By Ethan Giebel
Six college students from around the nation are selected each year to represent over half a million FFA members nationwide as National FFA Officers. They travel over 100,000 miles attending state conventions, leadership workshops and partnership visits to meet with students, educators, politicians and industry leaders. The Wisconsin Association of FFA has selected Aaron Zimmerman as the state's candidate to seek a national FFA officer position.
All in the family
Zimmerman is the son of Mark and Cheryl Zimmerman of Spencer. Blue and gold runs in the family. His father is his agriculture instructor and FFA advisor. Cheryl is the executive director of Wisconsin FFA. Zimmerman graduated from Spencer High School in 2012 and served as a State FFA vice president during 2012-2013. This fall, Zimmerman will be a freshman at University of Wisconsin-River Falls where he is majoring in animal science and minoring in agricultural communications.
One of Zimmerman's greatest passions in life is his small herd of Simmental cattle. He has shown his cattle along with his younger sisters at a number of shows around the state of Wisconsin and across the Midwest. Zimmerman is a member of the Wisconsin Junior Simmental Association and has served on the board of directors as reporter and secretary. In 2011, he was selected as a Wisconsin State Fair Beef Youth Premier Exhibitor. Expanding his herd and adding a cropping aspect to his operation are future goals for his blossoming project.
With a strong passion for animal agriculture, Zimmerman plans to work in beef reproduction and genetics, becoming a certified embryologist and AI technician are part of his goals. Zimmerman's interest in marketing has led him to seek out a future in operating a livestock marketing business as well. Some aspects of the business would include videography, photography, graphic design and sales management.
During high school, Zimmerman's supervised agricultural experience projects earned him high praise at the 2012 state FFA convention. He took home the Star Farmer, Star in Agribusiness and Star in Agriscience awards, an accomplishment acheived for the first time by any Wisconsin FFA member. Owning and operating a beef herd, raising market hogs, coordinating agricultural literacy events and developing effective marketing tools for agricultural organizations led him to these accomplishments.
"Since I joined FFA in seventh grade, I took advantage of nearly everything FFA had to offer," said Zimmerman. Other accomplishments include winning the state and national agriscience fairs, winning the state FFA job interview contest in 2012 and creed speaking competition in 2009.
"Running for a national FFA officer position has been a goal of mine for a long time," said Zimmerman. "As a state officer this past year, I was able to interact with many young people engaged in the FFA. Connecting with members and showing them what FFA has to offer is very enjoyable for me. If given the chance to serve as a national officer, I would encourage and be a resource for students around the nation. My advice to students is to work hard, not be afraid of failure and never give up on their goals. FFA has truly made a difference in my life and can do the same for so many others as well."
Zimmerman will go through an intense interview and selection process at the National FFA Convention beginning Oct. 30 in Louisville, Ky.
"There will be a lot of preparation before the process begins at convention," said Zimmerman. "I am most excited to meet candidates from around the nation, members of the nominating committee and other FFA members during the process. It is always a great opportunity to meet others and find out more about them." The results of the national FFA officer selection process will be announced at the closing session of the 86th National FFA Convention on Nov. 2.
Giebel is a student at UW-Platteville.