After some successful spring activities that included our FFA Banquet, FFA Career Development Events, a trap shooting competition and Food For America Program hosted by Clint and Darby Sampson, our summer of 2017 started out fast and went quickly.

A huge thank you to Mike and Karen Houser for selecting us to receive a grant of $2,500 from Monsanto in their name. Their generous donation helped allow us to participate in many of the activities throughout the summer.

The Melrose-Mindoro FFA summer highlights of 2017 began in June with several FFA members volunteering to help at both the Jackson and La Crosse county dairy breakfasts. Members participating were Breanna Feit, Cody Wolter, Gavin Hintz and Brady Patterson.

Also in June was our State FFA Convention where we had six members participate. Jordan and Justin Waughtal, Patterson, Cal Stair, Sheradyn Johnson and Chasadie Jones were the members in attendance. Jordan and Justin were part of the FFA State Honors Band.

Mr. Dobbs taught tractor safety with UW-Extension agriculture agent Trisha Wagner and Brad Markhardt at the Black River Falls High School, and attended workshops at his annual WAAE agriculture teacher convention. FFA members also attended a MAQA workshop held at the Melrose-Mindoro High School, and some members participated in a canoe trip.

July brought 4th of July activities, where our FFA Alumni had an ice cream stand. Some FFA members joined in on the Travis Olson Memorial Tractor Ride that was hosted by Frank and Kim Ponterio.

Mid-July was the beginning of the fair season for many, highlighted by Kaitlyn Opland and Feit winning junior champions in Beef and Dairy. Kaitlyn also had the top two market lambs, and won showmanship in both beef and sheep. Jeremy Anderson also won some top ribbons in dairy, and in her first time showing, Carrie Pfaff won blue ribbons with her two swine project animals. Mr. Dobbs and Kirstie Langrehr served as dairy superintendents at the La Crosse County Fair.

Late July and early August was the Jackson County Fair, highlighted by Wolter winning Supreme Champion in dairy, among other top awards. Kaitlyn and Ryan Stetzer won blue ribbons with their beef projects, and as usual were among the best in the bred and owned competition.

Kaitlyn also showed and excelled in horse drill team and other horse events. Bryce Blaken also showed his swine project animals and won his share of top ribbons as well. A few of our FFA members, Gavin Hintz, Abby Nelson, Sheradyn Johnson and Brady Patterson, also volunteered at the Jackson County dairy stand selling ice cream.

Victor Ponterio and Cal Stair made sure the grounds were kept clean by making sure that the garbage cans were empty. Some may think it is a thankless job, but very important for the image of our county fair, and the two young men did an awesome job. Mr. Dobbs served as the round robin overall showmanship contest superintendent.

At the state fair, Kaitlyn Opland showed her beef steer and heifer, finishing fourth in her classes among very tough competition. Jordan and Justin Waughtal again performed as part of the FFA Honors Band throughout the last four days of the fair. Mr. Dobbs volunteered at the educational dairy exhibit, Wisconsin House of Moo.

Bryce Blaken and Ryan Stetzer, Kaitlyn Opland and Houston Nelson, to mention a few, are incoming sophomores and are considered a few of our future standout FFA members, and are ones to watch in future years. Cal Stair, Brady Patterson, Sheradyn Johnson and Chasadie Jones round out a group of incoming juniors that will lead our chapter for the next couple of years. Seniors Gavin Hintz, Cody Wolter, Victor Ponterio, Collin Pfaff and Abby Nelson are the rest of a very strong FFA officer team that will lead the organization through the 2017-18 school year.

Their next event is their 10th annual Dewey Wagner Memorial Tractor Cruise on Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. at the Mindoro County Park, as part of the Spanferkel activities. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the ride leaves at 10 a.m. sharp! The driver registration fee is $20 and includes coffee, donuts, snacks and drinks at the half-way point, and a meal and drink once back at the Spanferkel grounds. It is sponsored by the Melrose-Mindoro FFA and Allied Cooperative. The ride typically goes about 25 miles.

The Melrose-Mindoro FFA Chapter would sincerely like to thank parents, sponsors, administration, school board and community members for supporting them throughout the year.

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Jackson County Chronicle editor

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