Meet Your 2016-17 Nebraska State FFA Secretary: Nicholas Taylor

Nicholas Taylor from the Logan View FFA chapter lives on his family’s farm where they grow corn and soybeans outside of Nickerson. His tractor and combine rides with his DadIMG_1477 and Grandpa first sparked his interest in agriculture. He will major in Actuarial Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Ever since he saw his brother in FFA, he wanted to join. He felt like this was the perfect way to demonstrate his interest in agriculture and continue to learn upon what his dad and grandpa had taught him. He could not wait to take his first agriculture class – Agri-business. After that, he took Agri-business II, Ag Mechanics, Horticulture, and Ag Employment. His favorite FFA activities have been prepared public speaking, National FFA band, and creed speaking.

Working on the family farm was a part of his diversified crop production Supervised Agricultural Experience program. The other part of his SAE included working at Syngenta Seeds research plots. He also has an entrepreneurial vegetable production segment of his SAE. All of these components of his SAE have prepared him for his career goals by providing funds for his higher education and giving him business experience in running his own vegetable production business.

Meet Your 2016-17 Nebraska State FFA Vice President: Cheyenne Gerlach

Cheyenne Gerlach from DeWitt was raised by her parents, Rick and Amy, on a small swine IMG_1509operation. She has three older brothers, a younger sister, and a younger brother. Her childhood was spent watching her older brothers put on their blue jackets as she waited for it to be her turn. She has been in the show ring since she was five and many of her favorite memories come from shows, late nights in the farrowing house, and early mornings in the pasture. She plans to work someday as a lobbyist in international food security. Her plan is to not only be an advocate for pro-agriculture laws and policy that will help feed developing countries, but eventually, she wants to be an agent of change. In college her major is agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Some of her favorite agriculture classes include Natural Resources, Animal Science, Horticulture, and Agribusiness. Her most memorable FFA experiences include being a participant in the Ag Issues Academy, National FFA Convention, and Washington Leadership Conference. These experiences opened her eyes to the work that needs to be done to share the truth about agriculture. She was inspired to create her own agriculture advocacy blog as a result of her FFA experiences. .

Her agricultural education Supervised Agricultural Experience program served as a stepping stone to her future career goals. It provided her with opportunities to communicate the truth about the ag industry, which for her is just the beginning. One component of her work-based learning experience included teaching elementary classrooms about Norman Borlaug, genetically modified organisms, and world hunger. She also include diversified horticulture production and swine production as other components of her program.

In addition to FFA, she has also been involved with the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, 4-H, and speech team. At the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, she deeply explored the work of Norman Borlaug, met with experts from around the world about food insecurity, and started looking for her role in the fight against hunger.

Meet Your 2016-17 Nebraska State FFA Vice President: Manuel Acosta

Manuel (Manny) Acosta has lived in Bayard for the past thirtIMG_1489een years with his parents – Juan and Mary,  brother Gordon, and sister Martha. He attended Bayard Public schools. He is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in agricultural economics. His goal is to work in production agriculture management in the future.

While growing up in a rural town, becoming involved in agriculture was not a difficult task. Starting in fifth grade he began breeding, raising, and showing rabbits and chickens. His passion for agriculture grew stronger when he entered the agriculture classroom as a freshman. Taking agriculture classes has allowed him to gain a better insight on the agriculture industry, and has allowed him to grow in his Supervised Agricultural Experience program as well.

His placement SAE of diversified agricultural production includes working at Kildow Farms, a local farm and ranch. He works during the summer and part time throughout the fall. His SAE consists mainly of irrigating and he also sprays crops, works cattle, and helps with harvest. Working at Kildow Farms has made him want to further his education to pursue a career in the agriculture industry.


Meet Your 2016-17 Nebraska State FFA President: Kaitlyn Hanvey

Kaitlyn Hanvey grew up in Verdigre with her mother, Kelly, IMG_1543and two younger brothers, Cody and Jake. She will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she will major in agricultural education so she can follow her calling to teach and share with others her passion for the industry as a high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.

In high school agriculture classes she learned about many of the different aspects of the ag industry. She enjoyed classes that focused on topics like livestock management, mechanized agriculture, agronomy, and economic or financial impacts of our industry. She participated in FFA events such as parliamentary procedure, public speaking, veterinary science, livestock evaluation, and livestock management.

She has multiple components within her SAE program. Through her diversified livestock production program, she raised and operated a flock of crossbred ewes that she lambed out every spring. She also has a small share in her family crossbred Angus cattle herd. She started out with one heifer that her grandpa gave her and from there she has grown her herd by keeping replacement heifers that she has shown at the county fair. She also has two horses that she uses around the ranch sorting and herding cattle as well as riding trails with them. More recently, she purchased a few bantam chickens.  She has also added an agriculture business component through her work at Bomgaars in her hometown.

FFA Jacket Impacts Teach Ag Intern

 By Nebraska Teach Ag Intern Miranda Paitz

When I enrolled in my first agricultural class my freshman year of high school, I had no idea what FFA was; all I knew was that there were a large amount of kids that showed under FFA at my county fair. It didn’t take me long to get involved in my FFA chapter at Wilcox-Hildreth and see just how much FFA had to offer.

