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"THE ADVISOR" Newsletter- Summer 2017





The Advisor is a summer publication from the Tri County Agriculture Education Department.  The newsletter is forwarded to current and prospective Ag Education students, FFA Alumni, parents, administration and whoever wants to be informed of the exciting projects happening with Tri County students.


There will be one issue in 2017 but hopefully in 2018 three issues will be forwarded.  Mr. Barnard will serve as editor but anyone can submit items.  We will try using available emails this summer.  Perhaps a mailing would be better, we will see.  Please forward this letter to anyone you feel may be interested.   Your input is appreciated.



Seven members of the Tri County FFA Chapter attended the 2017 State Chapter Officer Leadership Training at Aurora May 26-27th.  The leadership conference is hosted by the Nebraska State FFA Officers.  


Attending from the local chapter was President Tiffany Pearson, Vice-President Peter Spilker, Secretary Kailey Weichel, Treasurer Savannah Gerlach, Reporter Madison Freese, Sentinel Taylor Cammack and Parliamentarian Alexis Gerritse.  FFA Advisor Dave Barnard sponsored the group.  This year’s theme was “Soaring With Your Super Powers”.  The conference was held at the Nebraska Leadership Center.


The agriculture education students attended team building, strengths finding, and leadership development sessions.  The Tri County FFA earned a silver rating for their social media work in promoting their chapter.  The Tri County officer team earned second place in their pool of chapters in the opening ceremonies competition.  The members enjoyed interacting with the National FFA President David Townsend from Delaware and the Eastern Region Vice-President Ashley Willitis from New York.



The Tri County FFA Chapter is hosting a Farmers Merchant on several upcoming dates in DeWitt, NE.  The location is in front of the DeWitt downtown bank.

The members are cooperating with the DeWitt D.A.R.T. program.  Dates are July 8 & 22nd, August 19th and Sept. 9 & 23rd.  The Saturday morning markets will be from 9:00 am to noon.  Taylor Cammack will be assisting on July 8th.


The FFA welcomes produce, homemade goods and crafts.  There is no booth fees and vendors are welcome.  Set-up is on concrete, no tables are provided and questions can be forwarded to Dave Barnard, FFA Advisor at 402-879-5584.



Tri County has a new Agriculture Education Instructor as of August 1st.  Mr. Dave Barnard is new on the faculty and will also serve as the FFA Advisor.  Mr. Barnard grew up south of Ellis and attended Diller High School.  He taught at Superior H.S. for 33 years.  He then worked for the Gage Co. NRCS for 3 ½ years working with terrace and tile designs.  The last three years Mr. Barnard taught at Lewiston Consolidated Schools and was their FFA Advisor.  He and his wife Victoria live 1 ½ miles north of Ellis.  They have two grown children.


Summer goals for him include meeting the Tri County students, organizing the classroom and greenhouse, reaching out to the FFA Alumni &  area agriculture businesses and identifying opportunities for ag education students.  



  • 2016 Tri County FFA graduates that have applied for their American FFA Degree are Jackson Spilker, Josie Weise and Shane Jiskra.  They will be notified of their status in August.  Best of luck and thank you for taking that next step in representing our Chapter and School!!

  • The Tri County FFA will be cooperating with the Fairbury and Diller/Odell FFA in conducting a FFA Promotion booth at the 2017 Jefferson Co. Fair.  President Tif Pearson is working on the event and if you would like to help conduct Tif.  The booth is in the Merchants Hall

  • If you have not visited with the Advisor, asked him to come to your workplace or introduced yourself, summer is going by fast.  Mr. Barnard would love to meet with you.

  • The FFA Officers conducted their Program of Activities “Committee Draft” on July 5th.  All 9th-12th FFA Members are now on two standing committees for 2017-18.  A list will be forwarded at the end of July

  • For FFA members showing livestock or static exhibits at the NE State Fair, make yourself aware of the entry deadlines and fees.  FFA Fairbook is the best way to start.  It is on line. Go to neaged.org   to  FFA on the toolbar and drop to FFA State Fair.  There is a code of ethics that needs signed for livestock.

  • If your busy summer time permits visit the national FFA website at ffa.org



There are several August dates early in the school year to mark on your calendars.  The first is the 125th Plymouth Celebration August 12th and 13th.  There is more FFA involvement later in the newsletter.  On Tuesday, August 22nd after sports practices the FFA Officers are hosting an Ag Orientation Night for all Ag Education freshman and all 8th graders interested in the Ag program.  The activities will be held in the Ag Dept.  Parents are asked to attend also.  If the folks are busy I bet Mr. Barnard can find an alumni to attend with you!  This is not a sit and listen activity… you will be engaged.  Saturday, August 26th is the State FFA Dairy Judging Contest and the State Dairy Food and Products Contest at the Nebr. State Fair in Grand Island.  If you would like to be on a team talk with Mr. Barnard.



