This fall, FFA members and supporters from across the country celebrated agriculture and agricultural education during the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.
National FFA Alumni & Supporters, who donate their time, talent and resources to support FFA, were honored for their contributions throughout the week.
The Outstanding Achievement Award is the highest award presented to an FFA Alumni member by the National FFA Organization. This year, the National FFA Alumni and Supporters recognized two individuals — Melanie Huchthausen and Jeremy Krerowicz — for their exceptional support of the National FFA Organization. As a part of this outstanding achievement, each award recipient receives $500 to designate to their local FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter or state association.
Huchthausen, a member of the Stoughton FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter in Wisconsin, has been a devoted alumni member since her children joined FFA. She is an integral part of fundraisers, meetings and service projects at the local level and encourages other parents to get involved. She has attended the Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters Annual Convention and attended workshops, tours and business meetings to help further develop the Stoughton FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter. Her help preparing students for Career Development Events and as a chaperone for National FFA Convention & Expo made a huge impact on our future leaders.
Kreowicz, a member of the Denmark FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter in Wisconsin, has been on the alumni board for six years, head of the alumni fruit sale and on the Brown County Fair Food Tent committee for the last three years. The fruit sale generates an average of $3,000 a year, and the food tent has raised at least $20,000 each year. Jeremy’s help with COVID-19 protection for the food tent was crucial to its success and safety. Jeremy also facilitated the Denmark FFA Alumni Fall Appreciation social event attended by 56 members and future members. Jeremy is a strong supporter of fair and livestock show animal projects, serving as a buyer at the Brown County Fair and Northeast Junior Livestock show on behalf of Denmark FFA Alumni and Supporters.
John Deere FFA Alumni and Supporters was recognized with the Outstanding FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter award, in the nontraditional category, the highest honor an alumni and supporters chapter can receive.
Based in the Eastern region, the John Deere FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter has been a leader among other nontraditional chapters. They are the first recipient of this award. The John Deere chapter created a communications and outreach committee to foster internal social networking and meaningful interactions with FFA members. The leadership team meets monthly on a virtual call and dedicates time for a leadership team retreat. They helped start an FFA chapter at United Township High School in their headquarters’ community of East Moline, Ill., and coordinated Gator Wars, a contest held at two North Carolina dealerships with 40 volunteers, 35 teams and nearly 150 students. The chapter also donated 300 discontinued RSX engines to 209 agricultural education programs across seven states to use as instructional tools.
A model for business operations, alumni and supporter member development, the West Rowan FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter was recognized with the Outstanding FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter award, in the traditional category, the highest award an alumni and supporters chapter can receive. The alumni council participates in an annual leadership training to prepare for each school year. West Rowan FFA Alumni and Supporters raised $23,000 in 2020 from their oyster roast and silent auction. The chapter was also able to purchase an 18-foot enclosed trailer for vending events, as a mobile classroom and to transport horticultural products to the farmers market and other events. As a result of COVID-19, the chapter’s “Plant Hope” project used the abundance of plants in the school greenhouse to provide 100 families with starter gardens to families in their rural community who were challenged financially or were concerned about food insecurity due to the pandemic. The chapter also created “Growing Falcon Leaders,” a virtual leadership initiative to inspire a larger number of members to be involved with FFA activities.
Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters received the Outstanding FFA Alumni and Supporters State Association Award.
Based in the Central Region, Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters stay busy supporting students and teachers year-round. Alumni representatives play key roles in Wisconsin Team Ag Ed. They provide support grants for new, reactivating and struggling chapters and hold in-person informational meetings and virtual workshops for chapters. They hosted seven breakout sessions at the 2021 State Alumni Convention and presented awards and grants for members. After the convention, new council members were provided with immediate training. Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters also gave $10,000 towards chapter relief grants for FFA chapters that struggled financially due to COVID-19.
This award recognizes states for their work in growing quality programs. This award is judged on a state’s efforts in local FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter development and retention, FFA Alumni and Supporters member benefits, advocacy, Team Ag Ed and business operations.
To learn more, visit convention.FFA.org.