The whole hog event is a benefit event that FFA does to donate money to charity. year the money will be donated to New Hope Uganda and to Adrianne Huber through Eastern Mennonite Missions. Hogs are roasted and then picked to make pulled pork. The meal included a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, applesauce, chips, drink and cookie. Part of the event included take out meals that were delivered to people in the community. There were about 450 takeout orders. This fundraiser proved to be very successful!
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This year the FFA winter officer retreat was held at Mountain Dale Farms in Snyder County Pennsylvania. While the officer team was there they had several planning sections that planed the Program of Activities for the rest of the school year. It was a good experience to get to know each other better, especially for the new officers to get to know the upperclassmen. Free time was spent playing card games and games like capture the flag. The pond was also a lot of fun this year because it was frozen.
During the Pennsylvania Farm show Grassland FFA members had the opportunity to go work at the Penn Ag food both. It is a fun day with friends spent serving food to the customers at the stand. You also have the chance to try some of the delicious food yourself.
Katelyn Byram and Alyssa Waite work at the Penn Ag food booth during the farm show.
During the Pennsylvania FFA Convention which was held Monday January 7th seven students from Grassland FFA received their Keystone Degree. In all, 304 Pennsylvania FFA members received their Keystone Degrees. The Keystone Degree is the highest degree in the state of Pennsylvania that an FFA member can receive. Applicants first have to earn three other degrees as well as go through an application process. First the applications and Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) records have to be evaluated by local committee before they can be sent onto a state committee for verification. One Grassland FFA member, Seth Yoder was also an Eastern Region Placement Keystone Star. He got first in county and went on to become a finalist in the State Keystone Star Competition. Katie Mueller also earned her Keystone Degree but was unable to attend the ceremony.
From left to right: Seth Yoder, Jalisa Zimmerman, Michal Seifrit, Callianna Riggins, Katelyn Byram, James Martin, Connor Bender , with Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture George Greig
In the last several years, if you’ve ever been to the Pennsylvania Farm show during the day on a Monday you probably noticed a lot of blue and gold jackets. But do you know why? It’s because of the FFA Mid- Winter Convention. Besides those receiving their Keystone Degrees, there are also first year members receiving their own blue and gold FFA jackets. First year members had to do several things to earn their FFA jackets including writing an essay explaining what the Greenhand Degree is and how they plan to get it as well as interview a former FFA member and find out how FFA changed their lives. And thanks to the FFA Alumni Association, this year 304 FFA members statewide were able to receive jackets. They would go to the convention in official dress, except for the jacket that they would be receiving during the ceremony. Then all of the recipients would put on their jackets for the first time together. This year the Grassland FFA chapter had three members receive jackets.
From left to right: Elizabeth Mumma. Eliot Bollinger, Katelyn Martin
If you have been to the ag wing in the middle of December, most likely you smelled the citrus before you saw it. The citrus sale in one of FFA’s biggest fundraisers. We order the fruit and get it delivered right form Florida. FFA members sell fruit to their neighbors, family and friends, as well as their teachers who are often supportive of the fundraiser. All the fruit is sorted to make sure that none is rotten. Students use the money earned from the fundraiser to help pay for out-of-class events that they chapter has.
Each year the state FFA officers visit chapters throughout Pennsylvania to interact with students and various Ag classes. This year four officers visited the GSHS chapter during the Horticulture, Vet Science, FFA 9, and FFA 12 classes. The officers led team building games and helped students understand all of the opportunities FFA has to offer. The activities taught FFA students about team work, following directions, creativity and problem solving skills.
Members of the Grassland FFA teamed up to win the Lancaster County FFA Hunter Safety Trap shoot Competition. This year Garden Spot placed 6 individuals in the top ten to outdistance Solanco for the team title. FFA members who helped Grassland FFA win the title for the 5th consecutive time were: 10th place Ben Snyder, 9th place Noah Good, 6th place RJ Davis, 5th place Seth Yoder, who also won the most improved shooter award, 4th place Connor Bender, 3rd place Nate Good. Bob Lauffer, FFA advisor and coach of the team commented that he was very pleased with the outcome and the sportsmanship shown and camaraderie enjoyed by the Grassland team at this event. He did comment that he would like to see more underclassmen participating next year as we only had one freshman and one sophomore competing this year.
Top row: Ben Snyder, Austion Nolt. Front row: Clay Lehman, Nate Good, Seth Yoder, RJ Davis, Connor Bender, Noah Good enjoy their 5th consecutive victory in the Lancaster County FFA Hunter Safety Trapshoot.
To compete at the Eastern States Exposition, “The Big E” in Career Developments Events, contestants had to place 1st or 2nd as a team at state competitions in June. Grassland FFA came home with individual champions in both events in which they competed. In the small animal veterinary skills competition Crystal Diem won 1st place followed by teammate Calliana Riggins who earned 4th Cyndi Phae 18th and Jessalyn Horst 22nd rounded out the scoring for the Grassland FFA which placed 3rd in team competition.
Team members had to show their competence in a variety of skills necessary to pursue a career as a veterinary technician including: There was a power point that included different breeds of dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and fish. This was an I.D. test to see if the contestant knew what each animal was. It also involved equipment and feed type identity. It included an oral explanation to a judge of how to hold a cat while trying to find the jugular vein. The last part of the competition was a written test that was all multiple choice that evaluated the contestant’s knowledge on diseases, history of diseases and other general facts that were involved with the veterinary field of science. (team pictured below)
In the Poultry Evaluation CDE Wes Weaver lead the way as individual champion followed closely by his Garden Spot sophomore teammates who swept the top for individual places to win the team title. Bethany Sauder 2nd, Kelly Seifrit 3rd, Nathan Moyer 4th. This was the second year in a row for a poultry team from Garden Spot to earn first place at the Big E. Contestants demonstrated their skill in grading eggs by both candling and exterior examination, evaluating both meat type and laying hens as well as ready-to-cook poultry and further processed.
In addition to the competitions the group toured SUNY Cobleskill in New York on their way to the Big E. The had an in-depth tour of the agricultural facilities at the college which included everything from seeing trout being sexed and measured at the aquaculture facilities, to being the first group to tour the brand new state of the art heifer facilities at the dairy complex. The group also enjoyed a visit with the director of the equine facilities as well as the livestock program. SUNY Cobleskill is also known for its agricultural mechanics program. The 3 ½ hour tour wrapped up with a close up look at the horticultural and greenhouse facilities.
While at the Big E students had the opportunity to visit many educational displays and exhibits. Not the least of these exhibits is a replica of each of the six original New England state capitals where samples of the agricultural products of each state were highlighted. FFA members from Maine to Virginia and Michigan to Delaware participated in the competitive events.
For more information, visit the Big E Website.
The Grassland FFA will receive the prestigious Three Star Gold rating as the highest recognition a chapter can earn for the planning and implementation of chapter activities within the Program of Activities. A local chapter POA sets goals, implementation strategies and evaluative criteria in 15 different standing committees. Of the 148 FFA Chapters across the state only 14 were recognized at the national level and only 6 earned the 3 Star Gold Award, after competing with FFA Chapters from around the nation.
Under the direction of President Paul McFarland and Vice Presidents Michael Seifrit, Jon Martin and Seth Yoder the Grassland FFA completed the comprehensive National Chapter Rating Application. The award recognizes overall excellence in a local chapter’s operation. The Grassland FFA organizes itself into the three divisions with one of the Vice-Presidents overseeing five committees within each division: chapter, community and student. The chapter will receive their recognition at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October.