FFA Awards Banquet Held

The prestigious Central Valley Ag Award was handed out Thursday night during the 48th annual banquet of the Elgin FFA (Future Farmers of America).
The gymnasium at Elgin High School was filled with FFA members, family, friends and proud supporters of the ag program.
During the course of the banquet which lasted close to an hour, the Central Valley Ag Excellence in Agriculture & Leadership Award was presented by FFA Foundation Board member Karl Hensley to senior Jon Meis, son of Jim and Anne Meis.
Hensley said CVA continues to be proud sponsors of the “I Believe Campaign” which supports FFA programs across the state with matching funds.
Local “I Believe” contributors are Blackburn Manufacturing, Stoltz Exotics – Jack Stoltz, Ag Agronomy Center LLC, Two Rivers Irrigation LLC, Kayton International Inc, Starman Seed Service – John & Kelly Starman, Elkhorn Valley Equipment, Total Image Salon – Karen Koinzan, Ted Rethmeier, Larry Nielsen, Max & Taresa Wilkinson, Matt Anderson, Cordell’s ATV Repair – Cordell Waterbury; Jerry’s Feed Service, Sargent Irrigation Inc, Lynn & Amy Selting, Corner Service and Tire LLC, BSNB Farms – Bruce and Joanne Anderson, Bergman Repair  Bryon and Lorie Bergman, Durre Well Service Inc – David, Tim and Pauline Durre, Thiele Dairy Partnership – Tom Thiele, Chris & Laurie Waterbury, DK Feed and Supply Inc, Elkhorn Valley Real Estate – Larry Bartee and LeRoy Behnk, Citizens State Bank – A Branch of the Tilden Bank, Syngenta Seeds – John & Patty Thiele, LeRoy and Ronda Behnk, Green Line Equipment, Paul & Karen Seger, James & Anne Meis and Petersburg State Bank.
During the past year, the Elgin FFA raised nearly $3,000 and, with matching funds, the total came to nearly $3,250.
Presently, there are 157 FFA chapters across the state with another 16 schools on a “waiting list” to start FFA programs. What’s holding them back? Hensley said the shortage of qualified ag instructors to lead such programs has created a waiting list.
FFA continues to be the largest student-led organization not only in Nebraska, but across the USA.
“Agriculture is a great, promising career for those of you who choose to follow that direction,” Hensley said.
State Officer Presentation
Earlier in the meeting, 2014/15 State FFA Officer Paige Dexter spoke. During a presentation which lasted approximately 10 minutes, Miss Dexter, from Chambers, told FFA members and the audience that everyone “has a lot to be thankful for.”
Dexter spoke of a trip made with 81 other FFA members to South Africa during the summer. While the country is home of some of the world’s riches, it also has areas of unimaginable poverty. The group visited Soweto and in the city is an area known as “ClipTown.” There, she said 65,000 people live day to day with just 50 water hydrants to provide all their needs. There, she said five to eight people live in tin and cardboard-covered shacks which are no bigger than 15’ x 15’.
“The lowest of the low income people live there,” she said. “They have little or nothing.”
She said she found it hard to comprehend how people living in such poverty can be so happy as they were when the FFA delegation visited them. The children wanted, she said, to see such things as phones or cameras, something they may never have. “That made me think how lucky I truly am. I have so much to be thankful for — coaches, friends, family and administrators — for the education I have received … You, as FFA members, are on the right track.”
During the course of the program, new officers were announced for the 2015/2016 school year. They are: Alois Warner, president; Trey Baum, vice president; Kelsey Welding, secretary; Dylan Widger, treasurer; Liz Selting, reporter; Taralyn Baum, sentinel; Dylan Behnk, parliamentarian; and Marie Meis, junior advisor. Serving as FFA advisor is instructor Julia Schwartz.
Awards handed out during the evening were:
Chapter Degrees — Elianne Heilhecker, Kelsey Welding, Geoffrey Carr, Taylor Sehi, Liz Selting, Miles Schrage, Chad Bode, Kenny Bush, Christopher Bush and Justin Funk.
Proficiency Awards — Justin Funk, Diversified Crop Production-Placement; Trent Bauer, Small Animal Care & Management-Entreprenuership; Trey Baum, Beef Entreprenuership; Chase Preister, Agricultural Services-Placement; Brandon Funk, Grain Production-Placement.
Greenhand Degree — Taralyn Baum, Heather Bauer, Lydia Behnk, Liam Heithoff, Grace Henn, Calli Krebs, Marie Meis, Hayes Miller, Lizzy Mlnarik, Nicki Payne and Cole Preister
Star Greenhand — Marie Meis
Chapter Star Farmer — Trent Bauer
Honorary Chapter Degrees —  David Schiltmeyer, Reah Schiltmeyer, Sean & Sarah Dunn, Duane & Michelle Childers, Alan & Michele Reicks.