FFA News



The sheep are always grazing on Hendershot’s pickaway County farm

By Kyle Sharp

Bob Hendershot has been raising sheep on his 55-acre farm in Pickaway County since he and his wife, Connie, moved their family there in 1984. And considering Hendershot is the state grassland specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), it’s not too surprising that his sheep spend almost the entire year out of the barn and on grass at Windy Hill Farm.

“In a perfect world, they would be eating all grass, 365 days of the year,” he said. “But usually it ends up being 340 to 350 days they forage for their feed.”

The rare occasions that cause Hendershot to move his sheep to the barn and feed them on a heavy-use pad completed in fall 2009 include when the snow gets too deep for his sheep to effectively graze, when ice is too thick on the grass to be broken, or when a dry summer forces the sheep off the fields so stockpiling can begin for winter feed.… Continue reading

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Zientek enjoys the variety that comes with overseeing sows for Kalmbach

By Kyle Sharp

When Ben Zientek heads off to work each day, it’s always a mystery what exactly his day will entail. As sow production supervisor for Kalmbach Swine Management, he oversees 80 team members, nine sow units and nearly 22,000 sows, mostly in central Ohio. So while some days he may be at his office in Upper Sandusky, others he may be on a farm working with employees, moving sows or driving a truck.

“In my position, you never know what you’re going to get into,” Zientek said. “Whether it’s moving a truck or doing paperwork, it’s all stuff that has to get done. In most cases I’d rather do the physical work than do the paperwork.”

It’s the variety that he enjoys. In a given week, he might be in his office a day or two, and the other days he is traveling among the sow farms.

“I work with all parts of our team to maximize production and profitability.… Continue reading

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Gallia County’s Saunders follows his passion for raising cattle

By Kyle Sharp

Patrick Saunders’ family ran a dairy on their Gallia County farm until the year he was born. His dad, Matt Saunders, had a commercial hog operation for about 23 years. But when Patrick got his first Chi-Angus heifer as a 9- year-old 4-H member, it wasn’t long before he was hooked on beef cattle.

“I helped dad in the hog barns growing up, but the cattle are what I enjoyed,” Patrick said. “That’s where my interest lied. We bought that first heifer from a local guy, and she won the heifer show at the county fair and the Gallia County Preview Show, so that fueled the fire.”

His dad wanted him to start with a heifer so he could learn about the production side of the cattle business. That seemed more important than just working with a steer. The plan must have paid off, because now at age 24, Patrick is making long-term plans to raise cattle.… Continue reading

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Mockingbird Meadows sells a healthy lifestyle with no compromise

By Matt Reese

Dawn Combs wanted a quaint farmstead in the middle of 100 acres of herb gardens, grazing livestock and buzzing bees. Carson Combs wanted to rehab an old home in Italian Village in the heart of Columbus. Their marital compromise landed them just outside of Marysville on 3.5 acres with a population density somewhere in the middle of either extreme. The quality of the products on the resulting Mockingbird Meadows Honey and Herb Farm, though, is no compromise. Their herb infused honeys are loved from coast-to-coast, as the growing notoriety of the farm’s products has landed the couple in San Francisco to hand out samples and on the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

“It all started with a lie. I told him, ‘I just want to try bees for a hobby,’” Dawn said.

It did not take long for those first few bees on the farmstead to develop into a small business.… Continue reading

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Ashtabula cattle farm is better suited for grass

By Kyle Sharp

Norman and Marge Townsend first purchased and moved to the family’s Ashtabula County farm near Windsor in 1972. Through the ‘70s and early ‘80s they acquired additional land to get the farm to its current 226-acre size. They named the land Marshy Meadow Farms, and for good reason, said their daughter Mardy Townsend, who currently operates the farm. The land is very wet. It’s that combination of dampness on the east side of Noble Road where the farm lies, and highly erodible land on the west side of the road, combined with the area’s long, cold winters that prompted Townsend to transition the farm to all grass farming in 1990. Since then, a grassfed beef cattle herd has been the farm’s primary enterprise.

