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Greenville FFA Lends a Hand

The past 18 months, members of the newly chartered Greenville FFA Chapter have built not only one, but two small homes to be placed in homeless communities in the St. Louis area. Greenville FFA Advisor, Scott Payne, got the idea to build these homes from a fellow Army Reserve Chaplain who has a servent heart for homeless individuals, specifically homeless veterans.


“When I told my FFA kids about (the homeless communities), they immediately wanted to do something about it,” Payne said. “So, we drew up some plans and decided we would build a small house.”


The small 6-by-12-foot houses are only large enough to hold a set of bunk beds. Even though the houses are not made with plumbing or electricity, the facilities help make living much more bearable for homeless individuals.


“They (homeless individuals) were living under tarps and thrown over branches,” Payne explained.


Payne, who has a background in industrial education, encouraged his students to begin soliciting community businesses for material donations such as lumber, metal and linoleum. With the support of local businesses, both homes were fully funded. The first home the chapter built was delivered to a man and his wife living in the homeless community in February 2018. The second will be delivered this month.


“The students bought into the project immediately, and they would all work hard during the assigned class periods,” Payne said. “They would show up after school. They would show up during free time in other hours. They just wanted to work on it and see it come to pass.”


Building the houses was used as a teaching tool in a building construction course. While building, the students had the opportunity to learn about planning, designing, estimating the required materials and different tenants of construction for the small houses.


Aesthetically, the homes are very pretty inside even though they are only made to house two people. The walls and ceilings are made from tongue-and-groove pine lumber with two windows for ventilation. To put a personal touch on the houses, Payne left a spot on the wall for each student to sign his or her first name around the words “From Your Friends at Greenville FFA.” The students also used their artistic ability in art courses to paint patriotic paintings to decorate the interior walls of the home.


The homes are delivered to a homeless community in the St. Louis area with mostly veteran inhabitants. While Payne is not certain the recipients of the first small home were veterans, he is certain the person who received the home this year is a veteran.


Payne is encouraged by the commitment the Greenville FFA members have made to building the homes. While they are learning crucial building skills, they are also helping someone stay warm at night.


“On a personal note, it was great to watch the kids get excited about it,” Payne said. “Not because they were just building this, but because they knew they were helping somebody. When that lightbulb came on, I could just see it in my student’s faces. That’s what I appreciated the most out of the build itself.”


After being chartered in 2014, the Greenville FFA Chapter has become home to nearly 50 students and just graduated its first set of four-year members in 2018. The number of active freshmen joining each year encouraged Payne. With a little help from their supportive community, the fast-growing chapter is living to serve, one tiny home at a time. —by Julie Choate

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91st Missouri FFA Convention to be held in Columbia April 25-26

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., April 10, 2019 – FFA members from across the state will meet in Columbia, April 25-26, at the 91stMissouri FFA Convention to honor fellow members for outstanding achievements, conduct association business, elect new officers and participate in leadership workshops. For the first time, convention sessions will be viewable at https://Livestream.com/MoDESE/MoFFA.

Cultivate Tomorrow, Today is the theme for this year’s annual convention, which is expected to attract more than 8,000 students and guests to Hearnes Center on the University of Missouri campus.

According to Missouri FFA Executive Secretary Keith Dietzschold, the state association will present State FFA Degrees to 760 members who, as a result of their agricultural and leadership achievements, have qualified for the state’s highest FFA degree. Dietzschold also said Missouri has the largest number of American FFA Degree recipients of any state – 518 Missouri FFA members received the American FFA Degree in 2018 during the national convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in October.

During the convention the State Star Farmer, the State Star in Agribusiness, the State Star in Placement and the State Star in Agriscience will be named. In addition, 576 FFA members will receive awards in 48 agricultural proficiency areas for development of their supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. The proficiency areas are varied and include production, management, and communications disciplines. In Missouri, SAE programs during the 2017-18 school year generated more than $52 million in student income.

FFA members also will participate in a number of organization program areas including speaking competitions and career development events such as agricultural sales, floriculture, and livestock evaluation.

The Missouri FFA will present awards to several adults and groups for their support of agricultural education and FFA. This year 22 Honorary State FFA Degrees will be presented. An additional 16 honorary degrees will be presented to parents of the retiring state officers.

