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Successful Farming staff remember their FFA days

As we celebrate National FFA Week, Successful Farming staff members recall their favorite memories and lessons learned in FFA. They all agree their experience gave them important skills and tools they use to this day.

Scott Mortimer

Senior Vice President/Group Publisher
Dallas Center-Grimes, Iowa, FFA Chapter President 1982-1983

As president of our chapter, I learned many leadership skills from our advisor that I still use today. He taught me the value of listening, having empathy, and making sure everyone’s voice is heard. FFA also helped hone my decision-making and public speaking skills and taught me how to run a meeting. Thanks to the many projects and competitions I participated in, I also learned the value of being organized and keeping good records. FFA was such an important part of my life that I still keep my jacket hanging in my office at Successful Farming.

Gil Gullickson

Executive Editor, Crops Technology
Langford, South Dakota, FFA Chapter President 1978-1979

I likely would have never gone into agriculture had it not been for my vocational agriculture teacher, Floyd Lehman. A local farmer, Pete Waletich, had long lobbied to get an FFA program and vocational agriculture program in my high school, and finally we got one during my senior year. Floyd mixed with several of my friends and I just like a baseball and a bat, and we just hit it off and formed a tight-knit group. It was so much fun studying things that we all used in our daily lives, whether it was my FFA wheat production project or how to run a meeting through parliamentary procedure. He inspired me to major in agriculture at South Dakota State University.

Natalina Bausch

Managing Editor - News
Columbus Junction, Iowa, FFA Chapter

Back in high school when we were piling into the school van for contests and staying after school to practice, I just thought FFA was fun. There were opportunities to skip school and travel. What more could a 16-year-old kid want? Now, I look around and realize many of my closest professional relationships had their beginning in FFA. Friends and coaches who stood with me in a pit judging soil are now keynoting industry events and the farmers I regularly touch base with for my Successful Farming coverage. (That’s me on the left in the photo.)

Natalina Bausch FFA

Chelsea Dinterman

Assistant Agronomy Editor
Walkersville, Maryland, FFA Chapter

My favorite FFA memory was joining the Ag Communications CDE team a week before the state competition. After a fast and furious few days of practices, we ended up placing first in the competition! It was my first real event with FFA and it taught me to get out of my comfort zone and take risks.

Chelsea Dinterman FFA

Tom Hosack

National Account Executive
Harlan, Iowa, FFA Chapter 

It’s hard to pick a favorite memory, but winning the state title in parliamentary procedure was a special one. We also had a point system established that we tracked to qualify for a fishing trip to Canada. I was able to make it twice, and the memories I made on the those trips will stay with me forever. Below is one of my senior pics rocking the blue and gold.

Tom Hosack FFA

Diana Weesner

Editorial Production Manager
Adel-DeSoto-Minburn, Iowa, FFA Chapter Mom

I wasn’t a member, but I’m a longtime supporter. I got to be an FFA mom and I even have a T-shirt to prove it. My son, Max, was an FFA member and chapter officer just like his dad and grandfather were. Carrying on that family tradition was very important to Max and his dad. My greatest memory was actually getting to see his dream fulfilled when was a member of the National FFA Chorus in 2019 and watching him sing in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Max Weesner FFA

Max Weesner singing at FFA convention

Lisa Foust Prater

Family & Farmstead Editor
Southeast Warren, Iowa, FFA Chapter Mom

Like Diana, I wasn’t a member myself, but have enjoyed supporting FFA as a mom. All three of my boys were (or are) members at some point, but my younger two, Luke and Will, were the most active, both holding the position of stakeholder committee chair. Luke earned the Iowa Degree, and Will is working toward that as well. Not only did they have a great time, but they learned so much about agriculture and life from their amazing advisor, Alex Rodgers. Luke raised and showed pigs at the county fair his junior year. The pigs had been donated by a recent graduate, and the proceeds from the sale were donated to the chapter. The two pigs that sold brought in more than $5,000 toward the chapter’s new livestock building. Will is currently a junior, and I’m excited to see what’s next for him in FFA. 

Luke and Will Prater with FFA Advisor Alex Rodgers

Luke Prater showing pig for FFA


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