The Honorary Wisconsin FFA Degree was conferred upon 15 recipients during the 87th Wisconsin FFA Convention on June 15.
The degree is the highest honor which the FFA Association can bestow on a non-member. Local FFA chapters and state FFA staff nominate recipients for their dedication to youth leadership development.
2016 recipients include: Regina Oldendorf, Lori Lulich, Travis Holt, Julie M. Spoke, Kim and Terry Adler, the late Brent Albers, Troy Talford, Larry A. Lader, Sonya R. Huebner, James A. Holte, Becky Schollian, Dale Gallenberg, Mark S. Alden and Beth J. Rieth.
Kim and Terry Adler are the mother and step-father of this year's State FFA President Sally Albers. They support FFA activities and the leadership skills it develops in youth as members of the Sauk Prairie FFA Alumni. They have witnessed first-hand the benefits FFA offers to students as they become excellent leaders.
Brent Albers is the late father of this year's State FFA President. Albers owned and operated Brent's Ag Service and Albers Trucking and farmed with his father at Albers Colonial Acres until his death. He was an FFA member in high school and continued his support for the organization as an FFA Alumni member.
Mark S. Alden is a Farm Business Instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College where he also makes farm visits consulting with farmers to ensure their success. Previously, Alden was an agriculture educator at Gillett High School where he helped reignite the program in the early 1980's and assisted in the chartering of the Gillett FFA Alumni.
Dr. Dale Galenberg is the Dean of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science at UW-River Falls where he supports the campus agricultural education program and agriculture education across Wisconsin. He understands the benefits for both UW-River Falls students and FFA members who participate in the Parliamentary Procedure and CDE contests at all levels. In 2015 Dr. Gallenberg played a key role in the Agrifuture Summit and has put ideas generated at this event into action.
Travis Holt has served on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board of Directors as a director and President. He is the President and CEO of the Citizens State Bank of Loyal. In 1989-90 he was the Wisconsin FFA Sentinel from the Baraboo FFA Chapter. Holt has coached state winning livestock and meats judging teams in Baraboo and Bonduel.
James A. Holte is the President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and has served on the Board of Directors for 21 years. The Farm Bureau serves as the voice of agricultural producers at all levels, sponsors the Wisconsin FFA Farm Forum and the FFA Discussion Meet Contest. While there was not an FFA Chapter in Elk Mound when Holte was in high school, he helped establish the Elk Mound FFA Alumni Chapter and serves as a judge at the State FFA Convention. Holte was recognized as a Master Agriculturist in 2005 and in 2015 UW-River Falls named him a Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturist.
Becky Schollian served as the Executive Assistant for WFB's President and the Chief Administrative Officer, retiring in April after 25 years. During her years of service she coordinated schedules for Wisconsin FFA Officers attending the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Annual Meeting as well as the schedules of Farm Bureau staff members attending Wisconsin FFA events and contests.
Sonya R. Huebner is currently the WFB Operations Administrative Assistant. She also served as the Wisconsin FFA Foundation's Administrative Assistant where she was the behind the scene organizer for the Foundation's programs. In 1987-88 she was the State FFA Secretary from the Hillsboro FFA Chapter. This year, she helped charter the Lakeside Lutheran FFA Alumni to support Wisconsin's first parochial FFA chapter.
Larry A. Lader has been a member of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Council for 6 years representing Section 5. In addition, he is a founding and active member of the Clinton FFA Alumni. Lader is strong supporter of the FFA who is often called upon to chaperone and judge FFA events at the district, sectional and state levels. He has been recognized by the National FFA Alumni with the Legion of Merit Award and served as co-chairman of the 2016 Wisconsin FFA Alumni Convention.
Lori Lulich has served on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board of Directors. She was an FFA member at Pulaski and served as the Wisconsin FFA Sentinel in 1991-92 the same year her husband David Lulich served as State FFA President. Today, the Lulichs' support the FFA as sponsors of the Landscape Management proficiency and are lifetime FFA Alumni members.
Regina Oldendorf is the current Executive Director of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association where she has advocated for FFA and agriculture education for the past 7 years. Oldendorf was a Wisconsin FFA Vice President in 1996-97 from the Cambridge FFA Chapter and taught agriculture for 3 ½ years.
Beth Rieth is the organizer of the Day of Service and Rally to Fight Hunger at the Wisconsin FFA Convention each year making service a focal point of student leadership development. Since the beginning of these programs over 2,800 hours of service have been given to the Madison community and over 200,000 meals packaged and donated to hungry families. Rieth served as the Wisconsin FFA Reporter in 2000-01 from the Lincoln Alma Center FFA Chapter and is a life-time FFA Alumni member.
Julie M. Spoke currently serves as the President of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association. She has served on the Alumni Council since 2013 representing Section 10. Even though was not an FFA member in high school, she is an avid supporter of FFA and agriculture at the local and state levels.
Troy Talford is the agricultural instructor and FFA advisor at Sauk Prairie High School and is the president of the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators. Having had 4 state FFA officers, three of whom having served as State FFA President,Talford has served multiple years on the FFA Board of Directors. In 2001-02 he was a Wisconsin FFA Vice President hailing from the Durand FFA Chapter.