Nashville FFA honored at state convention
Members of the Nashville FFA chapter attended the 94th annual Illinois State FFA Convention June 14-16 along with more than 5,000 other FFA members, advisors, and guests. With a 2022 theme of “Initiate,” the three-day event annually recognizes achievements of Illinois FFA members, elects the major state officer team, and celebrates agriculture.
During the convention, the following awards were presented to the Nashville FFA chapter.
Harvest For All Section Winner & 1st Place in State: Kyley Kwiatkowski and Avery Piasecki. This award recognizes FFA chapters that have excelled in their efforts to fight food insecurity in Illinois through dollars raised, pounds of food donated, and hours volunteered.
Top 10 Chapter President: Eric Wisely was recognized as one of ten outstanding chapter presidents in the state who achieved the highest degree of excellence during their year of service to their chapter.
Top 10 Chapter Reporter: Brooklyne Luessenheide was recognized as one of 10 outstanding chapter reporters in the state for exemplary dedication and diligence in communicating with chapter members and the local media.
Top 5 Section Reporter: Eric Wisely was recognized as one of the top four outstanding section reporters in the state for exemplary dedication and diligence in communicating with chapters and the media throughout the section.
Equine Science Entrepreneurship State Proficiency Winner: Eric Wisely was selected as the State FFA Proficiency Winner in Equine Science Entrepreneurship. Eric is the son of Jimmy and Denise Wisely. He is a member of the Nashville FFA Chapter, advised by Julie Bond-Ledford. For his Supervised Agricultural Experience, Eric manages a portion of his family’s Quarter Horse farm and is responsible for all tasks that apply to the herd. Eric creates custom diets and exercise schedules that best suit each horse. He also provides general feed and care, training, showing, and makes management decisions to improve the health and well-being of the animals. Eric owns one Quarter Horse mare that he shows on the local, state, and national level. In addition, he has bought, trained, and sold other horses since starting the project. In the future, Eric hopes to earn a degree in agricultural education and stay involved in the equine industry by owning a Quarter Horse training or breeding operation.
Forage Production State Proficiency Winner: Brandon Wisely was selected as the State FFA Proficiency Winner in Forage Production. Brandon is the son of Dean and Janet Wisely. He is a member of the Nashville FFA Chapter, advised by Julie Bond-Ledford. For his Supervised Agricultural Experience, Brandon produces Bermuda grass hay on 18 acres. He also works on his family’s hay farm that produces about 100 acres of Bermuda and alfalfa hay. Brandon’s forage-related tasks include cutting, tedding, raking, baling, loading, and stacking. In his operation, he is responsible for all expenses related to producing the crop along with performing all tasks to raise and sell the crop. In the future, Brandon plans to attend Rend Lake College and then return to the family farm and join the Operating Engineers Union.
2022-2023 Section 21 President: Eric Wisely was installed as the President of Illinois FFA’s Section 21. The 25 newly installed Section Presidents are members of the 2022-2023 Illinois State Officer Team.
State Star Farmer Finalist – District 5: Calista Herrmann was selected as the District 5 Star Farmer. Calista is the daughter of Carl and Charlene Herrmann. She is a member of the Nashville FFA Chapter, advised by Julie Bond-Ledford. Calista grows a variety of chrysanthemums on her family farm for her Supervised Agricultural Experience. The first year, she sold 2,190 mums wholesale to local organizations to be used for fundraising. The next year, she increased that number to 9,040 mums and expanded to selling retail as well as wholesale. The previous years’ successes allowed her to grow and sell out a record 18,000 mums by the end of Sept. 2021. For her other two projects, Calista raises Nigerian dwarf nanny goats and owns a Quarter Horse mare. These animals are used in the petting zoo at her family’s agri-entertainment business. Through these projects, Calista has gained leadership skills and experience managing an operation.
State Winner Floriculture Career Development Event: Nashville FFA. The chapter was recognized for winning the state Floriculture CDE, which requires students to identify plants, judge flower arrangements, and solve problems. Participants also demonstrate skills in flower arranging, propagation, and the preparation of floral and foliage products for sale.
The convention spotlighted the Association’s annual service project, which provided $250 scholarships to 20 FFA chapters planting trees throughout the state.
Students at the convention were greeted with activities including a career fair featuring colleges and agribusinesses and an opportunity to engage in the history of Illinois’ capital city. The sessions featured addresses by National FFA Western Region Vice President Josiah Cruikshank of Oregon and from each of the retiring major state officers.
Pictured above is (L to R): Denise and Jim Wisely, parents; Eric Wisely, award winner; and Julie Bond-Ledford, advisor