Wisconsin FFA Foundation celebrates 35 years at State Convention

Wisconsin State Farmer
The 2018-19 Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board of Directors includes: (front row, from left) Director Tom Bressner, Wisconsin Agri-Business Association; Director Jessie Kreke, Culver Franchising System, LLC; Vice President Danielle Waterworth, CNH Industrial Capital; Director Amber Vickers Keller, Town Bank; President Ginger James, AgroChem; (second row l-r) Director Jesse Singerhouse, Dunn Energy Cooperative; Director Jason Kollwelter, We Energies; Past President Jon Anderson, Grade A Strategic Brand and Marketing Solutions; Director Janet Schneider, Stewart-Peterson, Inc.; Secretary Robin Connelly, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative; Nicole Nelson, Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators representative; (third row l-r) Director Joe Keller, Keller Farms; Director Chris Schneider, Investors Community Bank; Treasurer Kathleen Murphy, TASC; Director Luke Wiedenfeld, Lake Mills High School; Director Nicole Wagner, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and Wisconsin Corn Growers Association; and Cheryl Steinbach, Wisconsin FFA Alumni representative. Not pictured: Jeff Hicken, State FFA Advisor; Cheryl Zimmerman, Wisconsin FFA Center Executive Director and Amelia Hayden, State FFA President.

MADISON - The Wisconsin FFA Foundation celebrated the achievements of the 2017-18 campaign and its 35-year history at the 89th Wisconsin FFA Convention in Madison this month. The organization also said goodbye to three retiring board members and welcomed three new industry leaders to its roster.

On Tuesday evening, Foundation Board President Jon Anderson announced that $503,548 was donated by hundreds of individual, industry and FFA-related donors since June 2017. These funds continue to support many programs, awards, agricultural education partnerships and other needs for members, teachers and Alumni around the state.

A special reception was held on Tuesday evening to honor the Foundation’s 35th Anniversary, with many longtime supporters in attendance, as well as past staff.
The Wisconsin Association of FFA announced there are now 21,173 members enrolled in 251 chapters. Union Grove FFA was recognized on stage as a state’s newest chapter, led by Advisor Carrie Jacobs. 

“As we celebrate the Foundation's 35th anniversary, we're thrilled to announce another strong year of support for agricultural education and Wisconsin FFA members,” says John Hromyak, Wisconsin FFA Foundation executive director. “The history of industry and individual support for FFA is remarkable, and we're grateful for the continued investment in our talented members and the future of agriculture in Wisconsin.”

The board also said goodbye to retiring board members Travis Holt (Citizens State Bank of Loyal), Janice Schyvinck (Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association) and Scott Vosters (Bank of New Glarus) during its annual convention board meeting on June 12. Holt served as the Foundation president from 2015-16.

Three new members were welcomed to fill those seats: Joe Keller, Jessie Kreke and Jesse Singerhouse.

Keller owns 800-acre Keller Farms, Inc. and Keller’s Kornucopia roadside market near Prairie du Sac, and is also the warehouse manager at Wollersheim Winery and Distillery. He is a University of Wisconsin – Platteville graduate with a bachelor degree in Agri-business. Keller was an active high school FFA member and is currently a Sauk Prairie FFA Alumni member.

Jessie Kreke is a senior marketing manager for Culver Franchising System, LLC (Culver’s) in Prairie du Sac. She joined Culver’s in 2011 and leads digital marketing initiatives. Through the Thank You Farmers Project, Kreke works with local restaurants to fundraise for agriculture education. She also collaborates with state and National FFA Organization and Foundation on sponsorships and initiatives to connect Culver’s restaurants and FFA chapters.

Singerhouse has been employed by Dunn Energy Cooperative in Menomonie for the last 18 years, serving as manager of Administrative and Member Services for the past six. He was a member of the Menomonie FFA and served as the State FFA Reporter in 1994-95. Singerhouse also received his American FFA degree. He remains active with the Menomonie FFA by coaching the livestock judging team, helping with speaking contests and other career development activities.