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FFA – the future of agriculture since 1928

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Above, Clayton Ridge High School Agriculture teacher and Tri-Star FFA leader Jenna Beitz encourages her students to participate in FFA. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Future Farmers of America (FFA) was founded by a group of young farmers in 1928. The youth organization transforms lives and prepares its members for leadership roles, personal growth and career success through hands-on agricultural education experiences. 

Jenna Beitz

Clayton Ridge High School Agriculture teacher and Tri-Star FFA leader Jenna Beitz grew up on a cow/calf and crop farm outside of Hopkinton. She is in her fourth year teaching at the Guttenberg campus. Beitz earned her B.S. degree in Agriculture Education at UW-Platteville. She was inspired to pursue a career in this field as a high school student. "When I was a junior in high school we had a new ag teacher, Dawn Mausser – yet again that fall," Beitz told The Press. "She pushed me in the direction of ag studies with her encouraging words and actions involving me in FFA."

Beitz became very active in FFA as a student at Maquoketa Valley High School. She served on the officer team all four years of high school, and was actively a part of several contest teams including dairy, livestock and floriculture. She worked hard to increase fundraising for her FFA chapter through fruit sales and a hog raffle. 

Beitz explained the process of becoming an FFA member. "We are an affiliated chapter meaning that every student that signs up for an ag class is automatically eligible to take part in FFA," she explained. "At Clayton Ridge I have 25-30 members actively participating in the various things FFA has to offer."

This school year Clayton Ridge students have participated in soil judging, National FFA convention, World Dairy Expo, dairy foods and dairy cattle evaluation and fruit sale fundraiser with more to come in the spring.

"FFA has a lot of opportunities to offer students that can help them develop skills they will use for years to come," she noted. "FFA allows kids to meet new people from across the state and nation with the various activities they are involved in."

Beitz feels more women are involved in agriculture today than they were in the past, but feels they also have to work harder to prove themselves in the industry.  "There are more opportunities available to women to allow them into ag careers," she commented. "I encourage other women to pursue a career in agriculture even though they are super demanding – they are also super rewarding."

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