Capital Press | FFA Capital Press Mon, 2 May 2016 16:15:42 -0400 en Capital Press | FFA Washington FFA members gear up for annual convention Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:47:54 -0400 Matw Weaver ROSALIA, Wash. — Rosalia High School sophomore Collin Pittmann’s hard work all comes down to this.

Pittmann will compete against other students from across the state in the prepared public speaking career development event at the Washington FFA state convention May 12-14 in Pullman, Wash.

He will speak about wolves in the state, including the problems they cause for livestock producers.

Pittmann devotes every weekend to working on his speech and finding new newspaper articles on the topic. He’s spent more than 30 hours on the speech, which is about seven minutes long.

“When I get to convention they’re also going to ask me questions, so I need to be informed on anything happening with wolves in the state,” he said.

Pittmann is one of more than 2,000 FFA members who will make their way to the annual convention on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, said Abbie DeMeerleer, executive director of the Washington FFA. About 400 advisers and chaperones and 300 guests are also pre-registered.

This year’s theme is “Come Together.”

DeMeerleer said FFA will announce a new record membership number at the convention.

“We’re still growing,” she said.

The event will include an expanded education expo, at which industry partners and FFA members can discuss career and education opportunities, and an educational program for elementary students, both introduced last year.

Keynote speakers will include barrel racer and motivational speaker Amberley Snyder, who continues to ride horses after being paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident; Judson Laipply, creator of the popular “Evolution of Dance” video on YouTube; and National FFA Western Region Vice President Sarah Draper.

DeMeerleer hopes FFA members will leave the keynote presentations “inspired, motivated and excited about what they can do.”

Past state officers will also be recognized during the May 14 evening session.

DeMeerleer aims to keep cultivating relationships with industry leaders by having state officers visit them, and having them attend career development events.

Rosalia’s Pittmann advanced to nationals last year in the creed career development event.

“You’re with a lot of like-minded people — they’re nervous, they want to make a difference in their local communities and FFA chapters,” he said. “They all want to do well. It’s a really exciting time for all FFA members.”

DeMeerleer recommends stopping by the Cougar Lounge at Beasley Coliseum before 5 p.m. each day to purchase tickets to attend sessions. They are $5.


New state officers bring humor, passion to California FFA Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:41:05 -0400 Tim Hearden FRESNO, Calif. — California FFA’s newly elected state officer team promised the more than 5,000 students attending the organization’s state convention that they’ll put plenty of passion and energy into the coming year.

The slate of new officers announced April 26 includes the first-ever twins to serve together at the state level — President Andrew Skidmore and Secretary Amanda Skidmore, both from the small San Joaquin Valley town of Atwater.

During his election pitch to delegates, Andrew generated laughs — and a few gasps — by comparing his candidacy to the TV show, “The Bachelor.” He told the gathering that “just like those roses,” he may sometimes have a thorny side “but I’m beautiful.”

Amanda showed some humor, too, telling fellow members that doctors had said she would be a boy and her stubborn parents dubbed her “a man, duh.”

“I’ve been called a tomboy and a lady,” Amanda told more than 5,000 students in Fresno’s Selland Arena, adding that she would bring the best of both perspectives into her leadership role. “I will serve this organization with motivation, passion and determination.”

The Skidmore siblings are joined on the 2016-17 officers’ team by Vice President Lauren Millang of Woodland, Treasurer Sam Looper of Apple Valley, Reporter Conner Vernon of Nipomo and Sentinel Jace Neugebauer of McArthur. The students were among 81 applicants for state office, 37 of whom were given interviews and 12 chosen as finalists.

Looper also took a humorous approach to his April 25 election pitch, making light of what he called his “plus-size” jacket. He said his friends call him “Corn Fed” and that he’s “full of GMOs.”

“In the last four years, I’ve not only grown out of eight FFA jackets but I’ve grown as a leader,” Looper said to laughter and loud cheers.

The new officers were announced after each of the outgoing state officers had taken turns over the course of the April 21-26 conference in giving heartfelt speeches about their time in office. Each also had their parents and advisers on stage to thank them in moving tributes.

Outgoing President Joelle Lewis of San Luis Obispo themed her address “environmental change,” noting that students’ “roots” help form their interests and beliefs but they’re capable of improving their own outlook.

“We may be products of our environment, but we have a responsibility … to choose who we are,” Lewis said. She added that supporters and detractors “don’t decide who you are — you do.”

Sydnie Sousa of Tulare, the outgoing vice president, urged fellow members to practice selflessness, noting that the virtue will help them in a sometimes thankless career of farming. She told of putting together boxes of clothes and other items for the FFA chapter in El Reno, Okla., which was devastated by a 2013 tornado, and later being approached and thanked at the national FFA convention in Louisville, Ky.

“Know the power of doing something for someone and expecting nothing in return,” Sousa said.

Lewis and Sousa were joined by their fellow 2015-2016 officers — Secretary Breanna Holbert of Lodi, Treasurer Trevor Autry of Nipomo, Reporter Danielle Diele of Merced and Sentinel Tim Truax of Turlock — in ceremonially retiring their trusty blue-and-gold jackets amid wild cheers and tearful embraces.

The conference also featured 2015-16 National FFA President Taylor McNeel of Vilonia, Ark., and 2015-16 national Secretary Nick Baker, now an agricultural communications major at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

In all, California has more than 76,000 FFA members in 315 chapters — a significant portion of the organization’s 610,240 members in 7,665 chapters nationwide, according to conference organizers.

CDFA’s Ross urges FFA members to think of the future Mon, 25 Apr 2016 16:54:28 -0400 Tim Hearden FRESNO, Calif. — State Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross told 5,000 FFA members here that California’s agriculture-related industries will need their energy and innovations in the challenging years to come.

Ross cited water shortages, food safety concerns and global population growth as problems that today’s students in FFA could someday help solve.

“Think about how you use your hand-held technology and your gaming technology,” Ross told a packed audience during the Monday morning session in Fresno’s Selland Arena. “Those are the very tools you may use for (assisting) the smart farm of the future.”

Ross also praised the FFA chapters for promoting the CDFA’s three-year-old agriculture-themed license plate program, which has generated nearly $500,000 for education. The department in January handed out $249,352 in the second round of grants from the CalAgPlate program, including $212,000 for FFA leadership and development programs.

“It’s going great, but one of the challenges of the special license plates program is they have to keep selling or the interest goes away,” Ross told the Capital Press after her speech. “The students’ energy (in promoting the plates) is really important for these ag programs. … It’s such an important way for people to know, ‘I’m making a contribution to ag education.’”

Ross’ appearance was among the highlights of the 88th annual California State FFA Leadership Conference, which continues through April 26. With the theme, “Electrify,” students in high school FFA programs throughout California converged to participate in contests, hear inspiring speakers, attend a career fair and take part in other activities.

Ross’ appearance excited members of the FFA’s state leadership team, including outgoing president Joelle Lewis of San Luis Obispo, who said she’s also met the secretary during visits to schools.

“I think having her come here and talk (about students’ potential for future leadership) makes a big difference in people’s minds,” Lewis said.

