Participate » Officers and Staff » FFA Officers: Travel Blog

FFA Officers: Travel Blog

January Archives

It's a John Deere Day!
Jan. 31, 2020
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

Wisconsin FFA,

Welcome to 2020! Where did 2019 go? I hope the decade is off to a great start for you. Now that the holiday season is over and 1st semester of school is history, it is back to the grind. All of a sudden it’s the end of January, 2nd semester of school is firing up and Leadership Development Event season is upon us.

But in between all those activities, we found time to visit one of Wisconsin FFA’s strongest supporters, John Deere. In fact, they are the longest running corporate sponsor of National FFA, 77 years to be exact. Throughout our time at Deere, the state officer team had the chance to tour the John Deere Horicon location where they assemble garden tractors and gators. We got to see the whole process of assembly from the bare transaxle to the finished prime green and yellow equipment.

After the factory tour, we gave several presentations to the John Deere and John Deere Financial employees about what we do as state officers and how our relationship with John Deere plays a crucial role in making what we do at Wisconsin FFA possible. Not only is John Deere a vital financial sponsor of our organization. They also have their very own Alumni and Supporters group that offers their time and talents to assist FFA members and chapters. Members of their group volunteered to help with registration and the thank you writing station at the State FFA Convention in recent years as well as served as judges for proficiencies and Leadership Development Events.

But, they aren’t stopping there. They are continually looking for more ways to expand their alumni group and support Wisconsin FFA in anyway they can. FFA’s relationship with John Deere is one with a rich history, one that we’re proud of, and one we’re looking forward to continuing to foster well into the future. We’re lucky to have them on our side!

To say the least, it was a John Deere day! Keep doing great things and if you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to give me a hollar at or (608)-863-6402!

Nothing Runs Like a Deere!
8 Seconds
Jan. 25, 2020
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

That time of year has finally arrived once again. What do I mean? Snow. Snow in the north, the south, to the east, and the western parts of the state. With all of that snow and strong winds occurring one has to be careful while adventuring out. But there is one thing that I can always look forward to when January hits- the rodeo. In fact there is one that specifically comes to mind… the World’s Toughest Rodeo.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the rodeo with the Menomonie and Ellsworth FFA chapters. I enjoyed being able to reconnect with members that I met at my chapter visits earlier this year and striking up conversations with members that I had not met previously. There were students from other chapters across Wisconsin at the rodeo that I was able to bump into as well!

The crowd sat at the edge of their seats in anticipation as the contestants rode their horses and/or bulls in the hopes of staying on for a full eight seconds. Eight seconds of their lives; eight seconds until the crowd would cheer or gasp in surprise when the young man fell off. There were some that were successful and made it the full time but there were some that fell short. There were others that got injured while doing what they love and had to be removed from the scene.

I recently took a trip to Illinois to visit my teammate, Emily, and her family. We were trying to figure out what movie that we should watch that night and I had came across the movie 8 Seconds. I had never seen this movie before, but I had heard good reviews during my chapter visits.

For those of you that are not familiar with this movie, let me give you a little summary. The main character, Lane, is a cowboy who was able to ride to the top of the ladder and became a professional bull-rider in the 1980s. Spoiler alert: at the end of the movie, Lane passes away because of an injury that he had endured during his last attempt of riding a bull for eight seconds.

Eight seconds. Lane passed away because he wanted to do something that he loved for eight seconds. The bull and bronc riders put those eight seconds on the line last night to do something that they are passionate about.

We never know when our last eight seconds will be on this earth. Live your life like they are your last eight seconds. Do not have those moments where you think to yourself that you should have done that one thing, to live with regrets. Spend your time doing the things that you cannot get enough of. Push yourself to get more involved within your FFA chapter. District Leadership Development Events (Speaking Contests) are approaching soon, so try something that you have never tried before. You will never know if you like it or not if you do not at least try it out.

Eight seconds. That’s all it takes to change your life completely.

Stay warm and live your life to the fullest,
What's your Brrr...spective??
Jan. 21, 2020
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

Congratulations Wisconsinites! We are now officially 1/3 of the way through winter! Some of us may be encouraged by that while others may take a more pessimistic point of view. I encountered these exact thoughts just a couple mornings ago as I was having a conversation with my boss at the dairy farm that I work at. It was right around zero degrees and windy on this given morning, the coldest morning of the week, and of course, it was the morning with the most farm chores to do. But as all Wisconsinites learn, if you bundle up, we can handle about anything.

