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The "ADVISOR" November Ag Dept. Newsletter




The Tri County FFA Chapter recently conducted an election for Junior Officers in the Chapter.  Junior Officers are from the 9th and 10th grade classes.  Their responsibilities include stepping in at meetings if the Chapter officer is absent, assisting the Chapter officer with their duties and representing the Tri County FFA at leadership events.

Serving the TC FFA will be Alexx Malchow, President; Hannah Holtmeier, Vice-President; Cassidy Kowalski, Secretary; Ella Crawford, Treasurer; Kynlee Uher, Sentinel and Cole Siems, Parliamentarian.



Ten Tri County FFA members conducted a roadside pick-up on September 30th.  The pick-up was on Highway 4 for two miles.  The activity was in cooperation with the Nebraska Dept. of Roads.

Helping with the environmental clean-up was Tif Pearson, Hanna Taylor, Pete Spilker, Ethan Paxton, Cole Siems, Madison Freese, Landen Chapman, Sharon Chen, Ella Crawford, Kynlee Uher and Advisor Dave Barnard.  Eight bags of trash, one road sign, one hub cap and numerous boards were collected.


The Farm Bureau Student Project Grant will be given to Jefferson County students. The purpose of the grant is to provide funds for students to begin or expand their 4-H or FFA projects. There is no limit to the scale of the project – students are awarded money on the basis of their budget and goals for the project. Their personal statement, financial need, advisor statement and project summary are also taken into consideration. There will be potential for a personal interview. If selected, the student must share how they have used the grant towards growing or starting their project at the county’s annual meeting in the fall. This grant has a maximum budget of $600. Deadline is Dec. 15th and grants are awarded in January.

Applications will be evaluated by a panel of judges (Farm Bureau members and/or staff). The criteria for selection will be based on the completeness of the application in each area:

Project Summary

Budget and Goals

Financial Need

Personal & Advisor Statements



Twenty-seven  Tri County High School agriculture education students competed in the Southeast Area Land Judging Contest on Wednesday, October 4th.  The team of Pete Spilker, Chad Niemeier, Creighton Niemeyer and Evan Larson tied for 3rd and 4th and qualified for state competition.  The State Contest is in Dodge County Oct. 18h.


The Lower Big Blue NRD hosted the event in Gage County.  Forty-four teams from ten schools participated.  The top four schools qualify for state.  Joining Tri County were Pawnee City, Falls City, Auburn, Diller-Odell, Palmyra, Johnson County Central,  Johnson Brock, Lewiston and Fairbury.  Johnson Co. Central won the team championship.  There were 193 contestants.


The state qualifying team  received a plaque and a blue team ribbon.  The team of Savannah Gerlach, Madison Freese, Sophie Linneman and Ethan Paxton earned 5th place and a blue ribbon.  The team of Alexx Malchow, Logan Larson, Tif Pearson and Bonnie Jantzen placed in the top ten with a 10th place finish and received a red team ribbon.


Individual results were Malchow,  Niemeier, Gerlach and Linnemann- Blue ribbons;

Spilker, Niemeyer, Freese, Cole Siems, and Tif Pearson- Red Ribbons; Logan Larson, Kynlee Uher, Evan Larson, and Paxton- White ribbons.  Other Tri County students competing were Hannah Holtmeier, Sharon Chen, Haleigh Fletcher, Andie Koch, Drew Garrison, Emmett Franzen, Hanna Taylor, Landon Chapman, Ella Crawford, Caden Kapke, Nicole Vodraska, Cassidy Kowalski and Lucas Weise.  To earn a ribbon an individual had to place in the top 40%.


Students evaluated four sites for slope, texture, permeability, erosion, thickness and depth.  They then determined the Land Class and recommended soil treatments.



  • Thank you to Mr. Rick Gerlach and Mrs. Ann Freese for sponsoring the FFA Parking Lot Party Oct. 6th.  It was a rainy night but over 60 students enjoyed the dance, pizza and had a great time.  Thank you Mr. Morrisey for providing the sound system.  Cassidy and Savannah provided straw bales.  Super lighting!

  • Guest Speakers in the Ag Education Dept. so far this semester have been Taylor Hart of UN-L, Doug Straight of the Nebr. Beef Council and Nicole Stoner of the Extension Service.

  • The Tri County State Land Judging Team placed 14th out of 30 teams Oct. 18th.  Pete Spilker, Chad Niemeier, Creighton Niemeyer and Evan Larson each ribboned.  The contest site was in the Elkhorn River plain near Scribner.

  • Monsanto Funds - America’s Farmers Grow Communities gives eligible farmers the opportunity to win $2500.00 for your favorite community nonprofit organization.  One winner is selected in each eligible county.  Visit www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332.  Register by November 30th and indicate Tri County FFA as your recipient choice.