The Distinguished Service Citation will be presented to Don Fuhrmann, Hillsboro. Fuhrmann started working as a lifeguard in 1978 at Missouri FFA Camp Rising Sun. His position grew to include boat mechanic, ski instructor, lifeguard trainer, boating instructor and waterfront supervisor. Fuhrmann taught art at Hillsboro High School for 32 years. He also coached football, wrestling and track. After retiring in 2005, he continued to work with the wrestling program and was recently honored with the Hillsboro Wrestling Tournament being renamed the Don Fuhrmann Duals.FFA Convention results on the State FFA Med

During the convention Missouri FFA President Paxton Dahmer, Nevada FFA Chapter member, will lead 694 delegates in official business sessions. Each chapter is represented by two delegates.

Four FFA chapters will be chartered during the Thursday evening session. The new chapters are Oak Ridge, Valley Caledonia, Newburg and East Carter.

During the first general session Thursday afternoon, Christopher R. Daubert, vice chancellor and dean of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Columbia, will welcome convention attendees. Prior to joining MU in August 2017, Daubert was at North Carolina State University where he served as a professor and head of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Services; director of the Food Rheology Laboratory; and system co-chair of Food, Biochemical and Engineered Systems. Daubert has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Texture Studies, is on the editorial board of the Journal of Food Process Engineers and is a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists.  He has received distinguished alumnus awards from Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania and Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. He earned a doctorate in agricultural engineering and food science from Michigan State University.

National FFA Western Region Vice President Shea Booster, a member of the Bend FFA Chapter, Bend, Oregon, will speak during the first session. In high school, Booster’s SAE was focused on hog production. He was the 2016-17 Oregon State FFA president.  Booster is a sophomore at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, where he is studying agricultural business management. Booster’s goals include being in a leadership-development or communications position with an agricultural company, and eventually taking over his father’s leadership-consultation company.

Booster was elected as a national officer in October during national convention. The six-person national officer team collectively will log more than 100,000 miles representing FFA to top leaders in business, government and education. National officers also lead numerous personal growth and leadership training sessions, and promote agricultural literacy.

Also during first session, Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn will speak. Chinn, named to director January 2017, resides on her family farm in Shelby County with her husband and two children. The Chinns have a farrow-to-finish hog operation; a small cow-calf herd; raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa; and operate a family feed mill.

During the Thursday evening session, Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven will address the convention. Vandeven joined the department of elementary and secondary education in 2005 as a supervisor of the Missouri School Improvement Program before serving as a director of accountability data and school improvement, an assistant commissioner in the Office of Quality Schools and as deputy commissioner of the Division of Learning Services. She was appointed commissioner of elementary and secondary education by the Missouri State Board of Education in December 2014 and served in that capacity until December 2017. She was reappointed in January 2019.

Vandeven earned a bachelor’s from Missouri State University, Springfield, and a master’s degree from Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a doctorate from Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri. Vandeven has been recognized by Missouri State University and St. Louis University as a distinguished alumna.


During the Friday evening final session, Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient Dave Roever of Fort Worth, Texas, will share a story of survival and inspiration. At the height of the Vietnam War, he joined the U.S. Navy and served as a river boat gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Beret. Then tragedy occurred. Today Roever travels the globe, speaking at national conventions, public schools and to U.S. military audiences, including tours of war zones. Since 2007, at the two Eagles Summit Ranches near Westcliffe, Colorado, and Junction, Texas, Roever and his team run Operation Warrior RECONnect.


The Missouri FFA Association has 25,375 members, ranking sixth as a state in membership. FFA strives to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

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Stand Up and Speak Out

Whether you are interested in strengthening your speaking skills or simply meeting new friends, the Missouri Public Speaking Academy (PSA) might be right for you.

Missouri State FFA Vice President Dillon Reinitz is a past PSA attendee. He says the experience helped him sharpen his presentations, hook the audience and develop a topic meaningful to the audience.

“I personally was the shy kid who was frightened of talking to others,” Reinitz says. “After attending the Missouri Public Speaking Academy my freshman year of high school, I felt as though I could effectively and confidently present a speech to anyone.”

Reinitz tried his hand at public speaking the following spring. “I did really well because of the skills I learned at PSA and even attended two more times,” he says. “I highly recommend all FFA members attend PSA at least once.”

This year’s PSA will be held June 4-6 on the University of Central Missouri campus in Warrensburg.  Sixty spots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Deadline to apply is May 15. Registration application is available online HERE.

—from our staff.

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Cultivate Tomorrow Today: Missouri State FFA Convention

Who doesn’t find value in an American hero? Dave Roever is a Vietnam veteran backed by solid character, and he’s slated to headline this year’s state FFA Convention, April 25-26 in Columbia. Roever will inspire and challenge FFA members across the state through his engaging humor.

