COLUMNISTS

Schlies: The future of agriculture has never been brighter

Joe Schlies
Spring time for the FFA is always filled with banquets to recognize members for their hard work throughout the year. The Gillet FFA Officers hosted their annual banquet a few weeks ago with over 100 people in attendance.

June. There isn’t any other month that’s better in my book. Growing up, I found one of the best parts of June, being that it’s Dairy Month, was always having an excuse to enjoy more ice cream than usual.

It was also the best because for most of my life, it signaled the beginning of summer vacation. For farmers, it’s time to be out in the fields working to ensure the corn is “knee high by the fourth of July,” as my grandpa would say. For many families, it’s time to head out to the farms to enjoy the countless Dairy Breakfasts across the state. And for the FFA this year, it’s time to prepare for state convention.

In a couple of days, thousands of FFA members and supporters will be making their way down to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison to celebrate the legacies made, honor 92 years of tradition, and get excited about the future of our organization and agriculture.

Another aspect of convention is wrapping up this year and passing the torch onto a new group of individuals who will continue leading and growing this organization as state FFA officers for the upcoming year, which means my time serving Wisconsin FFA members is coming to a close.

As I reflect back on the past two years of my life serving as a state officer, I simply could not begin with anything other than a thank you on behalf of the whole organization. It is because of the support of agriculturalists in communities across the state and nation that organizations like the FFA can continue providing the next generation of agricultural leaders who will change the world.

Having traveled over 40,000 miles to countless communities meeting new members, listening to alumni reminisce on the glory days, and seeing first-hand the impact FFA is making, I have realized that there are more people to thank for their time than I could have ever imagined.

The amount of effort FFA members and agriculturalists put forth each and every day to improve the industry we all love is like no other. And because of that, I can affirm that the agricultural community understands the power and responsibility we each have to help others.

Helping others isn’t a new concept to our organization, but perhaps, has especially been capitalized on in the past year with the endless service projects implemented in all of our communities. I have witnessed the collective effort of members coming together to continue building their communities in times of hardship for many.

Looking back on these accomplishments, I could not be more proud to have served this past year because I have seen that the members of Wisconsin FFA are some of the strongest and hardest working people this organization has ever encountered.

While this past year could have discouraged chapters, members instead chose to adapt and continue making change in their community. That same adaptability will now carry on with members into their future careers. This adaptability will be one of the most important skills to have in the 21st Century.

My time as a State FFA Officer may be coming to a close, but the memories from this experience will never be forgotten. As I close, it is with confidence that I say the future of agriculture has never been brighter. Thank you for believing in the FFA, but most importantly, thank you for believing in the agriculture industry.

Wisconsin State FFA President Joe Schlies

Schies is the president of the Wisconsin FFA Officer team