2022-23 Wisconsin State FFA officer team revealed at convention

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Meet the newly elected 2022-23 Wisconsin State FFA Officer team chosen at the 93rd Wisconsin FFA Convention Wednesday, June 15, 2022. From left, Devani Hinkelmann, Loyal, Section 7; Rhylie Gough, Albany, Section 5; Evan Mennen, Bay Port, Section 9; Jeremiah Ihm, Lancaster, Section 4; Isaac Hopke, Spooner, Section 1; Heidi Strey, Osseo-Fairchild, Section 2; Mary Schrieber, East Troy, Section 10; Cole Hicken, Waupun, Section 6; Brooke Casey, New London, Section 8 and Kendra Goplin, Whitehall, Section 3.

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. 

As State Officer Team President Ben Styer stood behind the podium on stage during the most anticipated moment of the Fifth General Session Wednesday night, the excitement inside the cavernous Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center was palpable.

And for ten successful finalists, the run across the stage to join their new teammates was a joyous occasion at the 93rd Wisconsin FFA Convention.

Meet the new 2022-23 State Officers who were elected to a year of service.

Section One

Isaac Hopke, Spooner FFA Chapter, Secretary

Two of the things that have held most true to Hopke has been his advocacy for agriculture and FFA as well as assisting others based on the knowledge and experiences he has gained.

"These two things are the greatest reasons why I desire to serve as a state officer for the Wisconsin Association of FFA.”

Hopke plans to attend the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities to major in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Spanish. With his degree he hopes to develop agriculture practices within the aerospace industry and make a global impact on food security and safety. After college, he would like to return back to his home farm and take over and expand the family business. 

When Isaac isn’t studying for school or working on the family farm, he is busy with running his local FFA chapter. He is the son of Pete and Danette Hopke. Hopke's FFA advisor is Susan Olson-Rosenbush.

“I know how FFA can change someone and hope to connect with members throughout the next year to make an impact," he said.

Section Two

Heidi Strey, Osseo Fairchild FFA Chapter, Vice President

Thankful is the first word that comes to Strey's mind when she thinks about FFA.

"This organization has truly made an impact on my life, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities it has brought me,” she said.

Strey is currently at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in Agricultural Marketing and Communications, with a minor in Animal Science. After she graduates with a Bachelor degree, her goal is to advocate for the agricultural industry by connecting producers and consumers. She wants to find connections and work directly with consumers and agriculturists.  

Heidi is a very involved student on the UWRF campus with being a member of the UWRF and Eau Claire County Collegiate Farm Bureau, the UWRF Beef Management Team and Block and Bridle, and the UWRF Intervarsity Ministries. She is the daughter of Steve and Leslie Strey. 's FFA advisora are Eric Boettcher and Amelia Hayden.

"I plan to devote my time, skills, and passion to the organization this year, with one goal in mind: to advocate for agriculture," she said.

Section Three

Kendra Goplin, Whitehall FFA Chapter, Reporter 

Goplin believes there is a place for everyone in the FFA Organization.

"FFA offers an array of opportunities and activities for members to promote premiere leadership, personal growth, and career success," she said.

Goplin attends South Dakota State University pursuing a major in Agricultural Education. She wants to educate the public about the importance of agriculture to generate educated consumers. Her Supervised Agricultural Experience has been creating and teaching an Agriculture Literacy Program.

She is the daughter of Shane and Melinda Goplin. 's FFA advisor is Melinda Goplin.

"I'd like to motivate members to participate in the activities they are interested in," Goplin said.

Section Four

Jeremiah Ihm, Lancaster FFA Chapter, Vice President

Ihm's goal is to make as many FFA members as possible experience the feeling that drives them to be awesome and achieve their goals in and out of FFA.

"I feel that FFA is truly my home away from home, and I want to help other members feel that way as well," Ihm said.

Ihm currently attends the University of Wisconsin-River Falls working on his degree in Agricultural Education. He hopes to teach in southern Wisconsin so he is able to continue raising dairy calves with his father. Jeremiah’s Supervised Agricultural Experience has been working on the dairy farm, and his tasks include daily milking chores, keeping records, and field work just to name a few. 

He is the son of John and Deb Ihm. 's FFA advisors are Jessica Schaefer and David Wright. 

"I just want to say thank you to all those who have helped me along the way and pushed me to get involved," he said.

Section 5

Rhylie Gough, Albany FFA Chapter, Vice President

Rhylie believes that “Wisconsin Association of FFA… inspires members to succeed in FFA careers.

Gough plans to attend the University of Wisconsin River Falls to pursue Elementary Education or Agriculture Education. She plans on taking advantage of the State Officer Internship Program offered by UW-River Falls to ensure she can properly serve as a State Officer.

Rhylie is the owner of Gough’s Pheasant Farm and researches different kinds of pheasants, feed, and equipment needed to raise her pheasants.

Her parents are Mathew Gough and Deanne Walmer-Gough. 's FFA advisors are James Rupp, Haley Buchanan, and Hala Ryan.

