School Name and Chapter Name: Spencer FFA Chapter, Spencer High School.
Adviser: Mark Zimmerman and Leeah Luepke (first semester).
Courses offered: Agriscience 7 and 8, Introduction to Agriscience, Animal Health and Veterinary Science, Horticulture, Wildlife Ecology, Spring Sustainable Food Production, Greenhouse Management, Animal Science, Food Science and Directed Studies in Agriculture.
Chapter officers: Cortney Zimmerman, president; Darron Willcome, vice president; Zach Endreas, vice president; Danika Griepentrog, secretary; Shane Bauer, treasurer; Leo Rodriguez, sentinel; and Daniel Clark, past president.
How many members do you have in your chapter and what year was it established? The chapter has about 100 members and was chartered in 1950. It was re-chartered in 1975.
What are some chapter highlights (activities, membership, awards)? One special thing the chapter does for National FFA Week is they construct a 50-foot-long banana split. They make one for the middle school and one for the high school. They used 50 pounds of bananas, 24 gallons of ice cream and many bottles of chocolate and strawberry syrup, whipped cream and, of course, cherries on top. All 350 middle and high school students, as well as school staff, have it scooped into bowls to enjoy.
During National Agriculture Week, the chapter saluted area businesses with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. They called it their “Cinnamon Run.” They baked and frosted more than 200 cinnamon rolls and distributed them to almost 30 area businesses.
Most recently, the chapter did an “Agriculture Books for Babies” activity during Agriculture Week. They gave 30 agriculturally themed books to the Marshfield Medical Center Hospital Birthing Center to give to newborns during Agriculture Week.
What are some recent accomplishments? The chapter had three recent Wisconsin FFA Degree nominees: Daniel Clark, Darron Willcome and Ben Nowak, as well as four American FFA Degree nominees: Katelyn Zimmerman, Dyllan Gripentrog, Austin Gropp and Andrew Seefeldt. They also had four competitors at the Sectional FFA Leadership Development Event competition. Cortney Zimmerman will advance to state in Employment Skills.
What are your chapter plans or goals for the year? Plans include continuing to grow activities, involve members and have an effect on the community.
What activities have you done within your school to promote FFA, agriculture and leadership? Among the chapter’s most notable activities is their Day on the Farm. Annually, the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station hosts third- and fourth-graders for a day of activities. FFA members present the third-graders with a set of six agricultural and outdoor safety lessons, and fourth-graders have Food for America lessons about various agricultural topics related to food, food processing and animal production. All lessons are prepared and presented by FFA members.
How does your FFA chapter impact the community? Community service is very important to the chapter. A few of their larger events are the Marshfield Rotary Winter Wonderland, collecting food and cash donations and conducting Project Merry Christmas, through which they visit 100 households of elderly folks in Spencer. They donate fruit to the local food pantry and serve at a free community meal. Cooperating with the Spencer FFA Alumni, they host a 24-team boys’ and girls’ fifth- and sixth-grade basketball tournament. They also host the local Easter Egg Hunt with more than 3,000 eggs the Saturday before Easter.
Where do you see the chapter in 10 years? The Spencer Agricultural Education program has built a strong foundation for the future. Their Agricultural Education Advisory Council will help ensure a positive outlook for the program for years to come.
Tell us something that’s unique about your FFA chapter: Each summer, the chapter runs an annual Agriscience Camp. They host 50 elementary-school students for a weeklong camp of agricultural activities and an agricultural field trip. Activities are centered around the agricultural pathways — Animal Systems, Plant Systems, Food Products and Processing Systems and Natural Resources Systems. Campers are led by high school and middle school counselors through activities such as bathing and blow-drying a heifer; learning about horses, goats, poultry and rabbits; planting grass pets; creating seed art; learning about seed germination; making jelly, French fries, pretzels, cheese and beef jerky; and learning how to cast a fishing pole, playing casting games, doing minnow races and making fishing lures. For the field trips, they have visited Marieke Gouda, Heiman Holsteins and D&B Sternweis Farms, the Mead Wildlife Area and the Cranberry Discovery Center.