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Sep 23 2020

Goals for Growth

Measurable goals help Hermann FFA’s Megan Schneider earn Missouri FFA State Star in Agribusiness.

Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time oriented. While agricultural education students learn these components of SMART Goals in the classroom each year, Missouri FFA’s State Star in Agribusinesshas seen their effectiveness firsthand. Megan Schneiderof the Hermann FFA Chapterstarted her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) with the decision to keep back her best show gilt and start a breeding operation to produce higher quality show pigs for the county fair.


“One gilt has now turned into roughly 35 sows, 45 laying hens and some beef cattle,” Schneider says. “We started out farrowing sows and selling some of the pigs to local kids to show at county fairs. However, there started to be excess pigs around the farm, so we decided to start selling whole and half pigs for people to butcher themselves.”


Schneider’s operation continued to grow, exposing the need for expansion and diversification.


“As my production increased, it started to exceed local demand, and I needed to expand my markets,” she says. “With the help of my family, the decision was made to start selling at farmers markets and other retail outlets. At the markets, I engage with customers and answer any questions they might have about my products.”


As her SAE evolved, so did Schneider’s goals.


“There have been many goals set for this SAE,” she says. “The first goal was to raise lean and high-quality pork to sell to our customers. Also, to ensure our pigs have high cutability, but, at the same time, they are able to have a high success rate in the show ring.”


With each goal she reached, Schneider set new, higher goals to encourage additional growth. Other goals set included expanding her number of sows to keep up with product demand and creating new flavors and products to retain current customers and attract new ones.


Schneider’s SAE growth has inspired her to pursue a career in the industry. She plans to attend East Central College in Union, Missouri before transferring to the University of Missouri with the goal of earning a masters degree in biochemistry. In addition to beginning a career in agriculture, Schneider hopes to continue the family farm to provide a premium protein product for families to enjoy.


by  Brandelyn Martin Twellman
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National Finalists for 2020 National FFA Convention

 Agriscience Fair – 7 Finalists 

  • Animal Systems – Division 4 – Shelbea Tosh/Mallory Templeton – Bolivar 
  • Animal Systems – Division 6 – Josie Toombs/Jacob Toombs – Bolivar 
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 5 – Caroline Herigon – Boonville 
  • Food Products – Division 4 – Audrey Langlotz/Nash McKenzie – Boonville 
  • Food Products – Division 6 – Ashley Freiburger/Courtney Freiburger – Verona 
  • Power, Structural, Technical Systems – Division 3 — Dakota Kuester – Boonville 
  • Social Systems – Division 4 – Leah Crawmer/Jordan Hall – Troy 

 Proficiency Awards – National Finalists (9) 

  • Diversified Crop Production – Entrepreneurship – Jacob Dierking, Santa Fe 
  • Environmental Science /NRS Mgt. – Cory Word, Saxony Lutheran 
  • Forest Management – Bryce Hixson, Neosho 
  • Fruit Production – Ethan Hilgedick, Ashland 
  • Service Learning – Grant Norfleet, Mexico 
  • Specialty Crop Production – Cole Hammett, Ashland 
  • Swine Production Entrepreneurship – Brylee Williams, Princeton 
  • Swine Production Placement – Zachary Main, North Mercer 
  • Wildlife Management – Amanda Belew, Ashland 

 National Chapter Awards 

  • 33 out of 33 chapters submitted are Three Star Chapters — Highest award for a chapter 
  • Three Models of Excellence FFA Chapters – this is three out of the top 10 chapters in the nation 
  • Ashland, Braymer, Troy 
  • Premier Chapter: Building Communities Finalist – Ashland 
  • Premier Chapter: Strengthening Agriculture Finalist – Audrain Co. R-VI 

 2020 Other Missouri FFA Tidbits 

  • American Degree Recipients – announcement Mid-September 
  • National Officer Candidate – Paxton Dahmer 
  • 4 Teachers receiving Honorary American Degree – Tonya Jedlicka, West Plains; John Kallash, Clopton; Randy Morris, Putnam Co.; Chad Murphy, Versailles 
  • 14 National Delegates 
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Reaching for Research

Eldon FFA member Destinie Tunis wins State Star in Agriscience while preparing for career success throughout her SAE.

Part of the National FFA Organization’s mission is to prepare students for career success. Whether it’s through participating in public speaking, holding a chapter office or attending a leadership conference, members have a multitude of opportunities to prepare for the future throughout their time in the organization. Missouri FFA’s State Star in Agriscience has chosen to prepare for her future through her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). Destinie Tunis of the Eldon FFA Chapter has conducted three agriscience research projects relating to either human or animal health.