About four hours after arriving at the farm, the cows were milked, the heifers were bedded, and we were back in the milk house regaining feeling in our fingers and toes. I then piped up to my boss, “Man, its nasty out there,” referring to the lovely weather outside. He then responded, “yeah, but we’ve been lucky this winter. We’ve only had a couple of days below zero, not weeks like we’ve had some years.” My boss and I continued to have a conversation comparing this winter to winters-gone-bye, however, I knew that I had to think more about what he had said. We had both experienced the same weather that morning. In fact, he had spent more time in the elements than I did. However, he chose not to complain. Instead, my boss decided to have a positive outlook, or as I like to call it, a positive brrr...spective.

This concept of having a brrr...spective of the weather is nothing new. We all know that 30 degrees this time of year feels warm while 30 degree in September feels frigid. And 6” of snow in April is much more of a nuisance than in January. However, after thinking more about my personal brrr…spective, I have challenged myself to be more like my boss. We cannot change the weather, but we can change our attitude towards it. I can say I have never been a fan of winter, but now that I think about it, winter always brings about some of my favorite things; basketball, snowmobiling, or even just spending more time with family and friends. So, having said all of that, I challenge you. What about you? Can you not wait for this season to get over or are you taking advantage of all that winter in Wisconsin has to offer? Do you complain and fuss about the weather or do you bundle up and face winter like a true Wisconsinite? What is your brrr…spective?

Have a good one and stay warm out there!
- Ryan
All Business
Jan. 16, 2020
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter

Hello Everybody,

This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend the 2020 Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison hosted in partnership by the Wisconsin Agribusiness Association, UW-Extension, and UW- Madison. The event that attracts nearly 1,500 agribusiness people includes a massive trade show, several breakout sessions, multiple keynote speakers, and a whole bunch of networking opportunities.

As part of the program, I was invited to speak at the event’s opening session. While it was certainly one of the most nerve-racking speeches I’ve ever given, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will be forever grateful for. Afterall, it’s not everyday you get the opportunity to speak directly to hundreds of agriculture industry professionals!

That experience was extremely rewarding in itself, but what was even more rewarding was to look out over the crowd while I was speaking and have it sink in just who I was speaking to-agronomists, seed sales people, pest management applicators, soil researchers, co-op managers, CEO’s, and so many more. Members from all aspects of the agriculture industry had come together to collaborate, reflect, celebrate, learn, and grow as businesspeople.

It was at that moment when I was reminded just how dedicated our industry is. It is inspiring to know that we as FFA members represent and will one day become a part of an industry that is robust, dynamic, and forward-thinking. I was reminded first-hand that our industry is in good hands and from my time wearing the blue corduroy jacket, I know it will be in good hands for a long time to come.

Of course, anytime I walk into the Alliant Energy Center, memories from State FFA Convention start pouring through my mind. When it hit me that 5 months from now, we’ll be back in that building for the 91st Wisconsin FFA Convention, goose bumps covered my body! In 5 short months, 3,500 FFA members and supporters will have that place rocking! Can you believe it?!?

But we have plenty of business to take care of before then! District Leadership Development Events are up next on the agenda. Best of luck to everyone competing! Let all of your hard work shine! Keep doing great things and I look forward to when our paths cross again!

See You Soon,
The Pebbles
Jan. 13, 2020
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10


What a ROCKIN’ concert! Oh wait, I meant Halftime Conference! This year’s Halftime Conference theme of ROCK ON was a SELL OUT because FFA members were able to gain information how to keep going for the second half of the year. Just like a rock concert, there are multiple of stages that prove success.

BEFORE – The rock band would have to schedule and advertise their performance and practice what they would be singing. The FFA Pebbles Band? Well, the State FFA Officers prepared the workshops finding different activities to share information with FFA members in a fun way, making flip charts, and of course – PRACTICE! Your FFA advisor may have asked you to attend this conference, but you may not have known what you were getting into!

DURING – Drummers, singers, and fans all made the experience worthwhile for the rock band! At the FFA Halftime Conference, there were a lot of memories being made! The FFA Pebbles Band had our FIRST EVER concert to introduce the conference before workshops began. From meeting new friends to dancing our hearts out, it was a one of a kind conference!

AFTER – The again feeling of WOW! The rock band may have been tired, but the FFA Pebbles band? Definitely not! I was more motivated from the memories and experiences made during this Halftime Conference of the new year of 2020! A memory and an experience we may all remember. Whether it was learning more about different activities that you can implement in you FFA chapter to meeting new friends or maybe it was a different memory that you will remember! You first signed up for this conference not knowing what it would all entail and now you are hopefully feeling more motivated to be more involved!