Ross has attended several state FFA conventions since becoming food and ag secretary in 2011.

She began her address by praising FFA member McKenzie Brazier of King City, Calif., who sang during one of the session’s talent segments.

“I would recommend her for ‘The Voice,’” Ross said to loud cheers. “Wouldn’t it be great if we had someone on ‘The Voice’ with a blue jacket? And then if somebody standing behind her would hold up a CalAgPlate sign?”

Ross told the students that among them could be sitting a future state lawmaker, water board member, agriculture secretary or even U.S. president. She said it’s important that California agriculture recognize its mission and the ability to feed the world.

“You cannot appreciate what you have until you don’t have it,” Ross said, noting that she missed fresh California produce when she shopped in Washington, D.C., during her stint as chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“California can show the world how to grow food,” she said.

In the interview, Ross said she always tries to set aside time in her schedule to meet with FFA members.

“They’re curious, energetic and they’ve got new ideas,” she said.

Meridian FFA Attends 85th State Leadership Conference in Twin Falls Fri, 22 Apr 2016 12:38:55 -0400 Alexa PhillipsMeridian FFA Chapter Reporter The 85th Idaho FFA State Leadership Conference (SLC) was held on April 6-9 at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Idaho.

At this conference, FFA members from across the state are invited to compete in different Career Development Events (CDEs) and attend leadership sessions and workshops.

Meridian FFA had a total of 62 individuals attend; 32 of those were first time attendees. Throughout the week, different workshops were held for members to help expand their leadership skills. These workshops were put on by visiting Washington, Utah and Oregon state officers. During the conference sessions, Idaho’s current state officer team gave their retiring addresses, awarded scholarships, presented degrees and announced CDE and proficiency winners.

Select members throughout the state had the chance to perform a talent on stage during the conference sessions. Kaitlyn Muniz, Meridian FFA member, had the honor of singing the National Anthem during the opening session.

The Idaho FFA Foundation drew the winning ticket for the Tractor Raffle Scholarship Program at SLC as well. Tickets were sold for this tractor throughout the past school year to raise $14,000 for scholarships for Idaho senior FFA members. The Nampa FFA chapter sold this year’s winning ticket.

Three Meridian FFA members were awarded state-level FFA scholarships on stage: Kristin Nesbitt received $1,500 from the United Dairymen of Idaho, Andrew Heikkila received $1,000 from the Idaho Grower Shippers Association, and Jessica Kohntopp received $4,000 from Integrated Biological Systems Inc.

Meridian FFA members Maddie Bennett, Mackenzie Brown, Jessica Kohntopp, Loretta Lacy, Mallie Miller, Alexa Phillips, Ashlyn Schiers and Kyle Schmit all received their State Degrees on stage at SLC. All State Degree recipients passed the earlier sifting process this spring.

Meridian FFA also had four members run for State Office: Kristin Nesbitt, Andrew Heikkila, Maddie Bennett and Taylor Nelson. The State Officer sifting process consisted of many interviews, assessments and activities throughout the week. Meridian FFA member and University of Idaho freshman Taylor Nelson was elected to be the 2016-2017 State Reporter.

Cody Duff and Colin Steppe served as Meridian’s official conference delegates, attending meetings to debate and vote for our chapter on statewide issues.

Meridian also had two members apply for state proficiency awards. A proficiency award provides recognition to FFA members at the local, state, and national levels for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects. Maddie Bennett was a state finalist in the area of Goat Production, earning a gold ranking. Jessica Kohntopp was the state winner in the area of Small Animal Production, also earning a gold ranking. Jessica’s proficiency application will go on to the regional level for evaluation.

Meridian competed in a total of eight CDEs that week. CDE results are as follows:

• Livestock Evaluation CDE – 4th Place, team members: Dani Turnbough, Kaitlyn Steppe, Zach Phillips, Joe Wieting, Zach Ball, Cody Ball.

• Dairy Evaluation CDE – 2nd Place, team members: Ashlyn Schiers (3rd high individual), Zach Phillips, Alexa Phillips, Cole Manda, Trace Beaucannon, Cody Duff.

• Conference Parliamentarian Exam – participants: Kate Johnson (4th high individual), Ashton Shaul (1st High Individual), Logan Diem, Cody Duff, Kaitlyn Steppe, Trinity Martin, Cassidey Plum, Sydney Plum, Brock Shurtz, Madison Stroebel, Kaylee Lindsey, Anna Jackson.

• Extemporaneous Speaking CDE – 2nd place - Maddie Bennett

• Floriculture CDE - 6th Place, team members: Kristin Nesbitt, Lauren Barker, Caitlin Martin, Mackenzie Brown (9th high individual).

• Farm Business Management CDE – 5th Place, team members: Lauren Anderson, Isaac Livesay, Joe Wieting, Kobe Manzer.

• Horse Evaluation CDE – 8th Place, team members: Ashlyn Schiers (3rd high individual), Lauren Jackson, Kiara Wetzel, Rachel Mansfield.

• Nursery/Landscape CDE – 4th Place, team members: Clayton Christensen (5th high individual), Mollie Hiscox, Kaitlin Muniz, Hailey Buffham.

Meridian FFA would like to thank the major conference sponsors that helped make this year’s State Leadership Conference financially possible: Dodge Ram, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Simplot, Agri-Service, D.L. Evans Bank, Wells Fargo, Crop Production Services, D&B Supply, the University of Idaho, Northwest Farm Credit Services and Western States Equipment Co.

We’d like to express our gratitude to the 2015-2016 state officers for their past year of service; those officers were: President – Riely Geritz, Vice President – Dustin Winston, Secretary – Abigail Raasch, Treasurer – Samantha Daniels, Reporter – Jentrie Stastny and Sentinel – Henry Wilson.

A huge thank-you goes to the Idaho Executive Director, Clara-Leigh Evans, for working with these officers and all the state staff to ensure the 2016 SLC was a success. Good luck to the new 2016-2017 state officers in their upcoming year in office.

Our elected 2016-2017 State Officers are: President – Gretchen Hansten, Vice President - Faustin Wood, Secretary – Jenny Baustista, Treasurer – Clayton King, Reporter – Taylor Nelson and Sentinel – Makenna Routt.

Good luck to all the state CDE and proficiency winners who will be competing at Nationals this fall!

Idaho FFA brings ag to youngsters Tue, 12 Apr 2016 11:07:40 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Hundreds of Idaho FFA members took their jackets off and rolled up their sleeves for a myriad of “Days of Service” events during their annual State Leadership Conference last week.

“It’s a way to give back to the local community of Twin Falls that let us invade for a week,” said Josette Nebeker, ag teacher and FFA advisor from Craigmont.

Nebeker and some of her FFA students were focused on teaching young children about agriculture in the ag literacy event held at the Boys & Girls Club in Twin Falls. Their topic was forestry, and they were talking to children about trees and all the products derived from trees.

So much of what people know about agriculture is based on where they grew up. And with 72 percent of consumers knowing nothing or very little about agriculture, ag education is the most important part of agriculture, said FFA member Morgan Weeks.

It’s important that they know where food comes from and how agriculture affects the economy, he said.

