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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

April Archives

Samuelson Sez “Retitle it”
Apr. 27, 2020
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

With the extra free time that so many of us are experiencing right now, I think we have all found ourselves scrolling through the channels on TV more than ever before. As I was channel surfing this last weekend, I came upon a segment on RFD TV titled “Samuelson Sez,” a short commentary piece from the legendary Orion Samuelson. Samuelson, who is the co-host of “This Week in Agribusiness” and is a Wisconsin native, has been broadcasting for over 60 years and is known as the voice of American agriculture. And nearly every morning that I spend in the milking parlor at work, I listen in to Samuelson’s “US Farm Report” as do thousands of other farmers and agriculturists across this county.

For this “Samuelson Sez” segment on RFD TV, Samuelson began by sharing his thoughts about the year that our country and world is experiencing. “There is no question that this year will be known forever on the planet as the year of the Coronavirus. I’m tired of that title so let me retitle it…” It only took that sentence and a half to grab my attention and cause me to pay close attention to the advice Mr. Samuelson was about to share. “…let me retitle it as the year of the rebound in gardening!” Samuelson went on to explain how there has been an increase in gardening this year across the globe from Russia to Singapore to hear at home in the US. “So, if you’re looking at teaching your kids something new to do, you might try gardening. And if your looking to teach them where their food comes from, you might try gardening.”

I would echo Samuelson’s thoughts about the many benefits from gardening, especially when the garden becomes a project that the whole family can play a role in. But no matter if you have a green thumb or if you prefer the produce section of the grocery store, I think Orion Samuelson provided us with a message we can all take to heart; “retitle it.” We are all going through challenges right now, that is not a secret to anyone. But that doesn’t that doesn’t need to define what 2020 will be remembered for. I challenge you to “retitle it.” Whether than means making it the “year of gardening,” “year of scrapbooking,” or “the best dang year I have ever spent with my family,” it is up to you. Retitle it.

Have a good one,
Ryan Erickson
Change of Pace
Apr. 26, 2020
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter

Well, I guess one could say we’ve had a little change of pace in the last month. Things sure slowed down in a hurry, and I’m getting just as anxious as the next guy to get this show back on the road. But between online schoolwork, time on the farm, and planning state convention with my teammates, I’ve been plugging along.

Since we’ve been home, Curtis and I have been rotating milking the night shift with Dad and I’d have to say those nights have been some of the most refreshing times of this whole ordeal for me. I get some quality time with the old man, have all kinds of discussions trying to solve the world’s problems, and there’s plenty of time for just plain thinking to the relaxing beat of milk pouring into the pipeline. And after all 180 cows are milked, you walk down the aisle of the quiet free-stall barn filled with happy cows lounging in their beds. It’s peaceful. And that’s a feeling I’ve haven’t felt too often in the last 22 months.

Yes, I miss running and gunning full throttle in the worst way, but I’ve found plenty of rewarding moments at home. Sitting down for 2 family meals a day? I had forgotten that was still a thing! Spending the evening playing cards with the family? I had forgotten how good it feels to take your little brothers to the cleaners in a game of Euchre! Taking time to go for a run on a beautiful spring evening? I had forgotten how out of shape I am!

I hope you’re having some of the same rewarding moments. Just because we’ve seen a change of pace doesn’t mean the clock is ticking any slower. Cherish this time with family, time to catch up with friends, time to enjoy the great outdoors, and time to catch up on that to-do list because when the flood gates finally open, there’ll be another change of pace- this time full steam ahead. And we better be ready!

May is almost here, farmers are hitting the fields, and the grass is looking greener by the day! Keep your nose to the grindstone and if you’re ever looking to do some socializing, give me a shout at (608)-863-0895!

Take it easy,
Apr. 25, 2020
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

When you were a kid, you probably played a lot of activities and games so you could relieve all the energy you had inside you! During this game, there were a bunch of your friends sitting down in a circle while one of your friends would go around and tap your head saying Duck…Duck…..Duck….Duck….Duck….GOOSE! Whoever would be that GOOSE would have to stand up immediately, and chase your friend. The rest, is hiSTORY. What story would it unfold - you tagging your friend and having to sit back down or were you not fast enough and then having to be the tagger? A lot of different story's that could have been told from playing these games.

The stories I had from Poultry Evaluation Career Development Events could not wait any longer as I hosted a Chicken Chat on Zoom this past Friday. We all quickly turned into a group of friends just talking chicken and having some fun with the circumstances at this point. We first graded interior grades which is a part of the Poultry Evaluation CDE. After grading the eggs, we switched our mindset into how would we grade ourselves right now? Maybe some of us are working harder, but I know for me, it has been a struggling time. We discuss how we can have a better mindset to envision how the rest of the year of 2020 will go! Will we be a chicken and not RISE UP to the opportunity in front of us or will be the GOOSE that has the energy to have a little fun in our group of friends?

