Record-breaking year for WI FFA Foundation

The Wisconsin FFA Foundation
The Wisconsin FFA Foundation announces its 2019-20 Board of Directors. First row (from left): Jessie Kreke (Culver Franchising System); President Danielle Waterworth (CNH Industrial Capital); Past President Ginger Braml (AgroChem); Vice President Janet Schneider (, Stewart-Peterson); and Robin Connelly (Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative). Second row (from left): Katie Holewinski (ANIMART); Deb Ihm (Southwest Wisconsin Technical College); Development Committee Co-Chair Joe Keller (Keller Farms); Nicole Nelson (Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators); Nicole Wagner (Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and Wisconsin Corn Growers Association); and Kathleen Murphy (TASC). Back row (from left): Treasurer Trever Athorp (Investors Community Bank); Jesse Singerhouse (Dunn Energy Cooperative); Chad Brusveen (John Deere Company); and Jon Anderson (Filament). Not pictured: Development Committee Co-Chair Tom Bressner (Wisconsin Agri-Business Association); Jeff Hicken (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction); Cheryl Steinbach (Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association); and Cheryl Zimmerman (Wisconsin FFA Center). (Courtesy of Wisconsin FFA Foundation)

MADISON, Wis. — At the 90th Wisconsin FFA Convention last week in Madison, the Wisconsin FFA Foundation announced a record-breaking campaign year, raising $659,219 since June 2018. In last five years, the Foundation has raised more than $2.8 million dollars from over 1,100 donors and sponsors.

Hundreds of individual, industry and FFA-related donors have made the 2018-19 campaign the most successful in the Foundation’s 36-year history. Foundation Board President Ginger Braml made this announcement on Tuesday evening, June 11, at the Alliant Energy Center during the Convention’s Third Session. She shared the message that every member has a unique place in FFA and can learn valuable skills, regardless of whether or not they earn top awards.

During that same session, Wisconsin FFA Foundation Executive Director John Hromyak challenged students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them in FFA, adding that many are possible because of Foundation donors’ generous support. During Convention, the Wisconsin Association of FFA announced that there are more than 20,825 members enrolled in 251 chapters statewide.

“Our sponsors and donors impact our members each year and help create learning experiences that would not otherwise be possible,” says Hromyak. “Our organization is fortunate and grateful for the continued, loyal support and investment from our industry and individual partners. I know the agricultural education and FFA family joins me in expressing gratitude to all who support us.”

Three retiring board members were honored during the Foundation’s Tuesday afternoon board meeting and three additional agricultural leaders added to its roster.

The board said goodbye to board members Amber Vickers Keller (Town Bank), Jason Kollwelter (We Energies) and Luke Wiedenfeld (Lake Mills agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor). Keller served as the Foundation president from 2016-17.

Three new members were welcomed to fill those seats: Chad Brusveen, Katie Holewinski and Deb Ihm.

Brusveen has worked at the John Deere Company since 2001 and is currently a corporate business manager for the company, based in Cambria. In this role he manages corporate sales’ relationships with John Deere and its national customers. Brusveen also farms with his family on their 1,200-acre grain farm in southern Wisconsin and serves on the Columbia County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

Holewinski is a past state officer of the Wisconsin Association of FFA and today is employed by ANIMART as its marketing manager. She lives and works in Beaver Dam where she oversees a staff of five, and develops and implements company-wide marketing plans and public relations’ activities. She previously served the National FFA Organization as a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador.

Ihm is the director of Agriculture at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, and also CFO of Ihm Organic Farms, LLC in Lancaster. She is a past state officer of the Wisconsin Association of FFA, and very involved in the organization today through judging and mentoring opportunities. Ihm supervises eight faculty and instructors in the college’s agricultural department, and previously served as an agricultural instructor and FFA advisor in Shullsburg.

The highly anticipated 90th celebration of Wisconsin FFA also garnered a record attendance over its four-day run. A total of 3,738 members, advisors, parents, sponsors, past state officers and friends of Wisconsin FFA participated in the event held at the Alliant Center in early June.