Fellow FFA member Tanner Schwartz said people need to know where their food comes from and respect that, otherwise why would they care about challenges to agriculture or making it more sustainable.

The more informed youngsters are about agriculture and the world around them, the more likely they’ll be to be active in their community and voice their opinion, Nebeker said.

Ag literacy is important if agriculture is going to be able to feed a growing population in the future, said Michael Anders, a Junior FFA member from Salmon.

Salmon FFA members were doing activities to demonstrate the importance of using the limited available land in the best way possible to feed a growing world and educate children about soil nutrients.

“Everything in life has something to do with agriculture. Most people think agriculture is just farming and ranching; it’s science,” said Michael Bollen, Junior FFA member from Salmon.

“Our chapter really feels service in ag literacy is imperative in educating the public (about agriculture) and why we should support agriculture,” said Katie Cooper, ag teacher and FFA adviser at Salmon.

Shoshone FFA members were also on hand at the ag literacy event, hosting a fun and educational game of commodities bingo for the Boys and Girls Club’s 150, after-school 1st through 3rd graders.

It’s meant to teach children about agriculture and the kind of commodities grown in Idaho, said Brandee Lewis, Shoshone ag teacher and FFA advisor.

It’s important to start ag education at a young age so children get acquainted with agriculture and start to make a connection to the industry, said FFA member Katy Jo Fitzgerald.

Perceptions set in early, and there are so many negative perceptions and false impressions about agriculture. If the ag industry reaches children at a young age, they’ll be able to separate false information from fact and it will help the industry overcome the negative perceptions, she said.

New Idaho FFA officers: Go after your dream Mon, 11 Apr 2016 13:05:27 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Newly confirmed Idaho FFA state officers were running on empty when the State Leadership Conference wrapped up Saturday.

Still in shock and reeling from the rigorous nomination process, reaching their goal of state office was like being in a dream, they said.

“It was the most stressful but most fun I’ve ever had,” said newly selected state Treasurer Clayton King, 18, a senior at New Plymouth.

The journey started long before conference week, the new officers said.

It’s like a “super-long hike” to the top of the mountain where you get to see the view after working and pushing so hard, said President Gretchen Hansten, 17, of Jerome, who intends to major in agricultural education at the University of Idaho.

Now at the summit, the 2016-2017 officers want to give every FFA member the encouragement to make their dreams happen as well.

“My main goal is to make sure our members believe in themselves,” Hansten said.

She wants them to let go of any doubts and know they are capable of achieving that “wild dream,” she said.

Vice President Faustin Wood, 18, of Madison seconds that, saying he wants to inspire members to follow their dreams no matter how unattainable or crazy they seem.

One of the greatest things he’s learned is that no matter how far away a dream seems, it can be accomplished and there’s always room for growth, said the high school senior, who plans to study agricultural engineering at BYU-Idaho.

Given her background as the daughter of non-English speaking parents who came to Idaho from Mexico, Secretary Jenny Bautista, 17, of Homedale said she wants to emphasize to members “they can accomplish anything if they work hard, no matter their background.”

“And no matter what, people will be proud as long as you try,” said the high school senior, who intends to major in food science and Spanish at the University of Idaho.

Sentinel Makenna Routt, 18, of Castleford said she wants to provide members with the same positive influence, help and encouragement she’s received from the previous state officers and peers.

Routt plans to major in agricultural education and agribusiness at the University of Idaho.

King, who plans to study mechanical engineering and agribusiness at the University of Idaho, said he wants to get to know FFA members better — what makes them who they are — to be able to serve them better and inspire them to chase their dreams.

Reporter Taylor Nelson, 19, of Meridian, who is majoring in agricultural education at the University of Idaho, wants to spread some good advice given to her that has helped her get through difficult times.

“Believe in yourself and believe in what you have to say because it’s important,” she said.

Agricultural educators embrace future teachers Sun, 10 Apr 2016 10:56:23 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas TWIN FALLS, Idaho — In addition to the extreme enthusiasm of the blue jacket force descending on the College of Southern Idaho recently is the palpable camaraderie among those students’ agricultural teachers.

That camaraderie is one of the unique perks of being an agricultural educator, teachers told FFA members who are interested in joining their ranks.

Several agricultural educators embrace future teachers educators, participating in the conference as FFA advisors, participated in a University of Idaho workshop geared for potential newcomers to the profession.

Working in agricultural education is exciting and fulfilling because the model is unlike any other. By incorporating FFA and supervised agricultural experiences, it doesn’t force education on students but allows them to choose their own adventure, said Jeremy Falk, assistant professor of agricultural education and extension at the University of Idaho.

“This model of education … is not the filling of a pail, the filling of a brain; it’s about setting a fire. You can incorporate all of these (elements) and light the fire in your students,” he told the FFA students.

UI agricultural education senior Anna Pratt, who is student teaching at Rigby High School, said she was never so terrified in her life when she started in January, but it didn’t take long to settle in.

“It’s a great experience. You learn something new every day (and) you gain a whole new perspective on everything,” she said.

It’s a “flip-flop” from being a student, and she sometimes wonders if she’s doing it right. But there is always an experienced cooperating teacher to mentor student teachers, and “they are with you every step of the way,” she said.

The most challenging part of being an agricultural teacher is the huge time commitment and attention to detail, said Megan Booker, also a senior in the UI program and a student teacher at Genesee.

Students might not think about it, but somebody has to make sure shops are maintained, greenhouses are monitored and animals are fed, she said.

As for compensation, teaching agriculture might not be as lucrative as some other professionals, but money isn’t the only consideration, said Robert Hale, lead agriculture teacher at Rigby High School.

“There are a lot of neat benefits. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for a handful of cash,” he said.

Nampa agriculture teacher Pat Dixon agreed, saying, “I get to do a lot of cool things I never would have done if I hadn’t become an ag teacher.”

Idaho is currently in pretty good shape in regard to its supply of agricultural educators, with 135 positions across the state and 17 student teachers ready for hire, Falk said.

But the profession has been battling a nationwide shortage for some time. Despite program growth, 27 of 47 states reported a loss of programs or positions between 2011 and 2014. On average, 67 positions and 45 programs were lost annually, according to the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

For more information on UI’s program, visit or contact Falk at

Ag Fest petting zoo expands to fill livestock pavilion Fri, 8 Apr 2016 12:54:58 -0400 Jan Jackson TURNER, Ore. — An estimated 20,000 people will visit Nosey’s Neighborhood Petting Zoo during this year’s Oregon Ag Fest.

At the petting zoo, visitors will see and learn more about the species and breeds of farm animals than ever before offered.

The petting zoo, popular with children and adults alike, has expanded this year thanks to Cascade High School FFA seniors Austin and Collin Brill, Cascade FFA adviser Becky Bates and Ag Fest board member and petting zoo chairman Craig Anderson.

The annual event takes place April 23-24 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

“I’ve been teaching at Cascade High School for 10 years and our FFA has taken the lead on the petting zoo every year since I’ve been here,” Bates said. “Austin and Collin Brill led their fellow FFA chapter members and a host of other members from neighboring schools in putting it together and we’ve exceeded our expectations. It is definitely going to be the best petting zoo yet.”

