‘Honoring Our Heritage, Cultivating Our Future’

The Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters Association 42nd convention and annual meeting was held this weekend, February 4-5 at the Central Wisconsin Expo Center in Rothschild. This year’s convention theme was “Honoring our Heritage, Cultivating our Future,” as the association celebrated the 50th anniversary of their charter.  Past convention memorabilia was displayed throughout the weekend and several interesting historical facts were shared at the various activities.

About 240 FFA Alumni members and guests from across the state of Wisconsin attended this year’s event.   The convention kicked off Friday afternoon with a state council meeting, followed by tour options and a dinner buffet.  Convention attendees were then treated to an evening of music and dancing with a performance from the band High Mileage.   Saturday morning kicked off with breakfast and opening session, followed by section meetings.

The 2021-22 Wisconsin FFA Officer Team played a vital role in the operation of the convention.  They helped open the first convention Saturday morning by assisting in the presentation of the colors and as a group leading the convention attendees in the national anthem.  They helped with section meeting delegate registration, business meeting and election and presented a very moving reflection program.  They also conducted two workshops, one on social media and the other on building leaders in the Alumni organization.  The 2021-22 team was recognized for all being Lifetime members, of both the state and national FFA Alumni and the 2020-21 team was honored for being named a 100% State Lifetime Team at the national convention this past fall.  

Members heard from the various leaders of the other organizations, whom are part of Team Ag Ed, and were presented the annual financial report and budget during the annual business meeting.  The election for Vice President was also conducted and Grant Staszak of the Bonduel FFA Alumni & Supporters chapter was elected. The remaining executive team was also forwarded to their new positions, electing Terri Wilfert of Mishicot the new President, Bobbie Jo Montgomery of Waupaca, President-Elect and Nate Zimdars from Ripon, Past-President.  There were a few bylaws changed adopted at the meeting and 4 different resolutions passed.

The closing session was full of numerous awards and recognition. Several teachers were honored with Outstanding Agriculture Educator Awards, earning a cash prize.  These included, Troy Talford & Sally Ladsten from Sauk Prairie, Daniel Robinson from Lomira, Marty Nowak from Denmark, Mariah Markhardt & Walter Taylor from Oconto Falls and Katie Reider from Granton.

Brian Jeffrey (BJ) Chrisler from Sauk Prairie was presented the Outstanding Young Member Award.  

The association started a new award category this year, recognizing the efforts of a chapter to promote their activities and mission utilizing various forms of media.  Elkhorn FFA Alumni was chosen as the state winner of the first annual Public Relations Award.  Stoughton received second place and Sauk Prairie received third place honors.

Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Alumni & Supporters was named the Outstanding State Chapter in the small division and Waupaca was named Outstanding Chapter in the medium division.  Winning the large division was the Granton FFA Alumni & Supporters.

Denmark and Granton FFA Alumni & Supporters chapters received gold ratings in the National Outstanding Chapter Awards and will have their applications submitted to the national level of competition.  Denmark was also recognized as the overall winner in this area.

Outstanding Achievement awards were presented to Matt Wavrunek of Denmark, Charlotte Johnson of Granton and Angela Baeten of Oconto Falls.  Johnson and Baeten will be advancing to National competition.

The Dr. V.O. and Ann Martinson Award is given to the FFA Alumni who had the greatest increase in lifetime members.  Denmark FFA Alumni & Supporters is this year’s recipient.  

Sue Slotty from Sauk Prairie was presented the Team Ag Ed Contributor award for her support of FFA, FFA Alumni and Agriculture Education.

John Hromyak recently left the position as Executive Director of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation, so the council presented him with a plaque of appreciation for his service to the organization.

Retiring council members were recognized.  They are Gary Eibergen from Granton and Rudy Kaderly, retiring president from Juda.

Retiring Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters President Nate Zimdars shared his final address, sharing how FFA changed is life as a young member.

The 2022-2023 council representatives were also introduced and they were installed into their position.  They are:

Section 1- Dave Clausen, Amery & Jerry Larsen, Luck
Section 2 – Currently looking for representatives.
Section 3- Derek Trescher & Chris Blank both from Cashton
Section 5- Nick Lowe, Stoughton & Dan Ziegler, New Glarus
Section 6- Bobbi Jo Kunz, Waupun & Al Justmann, Oakfield
Section 7- William Litzer, Edgar & Mike Sabel, Auburndale