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The Best Custard
Apr. 24, 2019

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter

What’s your favorite flavor of Culver’s frozen custard?

This past week, I worked with Culver’s on some media promotion of their Scoops of Thanks Day. Scoops of Thanks Day is a day when you can go into your local Culver’s restaurant, donate $1 that goes straight to the local FFA chapter, and receive a scoop of frozen custard. We were doing TV and radio interviews to promote people supporting Culver’s and FFA. Technically, we answered the same four questions on each interview. But during one interview, we got asked a question we didn’t expect: What’s your favorite flavor of custard?

Now, yes, I was doing a Culver’s interview. And, yes, everybody knows that frozen custard is a must when you go to Culver’s. But I hadn’t pre-planned out my answer for it. I hadn’t thought about the best flavor and weighed the pros and cons of each. Despite this change in plans, I still knew my favorite flavor of frozen custard and could answer it (Cappuccino Cookie Crumble).

Whether it’s interview questions changing on you, your schedule at work being switched, your FFA competition not going the way you expected, or something else that changed at the last minute on you, there are a lot of things that pop up and are certainly “not what you expected.” No matter how big or small that change is, it can be frustrating. But that one additional question didn’t mess up our entire interview. In fact, it might have improved it!

“Not what you expected” does not equal bad. “Not what you expected” does not equal failure. It’s different, it may be new, and it may throw you off. But it is not bad.

As we near the end of the school year, begin to get FFA competition results, find out about chapter office, school grades, and more, remember that “not what you expected” does not equal bad. Utilize what happens to grow yourself and keep improving. Get frustrated with the change (go buy yourself some frozen custard as a remedy) and then move on. Enjoy the last few months before our FFA year wraps up. How will you grow from the unexpected?

You can support FFA at your local Culver’s on Scoops of Thanks Day, Thursday, May 2nd.

Not a Fan!
Apr. 21, 2019

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

Happy Easter to all! I hope each and every one you had a great weekend celebrating however you do!

This past weekend I had the privilege to attend a Brewer’s game with some of my teammates. It was a wonderful time and also reminded me how long baseball games actually last. As we all got to talking we came to find out that approximately half of us who went would not consider ourselves baseball fans, yet ironically, we all wanted to go. Maybe it wasn’t the ideal sport to be watching for some of us, but we all agreed that being with our friends was far worth the money and time invested into a trip to a Brewer’s game.

Same goes for some of our Easter celebrations: maybe we do not enjoy all of our cousins equally the same or we spend hours in a car with a crabby family, but in the end, being surrounded by the people we care about is worth those minuscule sacrifices.

Maybe we do not get along as well if every on our chapter officer team as we do others or maybe we get a little burnt out after studying for state CDEs each day before school. Our organization, the FFA, is far worth these commitments. Despite how well we all get along, we all have intentions to better the FFA and despite how unpleasant early mornings seem now, we know the impact and contributions we are making to our teams are worth the time.

We all have times, people, and situations we are less fond of then others but we must continue to strive in those areas as well in order to reach what is truly important to us.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!


Future Generations
Apr. 17, 2019

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

This past Saturday I had the chance to travel to Brillion for their Ag for a Day Camp. During this day they showcased different facets of agriculture to 3rd through 6th grade students. They invited me to be one of their rotation stations and I was able to bring my beef steers with me to allow the students some hands-on experience with the large animals.

This was an outstanding opportunity to help educate the next generation. From giving them hands on experience to giving the students an understanding of the daily care that goes into farm animals is very important. With many individuals being 2-3 generations removed from the farm events like this are one of the ways FFA chapters can connect with students and show them the importance of agriculture and how it impacts their everyday life. During this particular event I met with three groups of students and got to answer questions and give them a glimpse into the work I do with my beef cattle starting with the care that goes into prepping them for shows. This was a rewarding experience as some of these students will never have the opportunity to be near a beef animal again in their lifetime but in this moment, they were able to get a feel for what agriculture is truly about!

Until Next Time,
Sarah Calaway

Let's Welcome Our Next Speaker
Apr. 14, 2019

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

One of the best parts of being a state officer is visiting with members like you. As many of my counterparts have shared, this happens at chapter banquets all around the state. Banquet season is amazing for several reasons: it ushers in springtime, it means you can eat lots of mashed potatoes, and it offers members the chance to stand up and speak in front of their friends and family. It is this last reason that is my favorite.