The twin brothers have worked their way up to being principals in the planning process. They also breed and raise market and show pigs, which they will bring to the event.

“We focused on expanding the variety of animals this year and we are pleased with our success,” Collin said.

Growers are will bring bottle lambs, kid goats, rabbits, cow-calf pairs, “and we have meat, milk and fiber animals to show and explain their differences,” he said.

Visitors will also see Hereford, milking short horns, Simmental, Jersey, brown Swiss and Holstein cattle as well Duroc, Yorkshire and Hampshire/Yorkshire-cross pigs.

The sheep breeds will include Montadale, Hampshire, Suffolk, Southdown and blackface crosses rather than the less common ones raised just for fiber.

“In addition to all the people it takes to set up and take down pens, lay down and refresh straw and keep it all policed throughout the two days, we will have FFA students in official dress at every pen ready to help with the petting process, tell people what they are seeing and answer questions,” he said.

The Advanced Agriculture students have written all the information that goes on the pen signs, and other classes have made displays that will be placed around the pavilion, he said.

In addition to the petting zoo, about 25 hands-on activities will be available, plus pony rides, toy tractor races, farm equipment displays, a craft and garden display and family entertainment.

A ranch breakfast will be served 8:30–10:30 a.m. Saturday only, The cost is $6 each; children under 3 years old are free. Proceeds benefit 4-H youth programs.

Anderson, the retired Chemeketa Community College Dean of Agriculture Science, lamented that he would miss this year’s event.

“I’ve been volunteering for Ag Fest every year since 1994, but this year the Hereford Conference in Uruguay is happening at the same time,” Craig said. “I’m looking forward to attending the conference but at the same time it kills me to miss it. In my opinion, Ag Fest is one of the most important events we have.

“My only consolation is, that I’m leaving it in good hands,” he said.

Asked if they had any advice for attending Ag Fest, Austin Brill said, “Wear comfortable shoes, wash your hands at the washing stations before and after you pet the animals and come early because once you get here you will want to stay all day.”

Oregon Ag Fest

When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday, April 24

Where: Oregon State Fairgrounds


Admission: Children 12 and under are free; $9 for ages 13 and up

Parking: Free

Finding purpose begins with two questions Fri, 8 Apr 2016 10:18:24 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Finding purpose is the anchor that provides direction and meaning in life, as well as a healthy perspective to get through rough waters and appreciate still ones.

But purpose can be allusive, especially for today’s high school students, who face a myriad of expectations from family, teachers and society, said Steven Brockshus, a 2013-2014 National FFA officer, during a lively workshop at the Idaho FFA State Leadership conference on Thursday.

To help in the endeavor, Brockshus asked a packed room of blue jackets to consider and discuss two questions: “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?.”

He pointed out, however, that insecurity and doubt are often barriers to finding purpose and asked the students to first to identify their insecurities and why they exist.

“The interesting thing about insecurities … everyone else has them, too. They weight us down, hold us back,” he said.

But insecurities can be overcome by knowing “who you are” — on a deeper level, not physical appearance and not “what you do,” he said.

Asking that question brings to light strengths and attributes that can lead to purpose, he said.

“When we keep these things in mind, we can overcome insecurities and do some awesome stuff,” he said.

His talks and workshops through FFA challenge students to ask who they are and why they’re here and find the answers.

“Once they start asking those questions, they can reconcile who they are and figure out what they want to do in life,” he said.

High school isn’t always easy. There are so many expectations, and students might be facing troubled relationships or difficulties at home. But if they understand who they are and their purpose in life, they can choose activities, go to college and start a career in alignment with those things, he said.

That doesn’t mean they won’t face difficulties or struggles, but instead of suffering a lack of direction, they’ll experience the growth that comes from struggle, he said.

“It will help them face times of insecurity, doubt and adversity and pull through,” he said.

They’ll get through knowing there’s something to show for it. And when times are good, they’ll recognize things are good because there’s meaning to their life, he said.

Brockshus said he doesn’t expect a one-hour workshop to bring a revelation or drastic change, but he hopes to plant a seed to get students thinking a little differently. Who you are/your purpose is a topic that might not be posed in routine high school life, he said.

“High school is a hard time for a lot of students. Hopefully these questions will challenge them to be more comfortable with themselves,” he said.

In his experience, when students ask themselves these questions, the answers are often “awesome.” It helps them dig deeper and discover what they want to do in life, he said.

Brockshus said his own answers to those questions have morphed over time but moving through life with that inner perspective provides direction and meaning.

Idaho FFA officers retire with gusto Thu, 7 Apr 2016 10:01:30 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas Outgoing Idaho FFA Association state officers said their year serving members throughout the state has been wonderful, amazing and awesome.

While they each have distinctive personalities, they said they’ve learned to speak with one voice to promote FFA and advocate for agriculture.

It’s been a hectic year but one of exceptional growth and life-changing experiences, they said.

No one can ever really be prepared for the experience of being a state officer, State Sentinel Henry Wilson, an agribusiness major at the University of Idaho, said.

“It’s indescribable,” he said.

The most surprising aspect for him was that “the connections you build with teammates, members and business leaders are deep and long-lasting,” he said.

Vice President Dustin Winston, majoring in agribusiness and marketing at the University of Idaho, said the experience was definitely different than he expected and it’s different for each of the officers.

Coming into office a year ago, he wanted to impact and serve members. Now on his way out, he said he did his best to work toward that goal but can’t determine the immediate effect.

He said he came to realize that being a state officer doesn’t necessarily mean he is impacting everyone, but he can use the experience for growth and to have an impact in the future.

State Reporter Jentrie Statsny said she’s learned a thing or two as well, such as being a better listener and how to make people feel comfortable — basic skills that will help her in life.

“I have also been able to step outside my comfort zone and learn to be a more effective leader,” said the graphic design major at BYU Idaho.

The year involved a lot of travel, member and chapter meetings and planning and participating in events, said Samantha Daniels, state treasurer, who is majoring in ag education at Utah State University.

“Our schedules are always full, but we love the time we get to spend with Idaho FFA members,” she said.

State Secretary Abigail Raasch, majoring in history and French at the University of Idaho, came away with a new appreciation for people and relationships — from members around the state to all the people who work behind the scenes to support FFA, she said.

For State President Reily Geritz , the experience brought home the reality that agriculture relies on everyone’s contribution — such as food producers to feed the hungry, scientists to find resolutions to barriers and politicians to advocate for sustainability, said the University of Idaho ag education major.

“FFA is the perfect model to have for agriculture; it fits everybody. And we’re all in this together,” she said.

While the retiring state officers have mixed emotions as their year of service comes to an end, they said they are excited for incoming officers to have the same opportunity they have enjoyed.

And while the blue jackets might leave their shoulders, the FFA experience never will, Geritz said.

“It will serve us the rest of our life,” she said.

