Home. What makes somewhere a home? Where is home?

This year I have had the opportunity to visit 48 different FFA chapters, each one with it’s own unique quirks, traditions and culture. As different as each place is, there is one constant: each chapter creates a home for its members. In high school, I spent more time in my ag classroom than I did at my own house for one simple reason: it was my home. I was surrounded by people with mindsets focused on success, people who pushed me to be better, and people who shared the same passion and approached life with unconditional love. 

I have been lucky enough to see pieces of my ag classroom all around the state. This has come in many forms, from banners decorating a back wall to teachers with uncontainable zeal and passion for their jobs. In every classroom, I can find a piece of home, even if it’s a single FFA emblem. 

This year, home also has been in the truck with my tour partners, Ellie and Riley. I am grateful for the way we sometimes banter like siblings and every opportunity to have a deeper conversation about life or our futures. I am thankful for long car rides back to the west side with Keegan that remind me of the crazy, goofy country boys I was surrounded by in highschool. 

I’ve found a home in the Field’s horse arena in Canby. Spending time brushing, feeding and riding Breeze, reminding my of my pretty white mare, Sage at home. I am thankful to spend time in the saddle and be reminded of spending hours on long cattle drives in the canyons of Imnaha. 

I’ve found home with the incredible people who make up our silly, goofy and sometimes dysfunctional Oregon FFA family. Mr. Dooley who never misses an opportunity to put on his “dad hat” and give advice on something, even if it’s just parking between cones. Leila, our new Career Development Event coordinator who proudly displays a silly drawing on her wall that we left on her desk. Lee, who always has time to listen to what’s happening in our lives, is a mom when we miss home, and never leaves us without a couple hugs.

In a Ted talk I watched recently, Pico Lyer said “Home is not the place you happen to be born, it is the place you become yourself.” The place I found and have continued to develop myself is zipped in my blue jacket, and I hope the same can be said for you reading this. I am thankful for each of you who have opened your home up to us and have helped us to find ourselves.  Thank you all for giving me a home in Oregon FFA this year and creating that same home for all of our members. 

With Joy and Gratitude, 

Deidre Schreiber 

2019-2020 Oregon FFA State Secretary 

A sense of community:

Community is described as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” This can look different for everyone that is lucky enough to experience it. For me and my team it also looks a lot of different ways. It could be all of the families that take us in, house, and feed us on the road, traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana to take part in the National FFA convention with almost 70,000 members, or the fellow FFA families that helped a teammate and I through a tough time. 

In the last few months my teammates and I have visited countless schools, homes, and classrooms. No matter where we go, the people in these communities welcome us. They make us feel like we are a part of their communities even when we are hundreds of miles from our own. They entertain us, feed us, and house us without asking for anything back. This is a huge display of community within Oregon FFA that I know my team and I are very thankful for. Thank you to all of these families that welcomed us in. 

Our team had the opportunity to travel back to the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here we took part in the delegate process and represented Oregon FFA on a national level. During this process we were surrounded by hundreds of State Officers and fellow delegates that have the same passion for our organization that we have. This and being surrounded by almost 70,000 people from all over the nation coming together for the same reason could cause anyone to feel a sense of community.

Lastly, the time I felt the most sense of community was about a month ago. Olivia and I were following a member to a homestay where we were rear ended by a car going 70 miles an hour while we were at a complete stop. We both came out ok, but were transported to the hospital that night. While at the hospital we were visited by the members in that community, the family of the member we were staying with, and the local advisor that all stayed with us until we were released. They did not have to stay with us and they didn’t have to do everything they did to help us in the days to come; they chose to help us out of pure kindness. This is where I felt the biggest sense of community and was able to appreciate it. Thank you to the families that helped us through this. 

The sense of community within the FFA is one of the many things that drives me to want to serve our amazing organization. It has given so many members and their families a community to be a part of and that is a very special thing that is provided to all of us. I am proud to be a part of a community so kind, inviting, and helpful. 

