FFA News

Benjamin Logan FFA members attend Opening Ceremonies at the Ohio State Fair

Benjamin Logan FFA Agricultural Communications Team members Libby Zoldak, Kelsey Lininger, Joel Penhorwood, and Heather Bleininger attend the Opening Ceremonies at the Ohio State Fair on July 27, 2011.   The students attended to gain a better understanding of the working of press conferences and responsibilities of agricultural communicators.

Prior to the ceremonies, students watched the performances of the All Ohio State Fair Band and Youth Choir.  The Junior Fair Board President, Suzie McMullen welcomed fairgoers.  She also introduced the Commissioners, Miss Ohio, Ohio Fairs Queen Lara Staples, and the General Manager, Virgil Strickler.  Strickler gave remarks about the past and present Ohio State Fairs.  At the conclusion of his remarks, he introduced

Governor Kasich.  Governor Kasich also gave a few remarks and then along with his family, directors, and others he officially opened the fair with the ribbon cutting ceremony.

After opening ceremonies, Governor Kasich, First Lady Karen Kasich, Emma Kasich, Reese Kasich, General Manager Virgil Strickler, Ohio Expositions Commissioners, Miss Ohio, and Ohio Fairs Queen toured the fair while being followed by the media (including the Agricultural Communications Team). … Continue reading

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Miami East FFA Alumni Sponsors Scholarships

By: Dani Sands, Reporter

The Miami East FFA Alumni Chapter recently recognized graduates of Miami East High School that had been enrolled in Agricultural Education and members of the FFA Chapter. In order to qualify for the scholarship, the applicants completed an essay on “The Benefits of Agricultural Education” and been active in the FFA Chapter for at least one year. Each recipient received a cash scholarship to be used for their further education.

Reed Pyers is the son of Kevin and Lori Pyers. During his years of FFA he participated in fruit sales, Dairy Food Judging, and Ag Day. He plans on attending the United State Military Academy, West Point, New York. Reed shared that he enjoyed agricultural education because it taught him responsibility of raising his market hogs and problem solving during lab projects.

Rick Thimmes is the son of Robert and Kim Thimmes. His FFA involvement consisted of being a chapter officer, coordinating the weekly tutoring program, and the Food Science contest.… Continue reading

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Six members of the Fort Loramie FFA attended FFA Camp Muskingum

By: Meghan Bruns, Fort Loramie FFA Reporter

Sara Meyer, Kenna Armstrong, Courtney Aufderhaar, Frank Riethman, and Austin Barlage, and Jordan Meyer attended several leadership workshops and programs throughout the week.  They were able to meet new friends from around the state and share ideas to bring back to the Fort Loramie FFA Chapter.

Mornings entailed leadership sessions which included a session about being an advocate of agriculture, and explaining why farmers do what they do. Members also experienced a real life clue game where each chapter was given clues to help solve the mystery of camp. When members weren’t attending leadership sessions they were able to participate in various tournaments including basketball, softball, volleyball, tetherball, ping pong, corn hole, archery, shotgun, and rifle.  The camp also provides for golfing, paintballing, swimming, kayaking, motor boating, canoeing, and high and low ropes courses. As a closing to the “Unlock the Mystery” FFA Camp members heard a motivational speaker share about supporting others and encouraging positive attitudes.… Continue reading

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FFA chapter participates in Fort Loramie Liberty Days

By: Meghan Bruns, Fort Loramie FFA Reporter


The Fort Loramie FFA chapter had a successful week at the Fort Loramie Liberty Days. The chapter operated a petting zoo and worked in conjunction with the Shelby County Dairy Boosters to sell ice cream to festival visitors. The ice cream stand was full of wonderful workers as well as great ice cream. All profits made will be used for the numerous FFA activities throughout the years such as scholarships, grants, and competition fees.

The Fort Loramie FFA also had a petting zoo full of great farm animals.  Not only did the petting zoo give children the opportunity to interact with different farm animals but there were also chances for kids to compete and participate in different activities. Some of these activities included a coloring contest, a milk mustache contest as well as a spin the wheel questionnaire game. The petting zoo provided a brief understanding on the different farm animals which consisted of a baby calf, goats, rabbits, as well as several puppies that were up for adoption to good homes.  … Continue reading

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FFA members volunteer at Shelby County Conservation Day Camp

By: Meghan Bruns, Fort Loramie FFA Reporter

FFA members taught an agricultural session to second through fifth grade campers at Shelby County Conservation Day Camp recently.

Members, Katelyn Seger and Meghan Bruns helped to put together and teach a one day morning session to campers about the true sources of everyday foods and products.   The session included a relay race requiring campers classify the source of random everyday items  as either natural resource, store, factory, or a farm.  After the relay race the campers learned that the real source of all items is either agriculture or natural resources.