Chelan FFA hosts District VII leadership CDEs Wed, 23 Mar 2016 17:12:22 -0400 The Chelan, Wash., FFA has been the host chapter for the District VII Leadership Career Development Events for the 34 years. This year the event was held on Monday, March 21, with over 90 students from Bridgeport, Cashmere, Chelan, Omak, Tonasket and Wenatchee FFA chapters competing in Creed Speaking, Prepared Public Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Novice Parliamentary Procedure and Parliamentary Procedure CDEs.

At stake were the three automatic berths in state competition for District VII members.

The Chelan FFA would like to thank the volunteers from the community who contributed a few hours of their lives to help the next generation of leaders of the region’s agriculture industry.

The judges were Barry DePaoli, Brian Ellis, Jerry Finch, Lynda Foster, Ralph Gabarelli, Rick Hanson, Jane Horlebein, Becky Jaspers, Karen Mackey, Mike Mackey, Rob Manahan, Nanci Robertson, Jake Robison, Julie Schwartz, Dave Spanjer, Char Tait, Vicki Taylor and Lety Trejo.

The Chelan FFA was represented by Dane Schwartz and Thomas Armstrong, who qualified to compete after their finish at Sub-District Leadership in Cashmere earlier in this month. Dane qualified for state competition by earning a first-place banner in Extemporaneous Public Speaking and a second-place finish in Prepared Public Speaking. Thomas placed fourth in Prepared Public Speaking and will have to await the lottery draw to see if he will compete at state.

The results in the District VII Leadership CDE are as follows:

Creed Speaking CDE: 1st Amie Martin Cashmere; 2nd Aleah Kert Cashmere; 3rd Katie Martin Cashmere; 4th Summer Schoening Cashmere; 5th Madison Schoening Cashmere; 6th Kaylee Bobadilla Tonasket; 7th Missy Martinez Bridgeport; 8th Alisha Cutrell Omak

Novice Parliamentary Procedure:

1st Cashmere K; 2nd Tonasket M; 3rd Tonasket S 4th Cashmere J; 5th Tonasket G 6th Cashmere S

Prepared Public Speaking:

1st Olivia Abbott Cashmere; 2nd Dane Schwartz Chelan; 3rd Corrina Karrer Tonasket; 4th Thomas Armstrong Chelan; 5th Tanya Trujillo Bridgeport; 6th Jenna Valentine Tonasket

Extemporaneous Public Speaking:

1st Dane Schwartz Chelan; 2nd Cassidy Boyd Cashmere; 3rd Garret Presler Cashmere; 4th Brenden Asmussen, Tonasket; 5th Rachel Silverthorn, Tonasket

Parliament Procedure:

1st Tonasket H; 2nd Tonasket N; 3rd Bridgeport B; 4th Wenatchee; 5th Bridgeport A;

6th Tonasket M

Next up for District VII FFA members will be the District Ag Sales, Ag Issues Forum and Job Interview held at Wenatchee High School on Wednesday, March 30.

Oregon FFA convention offers students a view to the future Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:57:49 -0400 Eric Mortenson CORVALLIS, Ore. — If the 1,400 students attending the Oregon FFA state convention had some questions about career prospects, Alexzandra “Alex” Murphy was offering some answers.

Murphy teaches a new precision irrigated agriculture program at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, and she said ag employers are clamoring to hire people trained in new technology.

“People have been asking me for students,” she said while stationed at a college information booth. “There is a huge demand for workers. Everywhere I go, they say, ‘We want more good workers.’”

Students with FFA experience are particularly attractive to employers, she said, because they’re already tuned into multiple facets of agriculture. And it hasn’t been difficult recruiting students to study precision ag applications, Murphy added.

“I don’t know too many kids who don’t get excited about technology,” she said with a laugh. “Turning off your (irrigation) pivot with a cell phone is awesome.”

Blue Mountain Community College was among the career vendors participating in the convention, held March 18-21 at Oregon State University. Students from Future Farmers of America chapters across the state attended. Among many activities, they took part in public speaking and parliamentary procedure competitions, heard from guest speakers and had a little fun on the side, such as a session on western dancing.

State officers for 2016-17 were selected as well. They are: President Shea Booster, of Bend; Vice President Hailee Patterson, of Imbler; Secretary Liberty Greenlund, of Yamhill-Carlton; Treasurer Raymond Seal, of Joseph; Reporter Zanden Unger, of Dallas; and Sentinel Bryson Price, of Sutherlin.

While advisers such as Murphy of BMCC were available to offer career advice, other convention speakers had something to say about life in general.

Kelly Barnes, a motivational speaker from Oklahoma, used a fast-paced presentation to suggest students should examine their lives and make changes.

Barnes, who grew up on family dairy and beef operations, said he found his calling during an FFA leadership conference and now spends his time talking to corporate and educational groups.

To the Oregon FFA students, Barnes listed three areas for consideration.

He asked them to realize they have ingrained habits or daily routines, things they do without thinking that may be wasting time or even holding them back.

“When we do things a certain way, what happens when someone asks you to change?” he asked. “The answer is no.”

Barnes said students should review what he called their “inputs,” the music, movies, books or organizations such as FFA that influence their lives. While many students will say they don’t act badly because of coarse entertainment, for example, they will acknowledge that other inputs make them feel sad, happy, excited or inspired.

“You put good things in, good things come out,” Barnes said.

Last, Barnes talked about the “rule of five.” He asked students to think of their interactions with five friends. Of that group, he said, who is the smartest, has the most goals, makes the best decisions and is looked at as a leader.

“The rule of five says you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” he said. “If you’re the smartest, who’s pushing you to be smarter?

“Find people who are going to push you,” Barnes concluded. “Surround yourself with people who are better than you.”

Donations sought for Dayton FFA alumni dinner auction Wed, 16 Mar 2016 14:19:26 -0400 Dayton FFA alumni are seeking donations for the 26th Annual FFA Alumni Auction and Dinner on April 2.

The auction is held in the old gym at Dayton, Ore., High School.

“The auction is the largest fundraiser the alumni do,” said Ian Heard, president of the Dayton FFA Alumni. “Proceeds from the auction go toward vocational ag programs that would otherwise go unfunded. In years past, we have been able to help send students to the National FFA convention in November.”

The doors will open at 5 p.m. for registration at DHS. “The silent auction will begin at 5:30 with a staggered closing of the tables starting at 6:30. Every 20 minutes a table will close,” said Heather Oliveria, silent auction chair.

An “agrilicious dinner” will be served at 7 p.m. with the oral auction following at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10 per person and may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Dayton Ag Shop at 864-2080.

Any individual or business that would like to donate an auction item, time, money or services to this year’s auction, call Karen Goddik at 503-560-9275.

Washington FFA chooses its national candidate Fri, 11 Mar 2016 14:38:58 -0400 Matw Weaver Apolinar Blanco of Chelan, Wash., will represent the state at the FFA nationals, held each October.

“To me, it means an opportunity that not a lot of people get the chance to take,” Blanco said. “It’s humbling, prideful, joyful, but at the same time, it means more than I ever imagined.”

He was the 2013-14 Chelan chapter president, and the 2014-15 Washington state FFA president.

Blanco has been attending Walla Walla Community College and hopes to be an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. He hopes to represent the diversity of the state’s agriculture industry and members.

