The theme of this year’s National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Week (February 16-23) was “Just One.” Keeping with the theme, the DeKalb County Farm Bureau asked each DeKalb County FFA chapter to share “Just One” of their programs which may be new, unique, or traditional for their FFA.
Grain Show & Auction – Hiawatha FFA
Advisor: Josh Dodge
President: Emma Carlson
The Hiawatha FFA hosted their 81st Grain Show and Auction this year. This is the longest running grain show in the state of Illinois. The grain show encourages students to compete in different categories such as grain, arts and crafts, baked goods and produce. Local farmers judge the show entries and determine the best in show. The students take great pride in their projects. The auction runs on donations from local businesses that support the FFA. The Auction is Hiawatha FFA’s only fundraiser which attracts 100 visitors and over 40 donors.
Greenhouse Projects – Genoa-Kingston FFA
Advisor: Toni Gabriel
President: Raven Ruchti
Genoa-Kingston High School has an attached greenhouse that allows the FFA chapter to do year-round projects. They utililize the greenhouse for activities such as growing turfgrass in their current unit in the landscape design & turfgrass management course. They also have tower gardens, and these give them a hydroponic take on plant production. Most days you find the door open and students moving in and out to do projects for their classes.
Ag Camp – Somonauk-Leland-Sandwich FFA
Advisors: Andrea Farrier, Sarah Landers
President: Avery Plote
Over the summer the Somonauk-Leland-Sandwich FFA chapter hosts a summer Agriculture Camp for approximately 60 elementary students ranging in age from first through third grade. It is open to students from the towns of Somonauk, Leland, and Sandwich. Ag Camp usually runs for three days and includes multiple activities to educate the children on the huge spectrum that agriculture encompasses. Some activities have included: a petting zoo, demonstration on fire safety, making various foods and crafts, and teaching fun camp songs. A great time is always had by both FFA members and children attending.
Royal Orchard – Hinckley-Big Rock FFA
Advisor: Tracey Sanderson
President: Jarred Jungels
The overall goal of the Royal Orchard and Squashing Out Hunger program is to provide students with a hands-on learning environment, which will help them to understand how research and production occurs in horticulture/orchard production. The result of this work will provide an opportunity for students to then extend a service project by giving back to the community with the fruit/squash that is produced. Applying orchard management practices also links students to local agricultural industries. Hinckley-Big Rock FFA’s community service program provides fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.
Next Generation Ag – Indian Creek FFA
Advisor: Julie Vlosak
President: Kayla McCormick
Next Generation Agriculture (NGA) is a program Indian Creek FFA hosts after school for 80 elementary-aged students to teach them about the agriculture industry. They host one session each month and the kids rotate through stations that relate to that month’s topic. Each station is led by high school members from all grades. The NGA program is a great way for kids in the community to expand their knowledge about agriculture and even grow interest for a future in the FFA organization and the agriculture industry.
Vet Tech – DeKalb FFA
Advisor: Sarah Peterson
President: Trevor Yaeger
One of the most popular things DeKalb FFA does in their Animal Science class is their Vet Tech unit, concluding with practicing skills on live “patients.” They get many students with a strong interest in pursuing animal science careers and they love the opportunity to get hands on with animals during class. After learning about all portions of a physical exam, students practice these skills on animals in class. They practice proper restraint and handling, taking vital signs, and looking for signs of general health. They practice on both small and large animals. These hands-on skills are the ones that students remember and hopefully take with them into future careers.
Family Ag Night – Sycamore FFA
Advisors: Kara Poynter, Brandie Burgess
President: Hanna Diehl
Family Ag Night is one event Sycamore FFA is really proud of. The FFA works with the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, local farmers, and the Farm Bureau to share the importance of agriculture with the community. The event, part of Tuesdays on the Town, occurs every September in downtown Sycamore where visitors awe at the site of a combine, tractor, ATVs, sheep, horses, calves, rabbits, and so much more. Sycamore FFA members share their livestock and machinery projects on this special evening. They enjoy teaching the community the importance of food and farming. This September will be Sycamore FFA’s 4th year organizing the event.