  • *** Be thinking ahead about volunteers to help at the June 1 & 2nd Cattleman’s Ball in Thayer Co.  You would be helping cancer awareness.  High School volunteers admitted free but do not receive the meal.  Adult volunteers must pay the $100.00.


2018 Ag Champions Program

As fewer young people are raised on farms, on ranches or in rural areas, there’s an increasing disconnect between consumers and where their food comes from. As sustainable farming improves through research and technology, there are tremendous opportunities to engage with the general public and help them understand modern agricultural production, which is the safest and most robust system in the world.

For the fourth year in a row, the Nebraska Corn Board is excited to partner with the Nebraska FFA organization to offer the Ag Champions Program. This program is for high school students interested in agricultural advocacy and leadership.

Through the Ag Champions Program, Nebraska high school FFA students develop a multimedia advocacy campaign to promote the agricultural industry while educating public audiences. Students are asked to develop a personal blog or website, which begins a dialogue with people unfamiliar with agriculture. Through text, photos, videos, audio and/or social media posts, participants will hopefully be able to clearly tell their unique ag stories. Winners of the program will win $500 scholarships students can use to expand and improve upon their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) programs.

For detailed instructions on how to participate, click here to download the full list of rules and requirements.

Final projects are due by 5:00 p.m. on February 16, 2018. Entries can be submitted electronically tokurtis.harms@nebraska.gov or mailed to:

Nebraska Corn Board

Ag Champions Program

301 Centennial Mall South 4th Floor

P.O. Box 95107

Lincoln, NE 68509

Winners will be announced in March of 2018 and will be recognized at the Nebraska State FFA Convention in April.

Rules and regulations can be found here: http://nebraskacorn.gov/ffa-program/2018agchampions/



The Tri County FFA conducted their October monthly meeting on October 12th with 31 members present.  President Tif Pearson presided.  The only action item was the Chapter’s decision to conduct a food drive on November 7th in cooperation with the Tri County FBLA and Student Council.


After the meeting a joint supper with the FBLA was held in the cafeteria.  This was followed by a hayrack ride in rural Plymouth.  Providing straw bales were Cassidy Kowalski, Savannah Gerlach and Taylor Cammack.  Providing tractors and trailers were Jacob Kapke, Pete Spilker and Chad Niemeier.  Driving the tractors for the members were FFA Alumni Evan Brandt and Fred Schmidt.  



The Tri County FFA Chapter will be conducting their annual fruit, cheese and meat sales now until Nov. 14th.  The fruit will be delivered the first week in December.  Treasurer Savannah Gerlach is the project chairperson.


The FFA has added three pound cookie dough tubs to their list of sausages, beef sticks, fruit boxes, cheeses and assorted fruits this year.  All FFA members have the necessary information.  The fundraiser will go to support community service projects, trips to conventions, member dues and ag literacy promotions.



Mark the following dates.

Nov. 7- FFA Community Food Drive in DeWitt starting at 5:30 pm

Nov. 8- District Livestock Judging @ York; State Qualifying

Nov. 14- FFA/FBLA Cooperative Supper at 7:00 p.m.

Nov. 17- FFA / Nebraska Farm Bureau Pen Pal workshop @ Freeman

Nov. 20- FFA Leadership Night 7:00 pm

Nov. 28- FFA Alumni meeting in Ag Classroom @ 7:00 pm

Nov. 29- Career Industry Field Trip;  all day

Dec. 5- FFA / FFA Alumni Concessions

Dec. - First Week FFA Fruit arrives

Dec. 29- FFA Alumni Pancake Feed

Jan. 17- FFA Leadership Development Events (LDE) @ York; State Qualifying



Ten FFA members represented the Tri County Chapter at the 90th National FFA Convention October 25th to the 28th.  The annual convention was held at the Indianapolis, IN Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Arena.


In-school members attending were Sophie Linnemann, Tiffany Pearson, Taylor Cammack, Savannah Gerlach, Alexis Gerritse, Cassidy Kowalski and Jacob Kapke. Advisor Dave Barnard Sponsored the group.  The ag education students attended convention sessions, leadership workshops, tours to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hilltop Orchid Greenhouses, visited the Indiana Veterans Memorial and Museum and enjoyed two Nebraska dances.  The students heard addresses from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.  The group enjoyed a country music concert Wednesday night by Rascal Flatts and the national career show Thursday.


The highlight of the convention for Tri County FFA was Saturday when three of their members had the American FFA Degree bestowed upon them. 2016 Tri County graduates that earned the highest FFA Degree were Josie Weise, daughter of Jed & Annette Weise; Jackson Spilker, son of Kyle & Betsy Spilker and Shane Jiskra, son of Doug & Diane Jiskra.  The member’s parents were all in attendance.

Jack and Shane attend the University of Nebr.-Lincoln.  Jack is an agronomy major and Shane is studying agriculture mechanized systems management.  Josie is a math education major at Northwest Missouri State University.