Each year, the Wisconsin Association of FFA recognizes individuals who have shown incredible commitment to FFA and the future of agriculture. Many gathered at a dinner program last month to honor this year's recipients, the 2015 Honored Adults of the 86th Wisconsin FFA Convention.
"We are excited to recognize so many notable individuals as part of the Honored Adults program," says Jeff Hicken, State FFA Advisor and Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Consultant. "For many years, they have selflessly given great amounts of time and finances to support FFA and agricultural education throughout Wisconsin. They have a deep appreciation and understanding for the agricultural industry as a whole, but also know that to maintain it our youth need resources and education today.
An Honorary State Degree is the highest FFA Honorary Degree available. Its purpose is to recognize individuals who have rendered outstanding service to the agricultural education/FFA program.
Receiving an Honorary State Degree were:
• Bradley Anderson, an agricultural sales representative for McFarlanes' in Sauk City;
• Marshall L. Behling, who was an account executive for The Country Today for 30 years;
• Jack H. Ellickson, a sales representative for Animal Health International, Inc.;
• Darci M. Meili, an administrative assistant in Member Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation;
• Dennis Patterson, who farms with his brother Dale near Bloomington, Wis.;
• Derrick Papcke, who recently served on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board of Directors and farms near Elkhorn;
• Edward C. Peck, president and CEO of Filament Marketing and owner of April-Day Holsteins;
• Linda Sattler, the agricultural instructor and FFA advisor at Laconia High School, and current past-president of Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators;
• Dr. Donovan Taylor, the chair of the UW-River Falls Department of Plant and Earth Science;
• Eric Treml, a member of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Council representing Section 9 for the past four years;
• Mike and Joni Wedig, parents of the 2014-15 State FFA President Alison Wedig;
• Amy Zernicke, a member of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Council representing Section 8 for the past 6 years and judge for many FFA speaking contests.
The Distinguished Service award is given for outstanding contributions made to the Wisconsin Association of FFA and entirety of agricultural education. The four 2015 Distinguished Service Recipients were:
• Equity Livestock's A Good Way to Grow Program, which raised almost $40,000 for the Wisconsin FFA Foundation's Leadership Partner Program last year. The Good Way to Grow Program funds are the result of 5 cents from each animal marketed at Equity facilities for one year,
• John H Keel Photography, which takes the Wisconsin FFA State Officer Team's official photographs every year and has worked with the Wisconsin FFA for 20 years on both state and local levels.
• Michael Klahr, the event coordinator for the Alliant Energy Center, who has collaborated closely with the Wisconsin Association of FFA each year for convention planning and services.
• Janet Schneider, current president of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association. She works for Stewart-Peterson as well as on her family farm.
The VIP Award is bestowed upon those who show a lifetime of support, dedication and leadership benefiting the FFA, FFA Alumni, and/or FFA Foundation. The VIP Award recipient at the 2015 Wisconsin FFA Convention was:
• David Erickson, who spent 40 years serving Cooperative Network and the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives. He also served on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board of Directors and Sponsors Board. He has judged many state contests and worked closely with the State FFA Officers for more than three decades in conjunction with the National Cooperative Youth Program.
The Hall of Fame acknowledges the support and/or achievements of individuals whose involvement in the field of agricultural education and the FFA totals 20 years or more. Inducted into the Wisconsin FFA Hall of Fame the same evening were:
• Kim A. Havens, who is from Darlington and served as the State FFA Vice President in 1971-72 and State FFA President in 1972-73. He spent five years as an agricultural education instructor in Janesville, served the National FFA Foundation for seven years, and also was chairman and treasurer for the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Board of Directors. Havens is owner and founder of Havens Financial Services, Inc.
• Glenn L. Linder from Blanchardville, who taught one year of agricultural education at Blanchardville High School followed by 23 at Pecatonica, with many student success stories in FFA from those years. He is a lifetime member of the FFA Alumni and a member of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation's Blue and Gold Society. Linder is a U.S. Navy veteran and has served in many leadership roles throughout FFA and teachers' associations.
• The late Jim Marcks, who taught agriculture at Luxemburg-Casco School for 32 years, and saw students earn 72 State Degrees and five first-place proficiencies during that time. He contracted polio in his youth and was unable to farm after the illness, but spent his career and sharing his passion for agriculture and FFA with many students.
This list of 2015 Honored Adults of the 86th Wisconsin FFA Convention encompasses decades of experience and dedication to Wisconsin FFA and agriculture education. The Wisconsin FFA Foundation continues to support their legacy through dedicated sponsors, who each year provide educational opportunities for the next generation of agricultural industry leaders.
The Wisconsin FFA Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization, unites individuals, organizations and companies who share a common interest in the advancement of agriculture and community leadership through FFA. You can support today's FFA members by supporting the programs that have been core tenets of the FFA: proficiency awards, career development events, state FFA degrees, sectional leadership workshops, scholarships, chapter awards, agri-science fair, state FFA convention and state officer support. Learn more about the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and sponsorship opportunities by visiting www.wisconsinffafoundation.org.