April 17, 2024

Local FFA officers say it's for everyone

National FFA Week

Nodaway Valley and Orient-Macksburg schools have set the bar high for themselves, having a strong tradition throughout the years of high participation in their FFA programs. This is National FFA Week.

Originally known as Future Farmers of America, and now known simply as FFA, the organization has existed since it began as one that intends to encourage growth in leadership, personal growth and eventual career success through agricultural education.

“Members are future farmers, chemists, veterinarians, government officials, bankers, international business leaders, teachers and premier professionals in many career fields,” the FFA website says.

At the head of each organization has to be a strong leadership team. Leading that team at Nodaway Valley is President Kerigan Brown and Vice President Chase Comstock. At Orient-Macksburg, it is President Emily Campbell and Vice President Kinsey Eslinger.

The Nodaway Valley chapter is advised by Joelle Grubbs.

Brown was drawn into exploring being on the officer team by the officer team that was in place her freshman year. She said they set an example as members who wanted to be in FFA and wanted others there also.

“I just worked toward the goal of being chapter president. It takes time and a lot of commitment. The chapter votes on it, so it takes a lot to get to know the freshman, helping them to want to be in FFA and showing the chapter you care and that you want them to be there as much as you want to be there,” said Brown, who said the highlight is seeing everything that goes on in the chapter and the growth of it at an individual and cumulative level.

Brown is also in FBLA, student government and is manager for the wrestling cheer squad. Additionally, she is the 2023 Adair County Fair Queen.

Throught recent months, the Nodaway Valley FFA has gone to national and state events and has served the community through serving farmers meals during harvest and carrying out initiatives like food drives at football games.

Comstock, who spends the rest of his time working for local farmers and tending to his own lawn care business, said that his main role is to plan meetings and other activities with Brown. Usually meetings are one Monday night per month.

“I’ll get the agenda set with Kerigan and we’ll decide what day it’ll fit on. I’ll help plan the upcoming events we’ve got going on and really just help any FFA members or officers. I really love planning the new events. Getting things set up is hectic, a lot of times, however during the events, seeing everyone talking and laughing, it’s a really good deal,” said Comstock, noting there were dress up days, a pancake supper and more at NV this week.

There was also a lot going on this week surrounding FFA at Orient-Macksburg.

According to Campbell, the Bulldogs have a high percentage of their student population who are in FFA, and they’re very involved in their community in a myriad of ways. At O-M, the organization is for both middle and high school students. They’re advised by Kevin Blair.

“It’s a lot of fun [being president]. I get to lead meetings, as well as come up with fun ideas of things for our chapter to do,” Campbell said. “I get to work with my officer team to make plans for things like FFA Week or our banquet. We’re hosting games for FFA Week.”

Campbell explained that being the top officer of her chapter wasn’t exactly on her radar when she entered high school.

“Freshman year I wasn’t super involved. I got more involved during my sophomore year and from there, it just built. We had an application process [for whoever would be president] and the seniors from last year went through the applications to figure out who would fit each spot best,” Campbell said. “Being president, I feel I’m definitely more confident speaking in front of people and in leading groups, especially in our meetings. Overall confidence in my people skills is probably the biggest thing I’ve gained from this.”

Campbell is additionally involved in speech, volleyball, softball, student council, yearbook and prom committee.

Eslinger is basketball, softball, volleyball, student council, speech and yearbook.

Eslinger’s role is very similar to Comstock’s. She not only leads meetings when Campbell is gone, she assists the entire leadership team in planning upcoming events.

“My role is to assist Emily in anything she needs,” Eslinger said. “I help her in coming up with ideas to get the officer team more interactive with things and how to come up with ideas for games with her.”

Eslinger said that going to events such as the national convention are the reasons why involvement in FFA can push a member out of his or her comfort zone and grow into better young adults.

Brown stressed that FFA isn’t just for farmers or farm kids, and that is a fact that is oftentimes forgotten.

“FFA, how it is described, seems like it is just for farmers, but there really is a place for everyone in FFA,” Brown said. “There’s public speaking, or leadership-wise, there’s a place for everyone. FFA is for everyone. People think it’s just a farmer’s thing, but it’s not. I think that’s a big picture that needs to be painted.”

Yearly FFA reports

NV FFA

Nodaway Valley FFA has had a busy year full of accomplishments and involvement. They have been doing various community fundraisers including Fill the Tractor where they collected canned goods, they hosted Fill the Bunk where they collected winter gear as well and Feed the Farmer. Events they continued this year was their adopted family, Legislative Symposium and fruit sales. They had a successful fruit sale season with high sales from members and thank the community for all their support! They brought several participants to sub-districts and are are proud of all of their hard work with some members advancing to districts. Members are busy preparing for contests at districts and several members will be receiving their Iowa Degrees at State. This year they have focused on creating more events to host for members during monthly meetings. Some of these include carving pumpkins, a Thanksgiving potluck, decorating Christmas cookies, and making Valentine cards for the nursing home. Leaders are very excited about the increased participation!

Upcoming Events:

• District Convention, March 2

• Ag Day/Tractor Day, April 5

• State Convention, April 14-16

• Annual Banquet, April 26

O-M FFA

This year Orient-Macksburg FFA has 19 high school members and four junior high members. They started the year with a Corn Hole Tournament and Cow Pie Bingo at Pumpkin Days. Five of their members competed in the Southwest District FFA Soil Judging contest that was held at the Armstrong Research Farm located by Lewis where they received a Silver Rating.

Before leaving for National FFA Convention, the chapter held Feed the Farmer and served over 50 meals to the farmers in the community. They also finished up their annual fruit sales campaign.

Seven members attended the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. They were able to attend the Lainey Willson concert, attend several sessions, experience the FFA Career Show, attended the Friday night rodeo, and listen to a couple keynote speakers. They found some time in their busy schedule to have a little fun with a group hangout in the hotel before enjoying supper at Bob Evans Restaurant.

As they geared up for National FFA Week, there was no school on Monday as that was a teacher professional development day; Tuesday was favorite tractor color day; Wednesday is chapter t-shirt day and also the All Staff Breakfast ; Thursday is Camp Day and the game day during flex; and Friday is USA day, as well as the FFA member breakfast and judging of the dirtiest vehicle.

- Submitted by the O-M FFA

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.