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National FFA Week Highlights Agriculture Youth

Today marks the final day of National FFA Week 2020. The week-long festivities began last Saturday to celebrate the National FFA Organization. Dating back to 1928, the National FFA brings together high school and middle school students interested in agriculture. Student activities focus on personal growth, premier leadership, and career success. Each year, FFA Week showcases the impact this organization has on its members, their communities, and agriculture across the nation.

I was excited to spend the entire week with FFA members throughout our state. The week brought back many fond memories of my time in the organization, proudly wearing the blue corduroy jacket. The experiences I had, skills I gained, and friendships I created through my time in FFA are truly invaluable.

I started my week with the Elkhorn FFA chapter. There, FFA members organized visits to their local elementary schools to speak with students about agriculture. The high school students organized several activities to engage with their school district’s youngest members, and donated agriculture books to each classroom we visited. Their excitement and passion for sharing Wisconsin’s agriculture story was inspiring, and fueled my fire for the week.

Next up, a visit to the Weyauwega-Fremont school district! Upon arrival, I was greeted by blue and gold balloons and streamers adorning the agriculture room- what a great way to showcase FFA spirit! I spent the day with agriculture students and FFA members, helping them stretch and grow their public speaking skills. Together, we developed key messages, stump speeches, and new methods to practice speech-giving. The long day was exhausting, yet energizing to be around young leaders eager to learn.

A visit to the Bonduel school district offered opportunities to speak to both high school and middle school agriculture students. I highlighted the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture with a trivia game. Did you know Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of cheese, cranberries, green beans, ginseng, mink pelts, corn for

silage, and the number of milk goats? I capped off my visit by handing out custard with FFA members to elementary school students at lunch, and even enjoyed a leftover scoop myself!

Later that day, Shawano FFA members invited me to join their visits to Kindergarten classes in their district. With help from FFA members, we mapped out products that are grown and raised in Wisconsin, and talked about foods that are healthy and help to fuel our bodies. The kindergartners were full of energy, and were so excited to meet with FFA members.

My week-long celebrations wrapped up at the Pulaski High School with their agriculture classes. I met with three large-group sections of students to highlight careers in the agriculture industry. I encouraged students to think outside of ‘traditional’ agriculture jobs to consider a career in turf management, food science, or graphic design. In Wisconsin, one in nine people in the workforce have a career related to agriculture. Is there a job for you in agriculture? Learn more in my latest blog here.

This week, FFA members throughout Wisconsin demonstrated their commitment to learning about agriculture, and to sharing their passions with others. The future of Wisconsin agriculture is in bright hands.

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