“It’s just too unpredictable,” she said. “You can’t count on the weather to cooperate for crops up here. I realized we couldn’t grow corn profitably — you just can’t get corn in the ground early enough to grow a decent crop.”… Continue reading

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Zeedyk’s custom manure application venture stems from necessity

By Kyle Sharp

About 2001, Visser Dairy with about 1,600 cows started up next to the crop farm of the Zeedyk family in Defiance County. At the time, Roger Zeedyk Jr. farmed the land along with his sons Roger IV, Mike and Adam. An arrangement between the two farms soon materialized, with the Zeedyks supplying corn silage to the dairy and, as partial payment, the dairy’s manure would be applied to the Zeedyks’ fields for fertility. In the first few years of this arrangement, the problem was finding someone to apply the manure in a timely fashion, said Roger Zeedyk IV.

“It always got there, it was just never quite when you wanted it, or it didn’t quite get applied the way you wanted it,” Roger IV said.

Roger IV had watched people do custom manure application over the years and talked with them about how it needed to be done.… Continue reading

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Event shows chefs how to prepare, profit from Ohio lamb

By Kyle Sharp

When the organizers of Ohio Lamb Chef’s Day planned the event for May 17 at Jorgensen Farms in Westerville, they likely didn’t anticipate the speakers being able to see their breath, the unfortunately necessary space heaters causing breaker problems in the barn where the event was held, or constant rain and wet conditions washing out the chance to do a good tour of the farm, but that was reality. Yet despite the lack of cooperation from Mother Nature, by all accounts the day was a success. More than 70 people, including chefs, restaurant owners, caterers and sheep producers, attended and learned new ways to prepare lamb products for consumers. “The idea is to connect restaurant chefs with lamb products to increase demand for lamb in places where it’s considered underserved, like in the restaurant trade,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) and Ohio State University Extension sheep specialist.Continue reading

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Benjamin Logan Honorary Degree members

By: Katelyne Ackley

On May 14, 2011 at the Benjamin Logan annual FFA banquet, the Benjamin Logan FFA inducted four Honorary Degree members. These members were Jodi Lininger, (Benjamin Logan FFA parent), Harold Longbrake, (supporter of the Benjamin Logan FFA), and Mr. Ken Nicole and his wife Cherie Baldwin, (owners of All-Around-Awards).

Lininger has been very supportive and willing to help for the last four years. She has attended National FFA Convention and State FFA Conventions as a chaperone. She has spent many hours at the school helping prepare for events and activities. She has donated time and energy for the sake of all of our members, in order that they could succeed. Mrs. Lininger and her husband Doug have three daughters, one of which is a senior FFA member this year and served as our chapter president last year. Mrs. Lininger has been a great help to the chapter. The Benjamin Logan FFA would like to thank her for her time, energy and support of the Benjamin Logan FFA and its members.… Continue reading

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Miami East FFA members attend camp

Respectfully Submitted, Dani Sands, Reporter

The week of June 6 to 10, 19 members of the Miami East FFA Chapter attended FFA Camp at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum. Camp Muskingum is located on Leesville Lake in Carroll County, just south of Carrollton, Ohio.

During the week members competed in many competitions, participated in workshops and team building activities, and met FFA members from across the state.  The FFA members took part in leadership training sessions, which were conducted by the past Ohio FFA State Officers.

While at camp, members donated money towards the “Pie-in-the-Eye” campaign. Advisor Marie Carity took at pie in the eye by graduate David Long. The chapter also purchased a visit by the current State FFA President. All proceeds from the activity will go to the Children’s Hospital.

David Long won the euchre tournament and Lauren Williams placed second in the girl’s division of the shotgun competition.

Those from Miami East attending  David Long, Justin Furrow, Brandon Nales, Corrine Melvin, Heather Skaggs, Jenifer Slone, Kelly Rindler, Colin Hawes, Rebekah Eidemiller, Lauren Williams, Kolin Bendickson, Macaleh Thompson, Chris Long, Mike Shively, Trenton Tigner, Devin Staley, Dalton Allen, Chris Harleman and Robbie Adams.… Continue reading

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Benjamin Logan FFA 40th annual chapter banquet

On May 14th, 2011 the Benjamin Logan FFA held their 40th annual chapter banquet. The chapter banquet is a culminating highlight of the year for most FFA chapters.

The banquet provides members the opportunity to work together, use leadership skills gained during the year and showcase chapter and individual accomplishments. The banquet recognizes each of its members for their achievements.