Traditionally, presidents deliver their retiring addresses with eloquence. We hear the confidence in their voices, the product of weeks of preparation and worry. They do a great job, setting a great example for our members. And then there are the other speakers, the ones who haven’t spent weeks worrying about their speeches. A stumble here, or a missed word there, and always a laugh at the realization of their mistakes. These are my favorite speeches.

Don’t get me wrong, presidents and members who so amazingly speak with courage and pride are the gold standard that all students should strive for. And this is why I love the not-so-polished speaker; because they are striving. Every speaker, every member, must start somewhere. No president takes the podium without experience in public speaking. Watching those first words uttered into a microphone is a special feeling. The audience and I have only a guess as to how far these members will go, but we do have the privilege of seeing where they started.

As you attend your own banquet or other events, enjoy the speakers who grab the microphone without hesitation, and don’t forget to appreciate the ones who aren’t the most confidence, because you are witnessing the first steps of a limitless journey.

Thanks for reading. Keep working on your own journey and don’t forget to say thanks to those in your life.

I’ll be seeing you soon,

Live in the Moment
Apr. 11, 2019

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Well it seems that we can’t seem to catch a break from mother nature this year, but never the less FFA must go on! This past week I had the opportunity to attend two chapter banquets, Abbotsford on Sunday and Wausau on Wednesday. At both banquets I was privileged to deliver the keynote address and it wasn’t until during one of those banquets that I realized how important the message of my speech is. Looking back just one year to when I was a senior in high school I remember thinking the exact same things that a few senior FFA members said to me in conversation. They spoke about their upcoming graduations, how they were so excited to finally graduate high school and go to college next year. That is when I realized what everyone from FFA members to parents, to alumni, ag teachers and sponsors really needed to hear from me.

Selecting a topic for banquet speeches is not as easy as it seems. There are so many things that I could say and do as a state officer, but how will I know I am saying and doing the right thing? We’ve all been there, when a guest comes to speak at our school or work we feel obligated to listen. Going into banquet season I knew that obligation was exactly the last reason why I wanted banquet attendees to listen to my keynote speech. After mulling around a few different ideas of what I believed you all needed to hear from me as a state officer, I chose to focus on living in the moment.

Living in the moment is something that is not easily done but is something that we must all try to do. We get caught up in everyday life and forget about the big picture, the moments that really matter. Slowing down and having those simple conversations with FFA members while at their banquets is when I realized that we are all guilty of racing through life.

Slow down and enjoy the time we are given doing the things we love, whether that is time spent competing in FFA events, talking with friends and family or even just taking a nap. By slowing down to enjoy the “little things” we are able to capture the memories. Memories we will be able to look back on one day and smile at. “This is something that you don’t fully understand when you are young, and I’m glad you shared the message you did tonight. I believe that young adults like yourself, listen to each other and not us older folks,” an older gentleman shared with me after one of the banquets. From this day forward start living in the moment and share this message with others, that way we can continue making Wisconsin FFA proud.

If you need any help throughout the rest of the year, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Living in the moment,
Jillian Tyler

Preparing for the Next Step
Apr. 08, 2019

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

This past Saturday, the State Officer Candidate Kickoff took place in Madison. This event and one other in Amery take place in the spring to prepare students who are considering running for state FFA office in Wisconsin. The day includes question and answers from current state officers, practicing interviews, workshops, and resume review, to name a few.

As we were working with outstanding students who will potentially represent Wisconsin FFA as the state officer team, I got to thinking just how important preparation and preparedness is for any step in your life, big or small. The students who attended SOCK are preparing for a next big step in their lives, just like we are all preparing ourselves for big steps in the course of our lives. We work each day to build up to important chapters in our lives, whether that be working to earn good grades for a high GPA upon high school graduation or organizing all the details for a successful chapter banquet. Think of each day as a building block to constructing a set of stairs to take that next step in your life.

Whether you may be preparing in the next few months for a competition or opportunity at State FFA Convention (be sure to check out Wisconsin FFA social media for all the latest state convention updates!), or you are working towards developing your plans after high school, taking the time to prepare for that next step is crucial to setting you up your success. Starting small today and working consistently is a great way to prepare your mind for whatever comes along in your next step. With the right mindset and attitude towards preparing ourselves for what our futures hold, we will be content with any outcome.