“Apol is a hard worker with a service heart,” said Abbie DeMeerleer, Washington FFA executive director. “He connects well with students, understands the diversity of agriculture in Washington and has a passion for advancing FFA. He also understands the responsibilities that come with potentially becoming a national officer and is willing to give up a year of college in service to FFA if elected.”

National officer candidates go through a nearly yearlong selection process, Washington FFA advisor Rebecca Wallace said. It includes a knowledge test, a writing test, group and one-on-one interviews, workshop facilitation and duties at the state convention in May.

“It’s definitely on the proposed candidate’s side to be a self-starter,” she said. “Back at the national level, the process the candidates go through is intense.”

Blanco was the only applicant for Washington.

“We’re always proud of our candidates, regardless of if they’re elected or not,” she said.

Washington’s national candidate last year, Rebecca Foote, made it to the final round of the selection process, the farthest a candidate from Washington has progressed in several years, DeMeerleer said.

Most states usually select a candidate for national officer each year, Wallace said.

Oregon FFA Executive Secretary Lee Letsch said her state will make a decision in April.

Idaho FFA advisor Glenn Orthel said his state usually selects a candidate in May after state convention in April.

California FFA advisor Josiah Mayfield said his state usually selects a candidate in June.

Washington typically selects its candidate at the state convention in May, but Wallace said the FFA board decided to do it early this year.

Sandy FFA members tune up for state competition Thu, 10 Mar 2016 14:25:23 -0400 Carl Sampson SALEM — Seven students from Sandy High School in northwestern Oregon looked all the way across the state to Malheur County for the subject of the skit they will perform at the upcoming state FFA convention.

It is based on the issues surrounding a proposal to designate more than 2 million acres of Malheur County as wilderness. Calling their play the “Great Divide Hair Salon,” they developed seven characters representing the many different viewpoints on the issue.

Included were a moderator, a rancher, a Bureau of Land Management representative, a member of the Oregon Natural Desert Association and U.S. Rep. “Gracie” Walden, a character based on Rep. Greg Walden, whose congressional district includes Malheur County.

The characters laid out the issues, provided facts about past designations and the law, and discussed the proposal.

The students — Jennifer Kitchen, Beulah Russell, Fallon Marshall, Kadi Atiyeh, Kayley Anderson, Cailey Ellzey and Delanie Watkins — have presented their skit to representatives of the Multnomah County Farm Bureau, the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, the Oregon State University Extension and the state Grange. Their coach is Becky Sintek.

The students presented their production March 10 at the Capital Press office.

They also plan to present the skit to 4-H’ers and the Sandy Chamber of Commerce before heading to the state FFA convention, where they hope to advance to the national competition.

District VII ag teachers announce award winners Wed, 9 Mar 2016 14:59:32 -0400 District VII of the Washington Association of Agriculture Educators selected their district award winners at their March monthly meeting.

The award winners will now submit applications to the state WAAE executive committee for state and regional consideration. The winners selected were as follows:

District VII Agriscience Teacher, Beth Hammerberg of Wenatchee

District VII Outstanding Teacher, Rusty Finch of Cashmere

District VII Outstanding Program, Chelan High School

District VII Outstanding Young Member, (6 or less years of teaching) Matt Kline of Wenatchee

District VII Teacher Turn the Key (2-4 years of teaching) Bailey Dezellem of Eastmont

District VII Outstanding Mentor Teacher, Elaine Lewis of Omak

District VII Outstanding Service Award, Gale Wilson (retired) of Omak

District VII Outstanding Cooperation Award, NCW Les Schwab Stores

District VII Lifetime Achievement Award, Bob Brown (retired) Eastmont

District VII Outstanding Postsecondary Program, Wenatchee Valley College

Judges needed: Chelan FFA to host District VII CDEs Wed, 9 Mar 2016 14:28:32 -0400 The Chelan FFA will again host the District VII Leadership Career Development Event on Monday, March 21.

FFA members from all over north-central Washington will converge on Chelan to compete for the opportunity to represent District VII at the State Leadership CDEs held at the Washington State FFA Convention in May on campus of Washington State University.

Members from Leavenworth to Oroville will vie for the three spots that will qualify them for state competition.

The events include Prepared Public Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Creed, Parliamentary Procedure and Novice Parli Career Development Events.

Twenty-one volunteers are needed to judge all the events except Parliamentary Procedure and Novice Parli. No experience is necessary, only a willingness to help influence the lives of the next generation of leaders in the Agriculture Industry in NCW. The time commitment starts at 3:30 p.m. and, depending on which CDE you judge, will be done by 6:30 p.m.

The Prepared Public Speaking event involves participants preparing a six- to eight-minute speech on an agriculture related topic.

The Extemporaneous Public Speaking contest requires members to draw three topics from a hat and then choose one and prepare a four- to six-minute speech on that topic in a thirty-minute preparation period.

The Creed CDE requires first-year members to recite the five paragraphs of the FFA Creed and answer a series of three questions.

The Novice Parli CDE requires a team of first-year members perform the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of an FFA Meeting and complete a short Parliamentary Procedure Demonstration.

The Parliamentary Procedure CDE requires teams of six members to solve a problem using a specific set of parliamentary motions.

If you would like to help out as a judge, please contact Chelan FFA Adviser, Rod Cool or Student CDE Coordinator Amanda Reeves at Chelan High School, 509-682-4061 during school hours or via email at

Judges will be provided with a judging packet, dinner and the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of young people.

Genesee FFA teams win at district competition Wed, 9 Mar 2016 12:31:11 -0400 Brianna MurrayGenesee FFA Reporter On Friday, Feb. 26, the Genesee, Idaho, FFA parliamentary procedures team A received first place at districts and will represent the North Idaho District at the state leadership conference in Twin Falls this April.

The team consists of Brianna Murray, Tessa Renton, Virginia Monk, Kjersti Clawson, Alysha O’Connell and Ben Kopf, who won high chairman.

In third place was Genesee B team, including Jadon Mader, Daphne Buckland, Winston Durham, Cameron Barton, Kaylee Flodin and Marcus Johnson.

The agronomy team, Emily Trees, high individual, Sara Trees, second individual, Hayden Woods, third individual, Jaeli Peterson, Kjersti Clawson, Brandon Stout, Alysha O’Connell, Tessa Renton, Marcus Johnson and Jadon Mader, won the competition with almost 1,000 points separating first and second place.

Sara Trees received third place for prepared public speaking and is also the new sentinel in district office. Virginia Monk is the new treasurer for district office as well.

Farm Bureau hosts FFA at Oregon Legislature Thu, 3 Mar 2016 09:58:37 -0400 SALEM — To connect with and inspire the next generation of advocates for Oregon agriculture, the Oregon Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee organized an FFA Legislative Day for high school students at the Oregon State Capitol during the 2016 legislative session.

Introducing FFA members, educating them about public policy issues impacting farmers and ranchers and explaining the legislative process are all critical to the future of Oregon agriculture, said Kathy Hadley, past chair of the YF&R Committee.