The top ten students of the Fruit Sale Fundraiser were 10th place: Kelsey Lininger, Hunter Pride, and David Watson 9th place: Luke Mathys, 8th place: Jessica Skidmore 7th place: Joel Penhorwood, 6th place: Emily Brill, 5th place: Danny Foulk, 4th place: Brent Weiss, 3rd place: Tyler Myers, 2nd place: Jacob Willis and first place went to Bradley Keeran. The Star awards were given to Tyler Myers and Katelyne Ackley, who received the Star Greenhand award. JD Harshfield received the Star in Agribusiness award and Kelsey Lininger received the Star Farmer award.… Continue reading

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Margaretta FFA Chapter annual FFA softball game

On Thursday, June 9, the Margaretta FFA Chapter held its annual FFA softball game. This game is open to all members, giving them opportunities to become more active in the FFA. This shows all participants that there is more to FFA than what is in the classroom.

The softball game was held at Windau Field in Castalia. The opposing teams were The Officers and The Members. With The Members taking the lead at the beginning and holding the lead until the end, The Officers never had the opportunity to have the satisfaction of a victory. Even without a victory on their side, they still enjoyed being with their FFA friends.

Having a lack of equipment and experience, the participants learned the value of sharing, making this game even more successful and fun. Halfway through the game, the players enjoyed hamburgers grilled by Mr. Kremer. With the game back on, the players laughed and had a ball as they watched the sentinel, Chris Gysan teach how to bat.… Continue reading

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National Trail FFA 2011-2012 Officer Team

The National Trail FFA Chapter introduced their executive officer team for 2011-2012 at their annual FFA banquet on May 14, 2011. Candidates had to complete an officer application form and then go through an interview process. They were then slated by the interviewing committee and voted on by the chapter members at a regular chapter meeting.

The new 2011-2012 National Trail FFA President is Natalie Morgan!  Natalie is the daughter of Rob and Bonnie Morgan of New Paris.  This years Vice President is Luke Stall!  Luke is the son of Mark and Lisa Stall of New Paris.  The new Treasurer is Cole Fort! Cole is the son of Steve and Barbara Fort of New Paris.  The Reporters position went to Sara Hollingsworth!  Sara is the daughter of Gary Hollingsworth of Eaton and Samantha Alcorn of New Paris.  The 2011-2012 Secretary is Ashley Hines!  Ashley is the daughter of Brian and Julie Hines of Eldorado. … Continue reading

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National Trail FFA helps fight back

For the first year ever, the National Trail FFA chapter entered a team in the Preble County Relay for Life!  The relay was held at the Preble County fairgrounds.  The relay began June 3rd at 6 p.m. and ended at noon June 4th. Team Captain, Kari Cottingim, was joined by the 2011-2012 FFA officer team, two chapter members, and various family members as part of the team “FFA for Life”.

Kari Cottingim came to the NT FFA officer team with an idea of starting a team for the local relay for life.  Many members of the chapter had been affected by cancer so the chapter decided to help fight back.  The NT FFA officer team adopted the event as a team project. Members participating were Kari Cottingim, Tori Biser, Brenden Waddle, Natalie Morgan, Lucas Stall, Ashley Hines, Sara Hollingsworth, Cole Fort, Tyler Blair, Abbie Taylor. Also walking was Cana Bisor, and 2009 graduate Justin Slone and FFA Advisor Joe Slone and various other family members.… Continue reading

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Benjamin Logan FFA Chapter completes shop projects

During the second semester the Benjamin Logan FFA Chapter has recently been making shop projects. Students will be taking two projects to the fair that members have been working on. They have been working with power tools making picnic tables, shelves, saw horses, and tool boxes. The sophomores have created welding projects such as post pullers, backhoes, and other things students desired to make. Members have learned to stick weld, arc weld, and mig weld.

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Margaretta FFA Food for America

By: Jessica Stacy

The Margaretta FFA is proud to announce that they hosted their annual Food For America event. In the previous years the Margaretta FFA chapter has only provided for the 6th graders, but this year the 5th graders joined these festivities.

