South Dakota FFA Foundation, Inc.
SD FFA Foundation Email Newsletter ~ | ~ Volume 7, Issue 4 ~ | ~ October 2016

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The SD FFA Email Newsletter highlights special projects of the SD FFA and SD FFA Foundation.  Please forward this newsletter to others you know who are involved and interested in FFA and agriculture education. Thank you for your support of the FFA in South Dakota!

AmplifyDirector’s Message:

It's that time of the FFA calendar, when about 600 SD FFA members hop on a bus, plane or suburban to National FFA Convention. This year it is back in Indianapolis, IN.  Many of our students will be competing for awards and scholarships. Others will be learning about how to be a leader in their communities, learning about the ag industry and creating lifelong memories. Please contact your local advisor to see how you can help transform the lives of SD's young people by developing their premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.

Gerri Ann Eide, Executive Director, SD FFA Foundation, Inc.

You Change Lives!

EVERY donation, big or small, individual or corporate, is valued by the SD FFA Foundation and the members it impacts. Thank you for your contribution - it helped change the lives of FFA members! Rhett

Rhett Zelinsky, Brookings Freshman - “FFA is helping me with my social skills as I have always been shy.  It’s opened doors for me already in a short time, to do things, like judging, that I wouldn’t do in any other organization.” 

Thank you!


Upcoming events:

  • October 19-22 - National FFA Convention, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • November 1 – Jackrabbit Invite Leadership CDE, Brookings
  • November 7 – District 1 Leadership CDE’s, LATI
  • November 7 - Districts 2 Leadership CDE's, Brookings
  • November 7 - District 3 CDE's, Harrisburg
  • November 9 - Districts 5 Leadership CDE's, Wall
  • November 14 - District 3 CDE's, Parker
  • November 14 - Districts 7 Leadership CDE's, West Central
  • November 14 – District 4 Leadership CDE’s, MTI
  • November 15 - Districts 6 Leadership CDE's, Miller
  • December 4-5 - State Leadership Career Development Events, Pierre

Transform Student purpose into Action!Transform

I remember the first time I stepped into a National FFA Convention session as a high school freshman, in Kansas City, MO.  The growth I experienced from those four days changed my life - built self-confidence, amplified my interest and motivation, introduced me to others interested in agriculture, and encouraged me to transform purpose into action while leading, promoting agriculture, and succeeding in life. The experience, and the teachers there guiding me - Ms. Julie (Leier) Mueller, Highmore & Mr. Todd Marks, Harrisburg - made a life-long impact.  My son experiences National FFA Convention for the first time this year – I hope it is as profoundly life-changing for him and all students that attend this year as it was for me.

Oct. 19-22 is the 89th National FFA Convention, in Indianapolis, IN. For those of us who can’t make it there in person, we can watch, read and follow it! Use, Facebook, Twitter, the national convention app on your smart phone, or RFD-TV LIVE found on DirecTV channel 345 and Dish Network channel 231, 9398 and 231 HD The convention and expo will be bigger and better than ever.  A few of the highlights include:

  • 2 National Star Finalists - Elizabeth Renner, West Central & Shane Mueller, Garretson
  • 3 SD proficiency finalists
  • 3 agriscience fair finalist projects
  • National Chapter award winners including 2-Star Chapters: Arlington, Garretson, McCook Central, Howard, Viborg-Hurley, and 1-Star Chapters: Beresford and Winner & Harrisburg.
  • 5 SD band members
  • 5 SD chorus member
  • 1 Talent participant
  • 22 SD Career Development Event teams
  • 39 SD American Degree recipients
  • SD's national officer candidate Kaden Eisenbraun, Wall
  • Great motivational speakers
  • Cole Swindell, Chris Young, and  the Henningsens in concerts
  • Leadership & Career Development workshops
  • Rodeo
  • National Days of Service
  • Career Success Tours
  • The Expo

With so many amazing events and general sessions happening during the convention & expo, and so many ways to stay in tune with what's going on, it's hard to decide what not to watch!  Check out the convention schedule.

Bayer CropScience provides $ for SD FFA Foundation

Bayer CropScience is contributing to the SD FFA Foundation via its LibertyLink Real Yield Sweepstakes. Growers who participate in the sweepstakes will have the opportunity to win Real Yield Fields. But most importantly, for every sign up by a farmer, Bayer will provide a contribution to the SD FFA Foundation, helping make a positive difference in the lives of students and supporting the next generation of growers. 

Sign up at,, it takes less than a minute and each person can must farm at least 200 acres of soybeans to earn the SD FFA $!


Living to Serve

Service is a core value taught to SD's almost 6,000 high school Agriculture Education students through their FFA participation. The SD FFA Foundation recognizes the value of local chapter service learning projects, and wants to enable Agriculture Education programs to focus on student and community development. As a result, we started a program providing up to $500/chapter for service projects in their local communities, as a special project of the SD FFA Foundation. Congratulations to the following chapter receiving SD FFA Foundation funds this fall for service projects: 

  • Sunshine Bible Academy – construct school playset for K-12
  • Lennox-Sundstrom – construct educational “Path to Nature” with walking path, benches and information
  • Madison - Farm safety camp
  • Hitchcock-Tulare – community aluminum can recycling bin/building

SD FFA has 2 American Star Finalists!

