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COLUMNISTS

FFA remains unstoppable during unconventional year

Joe Schlies
205 FFA members from across the state participated in the Parliamentary Procedure Workshops at the end of January to learn more on how to properly run a meeting. Parliamentary Procedure is one of the Leadership Development Events FFA members will be competing in this spring.

In a year that COVID has stopped so many of our traditional experiences, FFA members across Wisconsin are continuing to break down barriers and be Unstoppable in the classroom and their communities as they celebrate National FFA Week, February 20-27. The Wisconsin Association of FFA, which consists of 252 chapter with 21,264 FFA members, develops each of its members into students who are the cream of crop and reach for the top – exactly what employers are looking for every day.

Agricultural education is the platform for FFA. With the National FFA Organization hitting record breaking membership of 760,113, much of that success comes from the strong reputation of providing top-notch programming for all agricultural education students whether they are come from a farming population or not. It is then when students in these classes realize the priceless opportunities the intra-curricular organization has to offer for them.

Countless members attend one event and their desire to become more involved is above anyone’s expectations. As a result, Wisconsin FFA members, are able to experience premier leadership, personal growth, and career success as part of the world’s largest student leadership organization – the National FFA Organization, which is tailored for any and every student, 7th – 15th grade.

While membership numbers are record-breaking, involvement is of higher priority for what the organization values. From attending leadership conferences across the state and nation or participating in Leadership Development Events to enhance their speaking skills, FFA members are continuously growing into the premier leader of tomorrow. And this past year, there has been a long list of cancellations of events in our communities, but FFA events have not been on that list because FFA members recognize the importance of continued development of their community and growth- the time keeps ticking as they say.

More than 550 FFA members participated in the Virtual Foundations In Reaching Excellence (FIRE) Conference this past December. The State Officer Team hosted over 45 workshops focused on FFA opportunities, agricultural careers, and diversity and inclusion to list a few.

Within a matter of a couple weeks of our school districts moving to a virtual platform last March, our chapters began hosting dairy product and fresh produce giveaways when they saw consumer demands shift, greatly effecting our producers. And with that, it is proven that FFA members know how to identify and find solutions to the needs in our communities, and there was no shortage of needs in 2020. Communities across the state are noticing the ripple effect from the success of the Wisconsin FFA as members live to serve, and when all is said and done, develops them into engaged individuals.

These real-life experiences and the numerous career events Wisconsin FFA offers, prepares FFA members for any path in the future. Even in the classroom, students create a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) which are work-based, experiential learning projects that provide hands on exploration through employment, entrepreneurship, research, school-based enterprise, and service-learning.

Day to day, FFA members are able to learn the soft skills like meeting the real-world career expectations that are not regularly taught in core classes. In fact, this year, Wisconsin FFA members received a record-breaking 51 Supervised Agricultural Experience Grants from National FFA- more than any other state in the country, which allow students to further develop their projects and initiatives. Simply put, Wisconsin FFA members have been Unstoppable this year.

The impact Wisconsin FFA members are making in their communities are endless as they prepare themselves for success of any career ahead. Head to www.wisconsinffa.org if you are wanting to learn more on how FFA is an organization for all, for the future.

Wisconsin State FFA President Joe Schlies

Schlies is President of the Wisconsin State FFA Officer Team