The AgriPower FFA Chapter in southeast Iowa added to its tradition of winning the Supreme FFA Chapter Award, taking home that honor in 2019. The award, sponsored by Wallaces Farmer, is presented each year at the Iowa State Fair.
This is the ninth year the chapter from Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont High School has won this award. Calamus-Wheatland FFA was Iowa’s Supreme Chapter winner in 2016 and 2017. Prior to that, it was AgriPower for several years. In 2018, there was a three-way tie for this award.
To compete for the Supreme FFA Chapter Award, a chapter’s members enter their projects they’ve been working on during the year in exhibits and competitions at the Iowa State Fair. They are awarded points for entering and exhibiting, and more points for winning. The point total is cumulative for each chapter.
Takes teamwork to win
“To win this award requires teamwork, involving as many members of your chapter as you can get to participate,” says Emily Glosser, AgriPower president. “Someone from your chapter doesn’t have to win the Grand Champion Steer contest. You have to get your members involved, do a lot of projects in various categories, and do them well.”
Whether its horticulture, floriculture, photography, ag mechanics, showing livestock or whatever, you earn points depending on how well a project places in the competition at the fair and the amount of time and effort you put into it. The chapter with the highest point total wins.
“Our chapter had a lot of students participating this year and in many different categories,” Glosser says. “There was consistency as everyone earned points with strong chapter participation.”
Vo-ag teacher Melissa Reed-Appel is the AgriPower chapter adviser. “Last year our students were shocked when a three-way tie resulted for the Iowa Supreme Chapter Award,” she says. “That was the first time a three-way tie ever occurred. So, we set goals for this year. Our students wanted to be involved in different areas of competition at the 2019 Iowa State Fair. They wanted to start new supervised ag experience, or SAE projects, for the school year; projects that would help their chapter earn points.”
Setting a goal, achieving it
AgriPower is the 14th largest FFA chapter in Iowa. It has 144 members, and 70 of them exhibited at the Iowa State Fair this year.
Winning the Supreme Chapter Award sets an example for all chapters in the state, says Chandler Jahner, current Iowa FFA state president from Pella. “In FFA, we value leadership. It comes in different forms,” he says. “The Supreme Chapter Award is a sign the chapter has a strong tie to agriculture, and the chapter’s leadership style drives it. Achieving this award takes the entire chapter working together toward that goal.”
The Iowa State Fair is an example of where ag education shows FFA’s three-component model: classroom learning, individual projects and then awards, recognition and leadership development. The SAE projects the students develop and work on during the year are shown at the Iowa State Fair.