Casper FFA Chapter: What it takes to be a national champion


Many FFA chapters try to set their members up for success by allowing them to pursue every interest. Brock Burch, advisor of the Casper FFA Chapter in Wyoming, emphasizes the importance of allowing the students to pursue their passion by allowing the chapter to be a student-run organization.

Brock said, “We are one of the few chapters in the state that participates in everything that the state has to offer. We compete in everything available to us. We don’t have one focus, we do it all.”

As a three-star chapter for the ninth year in a row, they pride themselves on also having champions in every area that they compete. The most recent championship was in the Farm and Agribusiness Management contest at the 91st Annual FFA National Convention. That success did not happen overnight, it took dedication and lots of study hours from the students.

The team, which was an all-senior team, used the materials they learned in their agribusiness classes to prepare for the contest. The team set a goal to win the national contest in the beginning of the year. Brock encouraged the goal, but said before you can win at nationals, you have to work hard and win at state first. The students did just that. They worked hard and studied hard.

With a goal set in mind, the team started practicing for the contest in February. With hard work and determination, the team placed 1st at the state contest, with four out of the top five individuals. To prepare for FFA National Convention, the students studied both on their own and got together once a week during the summer to study.

In addition to study materials, the students sought out expert advice to help get a more in-depth look into the industry. The students went to an accountant to get help on income taxes. Two weeks before college started, they got together every day to study for one last time.

Once they started their first semester of college, they juggled their new school work on top of studying for convention. They would take tests three times a week, with each test taking up to three hours. The day after the test, Brock would give them the key to grade their own test. Together, the team would communicate via email to go over the questions and answers. Each student had roughly 200 hours of studying to get ready for nationals.

Brock was so proud of their resilience and hard work saying, “The students were going to do what it took. Their work ethic matched what they said they were going to do.” The hard work paid off when Casper FFA was announced as the 2018 National Team Event Winner in the Farm and Agribusiness Management contest.

With 110 members, Brock relies heavily on his students to lead the organization. He said, “My officers organize events, I am only there to advise the officers. I believe this is supposed to be a youth lead organization. I make sure the plan is in place, and the kids do the rest.” The officers even write up the chapter award applications. The assistant advisor looks it over, suggest corrections, and the members ship it off.

A big part of FFA is community outreach. The Casper FFA Chapter host an annual Rake and Run. This service allows students to interact with members of the community while cleaning up their yard. The students reach out to elderly or handicap members of the community to help rake their yards during the fall. Brock said he gets phone calls on this service every year. In his opinion, this is the most valuable service the chapter does all year.

Brock knows without passionate students, success would not be possible. Brock said, “I think for the most part, I get a lot of really good kids.” He encourages his kids to take every opportunity possible. “If you are going to do something do it well, do it right. Learn to commit. When you learn to commit, good things happen.”

Brock said he has been very blessed with driven students. The Casper FFA Chapter has had 16 State Officers (in his 18 years of teaching), won 40 state championships, and seven national championships. “I am humbled because they believe in me. I appreciate them working so hard. I tell them don’t work for me, work for yourself. Make big things happen. I just try to keep up. At the end of the day it is the student put in the time and effort, all I do is drive the bus. It is a great time to be in agriculture and ag education.”


Lots more of our FFA articles can be found at this link here!

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