The Anna FFA Chapter was chosen as the number one chapter in the Nation for chapter development at the 86th National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY last week.
A 6-week chicken feed trial, with a built-in service learning project and FFA awareness goal, led to the Anna FFA receiving this prestigious national award. Members of the 144-member chapter sought to increase FFA awareness amongst local businesses and organizations while giving back to the community. In their animal science class, members raised broiler chickens while conducting feed trials, observed the chickens being harvested and then donated more than 190 pounds of shredded chicken to the local Veteran’s Day luncheon hosted by the Anna Local Schools, feeding nearly 100 veterans and 500 students.
“What we feel is important about this chicken feed trial and bringing it to the students of Anna is that students are able to connect with the start-to-finish process of food production,” describes Sarah Heilers, Agricultural Education teacher at Anna High School. “Caring for the animal, observing the harvesting and ultimately consuming the product is not something that everyone is able to experience – through the Anna FFA, students can.”
Each year, the Anna FFA completes a National Chapter application which chronicles all events of the previous year and encourages its members to grow as individuals, to work as part of a team, and to serve others. The application is first evaluated at the state level prior to the State FFA Convention in May, where the Anna FFA Chapter was recently named the top chapter in the state in 2013. In August, Anna was informed that they were selected as one of the top ten chapters, out of 7,570, in the nation. Once at National Convention, two Anna FFA members delivered a presentation and interview that would enable a panel of judges to determine the final ranking which was presented on Thursday, October 31 at the second general session in front of a crowd of 10,000.
As part of the FFA Chapter Development goals, an FFA chapter has a responsibility to provide opportunities and service to its members. Those goals can be met by promoting increased member participation, financial responsibility, positive image, interactions with support groups and cooperation through organized activities.
“We have put so much work into getting our chapter where it is today,” added Dominic Becker, 2013-2014 Anna FFA President. “All of this recognition has been incredible for everyone involved with the organization. We hope to keep the chapter in these prestigious ranks for years to come.”
The chicken feed trial project was only made possibly with the help and support of several local businesses and organizations. Hubbard Feeds (Botkins) supplied all chicken feed, Tractor Supply Company (Sidney) provided equipment and bedding, Kings & Sons (Versailles) conducted a complete tour of the harvesting process. Partnerships with the Anna Jr. High and High School Student Council and the school cafeteria staff members enabled the Anna FFA chapter to donate the finished chicken product for the annual Veterans Day luncheon. And the continued support of the Anna FFA Alumni and Young Farmer groups help make projects like this possible year after year.
“The support from the community and administration is fantastic,” states Tim Zimpfer, Agricultural Education teacher at Anna High School. “But most of the credit goes to the students – we have a great group of driven individuals in our program.”
The Anna FFA Chapter is led by Tim Zimpfer who has been at Anna since 2007 and Sarah Heilers who is in her first year at Anna and replaced Michelle Brunson, who is now employed at the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua as an instructional supervisor.
This national award is sponsored by John Deere. It is one of the many ways FFA members accomplish the FFA mission and succeed in making a difference in their communities and the lives of others. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.