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Wisconsin FFA Center's Weekly Newsletter

Wisconsin FFA Update - News In Brief
A update on Wisconsin FFA activities from the Wisconsin FFA Center, Inc.

For the week of February 8, 2021
1.        Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters Online Auction.
2.        Students Participating in FFA Events MUST Be Active FFA Members on Rosters
3.        Wisconsin FFA Leadership Development Event Update - Prepare for Virtual District Level Competitions
4.        District Leadership Development Event Reminders 
5.        Wisconsin State Degree and State Star Applications are Due Wednesday, February 10, 2021 (Extended Deadline)
6.        American Degree Eligibility
7.        Encourage Members to Apply for State FFA Honors Band or Chorus - Deadline February 12
8.        Graduating at Semester Time? Eligibility for Participation in FFA
9.        2021 FFA Farm Forum
10.      National FFA Week February 20-27, 2021 and Materials Available For Your Chapter!!!!
11.      Final FFA Membership Due March 1 - Don't Miss this Deadline!!!
12.      Get your Students Ready for the 2021 Wisconsin FFA Agriscience Fair
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Upcoming Deadlines and Activities 
Remember these important dates: 

Feb. 1-14         Wisconsin FFA Alumni Online Auction
Feb. 13            Wisconsin FFA Alumni Convention - KI Convention Center, Green Bay and Virtual Option
Feb. 17            Virtual CTSO Legislative Day 
Feb. 19            Virtual FFA Farm Forum 
Feb. 20-27       National FFA Week

FFA Application Deadlines:  
Mailing Address:  Wisconsin FFA Center, P.O. Box 110, Spencer, WI 54479 - Send priority mail and apply the correct postage.
When emailing applications email to tbernick@wisconsinffa.org
Feb. 10            State FFA Degrees - Emailed or Postmarked - (Preferred that they are emailed)
Feb. 12            State FFA Honors Band and Chorus - Postmarked - Send to application and entry fee to the Wisconsin FFA Center and Email auditions to directors - All students must complete the application and entry fee.  Students who were selected to participate last year do not have to submit a recorded audition.
Feb. 24            State FFA Proficiency Awards - Postmarked - More details for submission soon.
March 1            Nominations for Wisconsin Honored Adult Recognition - Contact Jeff Hicken
March 5            American FFA Degrees - Emailed - More details for submission soon.
April 15            Middle School/Junior High Essay Contest Entries Due - Theme “Unstoppable"
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1. Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters Online Auction
The Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters Association, Inc. is conducting a major fund-raising online auction as a prelude to their upcoming 41st annual state convention and business meeting being held as a hybrid event this year. The event is being hosted on Saturday, February 13, both in Green Bay and virtually. The online auction kicked off at 9 AM on Monday, February 1 and will run through 5 PM on February 14. This auction features several major agricultural items, numerous toy tractors for collectors and several other items. The online auction is open to the public and the complete list of auction items is available at https://www.auctionbyobrien.com/cgi-bin/mmdetails.cgi?obrien19. Bidding information can also be found at that page.

As in the past, the current 2020-2021 State FFA Officers are offering 2 Leadership Workshops for sale.  Make sure to check out the details.  Each year these are a hit!! And tailored to exactly what you or your FFA alumni needs.  Make sure to get your bids in so you can purchase one of these fantastic workshop opportunities.

The 2019-2020 Wisconsin FFA State Officer team made hand painted flower pots for the 2020 state convention display. Unfortunately, they were not able to be exhibited because the convention was virtual only, but the team has donated the items to the auction, which is an annual tradition. All proceeds from these pots will go directly to the FFA Foundation. 
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2. Students Participating in FFA Events MUST Be Active FFA Members on Rosters
All students participating in FFA events (this includes activities at the local level), competing and submitting award applications must be listed as active FFA members on chapter rosters. You will be asked to provide membership ID numbers when registering students for competitions or completing applications. A review of membership will be done as students participate in events and submit applications. Students who are not members are considered ineligible. 

FFA Chapters can still add more members to rosters until March 1, 2021 but if the student is competing before that date, make sure they are entered into the National FFA Website before competing to obtain their ID number. Do not enter in a generic membership number for your students. This is not acceptable. Please make sure to enter your student’s correct membership number when registering students for events.