Many of you may know that Food For America is held by many FFA chapters, but Food For America with Margaretta is particularly unique. Margaretta Local School District has decided to the integrate the upcoming 6th graders into the high school and middle school. Since just this one school already houses grades 7 through 12, it will soon becomes grades 6-12. Due to this transition, Food For America had an extra 100+ little kids running around. Besides the chaos, the Margaretta FFA students handled this hectic event with maturity and made a good name for the Margaretta FFA chapter.

The 5th and 6th graders enjoyed a meal that consisted of hotdogs and baked beans.… Continue reading

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Versailles FFA Farm Day

Like dandelions in the front yard, PETA constantly tries to reappear and bring negative light to the Ag industry. However, we must remember to shine focus onto the positive events happening in the industry. The Versailles FFA  is doing their part to educate consumers by sponsoring the 36th annual Farm Day for nearly 700 students from Darke, Shelby, and Miami county elementary schools. Designed to teach children about where their food comes from and how the American farm operates, this year Farm Day was held at Schrader Farms outside of Versailles on Boyer Road on May 13th.

Covering all aspects of agriculture, the farm was set up into stations which were led by Versailles FFA students . At the French Fries station, students discussed the potato and enjoyed a cup of French Fries. The wildlife station, presented by Doug Steinbrunner of Darke County Soil and Water Conservation District, allowed the students to learn about wildlife while feeling many animal furs. … Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Jodie Brand, Versailes High School

As a young freshman that was unsure if she really wanted to join the FFA, Jodie Brand stumbled into the organization with a little push from her parents. It wasn’t until after a silly Parli-Pro practice that Jodie realized the potential held within the FFA.  One simple afternoon spiraled into a deep love for the FFA and developed her into a young woman that is ready to tackle the world.

“To me, the FFA is no longer an organization through the high school but instead, a part of my everyday life that I will cherish even long after it is all over. Through this organization, I think it is safe to say, that my fellow senior classmates and I have met people we never thought we would, reached heights that we never knew were possible, and expanded our horizons farther than we can reach.”

The new graduate from Versailles High School participated in a wide spectrum of CDEs and other state and national events through her four years of high school.… Continue reading

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Colonel Crawford FFA hosts Food for America

On Friday May 13, the second graders from Colonel Crawford traveled to the high school to learn about farm animals, tractors, plants, and many more aspects of agriculture. Around 60 second graders visited 13 stations that educated them about farm life. Among the stations were: pigs, sheep, horses, poultry, goats, dairy, steers, tractors, biotechnology, plants, and woodworking. At these stations students learned about the breeds, parts, and show management, what food and by products come from each animal and general care for the animals. While at the horse station they got to take a ride down the driveway which was a highlight for most. At the tractors they learned safety, parts, the use of the electronic GPS equipment, and what tractors are used for. During the plant station, students learned about diseases, plant structure, different equipment used to plant crops, and how the plants grow. They also got to plant their own green bean seed to take home and grow.… Continue reading

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Red Brand’s year-long ‘Home Grown’ initiative raises more than $100,000 for local FFA chapters across the U.S.

After successfully raising more than $100,000  in the first year of a new grass-roots campaign that provided funds to local FFA chapters throughout the country, the nation’s leading fence manufacturer has announced its decision to make this campaign an annual event.

Early last year, Peoria, Ill.-based Keystone Steel and Wire Co., maker of Red Brand fence, launched its “Home Grown” initiative, a program to benefit FFA through its Red Brand agricultural fencing sales division. For every roll of Red Brand agricultural fencing purchased by a participating retailer, $1 is donated to a designated local FFA chapter or chapters of their choice.

In the first year, more than $100,000 was donated by Red Brand and distributed by dealers to 704 FFA chapters. On average, local FFA chapters received $400. An FFA chapter in Platte, S.D., was awarded more than $4,000.

“Red Brand’s financial support of FFA is critically important to growing and developing stronger FFA experiences for students at the local level of our organization,” said National FFA Foundation executive director Rob Cooper.… Continue reading

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Riverdale FFA 2011-2012 officers go on retreat

The officers of the Riverdale FFA traveled to Camp Muskingum on a retreat to increase teamwork and discuss activities to do for the upcoming year.  The officers participated in group activities which promoted teamwork, communication, and problem solving as well as group discussions where they formed goals and learned each other’s leadership styles.… Continue reading

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