What a phenomenal weekend and we hope you learned something at the 2020 Halftime Conference! There were many behind the scenes moments with preparation, but the conference was like none other! It is crazy to think that one conference can enlighten not only myself, but FFA members from all over Wisconsin and the impact the FFA organization can have on us! We learned in workshops about service projects, activities that other chapters do, learning more about ourselves, and MANY other ways to grow as a FFA chapter. The way we can get the most out of this conference is reflecting - look back, what did you learn? What was the most rewarding aspect you want to bring back to your FFA chapter? How will you share this message to FFA members in your chapter? I hope you had just as much fun as I did at the 2020 Halftime Conference!

Tuning in On What WE Enjoy
Jan. 11, 2020
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

As many may know, I played trumpet all of middle and high school. Throughout my time in high school, playing in the pep band was at the top of my list of favorites to do. I could never get enough pep band and attended every one. Often times there would be roughly 40 band members per pep band as everyone in the band only had to attend twice per term. However, once every year during January the pep band had 120 plus people in it! I waited for this night every year in high school. It was Alumni Pep Band Night.

Alumni Pep Band Night was always the same but 2020 was a little different as I was part of the alumni now. As many of my high school classmates were back from college, I had a blast with them playing what we enjoyed. Even though I had to tune the good ole trumpet during practice, that didn’t stop me from giving it my all. Oddly enough, I still experienced the same chills that I usually did at every alumni pep band when we started off our pre-game entertainment this year. A feeling that is hard to explain but makes one think, “Holy cow! This is AMAZING!”

That was when I realized that being a part of a band is really just like another family. Knowing that 100 other people are all here playing the same thing and are wanting you to stay with them along the way throughout the song. Similarly, this past weekend Half-Time Conference’s theme was “Rock On!” In fact, our skit at the conference featured the team as a rock band. While my high school band never “broke up” like “The Pebbles” rock band in our skit, we still experienced the same thing in the end. And that’s everyone giving it their all. Knowing that everyone in the band is trying their best to sound the best so we ALL can be successful. That was when I realized that being a part of a band is something I could not be more thankful for.

We are more than halfway done with the school year and I do not know of a better time to remind ourselves of the support system we have every day as FFA members. Whether you are a chapter officer or an active member, you have friends that are here for you along the way to make you enjoy the time you have in high school.

Could you say I miss playing in the pep band? You sure could! And I wouldn’t disagree. Those were the prime times in my high school band. However, that didn’t stop me from forgetting those memories.

Our prime time for all of us should be right now! Our prime time for all of us should be all year round! We as FFA members are always on the go and that is what creates the strong organization we have. FFA members don’t stop grinding away on what needs to be done next. Keep doing what you enjoy as members and you will never forget it!

Spring will be here before you know it and we will all be crazy busy with LDEs and CDEs. Let me know if you want help with anything!

Keep on working,
Rockin' into 2020
Jan. 08, 2020
Katie Loehrke - Secretary
Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Chapter
Section 8

HALFTIME IS ALMOST HERE! I am so excited! At this conference, I get to work with the wonderful Jared Mack! We are leading a workshop titled “Don’t Stop Believin'”. What we really want everyone to do in this workshop is to get out of their comfort zone. It is tough. I understand! Trust me, I would much rather stay in the coziness of my comfort zone. However, we need to understand that if we stay in an area where everything is easy for us, we will never grow. I have sat and thought about what my New Year Resolutions should be this year, but I could only think of the cliche ones like work out every day, eat healthier, journal once a day, and a few more. (It is a good thing I decided not to do those! I would have broken them already!) After thinking about it some more, and planning our workshop, I came up with some new goals to get me out of my comfort zone this year. Here they are:

1. Hold a frog. (I am terrified of them!)
2. Sing karaoke! (Other than in the shower to my dogs.)
3. Begin writing a book. (It has always been a dream of mine!)
4. Learn how to ski or snowboard. (I do not want to fall!)
5. Let a friend plan a trip for me/us. (I usually like to do all of the planning…)

I hope everyone tries to do something to get out of their comfort zone this year! Please keep me updated on your progress. If you do, I will send you a picture of me with a frog. I am sure my face will be priceless!

“Success begins when you become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Rock on,
View Blog Archives
Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan View Current