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Officer Profiles

Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter - Section 10
mkonkel@wisconsinffa.org
Supervised Agricultural Experience
Having been surrounded by both Dairy and Agriscience for a majority of my life, it felt fitting that my two SAE programs throughout my FFA career have been Dairy Production - Entrepreneurship and Agriscience Research - Integrated Systems. Since I was just 4 years old, I could be found in the show ring at my local county fair smiling widely during our fair's Little Britches show. Even though I didn't live on a dairy farm, I loved the world and culture that surrounded the dairy industry and eventually joined it by purchasing my first two Holstein calves at a sale and raising them on our family's new hobby farm. Little did I know the ride I was in for the moment that gavel hit the podium. For the past ten years now, I've grown from just two small calves to a sizable Holstein family with multiple generational lineages. I've had the opportunities of showing both at the Wisconsin State Fair and even World Dairy Expo during my time in this SAE and can't wait to see how my herd continues to grow.  My second SAE program came much later in life when my mother/advisor introduced me to the Agriscience Fair competition during my first year of FFA. I started conducting research on different food topics and finding out what interested me within the areas available to me. I eventually formulated a problem and way to find a solution to it, sparking in me a desire to understand why things work and a love for all things research and science. Six years later, I've completed six different projects in two different Agriscience Fair categories and plan to combine my love of dairy and research by double majoring in Dairy Science and Microbiology.
What was your first memory in the FFA jacket?
The earliest, most memorable first moment in my FFA jacket was during my first state convention as a seventh-grade member. As an ag teacher's daughter, I had always been at convention, but never AT the convention. However, I remember that first Tuesday morning while I was getting ready for the afternoon session. I was rooming with some of the older, more experienced members of my chapter and they knew the drill of how to prep for a day at convention. I, on the other hand, had hardly any idea as to how the convention worked. Still, I remember slipping on that blue corduroy jacket and walking to the convention center, ready for the first session to begin. Needless to say, that first session was one I will remember for the rest of my life. The feeling in that session hall was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Surrounded by my fellow chapter members and every other member I wanted to meet, I looked down at my jacket and saw a future of endless possibilities, connections, and memories that I was so excited I would come to experience.
What is a tradition you do every summer?
Each year, my summers have varied dramatically depending on where my family decided to travel or what events our community had planned for that year. However, one consistent staple throughout my childhood has always been the Walworth County Fair. No matter what the situation, travel plan, or responsibilities we had, my family and I always either went to or showed at the county fair. During the preschool and up to middle school years, my mother became our fair's Dairy Superintendent, meaning that she was in charge of planning, managing, and running both the junior and open dairy shows. This left me with some, at the time, very boring memories of walking around with Mom and making sure every entry was correctly entered. It also left me with some incredible encounters, such as aiding our county's fairest of the fair with the passing out of awards. As well, through our fair's Little Britches contest, I got to experience my first time in a show ring, even though I didn't own any animals. Later on, once we were finally able to show in the junior show, I jumped right in. Since then, I've created so many memories; learned A LOT, both from my experiences and animals themselves; and created a family tradition that I hope to continue on for years to come.
What is one thing you are excited for as a state officer?
As a state officer, there are so many experiences and opportunities we get to encounter that it's almost impossible to choose just one. And even with this year being so unique with the ways in which we interact and communicate with everyone, I am so thrilled to meet with all the members of the Wisconsin membership and learn more about what makes you, you! Throughout my time in the FFA, I've been very fortunate to have many of what I call "goosebump moments." Those instances where you get chills all over your body and the hair on your arms sticks straight up from special, feel-good moments in time. As an officer, I want to help every member find their niche and find those experiences that make their time in FFA special, so that when they look back at those memories, they'll experience their own special "goosebump" moment.

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