“For my sophomore year science research project, I was testing Mus musculus (Mice) to see if certain prenatal diets affect the weight of offspring as they age,” Tunis says. “Last year for my

research project, I tested Gromphadorhina portentosa (Madagascar hissing cockroach) to see if 1550 Borate Glass would reduce scarring and increase the rate of healing time in thermal injuries. For this year’s project, I am testing the antimicrobial effects of various animals’ saliva to see if it can be used as an alternative treatment for antibiotic resistant bacteria.”


Like most students, Tunis has experienced challenges throughout her SAE. These roadblocks serve as real-life learning opportunities requiring real-life solutions. This year, one challenge was access to the saliva she was hoping to test.


“Because of the rules and guidelines that I follow, I could not obtain the (saliva) samples myself,” she says. “I contacted Dr. Kathy at the Lake Pet Hospital in Eldon and asked for assistance. She could collect the saliva samples for me during regular and safe procedures performed by her and her staff, but because working with larger animals doesn’t happen very often for her, I was lucky to have been able to get saliva samples from a horse, pig and cow.”


In addition to overcoming challenges, one of the goals Tunis set for her SAE was to turn her research projects into a future career. She is on track to do just that.


Currently in the process of becoming a member of the U.S Army Reserve, Tunis plans to go to Basic Training. She also plans to attend college to major in biomedical sciences and earn her PhD in Science for both health and medicine and STEM. Her career goal is to continue medical research to benefit both humans and animals.

-by Brandelyn Martin Twellman

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Hands-On Approach

Bowling Green FFA’s Clint Bailey earns State Star in Agricultural Placement as hands-on learning grows his SAE.

Doing to Learn. These three words make up the second line of the FFA motto, the goal of a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) and the definition of Missouri FFA’s State Star in Agricultural Placement’s dedication to growth in his SAE.


Clint Bailey of the Bowling Green FFA Chapter started his placement SAE at Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic walking dogs, cleaning kennels and providing animals with proper food and water. These tasks, while important and necessary to daily operations at the clinic, represent the start of a journey filled with learning and growth. ICC_PROFILEpADBEprtrCMYKLab –)5acspAPPLADBEˆ÷”-ADBE desc¸tcprtp+wtptA2B0∞¢A2B2∞¢A2B1£∏¢B2A0E¿8¥B2A1~t8¥B2A2∑(8¥gamtÔ‹descU.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2textCopyright 2000 Adobe Systems, Inc.XYZ µZºg0mft2$⁄iŸ 6« ˇ1^∑‚2Wyµ“Ô%Y !≤"⁄#ˇ%#&D'f()ß*«+Ë-.(/H0i12¶3¬4fi5˚7


After gaining experience at the vet clinic, Bailey’s responsibilities began to increase. He started assisting the lead veterinarian at the local sale barn, the Eastern Missouri Commission Company, and assisting on large animal farm calls.


“My roles and responsibilities have changed in the veterinary science placement area,” Bailey says. “After working at the clinic for two months, I was given a promotion to help assist Dr. David Cerven in providing services at the Eastern Missouri Commission Company. My responsibilities include working the cattle chute, tagging calves, giving implants, aging cows, working the hot shot, penning cattle and holding the tails of bulls for the doctors to castrate.”


Bailey says this increase in responsibility has given him a more accurate glimpse into the life of a large animal veterinarian.


“The responsibilities at the sale barn have introduced me to an environment that is similar to a full time career as a veterinarian, since most veterinarians are called to farms to work livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep and hogs,” he explains.


This time spent “doing to learn” at the Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic has helped shape Bailey’s future career goals. He plans to attend the University of Missouri (MU) to obtain a degree in Animal Science. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.


Bailey’s goal is to return to his hometown to apply for a position as a large animal veterinarian at the Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic. While working as a veterinarian, he plans on continuing to help operate his family’s commercial beef cattle operation in the future.

-by Brandelyn Martin Twellman

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2020 FFA State Day of Service: Chapter Mini Grants

Due to the unprecedented times in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri FFA in partnership with Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids is offering chapters an opportunity to take part in a $300 matching mini-grant.


The goal of the Chapter Mini-Grants is to provide FFA chapters a Living to Serve opportunity to address food insecurity needs or awareness. This is a one-time only opportunity.

2020 Pantry List

2020 MO Farmers Care Mini Grant Flyer

Strengthening Youths’ Understanding of Food Insecurity Through Experiential Learning

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Vision 2020: Missouri FFA Unveils New Communication Plan

Vision 2020 Graphic

After months of discussion and planning, Missouri FFA is excited to announce its new Vision 2020 Communication Plan.


Vision 2020 is a culmination of multiple media platforms including print, digital and video. Joann Pipkin, who has worked with Missouri FFA in a variety of communication capacities since 1996, serves as Missouri FFA’s director of communications. Former Missouri FFA State Secretary Brandelyn Martin Twellman is social media manager. Current Missouri FFA Mentor Kensi Darst joins the team as social media coordinator. And, Lacy Short, continues in her role as webmaster.


