Wisconsin State FFA officer team revealed at convention

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Meet the new Wisconsin FFA Officer team (from left) Jared Mack, Lindsey Augustine, Lydia Williams, Ryan Erickson, Michelle Stangler, Grace Morrissey, Curtis Weltzien, Joseph Schlies, Emily Sheehan, and Daniel Clark.

MADISON - Three FFA Chapters earned repeat honors Wednesday night when names were called, introducing the 2019-20 slate of the state FFA officer team. Ellsworth, Arcadia and Denmark will be represented on the team that will travel thousands of miles throughout the coming year, meeting with members on the local, state and national level and more.

Each year, FFA members in each of the 10 districts across the state go through an arduous interview process in hopes of becoming one of two finalists in their respective districts.

Meet the 2018-19 State Officers,

Section One: Ryan Erickson, Barron FFA Chapter, advisor Kristin Hanson.

Erickson credits his high school years with helping him pursue two passions: woodworking and farming. Growing up on a small beef farm, Ryan was encouraged from a young age to have a strong work ethic and pay attention to detail. He is a recent graduate of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College with a degree in construction and cabinetmaking. He aspires to own his own cabinet shop and herd of beef cattle after serving his year as a state officer.

"Agriculture is the industry that raised me and the industry I hope to be a part of until the day I die," Erickson said.

Section Two: Lindsey Augustine, Ellsworth FFA Chapter, advisor Katie Chistenson.

Diversity is certainly a great way to describe Augustine's experiences in FFA. She has participated in a wide variety of leadership conferences, community service activities and competitions, while also maintaining supervised agricultural experience projects in beef entrepreneurship, diversified livestock entrepreneurship and sheep entrepreneurship.

She plans to attend UW-River Falls to double major in Agricultural Education and Animal Science, with the goal of becoming an agricultural education teacher and FFA adivsor herself one day

Section Three: Curtis Weltzien, Arcadia FFA Chapter, advisors Kevin Whalen and Steve Schank.

Weltzien will follow in his brother, Collin's footsteps as the younger Weltzien joins his older brother, Collin, on the state officer team. Dairy farming and FFA is a passion that both brothers share. Growing up on a dairy farm, developing a supervised agricultural experience project was a natural fit for Curtis. 

After spending his childhood feeding calves, picking rocks and loading cattle, he looked forward to growing his experience as well as his responsibilities and credits his time on the farm for helping him become an "independent, intelligent and dedicated employee", all the skills that have served him will in his other FFA experience.

Weltzien is a student at UW-River Falls, studying agribusiness. He hopes to use his education to become the fourth generation to operate the family farm, alongside his brothers.

Section Four: Grace Morrissey, Shullsburg FFA Chapter, advisor Jennifer Russell.

By living the FFA mission, Morrissey was able to develop her personal growth through her Supervised Agricultural Experience. In 7th grade she started showing sheep then diversified to swine production in 2016 maintaining proper animal health, care and safety.

She plans to attend the UW-River Falls to major in Animal Genetics following her passion for animal agriculture.

Morrissey's plan for FFA is focused on the future and how she can improve herself, her chapter, and the Wisconsin FFA Association. She credits her success to "the many men and women that have inspired and impacted the FFA organization" and looks forward to following in their footsteps to make a difference.

Smiles and hugs abound as members of the 2019-20 Wisconsin FFA Officer team are announced.

Section Five: Emily Sheehan, Parkview FFA Chapter, advisor Tjark Sattler. 

Sheehan's first SAE program began well before FFA by growing up on her family's Registered Holstein dairy farm, Mil-R-Mor Farms. At 7, she was gifted her first calf and from there worked to grow her herd and show across the state and country.

In addition, Emily implemented an Ag in the Classroom program within her school district, helping to educate youth about agriculture. She plans to attend Winona State University to major in nursing and minor in Spanish before starting a beef hobby farm of her own.

She has developed a love for many branched of agriculture and hopes to help others see how diverse the industry is and to better educate consumers.

Section Six: Jared Mack, Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter, advisors Troy Talford and Sally Ladstein.

Mack was unsure where FFA or his SAE would take him when first joining FFA as a 7th grader. He quickly leaned how many opportunities he could have as well as how connected to FFA he was with wildlife management SAE caring for 33 acres of fores land as well as managing a turf grass management operation. He is a student at UW-River Falls studying agriculture education and agribusiness.

This year Jared plans to "impact FFA members through chapter visits, conferences and being available as a advocate and friend".

Section Seven: Daniel Clark, Spencer FFA Chapter, advisor Mark Zimmerman.

Clark developed his passion for agriculture through his SAE including working at First Choice Recycling Center, Great Lakes Fresh Market Deli and managing a high tunnel greenhouse. He attends UW-Stevens Point where he majors in fisheries and aquatics with a minor in military science and dreams of serving his country overseas.

Clark enjoys seeing others learn more about agriculture and FFA through community programs such as Feed My Starving Children and Food for America. he looks forward to being able to reach out to non-traditional agriculture students as a State FFA Officer.

Section Eight: Lydia Willams, Shawano FFA Chapter, advisors Missy Goers and Steve Stomberg.

Willams says although she had a late start to her FFA and SAE career, she quickly made up for lost time while at Shawano Community High School and it sparked a strong passion. She is currently a student at UW-River Falls majoring in agricultural education and hopes to continue to grow her experiences with National FFA.

She credits FFA for being "the best thing that has ever happened to me" including allowing her to help others understand that there is more to FFA than production agriculture.

"I am not a farmer, I do not show animals at he fair, I am not in 4-H, but I do eat food, I am connected to agriculture, I am in FFA" she said.

Section Nine: Joseph Schlies, Denmark FFA Chapter, advisors Mary Handrich and Marty Nowak. 

Schlies looks forward to spending his year helping FFA members "find their essential role in FFA and agriculture....whether it's playing an instrument or working with computers—FFA has a spot for them."

Schlies' hope for the year is to help members make those connections so they can make the most of their opportunities in the organization.

He will be attending UW-River Falls to major in agricultural business. After graduating , he plans to use his degree and his FFA experience to help improve the economy of Wisconsin's agricultural community.

Section Ten: Michelle Stangler, Watertown FFA Chapter, advisor Jessica Jones and Mike Gross.

Stangler began working on her family's dairy farm with simple tasks at a young age. Today she has taken on herdsmanship roles with responsibilities including proper nutrition, sanitation and milking. Her SAE has allowed her to grow her responsibility and teach others about the agricultural industry.

Stangler plans to attend the UW-Platteville to major in agricultural education. She aspires to teach middle school and high school students the importance of agriculture through FFA, SAE's and classroom instruction.

Collin Weltzien

New President

There will be two Weltzien brothers on the 2019-20 state officer team as the outgoing officer team named Collin Weltzien as the new Wisconsin FFA President durin gthe closing session at the 90th Wisconsin FFA Convention.

Weltzien, a member of the Arcadia FFA Chapter, served as the state vice president on the 2018-19 team, and is currently attending UW-River Falls where he is pursuing a major in Agricultural Business.

Upon graduation, Weltzien plans to return to his family's dairy farm as part of the fourth generation to run the farm. He succeeds Amelia Hayden of the Big Foot FFA.

During their year as State FFA officers, the officer team will meet thousands of FFA members and will travel over 10,000 miles. In addition to meeting with members on local, state and national levels, the entire state officer team will meet with leaders in government, education, business and agriculture.