We must shift our perspective to focusing on the good. Having a laugh or being grateful for what we have. This will all help us to be the GOOSE instead of a CHICKEN.

Let’s not all be chickens now and be a GOOSE. Take a risk and be positive,
10% Is Greater Than 90%
Apr. 18, 2020
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

At 6:02 pm on March 12, Collin, Curtis, and I walked into Random Lake High School to compete in the 1st Annual Random Lake FFA Trivia Night. Initially we thought this event was going to be trivia questions about agriculture, so we figured we had a shot. In all honesty, though, we had no clue what we were getting ourselves into that night. I guess some of it was agriculturally related - but when the categories of “Movies” and “Name that Tune” came around, we were in trouble. Even the “Fruits” category took us for a spin as half of them were exotic. We were clueless.

Pomelo and kumquat. Have you ever heard of those two fruits? Yeah, me neither! And if you did, you deserve some recognition for studying your exotic fruits! Not knowing these fruits had us three guys a little frustrated. But that didn’t stop us from guessing, even though in reality we had no chance of getting the right answer. At the end of each category, the answers were released. The competitive part of me made sure to remember a couple of those fruits because I was learning them for the next trivia night I go to! Immediately when I got home, I did some research, specifically about the pomelo. This thing looks like it has the insides of a ripe grapefruit but the outside is green. According to my extensive research (a whole 10 minutes), this fruit is composed of 90% water with the other 10% is either carbohydrates or proteins. This got me thinking even more.

That 90% of water is something the pomelo is required to have in life if it wants to succeed, but the 10% protein and carbs are what it has to work hard at and focus on building. It’s kind of like for people: we all have requirements we need to fulfill in order to be successful. Our definitions of success may be different for all of us and we might have different requirements. For some, getting a high school diploma or college degree is what will lead them to success. However, to receive that diploma or degree, there are quizzes, tests, labs, discussions that educators will require you to participate in for your benefit, and they’ll take up about 90% of your time in school. These requirements are like the water in a pomelo. They are essential for life to exist, but they can’t be our sole focus. Instead, what if we focused on our other 10%? The parts of our life where we grow, develop, and build ourselves. Whether that’s clubs, sports, or service activities, now is a chance to focus on that 10% personal growth. Just like the pomelo, we’ll have to work hard at it, but there is no doubt it is impossible!

A pomelo reminds me of FFA members. The fruit focuses on the 10% of carbs and proteins of which allow it to grow and develop. As my food science professor would say, proteins are the building blocks in life and carbs are our major source of energy. We all have the chance to put those building blocks and energy to work now! This may be learning something new you seemed to never find time for, giving that neighbor you haven’t talked to in years a call or text to see how they’re doing, or just simply enjoying more time with your family. These examples may seem like they have no benefit for growth, but they will have an impact on your life that no one could ask for and that is all part of the process and does represent part of the 10%. If the past couple months have taught me anything, it would be that FFA members don’t stop wanting to become their better selves. FFA members are like the pomelo. It’s not just about the 90% for surviving. It’s about focusing on building the 10% for thriving. How can you focus on the 10% personal growth and truly thrive today?

Never stop,
Turkey Hunting Adventures
Apr. 06, 2020
Olivia Lulich - Reporter
Mauston FFA Chapter
Section 6

It’s that time of year, the grass is turning green, birds are chirping, flowers are popping, and my favorite, the turkeys are gobbling. If I’ve met you over the past year, you’ve most likely caught on to that I love to go hunting. During this time of the year I put a lot of time and energy into turkey hunting. I don’t know what it is about turkey hunting that gets me so excited, maybe it's hearing a strutting tom coming in gobbling, or maybe it’s just the thrill of hunting that makes me love turkey hunting so much.

In the past few weeks I have been getting up every morning at 5:00 AM to go and listen for turkeys and figure out where they are. I had the first week of the six weeks of turkey hunting. Long story short, I didn’t connect with one. I had a ton of fun though throughout the season. I heard a bunch and called some in. The couple that I called in ended up coming right behind me to where I couldn’t turn and get a shot off on them. Another one that I called in ended up having a hen show up in between him and I right before I could get a shot and he went to her instead.

Although I didn’t get one this season, I made some amazing memories with one of my FFA advisors Ms. Houser. She had never gone turkey hunting before, heard a turkey, or literally never been in the woods. Like seriously, she had never stepped foot in the woods EVER. It was a blast though! I was able to call a hen in for her to see and we heard a ton of gobblers. Getting someone involved in the outdoors and introducing them to something that I love so much was a great experience. Ms. Houser loved going hunting and wants to go back some time to get one of those gobblers, and someday we will.

My first season might have come and gone, but those turkeys better watch out because I got five more seasons just right around the corner! Rumor has it I can sound like a pretty good-looking hen to gobblers and can’t wait to get back out there chasing tail feathers. If you ever need anything, give me a call or send an email!