I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming chapter banquets, state CDEs, other spring events, and finally State FFA Convention. As always, please reach out with any questions or if you just want to chat!

Preparing for a positive outcome,

Barrows and Bidding Numbers
Apr. 03, 2019

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Happy spring everyone,

With the weather heating up, and fair season around the corner, it is almost time again to start finding animals for show. For someone like me, who doesn’t breed his own animals, that means spending weekends hunting for the perfect show animal at auctions and sales across the state to continue my S.A.E.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to grow my own show stock when I went down to a show pig auction at the Rock County Fairgrounds. As I milled through the barn, I made notes on which pigs would fit for my shows, which ones I liked, and my top dollar for those animals come auction time. I made a plan for when to bid and thought I was ready to jump right in. After a bit of waiting, a pulled pork sandwich, and some chit-chat with the breeders, I picked up my bidding number and took a seat waiting for the sale to begin.

As lots rolled in and out of the sale ring, the auctioneer perched himself above the show ring, scanning his eyes back and forth looking for the next bid. His callers were hollering for numbers they saw fly in the air, and pigs would be higher, higher, higher, until the auctioneer yelled “sold!”, and someone walked home with their newest addition to their stock. Now, this auctioneer was going fast. At the start, bids were flying in from all over, until eventually two or three may compete for the best deal on the pig in the ring.

Eventually, the first pig on my list walks into the ring. As the auctioneer sweet talks the pair of barrows in the ring, I get my hand ready to shoot up and bid for this pig. As soon as it starts, the bidding explodes. All of these bids flying in, all of these numbers swirling around, left me in the dust as I got caught up and never raised my hand to bid on that animal. After the bidding quieted down and the auctioneer calls sold, I realize that I was so stuck in everything around me and got so lost that I never even put my name in the running to have the chance to walk away with that barrow.

During this time of the year, with finals, C.D.E. contests, and banquet prep all swirling around us, it is easy to become distracted in everything around us and forget to push ourselves to continue to finish the year strong. Just like in an auction, life can sometimes come at us all at once; however, the only way to have a chance to be involved is to put ourselves out there to be a part of the action. We can push through the craziness that springtime brings us and find the opportunities still out there for us to walk away with. Time is limited. How will you make the most of what’s left?

Bid high,


Today is the Day!
Mar. 28, 2019

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Today is the day! You have worked hard learning and practicing for this day. You get to go and test the knowledge you learned in class or from practicing. Remember that you are representing not only yourself, but your chapter and the FFA organization so do your best. Whether this be your first or last regional contest try your hardest. As you leave the contest know you tried your best. As I was always told by my father it’s not how much you got incorrect but how much you got incorrect compared to everyone else. Today is the day you test your skills as well as make friends. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone new and enjoy your day. You have a lot of common interest with the members with you today, so meet at least one new person because I know this is where I met some lifelong friends.


ButterBurgers & Floats
Mar. 27, 2019

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hello Again,

Well my friends, spring is here! It seemed like Mother Nature took her best shot at knocking us out this winter, but we survived the fight, and the tide seems to be turning in our favor. Aside from watching the mountains of snow rapidly diminish by the day, the onset of FFA banquets and other spring chapter events has made this start to spring and exciting one for me!

The past week was nothing short of busy for me as I managed to squeak in a couple days of school while attending excellent banquets in De Soto and La Farge as well as swinging through Kickapoo for their annual Ag Olympics. I also made a stop at the Black River Falls FFA Culver’s Share Night where I had a particularly special encounter.

Shortly after the start of the event, I found myself at a table with an elderly man named Bruce Odeen who was enjoying his butter burger and root beer float. And incredibly enough, Bruce happened to serve as the 1954 -1955 Wisconsin FFA State Treasurer. I proceeded to converse with Bruce for the next hour about his experience as a state officer and the life he’s lived since then. After graduating from UW-Madison, Bruce operated his family dairy farm in Black River Falls for over 20 years before taking on a new career opportunity to work as the Vice President of Advertising for Accelerated Genetics (formerly Tri-State Breeders) where he stayed for the remainder of his career. He also served on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board, the 4-H Foundation Board, and in several other leadership positions throughout his tenure. He even continues to volunteer in the community to this day! Listening to Bruce tell his life story and humbly recall the countless blessings he’s thankful for was enough to send goosebumps down my neck. Perhaps, one could say Bruce has left a legacy.

