National Farm Safety Week—Last week was National Farm Safety Week and important topic for students that live and/or work on farms. Since harvest season has started this is a good time to remind students about safety rules that can save their lives. On Sept. 17, Bill Kriese from Rural Insurance did a presentation to the Ag Careers and Leadership class on farm safety. He told the students that there has been a shift in the types of accidents causing fatalities on the farm and in the age group that is most involved. Kriese said that 2-19 year olds are the most common age for fatalities on farms now and most of them are due to being run over. The larger the farm equipment gets the more difficult it is for the driver to see all the way around the equipment. Kriese also mentioned the same holds true for automobile drivers. The new safety message is to do a walk around the car before you get in and back up or drive away. This could save the life of a small child. The students in the Middle School Ag classes created farm safety promotions this week, as well to remind them about how to be safe around farm equipment and livestock. The students participated in the gravity box demonstration in all three grades 6-8 showing how fast you can get into trouble. It takes 1-2 seconds to get sucked into the corn in the gravity box far enough that you can’t get out. It takes five seconds before you are completely submerged. This demonstration was also presented at the Ag Exploratory Day program for the third grade students.
Mini Leadership Workshop: The FFA officers hosted a mini leadership workshop Sept. 17 for the committee members during I/E at the high school. There were 26 members present and they participated in team building activities and committee meeting format instruction to prepare for the upcoming year. The committees are fundraising and doing public relations, membership and community service work. The officers hope to involve more FFA members in the planning of chapter activities and to increase member participation.
Greenhand Fun Night: The FFA officers hosted Greenhand Fun Night Sept. 17 at the high school. The goal for this event is to kick off the FFA year with a fun activity for the incoming freshman and new FFA members. This year six greenhands participated in the event. They began with team building activities and leadership development. They had a quick supper and made green hand prints on buntings that will hang above the Ag room door for the year. The officers then took the greenhands on a secret mission that cannot be disclosed. The greenhands all had a good time and are ready to work toward earning their FFA Greenhand Degree this year.
MS FFA and Chapter FFA Meeting—The first meeting of the 2018-19 school year was held Sept. 17 in the Ag Room at the high school. The MS members planned activities to conduct this school year and discussed the Foundations in Reaching Excellence (FIRE) conference being held at the end of the month. The chapter meeting followed the MS meeting. President Abbygail Hayes led the meeting and the members shared many of their summer activities with their SAE projects and the fairs. The chapter will be building a float for the homecoming parade this week. The chapter received a donation from Zoetis through a program with veterinarians that support an FFA chapter through their Zoetis product sales. Columbus FFA would like to thank Jerry Gaska for participating in the program and Zoetis for sponsoring a program that supports the Columbus FFA. The FFA chapter will be helping at Wedel’s Auction on Oct. 6. There is a sign up sheet in the Ag room if you would like to help.
FFA Alumni: The FFA Alumni met Sept. 17 at CHS. The alumni is a group of adults that support the FFA members. You did not have to be in the FFA to be a member. The Alumni donated funds to the Columbus FFA chapter to assist FFA members with the purchase of their FFA jacket, National Convention costs, and other conference registration fees. The alumni is also helping the FFA members with additional fundraisers to continue to offer monetary support for the members to develop their leadership skills and career goals.
Community Garden Pumpkins: The FFA officers and some members picked the pumpkins on Wednesday morning. They were able to get all 177 pumpkins picked in just under an hour with a little help on their late start school day. The FFA members thank Jerry Crook for helping organize the pumpkin harvest and helping them get all of the pumpkins to the greenhouse. The sale of the pumpkins is going very well already with more than 50 pumpkins already sold. Thank you to everyone that is supporting the pumpkin sale, all proceeds are being donated to the Pink Out and Columbus Community Hospital.