The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are some of the FFA’s highest awards and presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through their SAEs. Four students are selected in each area.  This year SD has finalists in two of the areas - - Elizabeth Renner, West Central in Star in Agriscience & Shane Mueller, Garretson in Star in Ag Business. Elizabeth

For as long as she can remember, Elizabeth Renner has been fascinated by the critters that inhabit aquatic areas and recalls exploring the fields and streams in her area and examining all of the different insects and organisms. Her first opportunity to do scientific research on aquatic organisms came through her involvement in an FFA Agriscience Fair during her freshman year. Her scientific explorations continued through high school and even included an internship with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.   Following her freshman year in college, she conducted research with a professor on historic plant communities to see how ecosystems changed following the arrival of European settlers. During the summer of her sophomore year, she conducted stream surveys at bridge and box culvert construction sites for the South Dakota Department of Transportation. She followed this experience by working in a stream ecology laboratory at an Alaskan nonprofit dedicated to protecting salmon streams within the Cook Inlet watershed. Shane

From the time when he could lift and throw hay bales, Shane Mueller was working for his dad in the hay field. While in high school, he bought a few sheep and began restoring some of his dad's farm equipment. Once he had the sheep, he knew that he would have to help put feed up for them and that meant helping put up hay. After helping his dad with haying and learning the skill set, Mueller decided to start his own custom haying business. He discovered that there was a pretty strong demand for small square bales in his area, as most custom round bale operations didn't want to do the work of square baling. As Mueller's business began to expand, he started advertising his services through Craigslist and soon the demand began to outpace his supply. He is now searching for more ground that he can bale so he can expand his business and continue to find other markets for the hay. As he continues to expand his business, he also has begun purchasing more equipment for his use. 

What happens when you Transform student purpose into actionTransform

In 2015-16 your contributions to the SD FFA Foundation helped:


  • State fair programming
  • Ag Adventure Center renovation
  • District officer training
  • Summer Leadership Retreats
  • State Leadership Career Development Events
  • State officer travel to chapters
  • State Convention programming


  • Jackets for FFA members
  • Scholarships for graduating seniors, including 4 new ones
  • Outstanding Supervised Agriculture Experience programs recognition
  • travel scholarships for state winning teams advancing to nationals
  • Washington Leadership Conference scholarships
  • Leadership Retreat scholarships
  • Grants for chapter service projects


  • Provided funds for instructor training
  • Recognized outstanding teachers


  • Student teachers attended Ag Tech Teacher Conference
  • Hosted iTeach U, a recruitment event for high school students considering agriculture education as a career


  • Hosted Alumni events at State Leadership Career Development Events and State FFA Convention


  • College students attended leadership conferences
  • Scholarships for students studying agriculture

FFA members Earn Blue Jackets  - Bright Futures 

To it's owner, the FFA jacket is a physical reminder of the personal accomplishments achieved through the organization - a symbol of commitment and dedication for all who wear the corduroy. This October the SD FFA Foundation awarded 236 FFA members from 52 FFA chapters jackets through the SD FFA Foundation Blue Jackets Bright Futures FFA Jacket Program - carrying forward that long-standing tradition of pride, dignity and honor.  Thanks to everyone who helped sponsor a jacket, welcoming new members into the fabric of FFA.  Click here to see the winners!


SD FFA chapters win trip to Oklahoma      

Fall is the time FFA members learn to identify land characteristics and slope, range plants and growth patterns, and how to be good stewards of these resources, managing them for the future. Congratulations to the 5 Land teams: Kadoka, Highmore, McCook Central, DeSmet, and Lennox and 3 Range teams: Wessington Springs, Sturgis, and Clark that won their Regional FFA events. They will advance to national competition next May in Oklahoma City. We are seeking sponsors  for travel scholarships for these teams.

Thanks to LeRoy and Cathie Draine, Black Hawk, SD, for sponsoring $100 scholarships for the 1st place range judging individuals (Aaron Linke, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket; Mark Stangle, Philip and Levi Johnson, Webster/Waubay;) and the SD Soil Health Coalition for sponsorsing $100 scholarships for the 1st place land judging individuals(Magan Vaughn, Sturgis, Max Ring, Highmore, Emma Gehm and Taylor Reif, McCook Central)

(Land Press release) (Range Press release)

Featured Fundraiser

SD FFA Leather Collection
The SD FFA Foundation has partnered with K Bar J Leather of Newell, SD to offer a selection of beautiful high quality leather items.  They are being marketed with the FFA logo at National FFA Convention and awarded to the State Leadership CDE winners this fall.  They can be ordered with custom logos for promotional use by businesses … talk to your boss about utilizing them as holiday gifts around the office!

Click here to see more of our products!

SD FFA Foundation

Plan a gift to the SD FFA Foundation
in your annual budget.

You can donate online here or mail a donation to: SD FFA Foundation, 39393 133rd St., Bath, SD 57427

For more information, please contact or call (605) 765-4865
© 2016 South Dakota FFA Foundation, Inc. 

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