In February each year, during the week of Presidents Day, Hartford Union High School rolls out the red carpet for 60 to 70 students who are members of the FFA chapter. On tap are several activities that help celebrate the roots of agriculture, but the favorite event occurs when rural students are allowed to drive their tractors to school and line them up by the building.
“This is the third year I’ve brought in my dad’s model Massey Ferguson 6485, about a 40-minute drive. However, when there are no classes, I normally haul manure in the morning,” says Leah Weninger, a junior from Iron Ridge, Wis. “I’m involved with FFA because it provides the opportunity to gain leadership training and pushes me toward my career objective of working as a dairy herd manager. I feel we always need more individuals to become involved in crop and animal production, because these fields are truly the backbone of American agriculture.”
Ag instructor Kimberly Schadrie has been on the school’s staff for five years. She notes the world of agriculture is much more diverse than years ago, and students take pride in that, wanting to share various production aspects of the industry.
Currently from 250 to 300 students are enrolled in the ag curriculum. Courses range from animal, plant and soil science to horticulture, wildlife, outdoor conservation, forestry, and natural resource science. Career development events focus on ag products, dairy cattle evaluation, veterinary science, livestock judging and mechanics.
“Supporting this activity creates a fantastic wave of school spirit and reveals the strength of FFA. This is a strong and successful producing area that supports our agriculture science program,” says Attila Weninger, high school superintendent. “Many farmers are school alumni and strive to showcase their pride, heritage and community involvement.”
Check out the slideshow to see pictures from FFA week.
Persinger writes from Milwaukee, Wis.