Ag Exploratory Day: Columbus FFA members hosted this event Sept. 24 on the Hayes Organic Dairy Farm. The chapter would like to thank Dawn and James Hayes for opening up their farm to the third grade students and the FFA members so that we could teach the young students about where their food comes from and farm life. There were 67 third grade students that attended and they visited 10 different learning stations. They learned about dairy cows and calves, dairy goats, organic dairying, butter and dairy products, farm equipment, rabbits, horses, chickens and feed. The event was a huge success.
Saturday, Sept. 29, FIRE Conference: Foundations in Reaching Excellence or FIRE conference is designed for students in grades 7-9. The event is hosted by the Wisconsin state officer team and they present workshops introducing all aspects of FFA to our youngest members. This is a great conference for 7-9th grade students that want to better understand the FFA and what it has to offer. Sign up with Mrs. Crook to get a permission slip.
World Dairy Expo: Tuesday, Oct. 2 is FFA day. The Columbus Dairy team will compete in the National Dairy Contest for FFA members. The Ag Careers and Leadership class will attend this worldwide event to learn about the many careers related to the dairy industry all around the world. This is a huge event for Wisconsin and a great opportunity for Columbus students to have this opportunity to attend a world wide event.
National FFA Convention Trip: Ten FFA members have been selected to participate in the trip to the National FFA Convention. Participants include Abbygail Hayes, Hailey Schoenherr, Amanda Dunbar, Emma Paulson, Hannah Dahl, Cora Dahl, Faith Baerwolf, Garret Baerwolf, Bailey Raether and Will Kessenich. The trip is to Indianapolis, Indiana from Oct. 23-27. The Columbus FFA Chapter is being recognized as a 2-STAR National Chapter Award winner. There are more than 7,000 FFA chapters in the country so the competition is tough at this level. The Columbus FFA members will travel to the convention with Lodi FFA, Wisconsin Heights, and Sauk Prairie FFA. This year the trip will include tours of an Aquaculture Farm, Albanese Candy, Kelsay Dairy (The Indy 500 race winner drinks milk presented by the owner of this farm), and Not Just Popcorn. The concert this year is a private concert by Garth Brooks! The FFA members will also be entertained at Dave and Busters, Comedy Sportz and Hannah’s Haunted Acres. They have a full week of activity to make this a trip of a lifetime.
Landscaping: The landscaping class learned about working with clients this week and partnered up to create a proposal for Mr. Ekern to landscape the high school in the back by the greenhouse. The students are creating a sales pitch including a vision board and design drawing. They also conducted a site analysis and did measuring of the areas to landscape. They continue to learn to identify trees and shrubs used in landscaping and they are still practicing their measuring skills.
Ag Careers and Leadership: The students listened to the presentation about Farm Safety on Monday presented by Bill Kriese from Rural Insurance. Many of the students were using the safety practices he suggested. The class worked all week on creating resumes, cover letters and gathering six artifacts to demonstrate their employability skills. The last part of the week they created a google site for their E-portfolio which they will share this coming week. The students will be able to use their E-portfolio in their future career search. Etiquette Friday was about giving a proper handshake. The students will need to know how to do this for future interviews.
Food, Forests and Wildlife: The sixth grade students learned about Wisconsin Agricultural Commodities and created a presentation about one Wisconsin commodity that they shared with the class. The last part of the week they focused on Farm Safety with the gravity box demonstration, a video of a mom that lost her son in a farm accident and then they created their own farm safety promotions to share in class this week. The students could select to do a farm safety flyer, a radio announcement or they could create a video for a television public service announcement.
Pizza, Pets and Plants: The students continued to learn about soils this week. They learned about the soil profile and the many layers or horizons of soil. The students will create their own soil horizons this week in an edible soil profile activity (also known as dirt cups).
Exploring Agriscience: The class began its World Agriculture unit this week. They analyzed pie charts showing the differences in the total amount of calories consumed per day in a variety of countries and then compared those with the highest and lowest grain consumption and those with the highest and lowest meat consumption. The students could see drastic differences in countries that were less developed compared to the more developed countries. The pie charts were also mobile as they played across a timeline so the students could see how a country changed their eating habits from 1960 to 2011. They enjoyed this activity and seeing how the world has changed over time.