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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

March Archives

Straighten Your Fence
Mar. 29, 2020
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

Howdy Wisconsin FFA,

With the extended time off, I’ve had no problem staying busy. The list of projects on the farm never seems to diminish, and those projects certainly don’t go away by themselves. So, we decided to tackle one specific project this week.

Just the other day, my brothers and I were busy taking out an old netting and barbed wire fence. The old fence was severely leaning from years of animals pushing on it and is probably around 80 years old, so needless to say, it's seen its better days. Now if you have never done this before, there are more moving parts than one might think. First, you have to unstaple and unclip the wire, then roll it up into a nice ball, pull out the posts, string out a wire to see where the new posts will go, pound the new posts in, stretch all 4 wires to make sure they are tight enough you can play the guitar on, then the final step, clipping the wires back to the post. Keep in mind the hillsides of Buffalo County add in a little extra fun. But before long, your sweat and back pain has paid off and you’ve built yourself a Grade A barbed wire fence.

It’s certainly not the easiest of work, but building a new fence has several perks. First, it looks beautiful. Second, you don’t have to worry about animals getting out for a while (at least until a big oak tree falls on it). And lastly, you don’t have to worry about building a new one for several decades.

So what can we learn from this experience? Well, as life gets busy, we tend to forget about the items on our to-do list we “never had time for.” During this time off, we have the perfect opportunity catch up on some of those projects. These could include finishing a scholarship application, spending time with family, or getting ahead on some online coursework. With spring just starting up, your own fence may be leaning a little as you are recovering from a busy winter. With only a couple months of school left, use this time to straighten your fence so you don’t have to worry about it when things get busy again.

If you ever need somebody to shoot the breeze with, reach out to me at or (608)-863-6402!

Fence On,
One Call Away
Mar. 24, 2020
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

As you read our travel blogs, you have probably picked up on that our schedules have turned in a 360-degree circle. From constantly traveling to being forced to be at a standstill. The state officer team are not the only ones that are currently dealing with this situation.

My question for you is, what are you doing to pass the time with your new schedules?

As I mentioned today in my Takeover Tuesday on Snapchat (wisconsin_ffa), I have been keeping busy. I have been watching my cousins or my advisor’s children five days a week. I am used to being around children, because my mom owned and operated her own daycare at our house until I was in 6th grade. I enjoy being around kids and babysitting them whenever I get the chance. The other day, I was watching my cousins, Chantz and Parker. The three of us went outside to play our own version of a March Madness basketball tournament. Chantz won three games while Parker and I only won a single game. This is just a taste of what I have been doing the past few weeks. Not busy with FFA events but working on this behind the scene. The different pace in life is good. It is times like these that make you realize the importance of family- either by blood or by the family that we have created within FFA.

In terms of social distancing, I wanted to do everything possible to stay busy and to do something every chance that I get. This was my daily schedule for the last nine months, always doing something and not wanting it to slow down. As I am sitting here typing this, I can not help, but reflect on these past few weeks.

I have realized that from time to time it is necessary to take a break from your everyday lives. We are always caught up on wanting to always be doing something. It is always go, go, go in our society.

On Sunday, Kailey, the Sun Prairie FFA Chapter President and I set up a call over Zoom to speak with each other. We had met at the 2020 Halftime Conference and I was supposed to head to Sun Prairie High School last week to give a presentation about my business of raising and selling sheep (Augustine Show Lambs). We ended up talking for two plus hours over Zoom about television shows, both having a twin sister, state office, life in general and so much more. It was great talking with her and getting to know her more throughout the time that we spoke!

During this time that we are not able to see others in person, it is important to check up on others to make sure that they are doing okay. We have gone through a major change in a short amount of time. I know that it has been difficult for me not seeing my teammates throughout this time. Reach out to your friends, teammates, members, your advisor and your family during this time.

If you ever need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to send me an email, message, or letter! I will be happy to answer anything that you send my way!
Who will you pick up the phone and call today?

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And stay positive.
What Will You Build?
Mar. 21, 2020
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey everyone! Hope you are all staying safe and healthy through this turbulent time in our state and country. Throughout the past week and weeks to come, I believe that most of us have and will discover more free time than we know what to do with. With FFA CDE’s, LDE’s and banquets postponed indefinitely, the schedules for FFA members (and state officers) across our state have really opened up. Personally, I am also taking college classes through UW Eau Claire this semester and currently I am in the middle of a three-week spring break that nobody could have expected. March and April have suddenly turned from being two of my busiest months to weeks and weeks of free time. But what many of us may not realize is just how valuable this time actually is. As Greek philosopher Theophrastus put it, “time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” So, my question for you is how will you spend your time over the weeks to come?