The new communication program officially kicks off in September with the Missouri Agricultural Education and FFA annual report. The printed coffee table-type publication will be distributed to chapters and program supporters across the state.


Beginning in October, the first digital newsletter will be published. Patterned after the Missouri FFA Today insert, which was previously distributed through National FFA’s New Horizons magazine, the bi-monthly publication will feature member- and chapter-driven content. In addition, Missouri FFA will continue its monthly eNewsletter, delivered through email to members across the state.


Highlighting the digital portion of Missouri FFA’s news communication protocol will be a stepped-up social media strategy. Members and supporters are encouraged to follow Missouri FFA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The communication team will work to bring Missouri agricultural education and FFA programs full circle with the organization’s website,, servicing as the hub for everything Missouri FFA!


New to Missouri FFA’s communication strategy is a video component. Communication team members are developing a variety of visual content for agricultural education students including leadership development and SAE-based learning opportunities.


FFA members, agricultural education instructors and organization supporters are encouraged to get involved and submit their story ideas! Email them to or

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Show Me Summit Leadership Experience Launched

Show-Me Summit

As I reflect back on my FFA journey, I realize that the most significant personal growth and leadership development I experienced happened at Missouri’s State Leadership Camp at Camp Rising Sun in the summer heat. Just a few months ago, I was preparing to meet more than 1,200 FFA members at the Lake of the Ozarks for the opportunity to help them grow while spending time in the Rec Hall, playing volleyball, and swimming at the waterfront. I was heartbroken when I heard about the cancellation of Missouri FFA Camp in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I knew there was still work to be done to help FFA members develop those skills in leadership, teamwork and strategic thinking.


After countless hours of brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of FFA members, advisors, state officers and state staff, we created the Show-Me Summit: Missouri FFA’s Virtual Leadership Experience. Through the Show-Me Summit, FFA members across the state have the opportunity to interact with State FFA Officers and gain foundational leadership skills that will propel them towards success in the Missouri FFA Association and beyond.


Show-Me Summitis made up of six core leadership development workshops hosted by the 2020-2021 Missouri State FFA Officer Team on concepts like individuality, intentional leadership, teamwork, taking action, Missouri agriculture, and grit and resilience. These topics encapsulate the overarching concepts taught in the elective leadership sessions that typically happen at FFA Camp in the summer.


In addition to the six core leadership workshops, there are four supplemental modules: Don Koonce’s Speaker Series, the Missouri Agriculture module, the Living to Serve Project, and Teacher Resources, all designed to give students (and advisors!) a well-rounded leadership development experience from anywhere. For FFA members interested in earning their State Leadership Medal, the Living to Serve Project requires them to put those concepts they’ve learned throughout the Show-Me Summitinto action by performing some kind of community service activity and completing an application for consideration. Additionally, if participants complete the checklist featured in the Living to Serve module, they can list Show-Me Summitas a state activity on Missouri FFA award applications.


Workshops and supplemental modules are being released in phases beginning this month! Stay tuned for announcements on Missouri FFA’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can learn more about and participate in the Show Me Summit online at Questions can be directed to

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LEAD Chapter Officer Training Goes Virtual

LEAD Officer Training

Gather ‘round chapter officers! The annual LEAD Chapter Officer Training Program is being offered this year in virtual format. The free training resource can be completed at your own pace!


“Core Sessions” are facilitated using videos of this year’s LEAD instructors. These virtual sessions will walk you through exercises that will be foundational to your year serving as a chapter officer.  Although the time needed to complete the training might vary among chapters, it is recommended reserving a two- to three-hour meeting with your chapter officer team to complete the training.


This year’s “Core Sessions” provide training on:

  • Determining Our “Why” as a Chapter FFA Officer (Welcome to iLEAD Session)
  • Individual Strengths and Team Collaboration
  • Promoting and Marketing our FFA Chapter
  • Program of Activities


For details on how you can take part in LEAD, contact your chapter advisor!

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Beyond High School: Explore Your Options

While some go straight into the workforce after high school, others choose to pursue higher education. When deciding on the right program for you and your career goals, you have some options from which to choose. 


Trade School 

Also known as a vocational or tech schools, trade schools typically focus on job-specific areas of study. Many offer certificates or diplomas upon completion of classes teaching hands-on skills. Some trade schools also offer two-year associate degree options. 


Community College

Community colleges are more likely to offer two-year associate degree programs. They provide a broader education in addition to job-specific skill training. Students who graduate from community colleges either enter the workforce with an associate degree or transfer to a four-year university. 



While the sizes of universities vary, they are typically larger than other colleges or schools. Universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, and some offer graduate degrees as well. They offer a wider variety of classes and degrees, and they can either be public or private. 


Overall, your choice of higher education is up to you. Size, location and program offerings may determine which type of school best fits your needs, so do your research and consider your options after graduation.

– Brandelyn Twellman

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