Remember Affiliated Chapters need to add all Second Semester students to the chapter roster too!!!
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3. Wisconsin FFA Leadership Development Event Update - Prepare for Virtual District Level Competitions
Please refer to the detailed email sent out on Monday, February 8 regarding the Wisconsin FFA Board of Directors action concerning Wisconsin FFA Leadership Development Events. 
1. District Level LDEs will be VIRTUAL. The state officers and their advisors are currently reaching out to each district to confirm the host and date of the competition. 
2. Watch for the online District LDE Registration Site so that you can enter the names and membership numbers of the students that will participate in the Virtual District Leadership Development Events. You will also be able to register alternates on this site for 2021.
3. Make sure to read the section in Monday’s email concerning eligibility of contestants.
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4. District Leadership Development Events Reminders 
Some very important reminders for those participating in the District Leadership Development Events… 
1.  Review rules and procedures for the Leadership Development Events posted online at https://wisconsinaged.org/ffa/events/leadership-development/  Each competition has rules, procedures and rubrics. It is important all participants follow the current updated rules published by the Wisconsin FFA Center.  The LDE site has been updated on the Wisconsin FFA Website.  Make sure your students review the “Learning to Do” videos and research all the resources available to them.
2.  With VIRTUAL District LDEs in 2021, we will be providing some additional directions and suggestions for giving the best presentation virtually. Watch for that information. There will be a few adjustments to our LDEs this year but the basics of all the competitions will still be in place.  The additional guidelines will assist students in how to work with their computers and rules as far as who is allowed in the room at the time of the virtual competition, etc.  
3.  An individual FFA member can only compete in 2 individual events and 1 team event at the district competition. If a member violates this rule, they will be disqualified from all the events they participated in. This is very important that ALL members follow this rule.
4.  Creed speakers are only allowed to participate in the creed speaking contest one time as either a 7th, 8th or 9th grade student. (Except for 2021 when 2020 participants are being allowed to participate again.)  So if a student participants this year as an 8th grader, they cannot participate again as a 9th grade next year.  The ONLY exception to this rule is for this year 2021.
5.  All participants must be active, dues paid members at the time of participation in the district leadership development events.  
6.  Prepared Speaking Manuscripts and Employment Skills Resumes, Cover Letters and Job Descriptions will need to be emailed to the host of the virtual contest.  We will provide more details on how this will happen.
7.  The 2021 DISCUSSION MEET TOPICS are online at https://wisconsinaged.org/ffa/events/leadership-development/
8.  Finally even with virtual contests, all contestants MUST HAVE PROPER OFFICIAL DRESS if competing.  Quiz Bowl can be the only exception at the district and sectional contest.  Proper Official Dress is defined in the Leadership Development Event Handbook.  Make sure to contact the Wisconsin FFA Center if you have any questions. 

Also, there are no published Extemporaneous topics provided by the Wisconsin FFA however there are SIX main categories that the topics can come from (based on the rules of National FFA) 1) Agricultural literacy and advocacy 2) Current agricultural issues 3) Advancing agriculture through agriculture science 4) Current technology uses and applications in agriculture 5) Agrimarketing and international agriculture and 6) Food and fiber systems.
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5. Wisconsin State Degree and State Star Applications are Due WEDNESDAY, February 10, 2021 (EXTENDED DEADLINE)
A couple things that we are seeing as degree applications arrive at the Wisconsin FFA Center…
If you send them in the mail: 
1. Make sure ALL pages are single sided…including the transcripts….that helps us when we have to scan them at the FFA Center. Then we do not have to recopy pages for our scanner.
2. POSTAGE….make sure that you have the correct postage on envelopes. We have already received several packages with postage due. 

If you email your state degrees:
1. Make sure your follow our labeling instructions below for each state degree application you send.

OPTIONS FOR SUBMITTING STATE DEGREES:
Reviewing State FFA Degree Applications is going to be different for us this year as the Wisconsin FFA Board of Directors will not be in person to conduct this process. Here is how you can submit your State FFA Degree and Star applications so this process can be managed effectively through an electronic review process. 

In submitting State Degree applications, there is more than just submitting the pdf that is generated from the FFA Application Center. 