Signing Off,

Jared Mack
State Secretary
Wisconsin Association of FFA
Apr. 04, 2020
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hiya Friends!

I hope everyone is safe and cozy at home during this crazy time! I know it is hard to stay busy while we are all stuck at home but that just means it is the perfect time to find some new hobbies! Now if you’re anything like me, your current hobbies include hanging out with friends and FFA… and that is about it. Which means being stuck at home can get pretty boring at times. One day at about 4 o’clock while I did nothing but lay on the couch that day, watching White Collar, and eating cereal, my sister told me to find a hobby. At the time I laughed and said “I have hobbies” but I thought about it and realized I didn’t have a single hobby that I enjoyed doing by myself. I am such a people person so all of my hobbies include other people.

Being at home got hard, it was depressing and boring. I was stuck in an endless loop of doing the same thing everyday; wake up, eat breakfast, watch TV, eat lunch, watch TV, make dinner, watch TV, and go to bed. I didn’t talk to my friends a whole lot and I lost track of something that I once loved, myself. I thought about it and decided to try some hobbies that I could do on my own. I got out the only puzzle in the house and tried to put it together. It was a 1,500 piece puzzle and I got the edge pieces put together and couldn’t get any farther. I gave up. Next I tried to braid horse reins. (This is what my sister's hobby has been all of quarantine) Turns out it makes your hands really hurt so I quit. My sister was so good at braiding them and it made me feel useless. Then I decided to take up crocheting, I started with the crochet needles and some yarn. We had a book that explained how to do it, I tried for about an hour but it just didn’t excite me… so I quit. Are you seeing a pattern here yet? Because I sure was, I felt like there was nothing for this extrovert to do while stuck at home. Until one day, I was sick of sitting on the couch and so I decided to go for a walk. What I didn’t know yet was it was raining. I went to my room and put on real clothes and opened the front door, but it was downpouring. Normally I would have just gone back inside but there was nothing left for me inside so I went anyway. I walked down the road and to a creek, I explored the woods and the creek for 3 hours in the rain! It was the most fun I had had all of quarantine and it was all by myself! I have always loved hiking and exploring but I completely forgot. Now every single day I go out and explore the wooded area by my house, it's not a big spot but it’s just enough to see something new each day.

I may not have found a new hobby but I did find myself in a sense. I have been so busy this entire year that I forgot to find time to explore nature, I forgot to stay true to my roots. Being at home can be difficult but this is giving all of us the perfect opportunity to find a new hobby or maybe even remember an old one. When I get low, all I have to do is think about why I am thankful for my time at home. What is something new that you will try at home?

Love all you crazy people!
~Emily Sheehan
THIS or That
Apr. 02, 2020
Kendra Jentz - Treasurer
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Welcome back! It has been a crazy few weeks since quarantine began and the world went virtual. Lucky for us there are plenty of things that we can keep ourselves busy with, like family, school and of course Netflix! If you are anything like me, you may have found it hard to focus during this time. Everyday seems to fly by before I have time to even realize that it has begun.

For the past couple of weeks I have been feeling pretty unproductive and feeling very confused about what I have been doing and what I want to do in the next chapter of my life after this year. I have been so busy with events, conferences and meetings that I haven’t really had time to just sit down and think about my goals and figure out what exactly it is that I want in life. But this quarantine has given me the chance to sit back and really dive into my thoughts and feelings. So that’s what I did. Here is what I learned.

I realized that sometimes I give up what is important to me in order to make others happy. As I sat back and thought about what I am passionate about and the things that I wish I could do in life, I realized that in most cases when I had the opportunity to do those things, I didn’t. I push what I want to the side in order to make room for someone else’s wants. Doing this isn’t a bad thing either! In fact, it’s a great thing to be able to think about others before yourself. But it becomes less than ideal when you get so used to doing it, that you don’t realize you are neglecting what is important to yourself and missing out on opportunities that you might not get again.

This is the area in my life that I decided I needed to work on in order to have more clarity. In order to help teach myself to make decisions that I want and to think for myself, I have been playing a game of This or That. The game is very simple and can be applied to almost anything. When faced with two choices, I ask myself, “Do I want THIS or THAT?” The point of the game is to say the first choice that your gut feeling tells you. At the start of playing this game I could feel myself hesitating on my answer and thinking about it longer than I should have. However, as time has gone on, I have been answering faster and answering with the first thought that has come to my head.

By playing this game, I have slowly been teaching myself to be proactive about what I want and making decisions based on what I want. Although a slow process, I have been able to figure out what exactly it is my goals and plans for the future are. During this time where we are all inside, I encourage you to take some time and just sit back and try to really figure out what it is you are passionate about. What your goals are. Who you want to be in 10 years. What direction you want life to take you. Take this time and use it for yourself. You never know what you might discover!

I hope you all are making the best of the time you have at home! If you ever need someone to talk to or just someone to distract you from a to-do list, feel free to contact me!

See you later!
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