This “Source Search” helped the campers to realize that farmers produce more than just raw products and food but that all items come from a farm or natural resource and not a store and factory.  This session was a fun way to get the kids active while giving them an overview of the various agricultural activities they have done throughout the rest of the week at Conservation Day Camp.… Continue reading

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National FFA Scholarship awarded to local student Kaylee Fisher

The National FFA Organization awarded a $1,000 Rabo AgriFinance scholarship to Kaylee Fisher of the Wapakoneta FFA Chapter in Wapakoneta, Ohio. This scholarship is one of four awarded by Rabo AgriFinance to outstanding high school seniors throughout the United States who have enrolled in an accredited post-secondary educational institution and who have met other academic, leadership and involvement requirements established by the National FFA Foundation.

Fisher is a four-year member of FFA. Her family owns and operates J&S Farms, where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat, as well as contract raise 2,000 pigs. Fisher plans to use the funds to pursue a degree in crop science from Ohio State University at Lima and take over her family farm upon graduation.

“Excellent young students like Kaylee are the foundation of a future that will continue to build the profitability of farmers and the sustainability of our country’s agricultural industry,” says Marvin Denlinger, regional manager with Rabo AgriFinance in Indianapolis.… Continue reading

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Miami Trace FFA officers go on retreat

On May 26th the Miami Trace FFA officers went on their annual officer retreat. Each year the new group of officers decides where to go in order to plan out the year, have fun, and get away for their first few days of summer. This year the officers decided to have their retreat at Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati, Ohio. The team came into the high school and helped clean the Ag shop and Ag rooms, which are being renovated and changed for the upcoming school year. Once at Great Wolf Lodge, the officer team sat down and started to go over rules and responsibilities of each office. Then, started planning out the upcoming year, which is full of many upcoming events involving other chapters and the community. After working hard the team had the chance to go the water park and have some fun, and bond with their new team members.… Continue reading

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Miami Trace FFA – Guiding Greenhands

On May 25, the Miami trace FFA chapter had the incoming freshmen for the school year come over and visit with the FFA officers. The officers went to the middle school and walked back to the high school with them. Once over at the high school all the freshmen were seated in the AG shop where they listened to the officers introduce themselves and tell a little bit about themselves also. Then, some of the officers explained different parts involved in FFA, like CDEs, SAEs, the fruit sale, and also about the program. Afterwards, the students got to enjoy one of their first FFA lunch meals which are held at least once a month in the AG shop. Once they were done eating, the freshmen had to go find their group leader by a set of clues they were given.  After they were in their groups they had the chance to ask any questions they had about the FFA and then got a personal tour around the high school.… Continue reading

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Amanda-Clearcreek FFA Banquet a success

By: Emily Cordle, Reporter

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, the Amanda-Clearcreek FFA chapter held its annual awards banquet in the school’s cafetorium. The banquet had more than 400 members, parents and guests present. The awards banquet started off with a potluck dinner and with a showing of the last year’s banquet’s slide show. After that, former State FFA President Amy Jo Frost was the special speaker. She spoke on opportunities and choices. Finally, the awards banquet started. There were a lot of achievements our chapter members that were being recognized. Many members received awards for their SAE projects, contests awards, and their overall participation in the FFA.

Since last year’s banquet, our chapter has placed 5th in the Nation with our Agricultural Communications Career Development Event team, placed 1st at the Regional level with our Environmental and Natural Resources CDE team, and placed 1st at State with our Nature Interpretation CDE team and our Agricultural Issues Forum CDE team.… Continue reading

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Zane Trace FFA members assist with Kingston High School Alumni Banquet

Members of the Zane Trace FFA Chapter recently assisted with the Alumni Banquet for the Kingston High School Alumni group.  The banquet was held in the Zane Trace Cafetorium on Saturday, July 11 and included a group of over 200 guests.  The FFA members helped caterer Kim Morton and her team by serving meals to the alumni and cleaning up after the dinner was concluded.

During the event, members had the opportunity to practice etiquette and learn about the history of the Kingston-Union School.  The members were especially interested in hearing firsthand how the Zane Trace school name came about from a Kingston-Union High School alumnus.  They also enjoyed viewing pictures and memorabilia from Kingston school.… Continue reading

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Zane Trace FFA members “Unlock the mystery” at Camp Muskingum

During the week of June 6 – 10 eight members of the Zane Trace FFA Chapter attended summer FFA camp at FFA Camp Muskingum near Carrollton, Ohio.   The theme for this year’s camp was “Unlock the Mystery” and the campers were encouraged to solve a fictional murder mystery during camp while discovering the talents and abilities they had within themselves.   During the camp FFA members participated in leadership sessions with past Ohio FFA State officers, competed in sports tournaments, debated the benefits and drawbacks of organic farming and learned conservation practices related to wildlife, water quality and forestry.

Members also developed friendships with other FFA members from around the state of Ohio and raised money for Children’s Hospital through the annual camp “Pie In the Eye” competition.  In this event, students donated money for the opportunity to throw a cream pie in the face of their favorite FFA advisor or camp staff member. … Continue reading

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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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