Remember that a complete State FFA Degree Application needs to include the following items:
1. Application
2. The additional page that lists speeches, leadership capacities, parli pro abilities and POA requirements (Manual Page). This appears when the student creates the pdf from the Application Center but is it not complete and needs to be completed “manually”. Either typed or handwritten is fine. 
3. A copy of the student's high school transcript with highlighted ag courses. Use a color or circle the courses so if scanned we can identify what you have highlighted. - Remember 360 hours of secondary agricultural education course work has to be completed at the time of applying. The one exception was detailed in the last State Degree email sent to you.
4. The state degree application does not have “electronic” signatures like the American Degree applications. Actual signatures are required from the parent, the candidate, the chapter president, the advisor, the principal and the guidance counselor.These need to all be included with the application in whatever format you can obtain these. It has to be more than just typing in a name.It is best to have them all on the front cover of the state degree. However we do understand that the current COVID situation may cause this to be difficult for some. You may need to submit multiple front pages or have separate signature pages with the verification statement that you find on the application. Just please remember to include all of these when submitting your application. If you have any problems with this please contact us. 

WHAT TO DO NEXT….do what is easiest for you and your students..but with each application make sure the above items are all included. Here are Two Options…..

OPTION 1: SCAN THE ENTIRE APPLICATION WITH ATTACHMENTS INCLUDED AND EMAIL TO THE WISCONSIN FFA CENTER - NOTE: ALL PARTS NEED TO BE IN ONE DOCUMENT!!!
Emailed by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, February 10, 2021

    If you can do this once all of the materials are all gathered together for the student this would help us and save time in scanning over 300 applications. 
    Please follow these directions for EACH APPLICATION:
    a. Scan application and ALL attachments IN ONE DOCUMENTand LABEL AS FOLLOWS: SD.Chapter Name.First Initial.Last Name
    b. Send each application in a separate email with the Subject Line Reading: State Degree - Chapter Name - First and Last Name.
    c. Email the applications to Terry Bernick tbernick@wisconsinffa.org

OPTION 2: MAIL THE APPLICATION WITH ALL COMPONENTS TO THE WISCONSIN FFA CENTER
Postmarked February 10, 2021 to Wisconsin FFA Center, P. O. Box 110, Spencer, WI 54479 (Make sure to double check postage. Sending priority mail is requested for faster delivery and tracking.)
We will be scanning the applications we receive in the mail and then emailing them to our review committee. Following these couple guidelines will make our job much easier.
    a. Do not put these applications in folders or with binding.
    b. Use one staple to put everything together including all attachments. Multiple staples will take time to remove. 
    c. Print on one side of the paper. Printing back to back pages takes more time for us to scan. 
  d. Make sure the copy of the high school transcript is also printed on one side of the paper.

State Star Application Submission - We will allow both options for these applications also. HOWEVER remember when scanning the Star application with the State Degree Application, please scan it in COLOR so the photos included are not black and white.
If you choose to email the Star Application: 
    a. Scan the state degree application, star application and ALL attachments IN ONE DOCUMENTand LABEL AS FOLLOWS: Star Farmer.Chapter Name.First Initial.Last Name (NOTE: Start the document with the Star Area the student is applying for.)
    b. Send each application in a separate email with the Subject Line Reading: Example: Star Farmer - State Degree - Chapter Name - First and Last Name.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please let me know. I am willing to set up Zoom Conferences to answer questions. However I will do that upon request so we know that we have people that will be participating. 

PLEASE NOTE: The Wisconsin FFA Board of Directors clarified the rule about the agricultural education class hours requirement to receive the state FFA degree. A student must have 360 hours of class time at the time of applying to receive their state FFA degree. However if the student has in progress agricultural education class hours at the time of applying and those hours will be completed before the beginning of the last semester, quarter or term and there is verification by the transcript that these hours have been completed, they can be counted toward the state degree. Students must provide a note with their state degree indicating that their class hours are PENDING and that a transcript will be provided immediately following the close of the term they are currently in. 

