Ahrens Family Believes In Agriculture

By Nebraska Teach Ag Intern Miranda Paitzahrens- 3

The Ravenna FFA Chapter is thankful to have an SAE scholarship, which is funded by the Milton and Mary Jo Ahrens Memorial. This scholarship is offered to the freshmen FFA members who are wanting to expand and/or improve their enterprises.

Agriculture and FFA have always been a large part of the Ahrens family. It started when Milton was in high school and became a member of the Shelton FFA program. He worked hard with his agriculture projects as very involved in the program and was President of theahrens- 1 ahrens- 2.pngchapter his senior year in 1961.  At the banquet his high school sweetheart and future wife, Mary Jo was elected the Shelton FFA Sweetheart.  In 1963, Milton Ahrens was one of six FFA members to receive his American Farmer Degree.  Three of their children Meri Lynn Pehrson, Marc Ahrens and Heath Ahrens were able to achieve their State Degrees and Heath also received his American Degree in 1999.

Milton and Mary Jo were able to raise their family south of Ravenna and were active in farming for the remainder of their lives. Both Milton and Mary Jo have been avid ahrens- 4supporters of agriculture and FFA and their children have been able to make their own impacts on agriculture because of their guidance. The Ahrens children and grandchildren have been involved in FFA since 1978 to current.  Agriculture is the common bond of the Ahrens family; they wanted to offer younger students the opportunity to grow their enterprises and through the I Believe In Agriculture Campaign, they are able to accomplish their goals.

As part of the statewide effort, local donors select which chapter receives their donation. The entire donation and a portion of matching funds go directly to the chapter to use for innovative projects in their classrooms, leadership programming, community service projects and field trips to advance agriculture education in their schools. The annual campaign runs from August through February each year. FFA-I-Believe-Logo


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. https://neffafoundationorg.presencehost.net/support_us/donate.html



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 bigiron.com. 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.

DuPont Pioneer and Nebraska Soybean Board Invest $45,000 for Agriculture Education Curriculum Training


Agriculture teachers from all over Nebraska were able to attend the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) on June 19-29. The CASE Institute is an 80-hour institute held each year for agricultural teachers. This year the Nebraska Soybean Board and DuPont Pioneer collaborated to invest $45,000 for Nebraska’s agriculture teachers to attend CASE and purchase equipment needed to implement the curriculum for their classrooms.

“This is a good effort for industry and a commodity board to further agricultural education in our schools. The program shares the expertise of others to raise the level of agricultural education in our schools,” says Victor Bohuslavsky, Executive Director of the Nebraska Soybean Board.

CASE currently provides many courses including Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to Food Safety to Animal and Plant Biotechnology. The institute teaches agricultural teachers how to prepare their students for success in college and for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.


“Ensuring there is enough safe, affordable and nutritious food for all will require than more students understand agriculture and become future leaders in food production,” said Mark Deterding, Business Director for DuPont Pioneer’s Western Business Unit. “We know that we cannot do this alone and are working with others in agriculture and education to give teachers the best resources to encourage children to understand agriculture and consider careers in the industry.”

While teachers can attend any Institute, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) hosts an Institute each summer. Matt Kreifels, Assistant Professor of Practice with UNL’s Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Department says, “we expect our teachers to know everything and teach all areas of agriculture, food and natural resources. The reality is they have very minimal resources to equip both themselves and their classrooms to teach this valuable information. The CASE Institute is unique and very beneficial to a teacher. They can easily implement that curriculum right in their classroom.”

Past Nebraska FFA State Officer Named CEO of National FFA


Mark Poeschl, past FFA state officer in Nebraska, was recently named the new CEO of the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation. Poeschl was the Nebraska FFA State President in 1978-79. He is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and comes to National FFA from Cargill. He also assists with oversight over the family farm in Nebraska.

In a press release from National FFA, they cite his strong business, customer service, financial, IT and global perspectives as a huge asset for the organization. Poeschl is replacing Dwight Armstrong, who is retiring after leading the organization for the past seven years.

We’re excited to welcome Mark in his new role on August 1!

Read Your 2016 June Newsletter Online

The printed version of True Blue Nebraska News will arrive in mailboxes soon! Get full details of the 2015-16 I Believe in the Future of Ag campaign, a past State FFA Officer update and find out what a UNL fraternity and sorority did to support the FFA Blue Jackets. Bright Futures. campaign in this issue. Click below to enlarge and read it online.