Wisconsin FFA members recognized during National FFA Convention and Expo

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
94th National FFA Convention & Expo

Wisconsin FFA members and alumni were recognized during the National FFA Convention & Expo last week in Indianapolis, IN.

Three FFA members from the Badger State were awarded national Agricultural Proficiency honors through their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs).Students compete in areas ranging from agricultural communications to wildlife management. 

Lashawna Vogel of the Denmark FFA chapter was the top winner in the Agricultural Communication – Entrepreneurship/Placement category. Vogel has become an expert at communicating information and ideas with her larger community and FFA chapter. Leading up to National FFA Week, she writes articles reflecting on each of her chapter’s annual events for a newspaper to educate her village about FFA.

Using Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, Vogel manages the social media outlets to tell the story of agricultural education. She is supported by her parents, Patti and Steve, and her FFA advisors, Marty Nowak and Mary Handrich. 

Kendra Goplin of the Whitehall FFA chapter took home top honors in the Agricultural Education – Entrepreneurship/Placement. She began her supervised agricultural experience (SAE) by helping teach third-graders about agriculture safety for an agricultural literacy program. She assists in coaching a middle school quiz bowl team and creating educational displays at both the county and state fairs.

Goplin also coordinates ag literacy activities in her school district, reaching students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grades. Goplin is supported by her parents, Melinda and Shane, and her FFA advisor, Melinda Goplin.

Tristan Wirkus of the Stratford FFA Chapter was topped for the top SAE in the Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management Entrepreneurship/Placement category. Wirkus uses the leadership skills he’s gained from FFA to educate the public about the importance of environmental stewardship in his community.

He has served on the Stratford Village Tree Advisory Board, achieving Tree City USA status for the community for the last three years. Wirkus has also constructed and installed lending libraries along the Heritage Trail for the public, in addition to charting a tree identification course. He is supported by his parents, Becky and Tony, and his FFA advisors, Rebecca Wirkus and Troy Bargender.

Kaelyn Sumner of Pulaski FFA earned third place, competing in the National FFA Agriscience Fair in Div. 5 of Food Products and Processing Systems. Brandon Boyd and Ethan Johnson of Watertown FFA placed second in Division 4 for the Animal Systems category.

Olivia Olson of Lake Mills FFA national runner-up in FFA Creed Speaking competition.

Receiving the American FFA Degree were 84 members from Wisconsin. This is the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization.

Alumni and adults

Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter were recognized as the Central Region finalist for the Outstanding FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter.

Grant Staszak, Section 8 representative accepted the Outstanding FFA Alumni and Supporters State Association award on behalf of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters Association. 

Serving as advocates, mentors, volunteers and donors for local FFA Alumni and FFA Chapters, Melanie Huchthausen Stoughton and Jeremy Krerowicz of Denmark were named National Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award winners. 

Adult honorary membership in the FFA organization was presented to Columbus High School Ag Teacher Glenda Crook; Case IH Executive Ryan Schaefer; Michelle Stuttgen and Alison Wedig of Culver Franchising System; and Ag Professor Doris Mold of Cumberland.

Jeff Hicken was posthumously recognized with the VIP Citation at the 94th National FFA Convention. Accepting in his memory are his wife, Sheri and sons Cole and Drew.

Jeff Hicken was posthumously recognized with the VIP Citation at the 94th National FFA Convention. His wife, Sheri and sons Cole and Drew accepted the award in his memory. Hicken served the past 15 years as Wisconsin's FFA Advisor and Ag Ed Consultant with the Department of Public Instruction until his passing on June 16, 2021.

Chapters

Earning recognition among the best FFA chapters in the nation, the following chapters were honored as three-star chapters: Big Foot, Clintonville, Columbus, DeForest, Denmark, Granton, Lake Geneva-Badger, Manawa, Marshall, Slinger, Waupaca, Waupun, and Weyauwega-Fremont. Out of more than 8,800 chapters across the country, less than 3% of the chapters earn this honor. 

Granton FFA was named a premier finalist for in the Growing Leaders category of the National Chapter Award, and Denmark FFA for Growing Communities.