“This group was comprised of top-notch FFA leaders — kids that will potentially have an office in this building someday,” said Hadley. “YF&R is glad to educate them about the agriculture issues we face every day as farmers and ranchers, and the dual role Farm Bureau members play in advocating for our industry at the Capitol.”

Bryson Price of the Sutherlin FFA Chapter attended “to gain experience in working other ag organizations, networking and learning how progress can be made when farmers of all ages work together.”

The event was attended by 17 FFA members from around the state, including the entire current state FFA officer team, two FFA advisers and state FFA staff.

The group learned about lobbying as a career and got issue updates from OFB Director of Public Policy Jenny Dresler and OFB Public Policy Counsel Mary Anne Nash.

Beth Reiley and Beth Patrino, legislative committee staff, gave the group tips on how to follow bills with the online Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) and how to testify before committees in person and in writing.

Oregon Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Lisa Hanson talked about various agriculture issues and fielded questions from the students.

The afternoon included visits from two legislators. A former FFA officer, Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, enjoyed the opportunity to share his experience and insight with students. Rep. Susan McLain, D-Hillsboro, emphasized the importance of bringing people together to talk through issues and find solutions. The workshop concluded with a tour of the Capitol.

North Clackamas FFA Adviser Kathy Mayfield took her entire chapter’s officer team to the Legislative Day.

“The students loved learning about agriculture’s hot topics and walked away feeling like their opinions mattered, even if they’re teenagers,” Mayfield said. “They really felt like they had a stake in what’s going on in our state. Our group valued the contacts made with Farm Bureau members and talked about it for several days afterward. In fact at the next meeting, North Clackamas FFA proposed that the chapter pay for all officers to attend this event every year.”

Mackay FFA hosts community breakfast Tue, 1 Mar 2016 16:43:08 -0400 Nathan HamptonMackay FFA On Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2015, the Mackay FFA chapter prepared and hosted a free breakfast for the community.

The Mackay FFA freshmen had the responsibility of preparing the breakfast for the community and fed over 275 people, including the elementary and high school students. The breakfast was held in the Agriculture shop at the high school to show appreciation and commemorate National FFA Week. The menu included eggs, sausage, pancakes and hash browns.

During the breakfast attendees watched a slideshow that contained pictures and videos from previous years.

The FFA also hosted a signing day for Hailey Hampton to commemorate her decision to attend the University of Idaho and study plant science.

Tia Carlson, a Mackay FFA freshmen says, “It was a great opportunity to give service to cook for the community members as well as the elementary and high school student. It’s great to see some of the things that our FFA chapter can do.”

This was just one of the many events that the Mackay FFA Chapter held during National FFA Week. The Chapter had set up a spirit week and invited students to dress up in FFA apparel to Ag Careers day.

The Mackay FFA chapter also held a mock class election to choose an African farmer to receive a $100 loan through the Kiva program, which allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 82 countries. Through this activity the entire student body was educated on the need of fertilizer for African farmers to lift themselves and their families out of extreme poverty.

Grange Co-op donates $10,000 to Oregon FFA Foundation Thu, 18 Feb 2016 10:28:50 -0400 CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Grange Co-op has donated $10,000 to the Oregon FFA Foundation, continuing their strong support of youth and agriculture.

The donation is part of a multi-year support partnership with the Oregon FFA Foundation. The check was presented to the State FFA Officers on Feb. 11 at the Grange Co-op corporate office.

“Grange Co-op is proud to support FFA students and have a part in their development and education,” stated Norm Rush, donation committee chairman. “FFA students are the future leaders and members of our communities. Grange Co-op is also proud to support FFA by sponsoring the Co-op Quiz at the Oregon FFA State Convention each year, working with our local FFA chapters in Southern Oregon, and attending and purchasing livestock projects at over 6 county fairs in the summer.”

“The FFA is very appreciative of support from partners like Grange Co-op. With their support the Oregon FFA has been able to grow our membership to nearly 6,000 members, expand leadership and career opportunities for students and help promote Ag education throughout Oregon. None of this would be possible without supporters like Grange Co-op.” said Kevin White, executive director, Oregon FFA Foundation.

Grange Co-op supports FFA through its sales of Rogue Feed and the Dividend Patronage program. For each bag of Rogue Quality Feed sold at Grange Co-op retail stores, 10 cents is donated to FFA. In addition, for every Dividend Patronage program sold, Grange Co-op matches the sign-up fee and donates 100 percent of the proceeds to FFA, 4H and other youth agricultural programs.

Everyone can apply to be a dividend patron. Signing up is easy at any of Grange Co-op’s eight retail stores. The one-time fee is $20, or $15 if the customer belongs to another co-op or credit union.

Patrons then enjoy many programs such as the Wild Bird frequent buyer program, and patrons purchasing $500 or more in a calendar year may qualify for a dividend. Additional information is available at

Grange Co-op was founded in 1934 when 99 farmers contributed $10 each to buy property, a truck and gasoline. The Co-op offers high-quality agricultural supplies, farm products, pet supplies, lawn and garden supplies, apparel and footwear and petroleum products.

Grange Co-op works hard to consistently provide exceptional customer service that is both knowledgeable and friendly, while offering competitive pricing and quality products and services.

Grange Co-op has grown since 1934 to include eight retail stores, a grain elevator, an agronomy center, a cardlock fueling station, as well as eCommerce.

For more information about Grange Co-op and to shop online, please visit

Genessee FFA team takes first in Meats CDE Thu, 18 Feb 2016 09:58:51 -0400 Brianna MurrayGenesee FFA Reporter On Friday, Jan. 29, Genesee, Idaho, FFA members Marcus Johnson, Hayden Woods, Brianna Murray, Dillon West, Lane Riebold, Jadon Mader, Winston Durham, Cameron Barton and Kade Best competed in the meats career development event and took first place as a team.

Barton took high individual; Woods, second place; Best, fifth place; Johnson, seventh place; and Murray took ninth place.

Deary FFA took second place, and Highland-Craigmont took third place.

Emily and Sara Trees and Kjersti Clawson all competed in job interview. First place high individual was Sara Trees, and Emily Trees took third. Clawson took first place in job interview. B. Alysha O’Connell, Kjersti Clawson, Emily Trees, Kade Best and Tessa Renton all ran for state degree. Each member that applied got their state degree.

Chelan FFA Alumni Benefit Auction set for Feb. 26 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:13:11 -0400 Mark your calendars for the 5th Annual Chelan FFA Alumni Benefit Auction on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Chelan High School Commons.

This event will be held along with other National FFA Week activities of the Chelan FFA. If FFA is something that you want to see continue to grow and prosper at Chelan High School, please consider attending the auction and supporting the FFA Alumni.

The auction with feature many quality items in both a live and silent auction, raffle ticket items, FFA members and a good time. You don’t have buy anything to attend but do ask that you promise be the second place bidder at least one time.

Preceding the auction at 5:30 p.m. we will be hosting a Community Appreciation Dinner to say thank you from the Chelan FFA members and Alumni members for the years of support from the Chelan Valley that has allowed the Chelan Chapter to be successful for the past 86 years.

There is no charge for either of these National FFA Weeks events.

