFA literacy efforts. They have invested in education efforts such as the CHS Miracle of Birth Center and Christensen Farms Stage at the Minnesota State Fair and and the Animal Learning Center at the Iowa State Fair. They add value to rural communities economies while producing a high quality product.

From its humble origin in 1974, to the world-leader it is today, Christensen Farms provides an example of hard work, animal care, and community investment that we can all look up to.

From the Emblem of Washington-
Dare to Do,
Nathan Daninger