My freshman year, I was able to attend the State FFA Convention as a participant in the Agriscience untitledcontest, and I was able to earn a ribbon while I was there. It was very inspirational to be able to go to the convention and see all of the other FFA students as well as the agricultural businesses that support FFA. I was then able to go to the National FFA Convention my sophomore year and I was amazed by the amount of blue jackets, FFA emblems, and positive atmosphere that I was surrounded by. At our first session, the National FFA Chorus was there to perform; they were incredible! I looked at my advisor and said “Mr. Johnson, wouldn’t it be cool if I was in that choir?” and he replied, “You could be in that choir someday if you wanted to, but you would need to try out, I believe that you would make it”. Our FFA chapter only attended the National FFA Convention every other year and so, the main focus of my junior year was being a chapter officer. However, my senior year, I decided to try out for the National FFA Chorus, and I was accepted! I was one of three people from my high school that had ever been a part of the National FFA Chorus and, thanks to the help of the Wilcox-Hildreth School Board, I was able to fly to Indianapolis a week before my chapter so that I could rehearse with the rest of the chorus. As if being a part of the National FFA Chorus wasn’t enough, I was able to sing a solo part in one of our songs!

The experiences that I’ve had while wearing my FFA jacket and being an FFA member are some that others can only dream about doing. Thanks to the support from my community, family, friends and chapter, I was able to reach high levels of achievement and I am very proud of my decision to enroll into an agricultural class my freshman year of high school. Now, I am planning on supporting FFA and agricultural education even more by becoming an agriculture teacher and an FFA advisor. Though I am not supposed to wear my jacket while in this role, I will embrace those that can and help to show them the potential that they gain just by putting it on. I hope that I can help my future students achieve in their own ways as FFA members when I start teaching in Cambridge next year.

Donating an FFA jacket to a student will change their life forever. They will benefit from this experience because they will be able to attend state convention and many other great activities and contests. I hope that you will consider donating $80 to the Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. Program to provide an FFA member with an FFA jacket and tie or scarf. You can go to the link below to donate online before the September 1st deadline.



Knabe Joins Nebraska Department of Education Staff

Growing up in the small town of Nehawka, Nebraska Krystl Knabe has always had a strong passion for agriculture. With the help and guidance of her father she was heavily involved in FFA and 4-H, and knew after high school that she wanted to stay in the agriculture untitledindustry.

She had several ag teachers contribute differently to her FFA career leading to various Leadership Skills Events (LSE) and Career Development Events (CDE)  during her high school years.  However, she didn’t stop there. Knabe also had an extensive Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) including beef and dairy cattle, hogs and row crops to name a few.  Her involvement in all aspects of agricultural education led her to serve as a chapter officer and later served as her chapter’s president.  Knabe then went on to receive her State and American Degrees, the highest awards a member can earn.

After high school, Knabe’s agricultural roots led her to the University of Nebraska –Lincoln where she studied agricultural education. Agricultural Education allowed her to combine her passion for agriculture with her desire to impact students’ lives.  Upon graduation in 2009 she began her teaching career in O’Neill, Nebraska where she started their program from the ground up.  During her time in O’Neill, Knabe also earned her master’s in Leadership Education from UNL.

Knabe speaks highly of her time in the classroom, and most enjoyed helping students find a career to pursue in the agricultural industry. With many students unsure of what they wanted to study, through involvement in the ag program she was able to help student identify a way to continue to make an impact in the agricultural industry.

Now, Knabe finds herself in a new role with the Nebraska State Department of Education.  She is most looking forward to working with the State Teach Ag Results (STAR) program along with the Nebraska Teach Ag Interns.  Knabe will also work with the younger teachers helping them start out their teaching career and assist the Nebraska FFA Association.

Outside of the office Krystl practices real estate and enjoys seeing agriculture in a different way though land and home sales, as well as helping on her family’s farm. Please help us in welcoming Krystl Knabe to Nebraska State Staff!

Annual Tire Auction to Include Harley-Davidson and John Deere Gator and Online Streaming

(LINCOLN) – Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., will be hosting a tire auction for Nebraska FFA at Husker Harvest Days on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. In its fourth year, the 2016 auction will also include a 2005 Harley Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle and John Deere Gator.

“We take great pride in supporting the FFA and helping to benefit the next generation of growers,” says Scott Sloan, agricultural product manager at Titan International. “FFA is a great leadership program for students looking to continue in agriculture and ag business fields. If you spend any time with these kids, you can see that the future is bright for agriculture, and Titan is glad to help them along the way.”

To participate in this year’s auction:

  • Sign in at the FFA registration desk for a bid number to participate in the auction in person. Can’t make it to the sale? The auction will be streamed live on Cash, check and credit cards will be accepted.
  • Starting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 14, participants can place bids on a selection of Titan and Goodyear Farm tires, as well as a John Deere Gator and Harley Davidson motorcycle. The highest bids win and all proceeds support Nebraska FFA members.
  • The list of tires that will be auctioned off and details on the John Deere Gator and Harley Davidson can be downloaded here.