FFA receives Dairy Queen donation

For the first time in Marietta City Schools history, 12 and 13-year-old Tigers can diagnose mechanical and electrical failures in farm and construction equipment alongside experts. With the district consolidation, seventh and eighth grade students now attend Marietta High School, and in turn, can join FFA. 

“I was nervous about coming up to the high school because of being around a large number of older kids,” shared Alexis White, eighth grade. “But we’ve gone to Farm Science Review and looked at heavy equipment, livestock handling equipment and we got to select a topic to learn about and give a speech to teach the group.”

 This year 24 seventh and 11 eighth grade students have spent the year building confidence as they develop their Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) and documenting their work through an online record keeping system called Ag Experience Tracker (AET). 

 “We are infusing them with agriculture,” said Grace Rollins, tenth grade. “We are teaching them skills to help them know how to live on their own. And with COVID going on right now, I would say that learning how to make more money off of a cow, hog, or even a chicken is important! And how soils are made up impacts growing, building and drainage. The skills we are learning at such a young age may impact career choices in the future.”

While exploring 37 competitive Career Development Events (CDE) students build skills utilized in current agriculture-related fields including breeding and evaluating livestock, greenhouse management and forestry. Other 21st Century skills fostered include:

How to grow tomatoes and other edible crops (horticulture).

Public speaking.

Learning how to work in a group (conflict resolution).

Parliamentary procedure.

Observational skills. 

Differentiation between breeding and market body composition.

Marietta FFA is currently practicing for the Ag Power Diagnostics, Ag Mechanics Skills, and Livestock CDEs with the support of community coaches led by Scott Moore. The Marietta FFA Chapter also thanks CDE coaches Sam Lisk, Tyler Stacy, Todd Stacy, Greg Berg, Dave Bauerbach, Wesley Satterfield, Eric Zimmer, Zach Duckworth, Ryan Moore and Sam Evans for investing their time and knowledge in mentoring our students.

The Ag Power Diagnostics and Ag Mechanics Skills teams practice at least once per week from October through March, committing time before and after school to perfect skills and efficiency before competition.

“These events are timed, we have 20 minutes to figure out what’s wrong with the machine and there are two malfunctions that you have to fix in that time,” said Brady Barth, eighth grade.

Ninth-grader Brett Bauerbach and Senior Caleb Hartline competed as a team on Feb. 10, putting their observational and problem-solving skills to use. 

“There were bugs in the equipment, mostly electrical problems,” said Bauerbach. “We followed the systems, we had to read manuals and listen for different sounds. This equipment would be used to hook up to ag equipment and help plow fields so it’s pretty important. I checked the sensors and reconnected different wires.”  

We would also like to thank and recognize the area businesses that donate their staff, facilities and equipment for practices and training purposes. Thank you Bridgeport Equipment, Brian Barth Excavating, Fischer Process Industries, Moore Trucking, Stacy’s Family Farm and Zimmerview Farms.

The Marietta FFA gained a new supporter with the “Round Up” campaign from the Marietta Dairy Queen that kicked off last summer. 

Dairy Queen asked patrons to round up the charges from their orders to the nearest dollar and donate the change to the Marietta FFA. The Marietta Dairy Queen donated $7,442 to the Marietta FFA in August. 

Marietta FFA also thanks the Sweetcorn Festival committee for its donation of $2,700 in December and the continuous donations of past alumni of our program.

These donations are critical to the development of our students' skills by lowering the costs of travel, competition entry, conventions and FFA Jackets. 

Social functions

One of the chapter’s most established social traditions are the square dances Marietta FFA hosts and organizes at the Fearing Township Community Building on the second Saturday of each month, November through March.

“We get to learn the different dances and steps, dress in boots and be around all our friends,” said Freshman Grady Hartline, “It’s just a lot of fun and kids from other schools come, too.”

The group has also built camaraderie with each other in a visit to The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and topped off the trip with FFA Night at the OSU hockey game against Bowling Green. 

“Meeting students in FFA around the state was part of that,” Hunter Hallam, ninth grade. “It was fun to meet other people.”

Networking continues not only with age-level peers, but also college scholars of FFA across Ohio during Leadership Nights. 

“The Leadership Nights are hosted by Ohio FFA officers, some of whom are now in college, and are investing in the development of leadership skills in our younger members,” explained FFA Advisor and MHS Ag Teacher Brian Welch. “They also model how to run our state convention and recruit our students into sustainable career paths.

Community supporters and alumni are invited to attend the Marietta FFA banquet and awards ceremony at Marietta High School on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the accomplishments of our Tigers this school year. Tickets will be available for purchase after March 1. For registration information please contact Brian Welch via email at bwelch@mariettacsdoh.org.