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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

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Connected Versus Connection
Jun. 22, 2020
Olivia Lulich - Reporter
Mauston FFA Chapter
Section 6

A while back when I was at a chapter visit I was walking to the office and saw a girl walking and taking snap chats in the hall. Imagine basically the longest hallway you can think of. Because that's the hall we were in. Just us two. We all know this leads to the most awkward situation. Like obviously we both see each other from a distance. What will I do when I get close? Say hi? Awkwardly look at the ground? Do the fake cough when walking by? Or do what we all do, pull out my cell phone, look at it, go act like I actually have a snap chat or some messages, and avoid eye contact at all costs. But of course, I ended up leaving my phone in the classroom so I was out of luck. Now we're closing distance here, and I had no plan! So I decided to go with the half awkward smile and kept walking.

The moment came and my half smile started to get all half like. And… She literally walked right by me without even realizing that I was there. Like what? How in the heck didn’t she even see me? My half fake smile was on point!

At this moment I realized she was connected without having a connection. She was so glued to her phone that we never had a chance to make a quick interaction. Although in her defense, I also wasn’t going to make the connection if I had my phone either. This got me thinking that both of us were connected by being at the same school and by simply just walking down the same hallway, but even though we were connected, we never built a simple connection.

Another time just about every FFA member has experienced being connected with each other is at a leadership conference. Imagine getting to your favorite conference right after school on a Friday afternoon. You go and get changed into an official dress and meet your advisor in the hotel lobby. In FFA we definitely like to eat, and a lot! Every conference has a dinner right away before the evening sessions begin. Many of us have experienced this next situation where your advisor says “go find a table. I’ll be right there” and then they never come because they start talking to all of their advisor friends. Then you and your chapter members go around and find a spot to sit. The table then becomes full with members from all across the state. This is where the awkwardness starts. Everyone says “hi” usually and then sits in silence for the next five minutes. This is where we are all being connected by being in official dress and sitting next to each other. After about five to ten minutes someone so bravely says “so, what’s your SAE”. Then the table will either go around and say their SAE and eventually start an actual conversation.

As the meal goes on, being connected starts to turn into building a connection.

So what does having a connection versus being connected mean? Being connected is just like being similar. It might mean you have somone’s snap chat, sit next to them on the bus, have mutual friends, know of them, are in the same class, are co-workers, live next to you, have the same pair of shoes as you, or are maybe wearing FFA official dress like many of us right now. It means you have something in common but don’t truly know who the person is. There are so many ways that we are all connected.

But what about the connection? This is the part that many do not have. We are losing this aspect with many of our peers. It’s easy to be similar in some way, but how can we take our similarities and mesh them together better? It’s pretty easy. Put our cell phones down and simply live in the present. We seem to be building walls all around ourselves with the help of cell phones and being so committed to ourselves.

Be engaged with who you are with. You’re most likely connected to them in some way, but now work on building your relationship even further. We can do this by asking someone how their day was, by saying “hi” to them in the hall, get to actually know your classmates, or just being present by actually listening to the words people are saying.

Now more than ever, we are all very connected, but many of us are missing having the connection.

We all are connected in some way, but my challenge is that we start to work on building the connection. This will lead us to lasting friendships and stronger relationships. This could look like having new opportunities within your community with your FFA, or having stronger ties with an Alumni or mentor. Having connections is much better than just being connected.

As FFA members we have the chance to get to know someone on a deeper level than just getting someone's snap chat.

So I ask this, how will you turn your connectedness into a deeper connection?

Signing Off,
Jared Mack
State Secretary
My house is a mess!
Jun. 19, 2020
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hiya friends!

I missed seeing everyone this past week as it was originally the dates for our in person state convention but I absolutely can not wait for our virtual convention, it is going to be so exciting! One thing I’ve been doing lately to keep my mind and my hands busy is helping my family remodel our house! It has been a long time coming because we have been talking about doing it for years but we finally started late last year but had to put it on pause because of all of our other responsibilities, such as work and family. But being at home these past few months have really been beneficial in allowing us to put the pedal to the metal and tear some walls down. We are moving 2 sets of stairs and taking down quite a few walls in order to open the house up and make it feel more spacious. But in order to make it feel more spacious when the project is done, we have to live with boxes of stuff, random piles, and worst of all construction dust! In order to move one of our staircases we had to move a couple air ducts and some different wires but the only place that made sense to move them to was in the corner of my room, right above my bed! Now I like to be a team player on this house project because we all have to pitch in so we can get it finished, whether that's removing a fireplace, packing boxes, or dusting just about everything so I didn’t mind having to put a hole in my ceiling for that.

