JeffersonBy Kayley Lager, chapter reporter

The Jefferson FFA chapter had a fun-filled summer. We have had lots of members travel throughout the state working on their leadership and career skills.

In the middle of June, Vanessa Pappert and Ashley Riley both attended the HYMAX Academy. HYMAX is an acronym for Helping Youth Maximize their Agricultural eXperience. This is a leadership academy designed to help promising ninth-grade students reach their full potential. The members were prepared for future leadership roles, agricultural career exploration and advocacy for agriculture. In addition, they learned strategies for SAE development, written and verbal communication skills and worked on career development. The girls said they enjoyed the academy and look forward to bringing everything they learned back to their home chapter to help other members also develop as leaders.

The following week, Nicholas Stoll and Kayley Lager attended the Precision Ag Camp at Northwest Missouri State University. This was an exciting opportunity. Technology has had and continues to have a huge impact on the agricultural industry. It is important that our young members work hard to be part of the technological advances driving the industry. Stoll and Lager were able to drive tractors enabled with Auto Steer as well as learn about drones in agricultural. In addition, they were given a personal GPS and taught how to use it. It was an excellent academy and I am sure several more members will be interested in attending next year.

Caden Farnan attended the HYPE Academy in June. HYPE is an academy for eleventh-grade students and is a continuation of the HYMAX academy. HYPE is an acronym for Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence. This academy consists of an intensive three-day conference building on other FFA conferences members have attended. However, this leadership experience is even more hands-on and engaging and provides members with the skills to communicate, lead and advocate for agriculture. Farnan said he enjoyed the conference and feels that it helped prepare him, not only his future FFA endeavors, but his future career endeavors as well.

The month of July didn’t slow down much for our busy chapter. We had several members participate in the Nodaway County Livestock Show. Kyler, Chase and Caden Farnan and Dalton Luke exhibited heifers they raised as part of their SAE. Kelli and Gina Schieber participated in the beef show with their steers. In the sheep show, we were represented by Brady McCray and his market lamb, while Ashley Mattson exhibited her market barrow in the swine show. We are proud of  all of our members and the hard work they put into their projects each year.

Following the county fair, our officer team conducted a junior high day camp focused on fishing. We hosted several guests from the Missouri Department of Conservation who helped educate the younger members. They brought their shocking boat and shocked a local pond which allowed them to discuss the ponds ecosystem. Our members also enjoyed learning about the different types of bait and when to use them. They were able to fish and used the fish for filleting demonstration. We wrapped up the day at school with a BBQ and some games. This is something we plan to do throughout the year for our junior high members with a new theme each month.

Our most recent event was the teach ag academy hosted by the University of Missouri in Columbia. This was a three-day event focused on pursuing a career as an agriculture education instructor. Kellie Palmer and Kayley Lager attended from our chapter. They are both passionate about agriculture and wish to share that passion with their own students one day. The academy showed different aspects of being an ag teacher, from balancing schedules to mastering skills for success. Both members said they enjoyed the conference and are interested in pursuing careers in agriculture education.

Our chapter has continued to take advantage of opportunities available to us this summer and we have more activities coming up this school year. Our chapter strives for excellence and is willing to take the time to make it happen.