Five New London FFA members joined over 55,000 students from across the nation at the National FFA Convention Oct. 18-21.
The 84th annual FFA convention, held in Indianapolis, IN, showcased some of the pride and leadership potential of our young members pursuing careers in agriculture.
New London High School FFA members Gabby Schiesser, Charissa Bohman, Kacy Elliott, Tonya Clark and Mike Herzfeldt teamed up with neighboring chapters from Waupaca County to fill a 57 passenger charter bus.
The theme for the convention was “I Believe” as they focused on action, community service and career success as agriculture continues to supply food and fiber for our growing world.
A few tour highlights involved visiting Sprechers in Milwaukee where they brew 12 sodas (90% percent of sales), including 1.9 million gallons of root beer each year.
While in Indiana, we visited a thriving agritourism farm: Fair Oaks with its 30,000 cows on 10 dairy farms. Cows are milked three times per day on 72 cow rotary parlors. They have a museum/activity center for all ages related to milk and dairy cows. Students saw two live births in their birthing center as they have over 90 calves born each day.
Another highlight was an elk and whitetail deer farm. What started predominately as an elk farm has shifted to more emphasis on raising whitetails. Owner Cliff Karley would sell his four year old breeding whitetail buck for $7000, while a set of elk horns retails for $4000.
Ozark Fisheries dates itself back to before 1900 with its 300 ponds in propagating koi and goldfish. With an international market, koi retail for $8 when three inches long to over $300 for their brood stock. Members saw all phases of the operation from the incubation of eggs to fry (newly hatched), grow out raceways and the eventually packaging of ornamental fish into a box for shipment.
The FFA’s career show involved over 1300 exhibitors showcasing careers and agricultural products. From foods to equipment manufacturers, ag chemicals and medicines, to welders, veterinarians, organics, and much more. Students witnessed a concert at Lucas Oil Stadium with the likes of Blake Shelton, Little Big Town and Steal Magnolias.
Members financed their trip with the help of the New London FFA chapter along with the generous support of the New London FFA Alumni. Want more information about the FFA with over 500,000 members? Go to www.ffa.org or www.wisconsinffa.org .