They propped up my bed and started cutting the hole, the hole in the ceiling has to stay open till the project is done because that is where we reach our electric. Once they were done moving the ducts into my room and we cleaned up the massive amount of drywall dust everywhere we put my bed back down and I crawled in for the night. A couple nights went by and then all the sudden I woke up to my mom and my brother taking out part of the wall on the level above my room. (its a pretty common occurrence to wake up to construction in this household) But I didn’t just wake up to the sound of the drill, hammer, or loud footsteps; no I woke up to dozens of little drywall bits from the hole in my ceiling falling onto my head and all over my bed! I jump up and shake it off me, with bits still in my eyes I walk upstairs to where they are working and with some confusing looks I told them what happened. My brother said “hmm, guess you’ll just have to deal with it for a bit” and sometimes the cold hard truth is exactly what you need to hear.

I am so excited about the idea of my house being completely finished but for right now, there might be drywall in my hair, I might trip over some boxes, I might wake up to construction noises but I know that all of this stuff that I have to suffer through right now will ultimately be completely worth it once I get to experience that final product. Similarly, in life our goals that we set might excite us to the max but the process of getting there doesn’t. That is okay because life is all about working through the here and now in order to get a better and brighter tomorrow.

What is one thing that you are going through right now that will build you a better tomorrow?

Stay cool Wisconsin FFA,
Love your friend, Emily Sheehan
A South Wind
Jun. 13, 2020
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hello Wisconsin FFA,

The hay is harvested and in the silos just in the nick of time for State Convention! Well, I guess we have to wait a couple more weeks than usual until the big dance but it’ll be here soon enough.

Haymaking went pretty smooth for Weltzien Farms this year. No major breakdowns or torrential downpours of rain got in the way to slow us down. However, the last two days we were making hay, there was one thing that made it much less enjoyable than usual. A south wind.

Yeah, a south wind. Now where I’m from, we tend to only have a south wind once or twice a year, so pretty uncommon. What's the big deal about a south wind? Well, when you are unloading chopper boxes in silos that are lined up from east to west, during a south wind, the dust from the haylage comes straight into you on the tractor, making it unbearable to sit on while unloading. It gets in your eyes and ears, up your nose, and every little crevice it can find, so you bring out the dust mask and safety glasses and stand to the side. Brutal. You come in the house at night with haylage in places where haylage should not be. It’s safe to say a shower feels pretty darn good.

So where am I going with this? Well, a south wind is an uncommon misfortune at Weltzien Farms that we have no control over. It makes a mess and there’s nothing we can do about it. Nevertheless, something positive usually comes out of the situation; a beautiful warm and sunny summer day always seems to follow. I’d say we’ve had a strong gust of south wind blow across the end of our FFA year. It’s made a mess and there’s nothing we can do about it. That said, I can just about guarantee the beautiful warm and sunny summer day that follows is coming. It’s tough to see that right now with our dust masks and safety glasses on amongst everything going on right now, but something good will come from the challenges we’re all enduring. Better times are on their way. And man oh man will it feel glorious!

With only a couple weeks away from the 91st Wisconsin FFA State Convention, keep on enjoying those nice summer days, especially the ones with a south wind! If you ever need anything, you can contact me at or (608)-863-6402!

Take it easy,

Used to Be's
Jun. 10, 2020
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

I used to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to a school or event. I used to spend my time with members and students. I used to be able to see my teammates on a weekly basis. I used to drink Mountain Dew like it was water. I used to eat 90% of my meals at a fast food restaurant. I used to dislike driving places. I used to always have a suitcase ready to go. I used to attend classes on campus when I was around.

Instead of dwelling on the Used to Be’s, let us focus on the now. Remembering those good times that we have had throughout the past few months. Remember the times that we were able to see each other in person and the adventures that they took us on. Let me share with you my fondest memories that I cherish from being with my teammates throughout the year. As always, I will go in sectional order!

Ryan- Our carpools have brought us many memories. From spending hours on end in a vehicle together in Michigan, Illinois, and all over the state of Wisconsin. We have had some interesting conversations. And some long conversations on the phone when I am driving home late from places to make sure that I do not fall asleep.

Curtis- His jokes. You have the best one liners, but what I love the most is hearing his laugh fill the room.

Grace- Always having the Mountain Dew ready to go. I do not know how we would have been able to survive without the constant supply you have!

Emily- One of my favorite adventure buddies. She is always up for something new and fun! From teaching me how to milk a cow, skydiving and getting a tattoo, she is always game for anything!

Jared- Best FIRE Conference partner! I mean who can complain if you get to throw food at each other multiple times a day?

Daniel- He took up baking this year and of course we had to try some recipes out. We should not be allowed in a kitchen together. We tend to go off script and add in some ingredients that we were not supposed to. Some of the goodies that we made turned out great, others were interesting to say the least.

Lydia- Coffee and shopping are always a must with her. It is a time that we can catch-up and not worry about the things that are happening in our lives.

Joe- The man that decided to take on the big guns in a S’mores eating contest. Do not let his small figure fool you. He can eat! A rematch is in order soon.

