Farm & Ranch Heartland Express | November 10, 2016 - page 11

November 10, 2016
Page 11
Medicine Valley
Medicine Valley FFA Kicks Off the 2016-17 Year
By Nadia Campbell, Reporter and Raine Taylor, Media Manager
Members of the Medicine Valley FFA chapter kicked
off the year with a party held with the Medicine Valley
FCCLA chapter. All the students in the junior high and high
school were invited, and many returning and new members
attended. Officer teams from both groups introduced
themselves and explained what FFA is all about to guests,
members and incoming students. The main message was
encouragement for both new and old members to be active
this year. Current FFA members were trusted with the task
of making the new members feel welcomed. We enjoyed
a friendly game of kickball, followed by ice cream sundaes
and root beer floats.
This year’s FFA officer team is: President Rachel
Lashley, Vice-President RaeAnn Heapy, Secretary Sydney
Veldhuizen, Treasurer Sydney Jones, Reporter Nadia
Campbell, Sentinel Tristin Smith and Media Manager Raine
Taylor.
A few weeks later, FFA members attended Husker
Harvest Days. This event was open to any high school
member who had paid their dues by the due date. Students
worked together to complete a scavenger hunt hosted by the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After the scavenger hunt,
members were allowed to visit any booths that interested
them to learn as much as possible about new topics in
agriculture. There were many FFA chapters from across
Nebraska who attended the event, and many of the exhibits
showcased aspects of agriculture to interest FFA members.
It was a fun and entertaining way to educate students about
the many opportunities and benefits in agricultural careers,
and memorable day for all who attended.
The first competitive FFA event of this year was the
Area Range Judging, held on September 21. Members of
the Plant Science class competed, after learning about the
contest and practicing for the first few weeks of school.
Although none of our members came home with ribbons,
they all learned new skills and enjoyed a nice day outside.
The members who participated this year were seniors RJ
Tutlam-Hazen and Wyatt Roblee, and sophomores Ali
Cottrell, Dylan Davis, Brady Henderson, Nate Johnson,
Sydney Jones, Sydney Veldhuizen, Tristin Smith and Reid
Stout.
The start of this year has been different for us, since our
FFA advisor has been on maternity leave. She will return
to school at the end of October, and we will begin working
on events for our first CDE to be held November 9 at NCTA
in Curtis, and on LSE competitions. We will also complete
our winter fundraising with our Holiday Sales of popcorn,
fruit and candied pecans. We look forward to the rest of this
semester, and hopefully will have members preparing for
State Degrees and Proficiency Awards before the semester
break.
Ten members of the Medicine Valley FFA chapter attended the Area 3
Range Judging contest in September.
Nebraska Farm & Ranch - FFA Section - Frontier County
Eustis-Farnam Ranked Nationally
Eustis-Farnam FFA Chapter sent two State Champion
Teams to represent the state of Nebraska at the National
FFA Career Development Events (CDEs). Their Meats
Evaluation & Technology team competed against 42 other
State Champion Teams and won a 6th Place National
Ranking, in the Gold Division. Their State Champion
Marketing Plan Team, earned a Silver Division plaque.
Both teams spent more than 4 months preparing for this
one competition! They competed against all schools big &
small, because the FFA does not have a class system, some
of the schools that they competed against are more than
twice the size of their entire community.
“We’re small but mighty, if you look at the schools
that we compete against, we’re always one of the smallest
schools competing. Some of them will have more than
2000 in their high schools,” says Sara Pleschourt, Eustis-
Farnam FFA President. She continued, “It is a real honor to
represent the state of Nebraska at the National level. Some
teams never get to make it to the national level, and to have
2 teams representing the state of Nebraska in one year is
amazing. People from many states see the Eustis-Farnam on
our jackets and think “Oh, Eustis-Farnam is back”, which is
a great feeling. Teams from all over the country know of us,
towns of 400 & 250, high school of under 60, and an FFA
Chapter of around 30.”
Both Teams competed at the 89th Annual National FFA
Convention, where more than 64,000 students gathered in
Indianapolis for 4 days. Of those 64,000 approximately
3,300 FFA members were there to compete for 22 National
Championships.
The Eustis-Farnam Meats Team placed 6th out of the
42 State Champion teams who were invited to compete.
Individually, Colton Thompson placed 2nd, in the Gold
Emblem Division, and was accompanied in the Gold
Emblem Division by teammates Leigh-Anne Lehmann,
and Ayden Boller, with Riley Eisenhauer earning a Silver
Emblem Division medal. The E-F Marketing Plan team
won a Silver Emblem plaque after making it out of Prelims
and into the Semifinals, but failed to make the Finals. The
Marketing Plan Team members were Lane Baxter, Gage
Bellamy, & Sara Pleschourt.
“It was a hard fought success. I’m proud of my team
and the work we put in to make it happen,” says Colton
Thompson, Eustis-Farnam FFA Meats Team Member.
Students in the Meats Evaluation & Technology
competition are required to identify 30 retail cuts (out of list
of over 120 cuts) by species, primal and retail names. They
also judged 6 classes, answer questions over 2 of the classes,
quality & yield graded 5 beef carcasses, took a general
knowledge test, and formulated a batch of ground beef. Also
as a part of the competition, the teams all complete 3-4 team
activities.
This year Meats Teams from across the nation started on
Wednesday evening October 19th, with the team problems.
This year they had to complete 2 keep/cull classes, and
identify the scientific name of 10 muscles & bones. Then on
Wednesday the teams competed at Purdue University, in the
BoilerMaker Meats Lab.
The Marketing Plan competition requires students to
work with a local business, write an eight page written plan,
develop a 15 minute presentation, and answer questions
from judges. This year the Eustis-Farnam Marketing Plan
team worked with Lazycreek Whitetails, and Kevan Hueftle
to develop their plan. To develop their marketing plan, the
team had to conduct survey’s and research the business’s
strengths and weakness, plus research competitor and the
competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. After they complete
their research, then the team sets goals and objectives for
the next three years for the business, determines how best
to achieve those goals and objectives, writes a three year
budget, and plans how the business can evaluate if they
are hitting the benchmarks set in the plan. The written plan
had to be turned in by September 1st. Then the team had
to prepare their oral presentation, utilizing PowerPoint and
a physical display to show the judges where they think the
business could increase their profits. After the presentation
was over the judges, ask questions relating to the plan and
general marketing.
Lane Baxter, a member of the Marketing Plan team, had
this to say about his experience competing at a National
Championship, “Nationals was a great experience. I think
that every FFA member should get the opportunity to see it
and have to hard work enough and be dedicated enough to
compete there. Working all year to make it to Nationals is
rough but it all comes together in the end.”
There were 31 State Champion Marketing Plan teams
that started in Prelims, and they were cut to 18 teams for
Semifinals, then to just 4 for the Finals.
“I am really proud of our 2 teams and how they worked
and prepared to compete with some of the biggest and
the very best teams in America,” said Chad Schimmels,
Agriculture Educator at Eustis-Farnam Public Schools.
Schimmels continued, “To compete at this level takes an
enormous amount of dedication and hard work. These teams
won their State Championships in April took a short break,
then started preparing for Nationals in June, working early
mornings, late evenings and even over their lunch breaks.
Again, I’m very proud of our teams.”
Eustis-Farnam
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