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National FFA Convention: It was a once in a lifetime experience for the Columbus FFA members that attended the 91st National FFA Convention. The FFA members not only enjoyed the tours, FFA Expo and convention, but they also got to attend the final session with a special visit from the President of the United States, Donald Trump. All political beliefs aside, this was a once in a lifetime experience for a majority of those in attendance. The president began the session sympathizing with the families from the synagogue incident and then went on to celebrate the success of the FFA members and shared his ideas and plans to help improve the U.S. trade agreements to help farmers. The FFA members were able to hear and see the President of the United States joke around with them and tell them how important they are to the future success of this country. Even though what we heard and saw in the hour and a half speech is not what the news reported, it was a great lesson from the president. His speech actually tied right into the Global Agriculture Unit the students in the Ag Careers and Leadership class had been studying. The president spoke about the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and how it will benefit farmers in the U.S. He also talked about improving trade agreements with China and the European countries to improve the economy for farmers and the country overall. To quote one Columbus FFA member after the president’s speech, “That was awesome!” The Columbus FFA members had a very full week touring Albanese Candy and a shrimp farm on Tuesday. They toured Kelsay Dairy Farm and Not Just Popcorn on Wednesday and attended the opening session of the 91st National FFA Convention. They listened to the keynote speaker, Kyle Scheele and his motivational message “Don’t Stop Believing.” They ended the day with a private concert by Country Music Legend Garth Brooks! Brooks was so taken aback by the young crowd’s knowledge of his music that he has donated a large amount of funds back to the FFA from his concert. The FFA members spent the next two days at the National FFA Convention attending workshops, visiting the exhibitors at the Expo, and attending the convention sessions. The students learned a lot about the variety of colleges and universities that offer agricultural programs, careers in the agricultural industry and humanitarian efforts supported by agriculturists. The students had a great trip and had an amazing time meeting new friends from the three other chapters we traveled with on the bus.

Tagged to Teach Ag: Abbygail Hayes attended a signing event at the 91st National FFA Convention Oct. 25. CHS sponsored the event and presented Hayes with a certificate recognizing her decision to pursue a career in Agricultural Education. Hayes signed a large document along with many of her peers. Glenda Crook, Columbus FFA Advisor, also signed the document supporting Hayes. The event took place at the FFA Expo at the Teach Ag booth. Congratulations, Abbygail Hayes, future Ag Teacher!

FFA Fruit Sale: The fruit sale is in full swing! The order forms are due Nov. 12, which is fast approaching. The favorite items ordered include the grapefruit, oranges, pears, gift boxes, beef sticks (G), and cheese spreads. If you need help in placing your order or if you need help locating an FFA member to make a purchase, feel free to contact Glenda Crook at gcrook@columbus.k12.wi.us.

Upcoming events:

FFA Fall Open House: Monday, Nov. 19, the FFA officer team invites you to attend its annual Fall Open House. The evening will start at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the high school with a potluck supper. The invitation suggests what each family should bring. FFA members may drop off their crop entries at 6:30 p.m. for the annual crops contest. The Wisconsin Association of FFA state officer Ashley Hagenow will be present to speak. The FFA members will share a presentation about its National FFA Convention trip and selected FFA members will share their Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE). We hope you can join us.

The Columbus FFA raised $831 from their pumpkin sales and donated the funds to the Columbus Community Hospital for their new mammogram machine. The Columbus FFA would like to thank the Columbus Community Garden and Olivet Church for letting us use their garden space. A special thank you to Sara Hanna for letting us join the Pink Out fundraiser. A big thank you to Ameripack for purchasing 80 pumpkins for their employees! And a heart felt thank you to everyone in the community that supported the FFA members and purchased pumpkins from them this fall. This project helped demonstrate for the students the power of a community and the support they can provide. The FFA members are already planning to grow an even bigger pumpkin crop for next year!

Agriscience Class:

Landscaping: The landscaping class focused on turf grass and turf grass management in their final unit of study. The students paired up to create a proposal for their favorite sports team to create a new stadium focusing on the turf grass for the facility. The students also finished drawing their landscape designs. The students finished the quarter learning how to calculate the correct amount of fertilizer to apply to a lawn, how to properly prune trees and shrubs and how to calculate cubic yards of mulch. The students reviewed for their final with a Kahoot!

Ag Careers and Leadership: The students toured Culver’s to learn about the food industry and franchise business in relation to the agriculture industry. The final unit of study focused on FFA history, facts and opportunities. The students learned about leadership by watching the movie “Pay It Forward” and analyzing how it related to their ability to be a leader. The students enjoyed a presentation by the Bayer Crop Science team Oct. 29. The students finished the week learning about Parliamentary Procedure and how it is used to run an efficient meeting. The class played Kahoot! to review for their final.

Food, Forests and Wildlife: The sixth grade students focused on Wisconsin wildlife and learned about how animals are classified and the food chains and food webs in the ecosystems of these animals. Each student selected on Wisconsin wildlife animal to research and created a wildlife card that they shared with the class. The students finished the quarter with an FFA unit. They made an FFA emblem in class and received an FFA emblem pin from Mrs. Crook. They also learned about the FFA jacket and the symbols of the FFA officers. They enjoyed participating in team building and leadership skill development the last couple of days.

Pizza, Pets and Plants: The students are engaged in their biotechnology unit and have learned about the five main parts of biotechnology, how selective breeding and crossbreeding has developed some of the food products we have today and they extracted their own DNA! The students participated in a DNA extraction lab and were able to see their own DNA! The students finished the week by reviewing characteristics of monocots and dicots and comparing these to the corn and pea seeds they germinated in class.

Exploring Agriscience: The class continued to learn about bees and how the genetics of bees may determine if they are nectar or pollen collectors/foragers. The class viewed a video demonstrating a honeybee’s reaction to a concentrated sugar source. The students used this information to analyze data collected in a research project scenario. The students finished the week by making a honey hydrator. The students compared the honey hydrator to their favorite sports drinks. The class discussed why the honey hydrator would be a healthier choice. Honey is 40 times sweeter than sugar and a natural product. The students did not really enjoy the honey hydrator however, as much as they like their favorite sports drink!