Thinking back, I can not remember the last time I have had three weeks in a row with literally nothing on my calendar. This is new territory for me but there is one thing that I have discovered thus far; a 20 years old boy with a construction degree + loads a free time = lots of sawdust flying around at the Erickson Farm. Ever since graduating from WITC with my construction and cabinetry degree, I have begun to see the world in a new light. If I see a cool house or shed, my mind immediately goes to, “hmm, I wonder how I would build that?” Or if a piece of farm equipment that I would like is out of my price range, I begin to brainstorm, “could I build that from scratch for less?” And now that I have time on my hands, many of these carpentry ideas have made the jump onto my to-do list. My dad and I are in the middle of building a new hay wagon, I am almost done building a calf crate to transport calves in the back of my truck, and just today I bought the materials that I will need to build a new self-feeder for my Holstein steers. If time allows, there are plans for a new shed on the Erickson farm as well. Would I love to be traveling around to FFA Banquets and events in the weeks to come? Of course! But I don’t see this down time as a negative, I see it as an opportunity to build something new.

Now building a wagon or shed may not interest you whatsoever and that is perfectly fine! But I still want to challenge you, what will you build? To high school juniors or seniors, this is a great time to build your resume or to build a list of personal references. These documents will surly come in handy after your high school years. To FFA members, build your SAE or construct a plan how to start a new SAE in the year to come. And to anybody else reading this, I can not think of a better time to build a better relationship with your family. You are all trapped in the same house anyways, we might as well cherish these moments that we have together. Time is a valuable asset and we are each capable using this time to build something new. So, the question is, what will you build?

Have a good one,

Rise Up.
Mar. 18, 2020
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter

Well, that sure happened fast! In a matter of days, our schedules have been turned upside down to say the least. Just like that, we go from being crazy busy to crazy not busy. With cancellations of FFA and non-FFA events and closures of school, restaurants, and virtually all public gatherings, it’s pretty easy to say “how can things get any worse?”

I don’t know what’s going to happen with the coronavirus; nobody does. But what I do know is that the FFA organization is home to the most determined, ambitious, optimistic, relentless, and resilient young people out there. If there’s anybody that can get through this, it’s us.

The only thing we can do at this point is control what we can control. We can’t let the stresses of this time bring out our worst. Everybody is in the same boat. Our hearts all hurt from the opportunities we’re losing out on, but self-pity doesn’t make things any better.

I know it’s much easier said than done but remain optimistic. Stay in touch with your family, friends, and peers. Words of encouragement and hope can go a long ways in making someone’s day. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air as much as you can. Find rays of sunlight shining through these cloudy times. We may have to look a little harder to find them, but they’re out there.

We’re in a time of uncertainty during this unprecedented situation but one thing is for certain, progress comes from the struggle of former years. The coronavirus pandemic and its consequences may be a struggle we’re forced to endure. So be it. But with the proper attitude, perseverance, and grit, we will take the challenge head on, we will Rise Up and over come it, and our generation and generations to come will enjoy the progress from today’s struggle well into the future.

Anybody can lead when things are well. True leadership is revealed during adversity. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose how we respond. As young leaders in the FFA, let’s use this situation to bring out our best. Let’s find out who we really are.

If there is any way possible I can help you or if you ever want somebody to visit with about anything, PLEASE reach out to me at (608)-863-0895 or That’s why I’m here.

Until next time, stay calm, stay positive, stay healthy, and stay strong. Wisconsin FFA, it may get worse before it gets better, but we’re not going down without a fight. We will get through this together!

Hang in There,
The FACE of the Organization
Mar. 14, 2020
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

Howdy FFA members!

It’s been quite a week, but something I have been looking forward to was meeting with National Western Region Vice President, Lyle Logemann! He was visiting Wisconsin with a few chapter visits and meeting with a few of the State Officers! Let me tell you one thing, I was nervous to be with a National Officer because their power and knowledge overwhelm me a little bit. It's intimating to talk with someone that is a phenomenal leader in our organization. Eventually, the day came along and on Friday a few of us went to see him and go out for dinner.

He is absolutely making the most out of his year and it’s amazing to see such an amazing leader advocate for the FFA organization and the agriculture industry. I had the privilege to ride with him in his rental truck with a few of my teammates and having just one conversation with him was something so valuable. He is one who stands up for what he believes in and is truly inspiring to see his leadership skills.

He is the face of the National FFA organization. I help advocate for Wisconsin FFA. And you? As a chapter officer or an ambitious FFA member, you are advocating for FFA in your community! Just striking a conversation with an Alumni FFA member, a business, or an administrator talking about your experiences in the FFA organization can help make their day. Continue to share our FFA vision to GROW LEADERS, BUILD COMMUNITIES, AND STRENGTHEN AGRICULTURE! As nervous as I was to interact with Lyle, don’t let that fear you from messaging me! I will help you in any way I can so just email me at

Make it a great day FFA members,
Preparing for the Future
Mar. 11, 2020
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

We all have probably been asked once or twice before in high school “So, what do you want to do when you grow up?” For some, it might be simple. However, for many like myself, I had no clue. Deciding your future career is one of the largest decisions you will make.

