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MADISON - Each year, FFA members hailing from chapters from across Wisconsin descend upon the city of Madison for their annual state convention.

This year the Wisconsin Association of FFA will celebrate 88 years of premier leadership, personal growth and career success during the convention's four-day run, June 12-15.

While Wisconsin's 255 FFA chapters boast a membership of just over 19,000 members, the convention is expected to draw over 3,000 members, advisors, parents, alumni and sponsors to celebrate their year's success and support for students involved in agricultural education.

During their time at the annual convention, members will participate in speaking contests, compete in various award areas, vote on items of FFA business, tour different businesses and industries, and meet new friends from all areas of the state.

Helping hand

Again this year the Wisconsin FFA is hosting a service event, the FFA Rally to Fight Hunger, to help feed children and adults suffering from food insecurity. The Rally will be held in the evening on Monday, June 12, 2017. Nearly 500 members and advisors will partner with the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and package over 40,000 lbs. of food for the hungry in the greater Madison area.

During their first day in Madison, groups of FFA members will fan out across Madison to lend a helping hand, performing community service at several work sites during the Day of Service.

Members will volunteer throughout the greater Madison area and collectively log more than 500 service hours at the City of Madison Parks, Community Action Coalition, Goodman Community Center and Youth Farm, Oakwood Village, Salvation Army of Dane County, River Food Pantry and UW-Arboretum.

Stars Over Wisconsin

Among the top prizes coveted by FFA members are the four 'Stars Over Wisconsin' awards which include the Star Farmer Award, Star in Ag Placement, Star in Agribusinss and Star in AgriScience.

Finalists for these awards are as follows: Star Farmer — Noah Massie, Barron; Eric Wachtendonk, Bloomer; Jenna Broege, Janesville Craig; Carley Krull. Lake Mills; Danielle Robinson, Lomira; Brad Jones, Mt. Horeb; Melissa Sprecher, Sauk Prairie; Katelyn Zimmerman, Spencer; Elisha Riley, Waupaca; and Emily Schwanke, Waupun.

Star in Ag Placement finalists are — Paige Nelson, Ellsworth; Alyssa Templeton, Evansville; Morgan Fitzsimmons, Mineral Point; Augustave Swanke, Montello; Erica Helmer, Plymouth; Maverick Guenther, Randolph Cambria-Friesland; Sean Smedema, Randolph Cambria-Friesland; Jensen Trinrud, Waupaca; Jesse LaMie, Weyauwega-Fremont; and Taylor Statz, Wisconsin Heights.

Those tapped as finalists for the Star in Agribusiness competition are — Alex Krueger, Janesville Craig; Gage Rataczak, Randolph Cambria-Fiesland; Jared Mack, Sauk Prairie; Brett Koski, Waupaca; and Dylon Pokorny, Waupun.

And the three finalists competing for the Star in Agriscience are — Amelia Hayden, Big Foot; Katelyn Galetka, New Auburn; and Seth Piencikowski, Waupaca.

The closing ceremony will also include the naming of the top FFA chapter in the state and members of the state officer team. This year's team was lead by Brenna Bays of the Adams-Friendship FFA chapter.

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