The county fair season is upon us and with these events brings the opportunity for ag education students to highlight their entrepreneurship projects.  As I get to know the area fairs and my responsibilities with them, I wish the students and their families all the best.  Sometimes things do not work quite like we planned.  Remember to always take the high road and learn everything you can from the experience.  Please ask if you need help and let me know if something is not being taken care of.  At the Jefferson Co. Fair the three FFA Advisors in the county will be hosting a livestock judging contest before the swine show.  I hope each of you participate.  It will be good practice for the curriculum this fall!!



Seven Tri County FFA members cooperated with Jefferson Co. Fair Board and the Fairbury FFA Chapter in painting beef tie-outs and the sheep barn in June.  Mr. Barnard even tried to act busy.  The group helped out two nights and their efforts were greatly appreciated.



The date is set for the Annual FFA Cub Creek Fun Night.  All members and prospective FFA members are invited to the July 31st event at the Cub Creek NRD Recreation area.  Younger FFA members if you need a ride, contact Mr. Barnard.  If you have a favorite yard game, bring it.   The officers will have the food ready at 6:00 pm.  Bring your sunscreen, get wet and have fun!!  Oh, if a couple of parents or alumni would like to join in the festivities (Help) let Mr. Barnard know.  



As the Advisor has been busy organizing the department, he keeps getting sidetracked by the awards, pictures and items of history.  Mr. Barnard would appreciate if someone could tell him the charted date of Tri County FFA. I found the original charter paper but it has no dates on it.  We should be getting ready to celebrate!  What a proud history and tradition Tri County FFA has.  I hope you have been or are planning to be a part of it!  The FFA Alumni has been a major reason for this success.  Parents with students entering the program consider being a part of this opportunity.  I hope you current students reflect on the Tri County program and what it can be!  Be Proud, Be FFA, Be Trojan!



The Tri County FFA will be very involved during the 125th Plymouth Celebration on July 12th and 13th.  The activities, cooperating business, times and FFA contact are:

-Little Tuggers- Sat., 6:00, Peter Spilker

- Petting Zoo- Sat., 2:00-6:00. Kailey Weichel, Plymouth Vet. Clinic

- Gatling Gun Reenactors- Sat., 3:30-5:00, Officers, Plymouth Museum

- FFA Float- Sunday at 1:00, East Park, Mr. Barnard, FFA Float Theme-”County Schools Rock”;  all members can participate


S.A.E. ??!!  WHAT IS AN S.A.E.?

There are three components of an agriculture education student’s total and complete Ag Ed experience.  They are classroom/laboratory experience, the FFA and an S.A.E.  In this section I will discuss the Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE).  The Supervised part is the Ag Instructor’s involvement in the record keeping and award recognition.  The Instructor may suggest or demonstrate management skills on site.  Hopefully the student involves the teacher.  This is one of the favorite parts of being an ag education instructor!  Some students choose to show or exhibit their SAE’s.


There are basically three types of SAE’s: placement, exploratory and entrepreneurship.  Placement is working for someone.  This could be a family member or a business.  Examples of current student’s placement SAE’s I have visited so far are: Savannah- Sonic, Peter- Plymouth Industries, Hannah- Holtmeier Farms, Madison-Runza, Cassidy-Tri County Schools and Tiffany- Brewhouse Grill.


An exploratory may be a paid or unpaid position.  Say you shadow the local veterinarian on Saturday mornings to see if this is really a career you want to pursue.


The entrepreneurship or ownership SAE is when you own the enterprise.  This could be livestock, crops or your own business like Sloane’s popcorn project.  Students enterprise’s in this area I have seen are Alexis- Beef, Peter- Cow/Calf, Kailey- Beef, Cow/Calf, Savannah-Spot Hogs, Brevin-Swine, Gavin- Beef, Lucas- Dairy, Josie- Dairy, Taylor-Quail, and Hannah-Swine & Beef.


Most all the FFA Degrees, Scholarship, and Award Recognition start with an SAE.  Most of you are already working on an SAE and did not realize it!!  I will visit a lot about SAE’s in class.  I have many more visits scheduled and will update you.  Congratulations Tri-C on some super SAE’s!