With great appreciation, 

Riley Davis 

2019-2020 State Vice President 

2019 Oregon FFA National Convention Results

The Oregon FFA was well represented by over 500 students from Oregon at the 92nd Annual National FFA Convention, which was held October 30-November 2 in Indianapolis.  It is approximated that 70,000 FFA members, advisors, and guests attended the Convention, which is the largest youth organization gathering in the United States. 

For the second year in a row, Oregon had a member elected to National Office. Past State President, Kourtney Lehman was elected the 2019-20 National FFA Secretary on Saturday. Kourtney is a current student at Oregon State University and past FFA member from Baker. Her advisors are: Bibiana Gifft and Nicole Merchant at Baker and Seth Bingham, currently at North Powder.

Shea Booster retired as the National FFA Western Region Vice President. Shea is a past Oregon FFA State President and a member from the Bend Chapter. His advisor is Ms. Traci Dulany, current Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor at Eagle Point. You can watch Shea’s Retiring Address here.

Oregon FFA Delegates were Josiah Cruikshank, Bend; Riley Davis, Jefferson; Deidre Schreiber, Enterprise; Keegan Gibbs, Heppner; Olivia Palacios, Canby; Ellie Hanson, Silverton. Each served on a delegate committee and represented Oregon FFA during the business meetings.

Oregon had four individuals receive their Honorary American Degree Recipients – Mr. Daniel Bolen, Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor at Elgin in Eastern Oregon; Brian Field, Owner & President of Harvest Capital Company and a member of the Oregon FFA Foundation Board of Directors; and Doug & Sally Booster, Parents of Retiring National Officer, Shea Booster.

American FFA Degrees:

  • Austin Baker, Bend
  • Riley Baker, Elgin
  • Wayne Barnett, Newberg
  • Kailee Benedict, North Clackamas
  • Aspen Birkmaier, Imbler
  • Ashlee Kaye Brinton, Baker
  • Augustena Cook, Baker
  • Levi Crabtree, Tillamook
  • Amber Cripps, Rogue River
  • John Cross, Molalla
  • Haylee Crowe, Eagle Point
  • Abigayle Darula, Newberg
  • Catylynn Duff, Culver
  • Katelyn Duggan, Bend
  • Ezekiel Elmer, Cove
  • Sam Rose Fessler, Imbler
  • Nicolas L Freeman, Oakland
  • Isaac Furtney, Baker
  • David Gladman, Crater
  • Andrew Gmirkin, Eagle Point
  • Chance Greene, Redmond
  • Ethan Greer, Irrigon
  • Kylie Holveck, Newberg
  • Megan Hufford, North Powder
  • Artemy Ivanov, Molalla
  • Travis Jalbert , Redmond
  • Lorissa Bryn Johnson, Cove
  • Alex Lindsay, Heppner
  • Scottie Loree, Cove
  • Duncan Mackenzie, Baker
  • Alicia Maldonado, Baker
  • Audrey Marchek, Vale
  • Hannah McAuliffe, Lost River
  • Halie McCloud, Molalla
  • Trevor McFetridge, Enterprise
  • Bryan Meakins, Irrigon
  • Mary Louise Mitchelldyer, North Clackamas
  • Samantha Moore, Molalla
  • Maddi Muilenburg, Weston-McEwen
  • Madalyn Jo Neuschwander , Central Linn
  • Emily J Nix, Oakland
  • Morgan Orem, Ione
  • Paige Petersen, Bonanza
  • Mackenzie Price, Sutherlin
  • Kendyl Puller, Bend
  • Zoe Reeder, Rogue River
  • Jessica Rhoades, Molalla
  • Gabriel Rosales, Baker
  • Holly Silvey, Bend
  • Sundee Speelmon, Adrian
  • Katelyn Stirewalt, Imbler
  • Michael Kai Taipin, Henley
  • Emily Taylor, Ione
  • Devin Thacker, Canby
  • Derek Thompson, Imbler
  • Lee Wesenberg, Sutherlin
  • Dylan Westfall, Hermiston
  • Karley Witten, Cove