The Chelan FFA Alumni Affiliate was founded in 1981 by a group of parents and then Chelan FFA adviser, Walt Pierson.

The strong tradition of support has been kept alive by 1981-82 Chelan FFA president and now Chelan FFA Adviser, Rod Cool.

The Chelan FFA Alumni awards a $500 scholarship to the individual winner of the District VII Apple Judging Career Development Event, a $500 academic scholarship to a graduating member of the Chelan FFA for post-secondary education in an agricultural major, and last year awarded over $17,000 in grants to Chelan FFA members to attend state and national leadership training, conventions, and agricultural education opportunities.

The alumni raise money through the sale of apple gift boxes through their Novelty Apple Co., sponsoring the Lake Chelan Horticulture Day Trade Show, producing the Lake Chelan PWRA Rodeo, concessions at the Chelan Jr. Rodeo, and catering various private events throughout the year.

This year Chelan FFA membership has grown to 174 members and to maintain the current level of support to the kids, we need to expand our fundraising efforts.

The Chelan FFA Alumni is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation and a member of the National FFA Alumni Association.

The auction will be called by Best Bid Auctions. The terms will be pay on site by cash, check, or credit card.

For more information about the auction contact Rod Cool, Chelan FFA Adviser at (509) 682-4061 ext 129, to get your questions answered. We look forward to seeing you during this special evening with Chelan FFA and Chelan FFA Alumni.

Washington FFA District VII winners announced Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:19:18 -0400 District VII of the Washington FFA Association stretches from the Cascade chapter in Leavenworth to the banks of Columbia River and north to Canadian border and encompasses 16 FFA chapters from this diverse region.

The advisers from those FFA chapters met on Tuesday, Feb. 9, to grade applications and select District winners to advance to the State level for consideration.

Proficiency Awards winners applications are based on their Supervised Agriculture Education projects. SAE projects are the extended learning opportunities for members outside the regular school day.

Placement proficiency awards are based on student hours either paid or unpaid in one of 49 award categories as determined by the National FFA Association.

District VII is proud to announce the following winners.

In the area of Placement in Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication the winner is Michael Tutino from the Chelan FFA.

Rachel Silverthorn of Tonasket FFA is the award winner for Placement in Agricultural Processing.

Janelle Catone is the award winner for Placement in Agricultural Services and she is from the Tonasket FFA.

In the area of Placement in Agricultural Sales the winner is Dane Schwartz from the Chelan FFA.

Kelsey Vejraska of the Omak FFA is the winner in Placement in Diversified Agricultural Production.

Dane Schwartz of the Chelan FFA is the winner in the area of Placement in Fruit Production.

Alexee Howell from the Tonasket FFA is the winner in the area of Equine Science-Entrepreneurship.

In the area of Placement in Landscape Management, Rade Pilkinton of the Tonasket FFA is the winner.

Cassidy Gates of the Omak FFA is the winner in Placement in Nursery Operations.

In the area of Poultry Production-Entrepreneurship, Chandra Shibley of the Omak FFA is the winner.

Josie Gallup from the Chelan FFA is the winner in Sheep Production-Entrepreneurship. In the area of Placement in Small Animal Care the winner is Sydnee Gueller of the Chelan FFA. Dane Schwartz of the Chelan FFA is the winner of the Swine Production-Entrepreneurship. In the area of Placement in Veterinary Science Jenna Valentine of the Tonasket FFA is the winner.

To achieve the State FFA Degree members of the Washington FFA Association a member must meet the following minimum criteria:

• Productively invest a minimum of $1,000 in their SAE project.

• Earn a minimum of $1,000 from their SAE Project.

• Have been a member in good standing for the past 24 months.

• Completed a minimum of 360 hours of systematic Agricultural Education instruction.

• Completed a minimum of 25 hours of community service in at least 3 different events.

• Participated in at least 5 activities above the Chapter level.

District VII recognized three members to be the District VII Star in their respective project areas. Rade Pilkinton of the Tonasket FFA is the District VII Star in Agribusiness. Dane Schwartz of the Chelan FFA is the District VII Star in Placement, and Jake Horlebein of the Chelan FFA is the District VII Star Farmer.

Dane Schwartz of Chelan was also selected as the District VII Outstanding Senior Member and will receive an academic scholarship of $500. These members will be recognized in the Stars Over Washington program at Saturday night at the 86th Washington State FFA Convention in May.

The chapters with members receiving the State FFA Degree are:

• Bridgeport: Jordi Hernandez.

• Cashmere: Olivia Abbott, Cassidy Boyd, Kandace Brunner, Hannah Lynch and Ellie York.

• Chelan: Thomas Armstrong, Jose Cabrales, Neil Carleton, Jose Luis Echeverria, Josie Gallup, Sarah Goyne. Jake Horlebein, Ty Miller, Amanda Reeves, Dane Schwartz, Ty Schwartz, Erick Straub, Henry Suarez and Michael Tutino.

Omak: Matthan Hale, Linda Harper,Cassandra Lange, Delaney Lester, James Newman, Cooper Routien and Dawson Sachse.

Tonasket: Leigh Anne Barnes, Janelle Catone, Nichol Fletcher, Shelbianne Gilreath, Alexee Howell, Corrina Karrer, Rade Pilkinton, Seth Smith, Rachel Silverthorn and Jenna Valentine.

Wenatchee: Eric Briley, Erica Erb, Jerissa Fisch and Alura Hottinger

Spokane chamber honors Shepherd’s Grain, LaCrosse FFA Tue, 9 Feb 2016 13:58:31 -0400 Matw Weaver SPOKANE — Greater Spokane Incorporated gave its annual Excellence in Agriculture award to the Shepherd’s Grain company and LaCrosse High School’s FFA marketing team during the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The award recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations that have had a significant, positive influence on agriculture in the Inland Northwest.

Jay Allert, chairman of the chamber’s AgriBusiness Council, said Shepherd’s Grain dared to do things differently.

“Probably the biggest vulnerability in agriculture is we’ve always been price-takers,” Allert said. “They wanted to be a price-setter.”

Shepherd’s Grain founders Fred Fleming and Karl Kupers changed their farming practices to no-till and started raising hard white and hard red wheat in addition to soft white wheat.

Fleming said he and Kupers relied on Washington State University and industry representatives to find the quality of wheat the company needed, develop a business plan and determine milling and baking qualities.

“It was sort of like two kids going after a treasure hunt,” Fleming said. “Different people out in the industry gave us clues.”

The LaCrosse team — students Jason Wigen, Britte Harder, Abigail McGregor and advisor Lisa Baser — developed a marketing plan for Dixon Land and Livestock in Pomeroy, Wash., creating a 15-minute presentation. They won in their district competition in January 2015, state competition in May and placed first in nationals in Louisville, Ky., in October.

Allert said the chamber recognized the significance of the award and the amount of work the students put into developing the plan.

“In the semi-final round, they were up against a school from Texas of 3,500 kids,” Allert said. “(LaCrosse High School) has 25.”

“It definitely took a lot of work, but it was worth it in the end, for sure,” Wigen said, speaking for the group when accepting the award. Wigen is state reporter for the Washington FFA.