Supervised Agricultural Experience
My love for agriculture started when I was young, through my first Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) of growing up on my family's beef hobby farm of crossbreed beef. Over the years I took on more supervised agricultural experiences. Those included - agricultural education through giving different demonstrations and activities with each grade level at my local school district; Home and/or Community Development, now known as Service Learning, through a Whitetail deer hide community collection called Hides for Heroes where the hides were then sold, and proceeds given to the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation to go on guided hunting and fishing trips; and my most recent SAE of dairy production placement where I milk cows, do feeding, and other farm tasks at a local registered Holstein dairy farm. Today, my most active SAE's include Beef Placement and Dairy Placement.
What was your first memory in the FFA jacket?
My first memory in the FFA jacket was when I attended the Wisconsin FFA State Convention my seventh-grade year. The jacket I wore was an older one that belonged with the other "hand-me-down" jackets in our high school's Ag room, with the name of Stephanie on it. As I got ready for the day and zipped together all pieces of the official dress, the feeling of belonging was there. I felt like I belonged to this organization, to an organization that gave so much to its members physically, mentally, and emotionally. Once I walked into the convention hall and sat through the sessions that week, surrounded by thousands of other FFA members with the same feeling as me, I knew I was in the right place. Two years later, my freshman year of high school I ordered my own FFA jacket. That was also the first year I attended the National Convention, with that being the first event I wore my own jacket. The love for the FFA only intensified and continues to grow as I progress through this amazing organization!
What is a tradition you do every summer?
Ever since elementary school when I was first qualified to, I have shown beef steers at the Waupaca County Fair. These animals have been born and raised on my family's hobby beef farm. My responsibilities include haltering breaking the animal, getting them acquainted with the show stick, teaching how to properly walk and stand, and blow drying them with constant combing. Additionally, over the year leading up to the fair, I have learned much more on how to properly feed an animal so they may attain a high rate of gain and have the least nutrient loss. I take pride in knowing that I have raised quality beef from our own farm that is then sold at the annual market animal auction. My family has never gone really big into showing, only ever showing at the county fair, but I sure have gained memories and experiences that I will never forget. Growing up a farm kid I was put to work, but through the county fair show and sale I have seen the prominent fruits of my labor. This year (2020) is my last year to show animals in the junior fair section of the county fair and it is surely something I will miss. I hope the tradition of showing animals at the county fair will continue and become strengthened through the upcoming generations in my family.
What is one thing you are excited for as a state officer?
This year in FFA will surely look different than any other. However, I am confident that it will still be great! I am so excited for the year ahead, not only to serve out my officer position, but to see the versatility of this organization. I am most excited to interact with the members and hear about their interactions within the FFA. I love to get to know others and hear their stories, whether that be telling me about their SAEs, a new community service project, a favorite Career Development Event or Leadership Development Event, or even just how their school year has been! Although unfortunately throughout this year the organization will have to opt for a more virtual platform, I am still excited to be able to share the positive message of FFA!