ARCHBOLD — The New Year always brings new excitement to the Archbold FFA. In January, students were hard at work finishing up record books and beginning the process of applying for State and American Degrees, various other awards and scholarships. The Fulton County Public Speaking CDE (career development event) took place in late January.

Archbold was represented by Will Nofziger in the FFA creed speaking contest and Elizabeth Mignin placed first in the extemporaneous speaking contest. The two then competed in the district event in early February, with both individuals placing first. With their first-place finishes they both qualified for and competed at the Ohio State Public Speaking event on March 3. While neither of the two finished in the top four of the state, it was the first time Archbold has had any participants in the state event since 2007.

In March, the District 1 Invitational was held, where the members of the food science class participated in the meat science and technology CDE, placing third. In all there were 10 members on the team, with the four highest scorers being Luke Pickford, who placed third individually; Nic Rodriguez, Deven Girdham and Andrew Hogrefe. Students in the livestock science class also participated in the general livestock judging event. Archbold had 14 members competing, with the team placing sixth in the district, and 10th overall in the contest. The high scorers on the team were Lily Delgado, Elizabeth Mignin, Caty Richer and Kody Rashley. March 20 was the FFA banquet at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Archbold. This was the high-point of the FFA’s calendar, where the chapter recognized all of the individuals and group achievements from the past 12 months. A huge thank you to the Archbold FFA alumni, Brookview Farms, and the Knights of Columbus for helping make the banquet a huge success. Then on March 24, Michael Dickman, Jadyn Fenstermaker, Lily Delgado, Katie Goering, Carley Horst and Kayden Meyer competed in the state general livestock contest, placing 86th out of 168 teams.

The FFA also assisted with the fifth annual Ladies Night Out Relay for Life fundraiser in April. All proceeds were split up between the ABC for Maddy Foundation and the Quality Spuds Relay-For-Life Team.

The first few days of May brought the elementary petting zoo and the Ohio FFA State Convention. In all, 15 students attended this year’s convention, which took place on May 3-4 in Columbus. At the convention, Simon Short received the highest award the state can give its members, the State FFA Degree.

From June 4-5, the officer team traveled to Put-in-Bay for the annual officer’s retreat and planning session. On June 9, the FFA helped with the Ken-Feld Group’s Kids Day at Play by holding a cookie decorating station.

In August, members began gearing up for the Henry and Fulton County fairs. The chapter had members volunteer in the Fulton County beef and pork stand, had members showing livestock projects at both fairs, and more.

As September comes around, the focus turned to soil judging. This was a very successful year for the Archbold FFA’s students in this area. At the county contest, the urban team placed first, with the top three scorers being Simon Short, Austin Wiemken and Jakob Beaverson; and the rural team placed third, with the top three scorers being Jacob Walters, Kalleigh Fry and Allison Bickel. Individually, Short was first place in the urban contest. At the district contest, held in Williams County, the urban team was first, and the rural team placed fourth. Team members for the urban were: Josh Richer, Andrew Francis, Simon Short, Spencer Meyer, Austin Wiemken, Erik Short, Jakob Beaverson and Reed Krueger. Rural team members were: Kalleigh Fry, Allison Bickel, Dylan Wendt, Zane Behnfeldt, Hailey Wooley, Karli Luderman and Sam Ruffer. Individually, Kalleigh was seventh in ag soils contest; and Josh, Andrew, Simon and Spencer were first, second, sixth and 10th place in the urban soils contest, respectively. Both teams qualified for the state soil judging CDE held in Newark on Oct. 13.

In October, members competed in the dairy cattle judging and dairy foods contests, with the dairy cattle team placing second, and the dairy foods team placing third. The top four scorers for the dairy cattle team were Kaitlyn Waidelich, Weston Ruffer, Caleb Hogrefe and Brianna Esquibel; with Kaitlyn and Weston placing sixth and seventh individually. The dairy foods team top scorers were Lily Delgado, Elizabeth Mignin, Chase Kohler and Josiah Magallanes. Individually, Delgado placed third and Mignin placed fourth. Also, beginning on Oct. 13, the chapter conducted its fruit and turkey sales. This is the chapter’s primary fundraiser, which is very well supported by the community.

From Oct. 24-26, 18 members attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Along the way to the convention, members stopped and toured the Fair Oaks Dairy and Pig Adventures. On Oct. 27, Archbold FFA members Meridith (Short) Meyer, Madison Campbell, Mitchell Hogrefe, Matthew Kinsman, Christian Waidelich, Kyle Ott, Dennis Meyers and Ryan Wiemken were awarded the American FFA Degree, which is the highest honor the National FFA organization can bestow on its members. On Oct. 30. Kalleigh Fry, Sam Ruffer, Weston Ruffer, Zoe Castillo, Elizabeth Mignin and Simon Short competed in the Fulton County job interview competition. From the county contest, Kalleigh, Weston and Elizabeth all placed in the top two of their divisions and advanced to the district contest.

November marked the beginning of the busy season for the FFA. On Nov. 9, members provided barbecue chicken dinners to a number of local agri-businesses that support the program an its activities through out the year. The chickens were raised in the ag science barn near the elementary school, taken to be processed, and then cooked and delivered by the FFA members. In all, more than 180 meals were delivered to local partners.

On Nov. 13, Archbold hosted the District 1 food science and job interview contests. The food science contest deals with processing practices and equipment, food safety, customer service, taste and aroma testing, and a team event focused on food marketing. This is the first time a team from Archbold has competed, and the team of Katie Goering, Lily Delgado, Elizabeth Mignin and Jarrett Waidelich placed third overall, narrowly missing a chance to compete in the state event held in December. Later that day at the job interview contest, Kalleigh Fry and Weston Ruffer placed 11th in their respective divisions, and Elizabeth placed third, narrowly missing a chance to compete at the state. On Nov. 19, the parliamentary procedure team competed in the Fulton County parliamentary procedure CDE. This year’s team of Katie Goering, Simon Short, Weston Ruffer, Elizabeth Mignin, Lily Delgado and William Nofziger placed third in the county. Also, 15 members attended a leadership night at Bowling Green High School.

In December, the chapter conducted its canned food drive to support Fulton County Christmas Cheer. The students in elementary and high schools were able to make a donation of more than 3,000 non-perishable food and other household items. The chapter also conducted its main fundraiser, the fruit and peanut sale. This year, the chapter was able to sell more than $27,000 in gross sales.

For National FFA Week in 2018, the Archbold FFA plans to again have an ag Olympics, as well as a “Fear Factor” competition during the week, and sponsoring a coloring contest in the elementary school. The Archbold FFA also has three State Degree and two American Degree candidates for 2019. The State Degree candidates are Elizabeth Mignin, Katie Goering and Kayden Meyer. The American Degree candidates are graduates, Kendall Lovejoy and Adam Kinsman, both of whom are 2018 graduates of the program.

The Archbold FFA had a great year in 2018, with multiple students receiving state-level recognition and another increase in its membership, now totaling 129 students in grades 7-12 in the ag ed program; and the chapter looks forward to the challenges that await members as they progress into 2019.

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