It is very difficult for us to move the state degree application due date later than it currently is and still get the review process completed. The FFA Board felt that this was an option to give more students the opportunity to earn their state degree. However again this is only if the student is completing their class hours within the school year. THE LAST TERM OF A STUDENT’S SCHOOL YEAR WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO COUNT. So if the student needs to complete their hours during second semester or third trimester,these class hours will not be eligible for the state degree until the following school year.
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6. American Degree Eligibility
"How long is an FFA member still eligible to apply for their American FFA Degree or continue their FFA membership?" A student can be an FFA member until November 30 following their fourth National FFA Convention after graduation...unless there is some military service to consider and then they can be a member until age 23. So here is a quick way to figure out if a student is still eligible. Take the year that the student graduated and count the number of National FFA Convention following that graduation date.
Graduation May 2018
1st National Convention - October 2018
2nd National Convention - October 2019
3rd National Convention - October 2020
4th National Convention - October 2021 - This would be the last national convention that this member could receive recognition at. They must apply for the degree by March 5, 2021.
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7. Encourage Members to Apply for State FFA Honors Band or Chorus - Deadline February 12
Each year we have two fantastic groups of musicians come together at the State FFA Convention to perform and also perform at the State Fair.  Encourage your students who play an instrument or sing in the choir to audition for the Wisconsin FFA Honors Band or Chorus. 
Here is an update on the plans for the 2021 Wisconsin FFA Honors Band and Chorus.
We want to be optimistic that we can resume somewhat normal activities by the time the summer arrives.  However we are also monitoring the situation every week not knowing exactly what the future months will bring.

We are moving forward with accepting applications from FFA Members to participate in the 2021 Wisconsin FFA Honors Band and Chorus.  These are due Friday February 12.  
1.  If a student is new to applying for the FFA Honors Band or Chorus, they must complete the application, send in a $10 entry fee and provide a recorded audition.  Everything is the same for new applicants as to what we would normally do.  
2.  If the student was selected to participate in the 2020 FFA Honors Band or Chorus which had to cancel performances, we ask that the student submit their application and a $10 entry fee.  No recorded audition is needed for these students.  We are also asking for the $10 fee because even though last year’s students did not participate in performances, we did provide each student with a t-shirt and used that fee last year toward that expense.
3.  Normally final band and chorus rosters are released in March.  Before any rosters are released we will be monitoring the COVID situation as to student participation guidelines, size of groups, etc.  All those things that have to be considered in gathering groups and the status of summer events.
At this point we would like to proceed forward with the applications and auditions so students have the opportunity to apply and then more decisions will be made as we know more about the status of student events and participation in the coming months.
Please send completed applications and entry fees to the Wisconsin FFA Center.   For those submitting recordings please follow the directions in the applications.  

This year for members that were accepted into the Honors Band or Chorus and were unable to perform due to COVID, they must submit an application and entry fee.  However they do not need to submit a recorded audition.   For any new members that are applying this year, a recorded audition is required. All students submitting applications must be active FFA members on their chapter's roster.  

Applications are due February 12, 2021. The plan is for these groups to perform at both the Wisconsin State Convention and the Wisconsin State Fair.  More details about these performances will be determined later as further plans are confirmed for these two events this summer.
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8.  Graduating at Semester Time? Eligibility for Participation in FFA
FFA advisors please note that students that graduate at semester time change their eligibility for participating in FFA events.  Because they are no longer enrolled in high school and in agricultural education courses, they are now no longer eligible for competitions such as Career Development Events and Leadership Development Events as well as activities such as Agriscience Fair.  

A student that completes high school at semester time is considered a graduate.  They can continue their FFA membership for 4 national conventions after they graduate, participate as any other graduate may including completing their degrees, proficiency awards for one year out of high school, etc. However participation in events that require enrollment in agricultural education means that they are now INELIGIBLE to compete.  If you have questions please let us know.

The most important advice is to READ THROUGH THE RULES OF THE COMPETITION so that both advisors and students know the eligibility rules before students participate.  We do not like to disqualify members for rule violations.
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9.  2021 FFA Farm Forum
This year Farm Bureau will be hosting Farm Forum virtually.  They are planning to have everything ready by February 15 to share with you.  The state officers are also working with Farm Bureau to create some other activities that would be connected with Farm Forum.  More details will be shared as this all comes together.
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10. National FFA Week February 20-27, 2021 and Materials Available For Your Chapter!!!!
National FFA Week is February 20-27, 2021. Check out BOTH the Wisconsin FFA websitehttps://wisconsinaged.org/ffa/events/ffa-week/and the National FFA website https://www.ffa.org/national-ffa-week/


AWESOME ACTIVITIES PRESENTED BY THE WISCONSIN STATE FFA OFFICERS….And watch for even more activities on social media, competitions, challenges, etc. Get ready to celebrate FFA Week like we never have before!!!!!

