93rd National FFA Convention going virtual

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 8:18 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - All dressed up and nowhere to go. That might be the best way to describe the situation for thousands of FFA students around the country. Next week is their 93rd National FFA Convention scheduled for Indianapolis. But because of the Coronavirus pandemic this year’s convention will be held virtually. In spite of that, normal activities will be held, including all the award presentations. From our area 32 members will receive their American FFA Degree, the highest award a member can attain. Nine of those from our area are from the Owen-Withee FFA. In all 143 Wisconsin FFA members will earn their American Degrees this year. We also have 6 finalists for National Proficiency Awards from this area-including Cortney Zimmerman from Spencer in beef production, Matthew Fischer of Owen-Withee in dairy production, Tyler Gardner from Pittsville in fruit production, Tristan Wirkus from Stratford in Service Learning and 2 from Cochrane-Fountain City. Amara Livingston is up for the award in Diversified Horticulture while Andrew Mehus is a finalist in Specialty Animal Production. No one from Wisconsin is running for national office this year. The convention will start next Tuesday.

The USDA has released its 2019 Certified Organic Survey from 2019. It shows Wisconsin ranks second in the number of organic farms with 1,364. That’s about 8% of the total organic farms in the country. Total organic acreage in the state was just under 251 thousand. Our leading organic product is milk with production valued at $125.7 million. California has the most organic farms with 3,012.

Baraboo based Foremost Farms Dairy cooperative is reportedly selling its Preston, Minnesota manufacturing plant. Foremost CEO Greg Sclafer said the plant didn’t fit with Foremost’s product lineup since the plant is not set up to deal with the Coop’s product line of whey products. Diversified Ingredients Corporation will take over the plant when the deal is finalized about the middle of next month.

Wisconsin has a new Chief State Forester. Heather Berkland, the first woman to ever lead the state’s forestry industry was selected for the job earlier this month. She is a graduate of UW-Stevens Point and has been with the DNR for the past 20 years. Most of her career has been as a forester in Northern Wisconsin and she will continue to make Rhinelander her base of operations.

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