Michelle- She is unbelievably motivated to continue to push herself to keep growing and bettering herself. She is a wiz at all social media platforms, and I need another lesson on how to make my captions sound fantastic! I need some more puns sent my way!

Collin- A friend. A teammate. A true leader. A person that I look up to. Someone that has helped me more than he will ever know. I hope to be half of the speaker that he is.

Instead of focusing on the Used to Be’s and all the things that we are missing out on, start making new memories! From being able to have supper as a family or just relaxing in the pool with my sister, I am making new memories to cherish. It is your turn to start doing the same.
Thank You "Dairy" Much!
Jun. 08, 2020
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

June has always been one of my favorite months of the year. It marks the start of summer vacation, the start of haying season, and usually the start of summer festivals and fairs that fill each of our calendars. But, typical of the year 2020, the “usual” is not happening this year. One of my favorite events throughout the month of June is always the Barron County June Dairy Breakfast. Whether helping to set up, wait tables, tour the farm, or of course eat breakfast, I enjoy every part of this annual event. It is always fun to watch the kids that did not grow up on a farm see the animals for the first time and experience just what life is like on the farm, or so they think. Unfortunately, our dairy breakfast, which was supposed to be held last weekend, had to be cancelled this year. But, just as one opportunity was taken away, I have found a new way to celebrate June Dairy Month this year!

Ever since the summer after my sophomore year of high school, I have enjoyed working on numerous local dairy farms. First Indianhead Holsteins in Barron, then Castell Farms of Almena, and since June of 2017, Brokers Farms in Rice Lake. From milking cows to baling hay and everything in between, I could not ask for three better families to work for and grow up with. But although I have put in many hours for these farmers over the years, I have always been a part time employee. I had become accustomed to milking nights and weekends and always helping out whenever there was hay to be made. And that has pretty much been my work schedule throughout my year of state office, milking here and there whenever I was able to. Or at least that was my schedule until the month of March.

Many Americans found themselves out of work when the covid-19 virus really began to spread in mid-March. But I found myself in the opposite situation. With all of my FFA events wiped off my calendar, I have been working at Broker Farms at least six days a week since March. And although it would be nice to sleep in here or there, it has been an awesome couple of months. For the first time in my life, I really have been able to witness everything that happens on a dairy farm on a day to day basis now that milking is the only thing on my calendar. And I have developed an even greater appreciation for our Wisconsin Dairy Farmers.

June Dairy month is usually a time for us all to support and say thank you to our dairy farmers. And although I cannot do that in person, I still want to say thank you. Thank you for the hard work that you put in each and every day whether the price of milk is good or the price of milk is bad. Thank you for wearing all the different hats that it takes to be a dairy farmer. Whether you need to be a milker or a mechanic, the business owner or the breeder, a father or a farrier, you can do it all. And finally, thank you to our farmers for always supporting Wisconsin FFA in all that we do. Even when times are tough, you still support us. But please don’t forget that during those tough times, over 20,000 Wisconsin FFA members have your back because we still believe in the future of agriculture and we believe in you. Thank you for all that you do.

Ryan Erickson

P.S. - I will be attending UW Platteville next fall so if any dairy farmers near Platteville will be in need of a hired man, shoot me an email at!!
Hay to be Made!
Jun. 05, 2020
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter

It’s safe to say this spring has been one for the history books. For the past couple of months, we’ve been asking “what event will be cancelled next?”, and now it seems like we’re to the point of asking “what will be the next event to actually happen?”. But as the spring has begun its transition into summer, I’ve found myself participating in one event that even the coronavirus can’t cancel: haymaking.

There are few summer activities more satisfying than making hay. Whether it’s filling a silo or stacking the barn full of bales, you simply can’t beat the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing that beautiful green field of alfalfa get stowed away for the livestock to enjoy at a later date. It’s always a process- cutting, raking, chopping/baling, hauling, and unloading- and in recent springs it’s been a challenge to get enough days in a row without rain to make that process go as planned. Regardless, when there’s hay to be made, it’s go time!

So far this spring, we’ve had pretty good conditions for haymaking but when it comes to conditions for the end of our FFA year, we haven’t been so lucky. We’ve been jumping over hurdles left and right as we’ve tried to wait for the COVID19 storm to pass. We’ve fought tooth and nail as long as we could, but unfortunately, we’ve run out of time. We should be just 10 days away from dropping the gavel at the 91st Wisconsin FFA State Convention. As fate would have it, that’s not the case, but there are still FFA members to recognize, achievements to celebrate, and supporters to thank. The show must go on!

State Convention won’t be the same this year and that’s a tough pill to swallow. It will be uncharted waters for all of us, but please know we are doing everything we can to create a meaningful online experience for everyone to enjoy. I hope you’ll join us July 6th-10th for the 2020 Wisconsin FFA Online Convention because ladies and gentlemen, there is hay to be made, and it’s go time!

So long,
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