Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Turning a CDE into a Passion to Make a Difference

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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Four FFA Members, a Kind Heart and a 1958 Farmall Tractor

By: Guest Blogger Halle Hough of the Luverne-Adrian FFA Chapter
With one of 877 ever made, Jesse Wise of Virginia made the decision to donate his 1958 International Harvester Farmall 350 High-Utility tractor to an FFA Chapter or a 4-H club that was willing to restore it. Levi Wicks, president of the Albert Lea FFA Chapter, received word of Wise’s generous offer and contacted him.
When Wise originally posted the tractor to Facebook, he expected to hear from a teacher or FFA advisor, not a 17-year-old. Without knowing the tractor was in Virginia, Wicks agreed to take on the project while thinking, “We’d probably drive a couple hours to go get something like that.”
Instead, Wicks , along with Jaydon Weigel, Kevin Smeby and Coltan Uthke, embarked on a 50-hour trip to the state of Virginia in mid-October.
“We determined it was worth it for a free tractor,” said Wicks. That’s when the Albert Lea FFA Tractor Restoration Project began.
The team of four young men began work on the old Farmall in December in Smeby’s workshop. They started with a complete tear down — not one bolt was left unturned. The team then cleaned and sandblasted every part of the tractor. The motor was completely gone through, the torque amplifier was professionally rebuilt, the entire rear end was rebuilt, and the hydraulics were redone.
The team also had to repair the front axle knee to its original angle because it had been broken and repaired. At first, they weren’t sure how they were going to fix the knee. It is intentionally angled, but a previous repair had welded it straight. The boys solved this challenge.
The project tallied approximately 1,500 hours of labor and $6,000 in parts.
Wise was very impressed as he followed the boys on their journey of this restoration.
“I was very impressed with Levi and the rest of the group,” said Wise. “They gave me a new hope in their generation, the younger generation.”
Local businesses and community members in the Albert Lea sponsored the team, providing generous donations to make the restoration possible. The biggest donation, of course, was the tractor itself, with no strings attached.
The FFA members plan on raffling off the tractor this summer at the Freeborn County Fair. It will be on display at the food stand August 4. With the raffle, the FFA members are hoping to earn back their investment in the restoration project.
“I’m happy to see that they did what they said they were going to do, and I hope it helps their organization in some small way,” said Wise.