FFA attends state convention
The FFA group from New Richmond made it to the 79th annual Wisconsin State FFA Convention in Madison the second week in June and garnered numerous awards.
It was getting back home that proved tricky. Due to flooding in that part of the state, very few roads led out of Madison when it came time to bring home the accolades.
But the group managed to get back to familiar territory with their awards and honors intact.
While in Madison, New Richmond's National Chapter Award advanced to national competition, which will be held in Indianapolis, Ind. in October. They made it to national based on placing eighth in the state for their Community Development programs -- out of more than 250 agriculture programs -- and for placing ninth statewide for their Chapter Development programs.
The New Richmond Community Development programs include their corn drive for Camp Courage in which many businesses, farmers and individuals participate, according to Rachel Sauvola, FFA advisor.
Also the group's cooperative fund-raising events with the FFA alumni, such as the tractor pulls at Fun Fest and at Heritage Days were recognized. Other Community Development programs that helped the group into the national spot are the Food For America Program and the cooperative Safety Day with the fourth grade.
"The Food for America Program is an agricultural literacy program designed to inform kids where their food comes from," explained Sauvola. "The FFA kids taught the fourth graders about soybean science as part of this program."
On Safety Day, members of the High School FFA provide safety demonstrations regarding equipment, animals and potentially hazardous situations to the fourth graders.
Part of achieving national competition status was a result of the local FFA's Chapter Development Programs. These consist of the activities they engage in following their monthly meetings.
"The activities include things like dodgeball, visiting the corn maze, snowtubing in the winter and playing broomball," Sauvola said. "The activities are designed to promote and build physical fitness."
Additional components of Chapter Development are the FFA officer and Middle School ambassador retreats held during the summer to assess the current FFA program, make any needed changes and plan for the upcoming school year's events.
Supervised Agricultural Experiences are also part of the Chapter Development component.
"These are the kids' individual projects," Sauvola said. "The projects must involve some aspect of agriculture and kids may choose from 50 different areas."
Sauvola said the individual projects are judged on the actual development of the projects and the recordkeeping each student does on his or her project. She added that many kids take these projects to the County Fair.
Local FFA member Molly Heintz had an especially rewarding trip to Madison. She was elected to serve the 18,000 FFA members in Wisconsin as the vice president of the state FFA Association.
Heintz also placed fifth in the state for her sheep production proficiency, seventh in the state for her poultry production proficiency and seventh in the State Star Farmer competition. She also earned her state FFA degree.
"The application for the state FFA degree is about 20 pages," Sauvola said. "Only 465 degrees are given in the entire state and the application has to rank in the top 10 percent of those filed to be awarded."
The application for the Star Farmer competition is another seven pages and more documentation, according to Sauvola.
"Only those projects that are exemplary are recommended for Star Farmer consideration," Sauvola said. "I recommended that Molly put in for it."
State Star Farmer awards are only given to those applicants who can document that they have put at least $5,000 and 1,500 hours into their projects, according to Sauvola.
Another local member, Julianna Casey, was awarded a Three Star Leader Award.
The Three Star Leader is another award which must be earned through nomination and Sauvola nominated Casey for her active participation as vice president of the local chapter. The three stars represent student, chapter and community. Active involvement in all three of these areas must be demonstrated to be honored with the Three Star Leader award.
The New Richmond group's scrapbook was honored as the state runner-up.
The New Richmond Chapter's Safety Program is one of the top 14 in the state and their Food for America program was the state runner up, which Rachel Sauvola, FFA advisor, said was especially awesome since the New Richmond group beat other schools that are consistently at the top of this award category.
The group's Parliamentary Procedure Team is also among the top 10 in Wisconsin.
New Richmond's chapter was also one of the top 10 FFA chapters in the state to be invited to participate in the Hall of Stars at the convention.
While in Madison, Sauvola had the opportunity to judge several competitions and present a workshop.
The New Richmond delegates who attended the state convention were: Max Dalton, Brian Mike, Tyler Lee, Missy Garness, Gabes Rabb, Ellie Wallace, Becky Revord, Molly Heintz, Andrea Scheder, Julianna Casey and chaperone Amy Knutson.
Sauvola thanks everyone who supports the FFA program all year and said she is looking forward to going to the state convention again next year.