October 2015
Wisconsin FFA gathers for National FFA Convention
 
 
This week, Wisconsin FFA jackets will be seen throughout Louisville, KY, as the 88th National FFA Convention and Expo commences. The 2015 event is expected to draw more than 60,000 FFA members, advisors and alumni from around the country for four fun-filled days, Oct. 28-31, 2015.
 
“It’s such a life-changing opportunity for our local FFA members to attend this national celebration of FFA,” says Jeff Hicken, State FFA Advisor and Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Consultant. “This week is a time for students to grow, but also celebrate their outstanding achievements as Wisconsin FFA members. Many are competing for national awards, but those attending will receive an educational experience to remember. My hope is that our Foundation partners feel as proud of those representing Wisconsin agriculture as I do.” 
Foundation is seeking SAE grant applications 
 
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The Wisconsin FFA Foundation is seeking applicants for its 2015 Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Grant Program.
 
The application can be found at www.wisconsinffa.org/programs and must be postmarked by November 16, 2015, and mailed to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation office.  

Students can apply for SAE grants in four different categories: aquaculture, dairy, organic agriculture and start-up. Applicants must be a current FFA member in grades 7 through 11 during the current, 2015-16 school year. 
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Joan Behr 
 
 
 
 
 Joan on stage at the 2015 Wisconsin FFA Convention
 
I was never an FFA member or had the privilege of wearing the esteemed blue corduroy jacket. But, I did grow up on a northeast Iowa dairy and hog farm. And my four brothers were all FFA members.
 
When I was in high school in the mid-1970s, my local FFA chapter was mostly made up of young men from local farms. The chapter’s activities focused on production agriculture – raising healthy animals, growing crops and fixing machinery. I wasn’t going to farm, so joining FFA didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t join, the National FFA delegates passed a resolution in 1969 allowing female members. It was just that young women weren’t encouraged – either by their parents or the FFA advisor – to get involved in production agriculture or agricultural careers off the farm. 
 
Fast forward to 2015, and I’ve become a real advocate for FFA. Because of my career as a communications professional for a dairy processing cooperative, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation board of directors and being an advisor to the Department of Public Instruction’s Vo-Ag Advisory Committee. And this year, I was humbled (and thrilled) to receive an Honorary American FFA Degree.
 
I’ve seen first-hand what a positive impact FFA has on young people who are interested in agriculture and leadership development. That’s why I will continue to do my small part to nurture and encourage the talent and knowledge we will need to feed the world, develop new products and markets, implement new technology and advance agriculture.  When I see the passion and excitement for agriculture on the faces of today’s FFA members, it gives me great hope for the future of agriculture.
Dear Friend of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation,
 
Fall is my favorite season in Wisconsin. There's nothing I enjoy more than a mug of hot apple cider and my slow cooker bubbling with my favorite soup, which is Unstuffed Pepper, by the way! 

It's also the time of year that I am able to meet face-to-face with many donors of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation, laying plans for the 2015-16 campaign year. I enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new ones as I travel throughout the state. 
 
From cooperatives and retail stores to foundations, alumni and even restaurants, I've met with a wide variety of donors to the Foundation. What a diverse group of individual and corporate sponsors we have! The ag industry is vast and truly amazing in its daily work, but also in its dedication to sustainability through growing today's youth. 
 
On another note, we at the Wisconsin FFA Foundation have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback you've graciously given about our first eNewsletter in September. Thank you!
  
Enjoy this month's edition and as you go about your work this week, take a moment to visit the National FFA Convention website (www.ffa.org/convention), to get a glimpse of Wisconsin FFA members' achievements on the national stage and the many opportunities available for them in Louisville!
 
 
Sara Schoenborn
Executive Director, Wisconsin FFA Foundation
Meet Ethan Dado, Wisconsin's National FFA Officer Candidate
 
Home Chapter: Amery FFA
College: University of Minnesota
Majors: Agricultural Education and Animal Science
 
I live on my family’s 450-cow registered Holstein dairy farm where we also raise 1,300 acres of corn and alfalfa.
 
Running for national office is the experience of a lifetime. I would like to thank the Wisconsin FFA family for the support they have provided me and I am excited to be representing this great state at the 88th National FFA Convention.
 
I remember attending my first National FFA Convention as a senior in high school and watching the opening session of the 85th Convention and Expo. I was in awe as the bright lights lit up the stage, the music was blaring and the six National FFA Officers galloped onto the stage to begin the session. The moment was incredible and one I will never forget. 
 
Through all the commotion the one thing that stuck out to me the most was the influence those six national officers had on the over 20,000 people in the room. They were speaking in front of so many but I felt like we were having a personal conversation and they were motivating me. This is when I knew I wanted to be a National FFA Officer one day to provide the influence they had on me to others.
 
On July 1 this year, after a long day of interviews, I took one step closer to that dream when I was selected as Wisconsin's National FFA Officer Candidate. As I began my four-hour trip home to Amery I had time to reflect and was instantly humbled when I thought about the help and dedication I had received from those around me. I thought about the sponsors that supported me at the local, state and national level. The support they provide gives members, like myself, so many great opportunities to grow our leadership skills. I know that without them I would never have the confidence or leadership skills needed to even consider running for this position. 
 
I thought about my agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor, and how he helped me discover my place in FFA. I thought about my chapter members and chapter officer teammates that taught me to work hard and dream big. I thought about my state officer teammates that encouraged me to never settle and always strive for more. I thought about my family and how they helped me discover my love for agriculture and the immense support they provided every step of the way. I am blessed to have the encouragement and help of so many individuals that have shaped my FFA career into what it has become. 
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Maddi Colbeth, Section 1 Wisconsin FFA
State Secretary
 
Home Chapter: Clear Lake FFA
College: UW-River Falls
Major: Communication Studies 
SAE: Sheep Production
 
I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has ever supported the FFA. Throughout my six years in this organization I have grown in numerous aspects I could never have imagined when I was younger. I've been able to create and achieve my goals and some of my biggest dreams such as becoming a Wisconsin State FFA Officer, but also had the opportunity to impact individuals from all over Wisconsin. I have been able to represent our organization with a positivity and share my story, but I know this would not be possible without the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and its donors.  
 
Looking back along my path within FFA really makes for a fun story to share. I grew up in a family of nine with no agricultural background, but through the opportunities I have been given through FFA, the Foundation and those who support our amazing organization have gotten me to the place I am today. I have gone from a shy teenager to a confident, young leader.
 
started out my FFA journey in middle school attending EDGE Conference and chapter level activities. As I continued, I became more involved and took every opportunity I was given. I can proudly say I have attended just about every FFA conference at both the state and national levels form the Washington Leadership Conference to the Half Time Conference! I know these opportunities would not be possible if it weren't for those who are willing to give to our organization. 
 
As I continue on my FFA career throughout the following year serving the Wisconsin Association of FFA, I will be wrapping up my time as an active FFA member but I will never be able to replace the experiences and knowledge I have built. The memories I have created have been priceless and the skills I have gained will be put to great use.
 
In the end, it is because of you that students like myself have been able to become the leaders we are today and I can't thank you enough for all of your continued support! 
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Address postal inquiries to:
Wisconsin FFA Foundation
1241 John Q. Hammons Dr. Ste. 200
Madison, WI 53717