"I hope to represent the organization by being confident, professional, outgoing, kind, and inclusive above all,” she said.

Casey Denk, far left, new President of the Wisconsin FFA State Officer team, gavels out the closing of the 93rd Wisconsin FFA Convention with the newly inducted slate of officers.

Section 6

Cole Hicken, Waupun FFA Chapter, Treasurer

“Sometimes all others need is recognition to express their thoughts and convey their message," said Hicken.

Hicken is attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Agricultural Economics and Life Sciences Communication. After college, Cole is uncertain of his exact career plans, but hopes to make a difference in the agriculture industry.

Cole’s first SAE consisted of milking cows at a local farm then shifted direction to focus more on landscape management. The skills he developed while in FFA have helped him advance within his SAE allowing him more responsibilities.

His parents are Sherri Hicken and the late Jeff Hicken. Hicken's FFA advisor are Kris Beaver, Tari Costello, and Ryan Seichter.

"As a state officer I want to do everything within my power to inspire students to find their voice and their place within not only the FFA organization but also their place in life moving forward,” Hicken said.

Section 7

Devani Hinkelmann, Loyal FFA Chapter, Vice President

“In the past six years, I have not only grown in my leadership and communication skills, but I have also developed confidence in who I am,” Hinkelmann says.

Hinkelmann will be attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for Agriculture Marketing Communications. After college, she plans on working at a local agriculture business to market their products and provide efficient customer service. 

Hinkelmann was able to put together the Discovering-AG Conference for the entire section seven that taught students about the wide variety of careers in agriculture.

She is the daughter of Harlan and Melissa Hinkelmann. Hinkelmann's FFA advisor is Stephanie Donnerbauer.

"I believe that everyone has a place in this organization, and it is my mission to spread that message," she said.

Section 8

Brooke Casey, New London FFA Chapter, Vice President

Casey realized she was not ready to hang up her blue jacket at her local LDE competition, and decided to run for state office.

“Serving as a State Officer would allow me to help more people on their FFA journey to not only improve their agricultural knowledge, but also be able to improve themselves,” she said.

Casey plans to attend the University of University of Wisconsin-River Falls for Pre-Veterinary Medicine, majoring in Animal Science-Meat Animal and then attending UW Madison for Veterinary Medicine, after graduating from UWRF. After completing Vet School, she would like to be a small, large, and equine veterinarian. 

Her parents are Bette O’Brien and Glen Casey. Casey's FFA advisor is Crystal Retzlaff.

"I honored to be part of this organization that has made me the person I am today."

Section 9

Evan Mennen, Bay Port FFA Chapter, Parliamentarian 

“The best part about FFA is that there is no target market. This jacket can be custom tailored to fit any student that wants to wear it,” Mennen says.

Mennen is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in Agricultural Education. After graduating from UWRF, Mennen plans to find a position as an agricultural educator and raise his own herd of beef cattle. 

His parents are Angie and Pete Mennen. Mennen's FFA advisor are Whitney Barnes and Ryan Weed. 

Mennen knows that FFA is not all “plows and cows” but wants to make sure that students know that there is so much more to it than that. He wants to offer a helping hand to the chapters, members, and allow for students to have the opportunity to “let their light shine.”

Section 10

Mary Schrieber, East Troy FFA Chapter, Sentinel

“I have come to realize my experiences, while different, serve as a strength which allows me to connect with members and stakeholders from all backgrounds.” Schrieber says.

Schrieber will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a degree in Political Science and Life Science Communication. She plans to work on expanding her network by being involved in campus organizations. Schrieber hopes to become an agricultural lawyer and to advocate for agriculturists by developing policies rooted in sustainability.

Her parents are Adam and Therese Schrieber. Schrieber's FFA advisors are Ryan Holle and Katy Vacula. 

"I hope to use my experiences and new platform to help FFA members view their differences as strengths as well as how those differences make the agriculture industry and FFA organization stronger," she said.

Casey Denk

Meet your new president

Casey Denk of the Mondovi FFA Chapter was elected to a year of service as the 2022-2023 Wisconsin FFA State FFA President during the 93rd Wisconsin FFA Convention. Her advisors are Darin Gray and Shauna White. Casey’s parents are Mark and Tammy Denk.

Denk is currently attending UW-River Falls majoring in Agriculture Business with a minor in Animal Science and hopes to use her degree to stay active in the agriculture industry and the family farm, which served as the inspiration for her supervised agricultural experience programs. Throughout her FFA Career, she has developed placement projects in both beef production and sheep production, while also showing at the Buffalo County Fair and helping other exhibitors to shear sheep and learn about showmanship.

In between her work on the family farm, Casey has also developed a robust career in the Mondovi FFA, serving as a chapter officer for three years as well as the chair for both Food for America and the fruit sale. She competed in the agronomy and livestock career development events and remains active in organization at the collegiate level to continue to expand her industry experience.

“Throughout my time in FFA, I learned to be comfortable and confident and not to fear new situations,” Denk states. She looks forward to spending her year giving members opportunities to grow in similar ways, so that she can “serve as a leader and role model for young members” the way others did for her.