A Purple Heart recipient, Roever joined the U.S.  Navy at the height of the Vietnam War. He served as a river boat gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Beret, until tragedy occurred. His survival and ensuing life with his faithful wife Brenda at his side are miraculous. Now a multi-generational communicator, Roever travels the globe to share his gripping story, imparting hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Themed “Cultivate Tomorrow Today,” this year’s state convention also features award presentations, career development events, workshops and the ever-popular FFA Career Show.

Missouri also welcomes National FFA Western Region Vice President Shea Booster of Bend, Oregon, to the convention. Booster hopes to encourage members and ag education students to appreciate themselves as individuals.

“Every member has been crafted through years of experiences that have led them to where they are today, allowing them to find comfort in their uniqueness, one member, one day at a time,” Booster said.

While attending Mountain View High School, Booster’s supervised agricultural experience (SAE) was swine production. Majoring in agricultural business management, Booster is a sophomore at Oregon State University. He served as the 2016-17 Oregon FFA state president.

“I hope to intentionally seek out moments to build confidence in other young people who share my passion for leadership in agriculture,” Booster says.

Booster hopes to eventually work for an agriculture company in the areas of leadership development, talent recruitment or communications before taking over his father’s leadership consultation company.

In addition to these guest speakers, the 91st Annual Missouri FFA Convention will feature leadership workshops for members. The FFA Career Show also gives students and guests insight and the chance to learn about agricultural businesses, organizations, colleges and universities and more. Additionally, Missouri FFA will recognize the State Star Farmer, State Star in Agribusiness and State Star in Placement as well as present more than 750 State FFA Degrees to deserving members statewide. More than 8,000 people are expected to be in Columbia at the University of Missouri Hearnes Center for the state’s largest FFA event.

—from our staff.

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5 Reasons to Get Involved with Missouri FFA Alumni

1 – Discover New Opportunities

For alumni members, opportunities span from helping charter new chapters to selecting scholarship recipients. The more you get involved, the more you figure out what you want to be involved in, and what you can take back to your local chapter.


2 – Join a Network

We all have the same common goal and a lot of value is behind that. The more we grow, the more we can do for you and your local FFA chapter.


3 – Lead Outside the Office

You can run for national council offices from the state to the national level, so it’s a leadership component as well. Why not take a stand to represent your portion of the state?


4 – Make a Real Difference

It’s the feeling that you’re helping the FFA and being a difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s time or money you contribute, every minute or dollar is going toward preparing youth with leadership and career skills.


5 – Return the Favor

As you get older, you realize people helped you along the way and you learned from what they taught you. If you grew up in FFA, you know that to be even more true. Do the same for the next generation.


—by Alexa Nordwald.

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2019 Greenhand Motivational Conferences

JAN. 7: 9 a.m., Area 8 – Lincoln University, Jefferson City
JAN. 8: 8:30 a.m., Area 14 –  Sullivan High School, Sullivan
JAN. 8: 9 a.m., Area 4 –  University of Missouri, Columbia
JAN. 8: 9 a.m., Area 6 –  State Fair Community College, Sedalia
JAN. 8: 12 p.m., Area 7 –  State Fair Community College, Sedalia
JAN. 8: 2 p.m., Area 13 –  Waynesville
JAN. 8: 4 p.m., Area 5 –  Bowling Green
JAN. 9: 9:30 a.m., Area 3 –  Truman State University, Kirksville
JAN. 9: 9 a.m., Area 10 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 9: 12 p.m., Area 9 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 9: 2:30 a.m., Area 16 –  Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff
JAN. 10: 8 a.m., Area 2 –  North Central Missouri College, Trenton
JAN. 10: 8:30 a.m., Area 13 –  Missouri State University, West Plains
JAN. 10: 8:30 a.m., Area 15 –  Southeast Mo. State University, Cape Girardeau
JAN. 10: 9 a.m., Area 12 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 10: 11:30 a.m., Area 2 –  North Central Missouri College, Trenton
JAN. 10: 12 p.m., Area 11 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 11: 8:30 a.m., Area 1 –  Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph

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4 Tips to Jumpstart Your Career



Change is inevitable. When former FFA member and now Missouri Department of Agriculture  Deputy Director Garrett Hawkins started college, he wanted to be an ag teacher. Half way through, he realized it wasn’t the right fit and decided to study ag business. Bottom line, your first choice won’t necessarily be the right one for your skills and passions.



Technical skills are important, but you must be able to work with others to be successful in the long run. An ability to listen, write and speak will serve you well in any career.



This begins now through your SAE, community involvement and getting to know business leaders in your community. As you pursue the next step, get an internship. The right one might just open a door to a great career.