Bruce’s pride for FFA and agriculture was vivid and inspiring. There’s nothing I find more motivating than stories like Bruce’s. The stories of FFA’s past are heart-warming and define why we do what we do. We strive for excellence because we aim to keep the stories and traditions of our past living for generations to come. I challenge you to think about the kind of FFA story you’re living out. What stories do you want to share when you walk into Culver’s at 85 years old, sit down, and visit with an FFA member over a butter burger and root beer float? Luckily for us, our stories are still in the making!

Take Care,

Stuck in the Mud
Mar. 25, 2019

Paige Nelson - Secretary
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

Spring is here!

While I am happy to see that spring is here because it means we are getting closer to warmer weather, one of my not so favorite things comes along with it...mud. Lately, it seems like mud always ends up where it isn't supposed to be. It is being drug through the house by the bottoms of people's pants and the dogs. Parts of our pasture can't be used because they need to dry out so the cattle don't make it even worse. Don't even get me started on chasing cattle through the deep mud in the fields by our house when they get out! The greenhouse where I work has so much frost coming out of the ground that is is mushy, making it difficult to move carts of plants to other greenhouses. I have quite literally gotten stuck in the mud. My sister got her car stuck the other day, and a few years ago when my youngest brother got stuck he just left his boots in the mud hole to come find help with wet, dark brown socks (they were white to begin with).

Mud can cause challenges and sometimes we feel stuck. The same thing happens in life, we all go through times when we face challenges or feel stuck. When I got a cart full of plants stuck in the mud at work the other day, I knew I needed to be careful because if the cart tipped and the plants when crashing to the ground they could be damaged and cost the business a lot of potential income. In that situation I tried to keep pushing forward, I made some progress and eventually made my way out of the mud after staying calm and taking my time. In life we need to keep pushing forward when we face challenges or feel stuck. Sometimes it takes a little more though. I mentioned my brother abandoning his boots earlier, when he left his boots behind, he knew that he wouldn't be able to free himself and his boots on his own. He came looking for help and tools. We found a shovel and worked together to free his boots. Sometimes in life when we are faced with challenges we need to find help from others or use other tools to help us.

Think about a time when you felt like you were stuck in the mud because of a challenge? What things helped you pull through? Did you have to use some time and patience? Was it the help of a friend or adult? Were tools needed like music to calm you down, a shovel to dig your boots up, or something else? Once we get unstuck we can keep moving forward to the things that make us happy and that we look forward to like the pretty flowers that come as a perk of spring versus the mud we try to avoid getting stuck in.

Think Spring!


Mar. 20, 2019

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey there everyone! The snow is finally melting, the roads flooding, and speaking contests FINALLY are coming to an end. I hope you all did well in your contests! A different contest that happens around this time of year is the proficiency judging.

At the beginning of the month the state officer team attended the proficiency judging meeting. I was super hype because this meant I got to input data into the computer, which I enjoy doing quite a lot. All of this data had to be entered into 2000 Access on Windows XP. Windows XP is a program that existed the year I was born. No big deal, continue on the journey. We were doing great when a wrench got thrown in our system. I can dodge a ball, but I couldn’t dodge this wrench.

We had to print our information as it was completed. The printer was much newer than the program and didn’t want to connect. You see the issue here. We putzed with it, called the IT guy, and waited. The printer would not connect no matter what we did. All hope seemed lost.

The computer was a Mac, we were running XP on a fusion software. Wild I know. With that in mind, a solution was found. We exported the Access file to an Excel file and used a flashdrive to transfer the file from the XP software to the Mac. The Mac allowed us to print our information. It took a bit of finagling, but we finally had our solution.

When you get a wrench thrown at you that you can’t dodge, take a step back and look for your solution. Some problems are more difficult than others, some will take lots of thinking, some will take lots of people. All solutions can be found somehow. My challenge to you is to find a problem you are facing right now and step back to find your solution. When you find it, do great things.

