In a year that could be filled with excuses, Norfolk FFA members have continued to take and make opportunities. The year started with guidelines and restrictions, which turned out to be just forks in the road.
Community service took a local path this year. Members raised $864 and bought blankets, clothes, bathroom supplies and toys to donate to families at the Norfolk Rescue Mission. The members worked to buy all that they could through local businesses like Kookaburras right here in Norfolk instead of online. Students also have donated 123 homegrown salads and 27 cooked or freshly processed broiler chickens to the rescue mission.
The students also have composted or vermicomposted 184 pounds of classroom wastes to lower the FFA’s environmental footprint.
The fresh fertilizers will be spread on the FFA’s garden that was revamped through grants from the FFA Alumni and National FFA’s Living to Serve project.
Members found different pathways to learn leadership skills.
Aurora Cooperative presented a virtual workshop with Adam Carriker explaining to students how to show up and be prepared for whatever life gives them.
The state FFA provided a Make it Count workshop that taught students how to develop events.
FFA members then went on to learn how there are many different paths to take during a virtual National Convention Jumanji Workshop provided by the National FFA but put on by our own members.
These workshops reached a pinnacle when National FFA Vice President Artha Jonassaint presented a live, virtual
workshop for the Norfolk FFA on values.
FFA members also created new leadership paths with their own leadership opportunities. Students organized and implemented a virtual Women in Agriculture Conference that included Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, Julie Wragge and Claudia Leubner. Students came together to carve pumpkins bought from Lutheran High Northeast FFA. The FFA even had a virtual Leadership Skills Event practice on Facebook.
The FFA members found traditional and new paths to competed in contests.
At the state FFA fair, 32 members earned 17 division champion, reserve champion and overall champion entries in crops, goats and horticulture areas.
District dairy judging gave students a chance to judge in-person, and teams earned blues, but later the teams went on to win virtual state dairy judging.
Land judging was held south of Pierce, and eight members got a chance to judge the variety of soils in Northeast Nebraska. The top team earned a white ribbon.
Contests continued with leadership speaking events that qualified a senior public speaker to the virtual state FFA convention. Livestock judging gave students a chance to evaluate cattle, sheep, swine and even goats all on the same day. And FFA members qualified two proficiencies for state FFA, and three members will earn their state FFA degrees later in the spring.
The Agricultural Classroom has been in session and challenging.
Students have made ethanol, raised garden beds, biodiesel, livestock feed, and raised lettuce, tilapia, chicken, mealworms, hissing cockroaches, succulent plants and red wiggler worms.
The students will finish the year checking water quality, raising more vegetables, goats, calves and pigs, in addition to making wind turbines, wildlife pelts and even a few agriscience fair boards.
All of these activities couldn’t have happened without grants from Farmers Pride Cooperative, Norfolk Public School Foundation’s Class of 1969, local FFA alumni, Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, Nebraska Academy of Sciences and the Nebraska FFA Foundation Grants.