Last week, Curtis, Daniel, and I were able to head to Chippewa Valley Technical College for their Agricultural Skills Contest. Over 400 agricultural students competed in three different categories which included Agronomy, Dairy Technology, and Floriculture. For us three, we had the easy job of talking with members and seeing what the three contests entailed. As I started walking around to each of the contests, I was amazed by how much knowledge members knew as they competed and noticed these students had one heck of a good time doing it.

All competitors were able to experience the Agriculture Day Celebration that took place as part of their lunch program which involved listening to several speakers, two of which were Alice in Dairyland, Abigail Martin and Interim Secretary of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Randy Romanski. Curtis, Daniel, and I were, fortunately, able to also speak during the Ag Day Celebration to bring greetings on behalf of the FFA. We each talked a little about what Wisconsin FFA has been up to and I wrapped up with talking about the upcoming Career Development Events (CDEs). After going through the different contests, I realized this ag skills contest is pretty similar to our CDEs and had to add how lucky everyone was to have a practice round to get ready for the FFA CDEs.

With our first regional CDE taking place today in Janesville, the season has officially started. But, for the over 400 students who competed at the ag skill contest, their season started last week and who knows maybe a couple of months ago for everyone. No matter what contest you may compete in, everyone is gaining experience of a different potential agricultural career before they are even out of high school. That is something one should value as not everyone has that option.

So, for those competing in a CDE, it may not be so hard to answer the question “what do you want to do when you grow up?” It’s awesome to see the participation in CDEs as you all are taking the opportunity to learn more about what could be an industry in agriculture you may be working in someday. And while you are competing, always remember to have one heck of a good time similar to what happened last week at the ag skills contest!

Good luck to everyone who is competing at the rest of the upcoming regional CDE contests throughout the state!

See you around,
Everything Happens for a Reason
Mar. 07, 2020
Cortney Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Wow time is flying! We are just three months away from taking off the jackets for the final time. Quite a pill to swallow for me personally!
Anyways, something crazy happened last week… I had just gotten done taking quite a trip to Mauston for a pancake dinner, Sauk Prairie for Culver’s share night, stayed the night at Jared Mack’s house and then went all the way down to Burlington! Now from my house to Burlington is three and a half hours so when they had invited me down for a chapter visit, I thought that would be pretty cool! The day was awesome there and I had so much fun seeing why Michelle loved her section so much. After a nice day there, I headed back home to make it back for chores. It is a herd of about 40 head of beef cattle and 30 miniature dwarf goats, perfect size for someone to do by themselves at night. First, grain the cattle and goats, done! Second, give all of them hay, done! Next, give them all water, done! Lastly, Check the lot. I was on my way to the lot and then I saw the owner coming down the driveway. I went up and told him that there was only one part left and he told me that he would help and then we could both push the empty silage wagon out of the lot on the way back out. All is well with cattle and no new calves for the night so its time to push out the wagon. It’s dark, cold, and icy. We start pushing with all our might while sliding on the small patches of ice littered throughout the lot. I heard him slip and then BANG! The extendable hitch landed right on my foot. Falling immediately to the ground I came to the realization that walking on that foot was not exactly possible. Through the pain I hobbled on over to the vehicle, hopped in, then called my mom. She luckily works for the Marshfield Clinic, so she told me that we were going to have to wait for the next day to get it checked out. That next day came quite slow but right away went to the hospital to hear the news I had been expecting, I broke my foot. Not just any foot, the right one… Driving was no longer an option for 8 weeks according to the doctor. Now I get to be chauffeured around to all of the events and it makes things a little more challenging but hey… Everything happens for a reason.
To all the competitors have fun with Sectional LDEs and CDEs!
Break a leg! (Pun Intended)
Daniel Clark Wisconsin FFA State Vice President
Every Mile a Memory
Mar. 07, 2020
Katie Loehrke - Secretary
Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Chapter
Section 8

No matter where I go, I always have some awesome people that I travel with. My teammates have made every trip we have gone on an adventure this year. Whether we were trying to find a midnight snack at a Kwik Trip two miles away or making the trek to the National Convention in Indy, my ten best friends made it a blast.

Collin can always point out some great tractors when he isn’t sleeping. Ryan is one of our best drivers, always getting us to our destination safely and letting us jam out to some good country tunes on the way. Lindsey tries to direct us somewhere, but usually, we end up in the wrong place. Curtis makes the back seat like the Scrambler ride at the fair and smooshes us against the door. Grace always has the best Katy Perry CD in her car and we sing those songs at the top of our lungs. Emily is our karaoke queen. If there is an old country song on, she knows every word. Jared Mack is doing what he normally does, making jokes, making us laugh, and accidentally making me miss my turns. Daniel is always bringing us coffee to keep us awake and serenades us to Josh Turner’s “Your Man”. Joe is the best carpool buddy. We are always brainstorming ideas for the next big thing we can do. And Michelle provides the soothing scent of strawberries with her eight car freshener trees on her rearview mirror.

From Madison to Wisconsin Dells to Washington D.C. to Shawano and everywhere in-between this team has been an absolute blast to be with.

Lots of love,
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