a. SIGN UP for a Wisconsin FFA State Officer “Stop By” During National FFA Week
Would you like a state officer to virtually “Stop By” your FFA chapter during FFA Week? The Wisconsin FFA State Officer team is looking forward to engaging with chapters to celebrate National FFA Week. We are inviting chapters to request State Officers to join in for a class or FFA Week event during the school day. The State Officers will engage virtually for up to 30 minutes and are able to provide anything you would like. Some ideas could include a workshop, hangout time, just attending your event, visiting with your class and more. You tell the officers what you want them to do!!!! We can accommodate Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft teams, WebEx, you name it!! We can make it work!!! Requests must be submitted by February 12th and will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. We will review all requests, assign officers and get back to you to confirm. Here’s the link to sign up!! https://forms.gle/znyMpEZqEQ4CLUgg9

b. "FFA Leadership Live” - Wednesday, February 24, 2021
The State Officers are creating another awesome leadership training opportunity for FFA members during National FFA Week. Wednesday February 24 from 3:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. there will be leadership workshops that your members can participate in. We may also have some special guest appearances. Topics include:
1. Motivation and Burnout
2. Sharing the Agriculture, Agricultural Education and FFA Story
3. Leadership and Commitment
4. Chapter Event Planning- Banquets and More
5. Building Connections

Contact the Wisconsin FFA Center if you want to participate (keeping sign-up simple) and we will provide you with all the links to all these workshops. Just make sure to put this on your calendar so students don’t miss this opportunity.

c. FFA T-Shirt Design Contest
We need your help coming up with a “TEE”-rrific T-shirt for the Wisconsin FFA!! From February 1-19, FFA members will be able to submit an entry to participate in the Wisconsin FFA T-shirt contest. Entries can be submitted by individuals or chapters. T-shirts can be created using online software or drawn by hand. The winner of the t-shirt contest will be determined during FFA Week. The winning t-shirt will then be available for chapters to purchase. Send all t-shirt designs to tbernick@wisconsinffa.org. When submitting the entry please use the following format for your subject line: T-Shirt Contest, Chapter, First Name then Last Name. That way we make sure we don’t miss your amazing entry. 
Please follow these guidelines:
1. Maximum of 2 color printing 
2. One design either on the front or back of the shirt
3. Designs must follow the branding rules from National FFA in the use of the FFA emblem. 

d. Are You Smarter Than A State Officer?
Do you think you know more than the Wisconsin State FFA Officer Team?! Join usTuesday, February 23 @ 6p.m.This will be a trivia contest like no other for members to participate in during FFA Week! Trivia questions will be a combination of FFA knowledge and random trivia. No registration is required! Don’t worry, we promise that there will be questions that will even stump the State FFA officer team. They won’t be studying beforehand, so this will be fair. We promise that this will be a night of laughter, smiles, and competition that you will not want to miss!

e. Download the FFA Week Implementation Guide
Need ideas for National FFA Week? Check out the National FFA Week Implementation Guide and the Virtual National FFA Week Implementation Guidefor turn-key resources you can use immediately in your program.

f. FFA Week National Days of Service - NEW
In honor of FFA Week, National FFA is encouraging FFA chapters across the country to register a service event to be hosted in the month of February and be part of the inaugural FFA Week National Days of Service! Service is more important than ever and FFA has created a Service and Volunteerism Ideas During COVID document to provide some guidelines on how to serve safely along with some project ideas. There is also an FFA Week National Days of Service Interactive Toolkit to help get you started.
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11. Final FFA Membership Due March 1 - Do Not Miss this Deadline!!!
Final FFA membership is almost due. Make sure you did not miss any students that are supposed to be listed as active FFA members with your FFA chapter. Also if you are an affiliated chapter, do not forget to add in your second semester students. All students must be added into the online membership roster by March 1. Do not forget to have all students that are planning to show at any county fair included on your roster by this deadline. If you have a unique situation with trimesters, etc., make sure to contact either Cheryl Zimmerman or Jeff Hicken to discuss final entry of members.
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12. Get your Students Ready for the 2021 Wisconsin FFA Agriscience Fair
The Wisconsin State FFA Agriscience Fair Applications for students to compete at the state level is May 1. Please note this on your calendars.
This is an awesome event for your students. Start early and remember to read all the rules and policies for the Agriscience Fair.
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Enjoy the rest of your week!!

Cheryl L. Zimmerman
Wisconsin FFA Executive Director
Wisconsin FFA Center, Inc.
czimmerman@wisconsinffa.org
Phone: 715-659-4807