By Ethan Giebel
Several Wisconsin FFA members brought home top honors after attending the 86th National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ky., held from Oct. 30-Nov. 2. The convention drew over 56,000 FFA members from all 50 states.Total FFA membership has risen to 579,628 members from 7,570 FFA chapters across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
American Star in Ag Placement
Trenton Bemis of the Lincoln-ACHM FFA Chapter was recognized as the American Star in Agricultural Placement. Four American Stars are recognized each year for having the most outstanding supervised agricultural experience programs, each receives a $4,000 prize for their achievement. The honor was bestowed upon Bemis who developed his supervised agricultural experience program by working at Edlen Cranberry Co. in Humbird. Today, he is 22 years old and is a co-manager at the bog and works with irrigation and frost protection procedures as well as operating the on-site sorting and packaging facility. Bemis was recognized for his SAE program in 2011 when he took home first in the National FFA Fruit Production Proficiency area.
Two Wisconsin FFA members placed first in their proficiency award areas. Aaron Zimmerman of the Spencer FFA Chapter won the area of agricultural communications. His project was developed through his work with website design, graphic design, video production and event coordination. Zimmerman has created a variety of products including apparel, banners, logos, sale catalogues and advertisements. In the area of equine science-entrepreneurship, Camber Sannes of the Amherst FFA Chapter took first. Sannes took an interest in horses at a young age and hasn’t looked back since. She received her first pony at the age of four. Sannes developed her supervised agricultural experience program because she has a passion for training horses.
Riley Hanson, a senior from the Melrose-Mindoro FFA Chapter won grand champion of the Chevron Delo Tractor Restoration contest with his 1953 Farmall Super H.
Also on the national level, Sam Tauchen of Bonduel, will be serving as a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador. Twenty individuals were selected this year to become ambassadors for the agriculture industry in order to increase knowledge and understanding of food, fiber and the natural resources. Tauchen was selected in June and underwent training in the summer. He will present on agricultural topics for over 30 hours total to students and community organizations.
Not only were Wisconsin FFA members well represented at the convention, members of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni were proud to be in attendance at the 42nd National FFA Alumni Convention. The convention is held in conjunction with the annual FFA convention. James Check of Milton, was elected to a term on the National FFA Alumni Council to represent region three. The National FFA Alumni Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award was given to three people that have dedicated many years to supporting agricultural education. James Grasee of Denmark, was one of those elite individuals and has served the Denmark FFA Chapter through his efforts to build a greenhouse and participate in the activities that help gain awareness for FFA in the community.
Giebel is a student at UW-Platteville.