Humble yourself and have the mindset that you’re not going to start at an executive level position. You must acquire skills and learn the culture of the organization. Be satisfied in what you’re doing and know that opportunities to advance will come. Show that you’re willing to work hard, be a team player and try new things.

–by Alexa Nordwald

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Small Town Service

Size can be relative. In the case of Bosworth, Missouri, that’s exactly the case.

With a population around 300, little things like a community garden can make a big difference.

That said, FFA Advisor Melissa Eiserer saw an opportunity to better her community and she took it.



After seeing information about Living to Serve (LTS) grants in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announcements, Eiserer realized it would pair well with the school board’s desire to have a garden at their school.

LTS grants provide an opportunity for FFA chapters to seek funding to support a variety of service projects through a competitive application process.

Applicants must identify a community need that falls within one of four focus areas:

  • Community Safety
  • Hunger, Health and Nutrition
  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Community Engagement

Eiserer, who has taught at Bosworth for eight years, said she met two, if not three, of the areas with the garden project.

“We harvested over 1,200 pounds of vegetables for our school and community with the 2018 project,” she said.

Once the grant was secured, Bosworth FFA members—and the entire student body—went to work.

Even with the whole school pitching in to start and maintain the garden, Bosworth still needed the community to help. After all, only 54 students attend Bosworth School.

“Out of 18 high school kids total, we have 15 students in FFA,” Eiserer said.



Bosworth has a small agriculture building, with a greenhouse next to it. Until the garden project, a double-wide trailer that had been used for preschool sat on a lot near it, but the school board moved the trailer to make way for the community garden project.

Eiserer saw great potential in the spot where the trailer had sat.

“The foundation was non-fertile soil, and I thought that would be awesome to put raised beds on because it was otherwise useless,” she said.

That vision took flight in the form of a galvanized livestock tank container garden.

Each class, preschool through 8thgrade, has a row of three container gardens. The lessons learned through the garden for each age are different. Preschoolers and  and young ones use seed tape. The older kids get a hand in all that a garden entails.

“Each class put the potting soil in the containers, and everybody got their hands dirty,” Eiserer said. “Our FFA members were the extra hands to help the younger ones.”

The first day, everybody built gardens. They came back the next day and planted the gardens.

In addition to the container garden, they also planted a traditional garden so students could get experience with running a gas-powered tiller.



From the weeding to the watering and finally, the harvest, Bosworth students get to grow their own food. It’s an experience many of them have never had.

While Bosworth is a small town, most of its students are not from the farm.

“I don’t have traditional farm kids here,” Eiserer said. “Most live in town. Only three of my FFA students actually live on a small, hobby farm.”

The community is involved, too.

“We held workdays throughout the summer for community members to come in and help water the garden and harvest,” Eiserer said. “Over the summer, the kids come in and help, too.”

To get the goods out to the community,Eiserer uses social media and her front porch.

“I put a post up on Facebook that the produce is available, and it’s all gone by the next morning,” she said.

Some of the produce also goes to the local store using an honor system.

“The community members can make one stop and get their community produce, too,” Eiserer said. “They can donate money in the can, and out the door they go with their produce.”

The bounty was good for the garden’s first year—about 40 watermelons and 50 pie pumpkins among numerous other fruits and vegetables. Students are preserving some of the produce to be used in the school and community holiday program, which is a series of noon luncheons for the whole school.

“We will provide fruit and vegetables out of the garden for the Christmas dinner this year,” Eiserer said.



The community is benefiting from more than a homegrown holiday dinner.

“Some of our older citizens that don’t garden anymore have been able to have some garden produce without driving the 20 miles into town,” she said.

The kids are also learning a skill that they can use.

“Teaching these kids that they can have a garden is very rewarding,” Eiserer said. “They’re learning that taking a chance on something that you’ve worked hard to grow can be good for your body and fun to do.”



After applying, and getting, the LTS grant twice, she said it does take some work.

“The hardest part was getting the objectives right,” Eiserer said. “Writing educational goals for preschool through 12thgrade was challenging.”

Eiserer used education resources from Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Soybean Association, which helped with the educational component of the application.

In 2019, the community garden—and the LTS grant funding—will continue.

“This year’s project will be for improvement with a watering system and expansion of different agriscience projects with gardening,” she said.

–by Ginger Merritt

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2018 National FFA Convention – Missouri Tidbits

  • 518 American Degree Recipients


  • National Officer Candidate – Sydney Mason


  • 5 Teachers receiving Honorary AM. Degree

    Charli J. Baugh – Joplin; Jay Craven – Holden; Paul Crews – Glasgow; Kelli Nolting – Carl Junction; Kyle Whittaker – Marshfield.