Catch ya later,

The Luck of the Irish
Mar. 17, 2019

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Growing up with my grandma being 100% Irish, St. Patrick’s Day has always been a big deal. My extended family gets together, wears a lot of green, and enjoys a traditional Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day. Aside from massive meals of corned beef and cabbage, the Irish are also known for green, shamrocks, and luck. That “luck of the Irish” reminds me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

The more work you’re putting in, the “luckier” you’ll seem. Whether your luck comes in the form of winning speaking competitions, having great show animals, being way funnier than the rest of your friends, or being the person who knows just about everyone and their brother, I’m sure that you’ve put in a lot of work towards that skill. It’s not necessarily always true, but I believe the harder you work at something, the better you’ll be, and the more luck you’ll have. What’s something that you want to be better at? Take whatever that thing is and set aside a certain number of minutes each week to work on that. The harder you work, the more luck you’ll seem to have. So on this St. Patrick’s Day, may you have “the luck of the Irish,” work hard to accomplish your goals, and find yourself a little better than you were yesterday.

Until next time,

The Waiting Game
Mar. 12, 2019

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

The fact that it is March, seems incredibly unbelievable. I feel like it was not too long ago that I was waiting for the summer to fly by so that my team and I could travel to Washington D.C. or waiting for a long, relaxing nap after finishing up week three of sectional leadership workshops. Now that it is March and I see my teammates less and do not get to be in contact with as many members, I wish I had not spent my time waiting.

For most of us, this waiting time happens often: waiting for the end of the school day, waiting for the weekend, waiting for graduation. It is wonderful to get excited about the future, but when we wait for the future, we are losing out on the opportunities in the moment.

We have officially begun banquet season here in the FFA. These can be the best time to find motivation. We see the different opportunities our fellow members took throughout the year, hear of awards we can achieve, and set new goals for the upcoming year. Take a moment, after your banquet to jot down the ideas and activities that interested you, write your own personal goals. Doing this will serve as a reminder throughout the year of why we need to be committed in the moment. Be proactive in the moment.

Always grab onto opportunities and the small moments, appreciate those who surround us, and take every chance to strike up a conversation with someone new; Do not regret spending time waiting!

See you around,


Living to Serve
Mar. 10, 2019

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

As we come into the spring months with many contests presenting themselves let’s not forget the service projects that are there to help our communities. Many times, we commit ourselves to the contests we are in and forget to help those who are helping us get to the contests. Whether it is shoveling a driveway or packaging meals for those in need everything that our chapter can do will make a difference. One of my favorite things was being able to help out our community as without them I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I did throughout my time in the blue jacket. The most memorable event was being able to package meals that were sent to third world countries as that brought not only FFA members together but everyone in our school to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than us.

Every year chapters around the state come together to make a difference not only in their communities but also at the Day of Service at state convention. Many of our chapters are getting involved in their chapters and making an impact on those around us. Chapters around the state are gearing up to package meals for the less fortunate. The meals packaged will either be shipped to countries more in need than America or used in their own communities to help those that need extra assistance. We are an association that truly lives for service and we are always looking for new ways to help out our communities. How is your chapter Living to Serve?

Until next time,
Sarah Calaway

Strength Through Cooperation
Mar. 06, 2019

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Paige, Amber, Emily, Gaelan, and I attended the Co-ops Yes! Conference on Monday and Tuesday. We had a chance to listen to Craig Hillier, a motivational and leadership speaker.

Since we were participants, I had the chance to work with a group of students for one of the activities. Craig asked us to share one of our strengths. The girl to my right spoke first and shared how she does well including others. Their eyes shifted to me and I shared my strength of working through awkward situations. And then we looked to the three boys to my left. They all turned amongst themselves as if politely waiting for someone else to share. Thirty seconds passed before it was officially awkward enough for me to step in. We started by talking about what they did at home, and one student was reminded of his strength as a hard worker. Then we talked about what they do in their free time, and another was reminded of his strength of being curious. And finally, we talked about their families, and the last student shared that his strength was caring for his siblings. It took some time and more encouragement than the other groups, but we got an answer from everyone. With everyone content with their answers, we moved on in the activity.

Maybe it takes you a while to name your strength, but I guarantee you’ll find one. Even if you think it’s natural, someone will find it valuable. Be proud of what makes you, you. And for this coming spring, I challenge you to add another strength to your typical list.

Good luck and I’ll be seeing you soon.
Thanks Again,

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