  • 16 National Delegates


  • 6 National Talent Performers

Sierra Barker, North Callaway; Skyler Barker, North Callaway; Maggie Frakes, Portageville; Brett Griesbaum, Palmyra; Matthew Huchteman, Dadeville; Hunter Todd, Odessa.

  • 16 National Chorus Members

Ryan Altman, Winfield; Bethany Bailey, Gallatin; Emily Bilyeu, California; Sierra Bruse, Princeton; Trenton Gabirel, Worth County; Patience Lockhart, Nevada; Logan Lucas, Monroe City; Macie McNeely, Gallatin; Chloe Moss, Crocker; Dylan Murdock, Couch; Dallin Nield, Miller; Kylee Peters, Higbee; Connor Pfaff, Monroe City; Konner Sisseck, Nevada; Jill Stundebeck, Salisbury; Colin Wilburn, Van-Far.


  • 13 National Band Members

Aubrey Bunge, Van-Far; Trace Chambers, Fayette; Cathryn Denny, Carl Junction; Haleigh Ferguson, Smithton; Emily Korff, North Callaway; Kimberly Niemeyer, Bowling Green; Tara Schnelting, Owensville; Avery Shultz, Memphis; Olivia Sloan, Salisbury; Luke Vaughn, Marceline; Jacob Wilson, Gallatin; Cory Word, Saxony Lutheran; Koltan York, Crocker


  • 4 Individuals receiving Honorary AM. Degree

Colleen Abbott, Columbia; Hilary Black, Jefferson City; Doug Kueker, Lake Ozark; Jackie Lacy, Maryville.


  • Hall of States – Cassville FFA



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2018 Missouri National Finalists

American Star Farmer Finalists

Austin Stanton – Centralia

Agriscience Fair – 9 Finalists
  • Animal Systems – Division 4 – Dylan Sparks/Izabella Kidwell – Troy
  • Animal Systems – Division 5 – Daryin Sharp – Bolivar
  • Animal Systems – Division 6 – Jenna Hahn/ Colli Nichols – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 4 – Megan Hargis/ Lexi Vickrey  – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 5 – Isaiah Massey – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 6 – Jordan M iller/Tyler Linneman – Carrollton
  • Food Products – Division 5 – Preston McDowell – Tuscumbia
  • Plant Systems – Divison 5 – Addison Burns – Gallatin
  • Social Systems – Division 6 – Katy Grant & Allie Lock – Carrollton

Proficiency Awards – National Finalists (11)
  • Agricultural Sales – Placement – Hank Hoeppner – Higginsville
  • Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems – Sara Gammon – Drexel
  • Dairy Production Entrepreneurship – Austin Freund – Concordia
  • Diversified Horticulture – Natasha Jenkins – Boonville
  • Environmental Science/Natural Resources Management –Cameron Gehlert – Linn
  • Equine Science – Placement – Jacob Blank – Richland
  • Forage Production – Hannah Strain – Rolla
  • Goat Production – Riley Tade – Ashland
  • Grain Production – Entrepreneurship – Jacob Dierking – Santa Fe
  • Specialty Crop Production – Grace Box – Neosho
  • Swine Production – Placement – Brenden Kleiboeker – Pierce City

National Chapter Awards
  • 31 Three Star Chapters
  • Model of Excellence Finalist  – Marshall FFA and Paris FFA
  • Premier Chapter – Growing Leaders Finalists – Marshall

CDE Participants
  • Ag Issues – Eldon
  • AG Sales – Eldon
  • AG Mechanics – North Shelby
  • Agronomy – Elsberry
  • Conduct of Meetings – Troy
  • Creed – Kaitlin Kleiboeker – Pierce City
  • Dairy Cattle – Butler
  • Dairy Cattle Handlers-Grant Dohle,Pleasant Hope
  • Employment Skills – Jayla Wortman, Neosho
  • Environmental/Nat Res. – Mount Vernon
  • Extemp Speaking – Hattie Grisham, Eldon
  • Farm Bus. Mgt – Slater
  • Floriculture – Owensville
  • Food Science – Columbia
  • Forestry – Stockton
  • Horse – Columbia
  • Livestock – Nevada
  • Meats – Paris
  • Milk Quality – Wheaton
  • Nursery/Landscape – Audrain Co. R-VI
  • Parliamentary – Tipton
  • Poultry – Paris
  • Public Speaking – Brenden Kleiboeker, Pierce City


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