National Chapter:

  • 2 Star – Adrian, Canby, Imbler, & Sutherlin
  • 1 Star – Baker, Central, Elgin, & Lost River

Career Development Event Results:

  • Ag Communications – Sandy: Gold, 9th
  • Ag Issues – Molalla: Bronze
  • Ag Mechanics – Crater: Silver. Team member Sam Droesch placed 7th in the event.
  • Ag Sales – Sandy: Silver
  • Agronomy – Hermiston: Bronze
  • Conduct of Chapter Meetings – Echo: Bronze
  • Creed Speaking – Jesse Samarin, Canby: Bronze
  • Dairy Cattle Evaluation – Dallas: Silver
  • Dairy Cattle Handler – Morgan Smith, Dallas: Silver
  • Environmental/Natural Resources – Sutherlin: Gold, 5th. Team members Nolan Carson placed 3rd and Regan Leatherwood placed 10th individually.
  • Extemporaneous Public Speaking – Gabe Tambellini, Rogue River: Silver, Top 16
  • Farm Business Management – Nyssa: Silver
  • Floriculture – Rogue River: Silver, 16th
  • Food Science & Technology – Hermiston: Gold, 7th
  • Forestry – Sutherlin: Silver
  • Horse Evaluation – Molalla: Silver
  • Job Interview – Quinn Coomer, Baker: Bronze
  • Livestock Evaluation – Eagle Point: Silver. Team member Tyler Gifford placed 10th in the event.
  • Marketing Plan – North Clackamas: Silver, 8th
  • Meats Evaluation & Technology – Echo: Gold, 13th
  • Milk Quality – Santiam Christian: Gold, 8th
  • Nursery/Landscape – Dayton: Bronze
  • Parliamentary Procedure – Dayton: Bronze
  • Poultry Evaluation – North Clackamas: Gold, 10th
  • Prepared Public Speaking – Gracie Krahn, Santiam Christian: Silver; 6th
  • Veterinary Science – Redmond: Gold, 7th

National Agriscience Fair Finalists:

  • In the Area of Plant Systems
    • Division 5 – Zenas (Yu Xie), Burnt River – Silver
  • In Food Products & Processing Systems
    • Division 5 – Tia Wick, North Clackamas – Silver, 9th Place
  • In Power. Technical, and Social Systems
    • Division 5 – Ethan (Viet Bui), Burnt River – Gold
  • In Social Systems
    • Division 3 – Savanna Stillwagner, Rogue River – Silver

Other Accomplishments Include:

  • Outstanding Alumni Chapter Finalist – Scio FFA Alumni & Friends
  • National FFA Alumni Advisory Committee Appointment – Tom Rutledge, Sandy
  • Flag Bearer – Deidre Schreiber, Enterprise
  • National FFA Band Members – Katelyn Iversen, Henley & Patton Wright, Weston McEwen

For a complete listing of National Convention winners, visit https://www.ffa.org/event-results/

Using Every Moment

When the Oregon FFA State Officer team began the month of September, we couldn’t believe that our year was already halfway done. It’s wild that the year so far has been filled with so many amazing experiences, yet it feels like just yesterday we were just starting.

We started off the month at the Oregon State Fair, where we cleaned up and began leadership tour preparation. After preparing our workshop and personal supplies for the road, we paired up, drew straws for which truck we’d each get, and hit the road. We went to the Umpqua and Mount Hood District Leadership Camps, then began leadership tour in the Central Oregon District. Following that, we went to Strawberry Mountain, Upper Willamette, Northwest, and Capital District Leadership Camps. During this time, we also had the opportunity to attend the signing of House Bill 2444 which recently allocated state funds to our association. We rounded out the month with more leadership tour visits and the Blue Mountain District Leadership Camp.

Through our journeys in September, I’ve found one theme emphasized over and over in the experiences we had: Use every second. It’s important as leaders and FFA members that we make the most of every situation we are thrusted into – even the uncomfortable, awkward, or boring ones.

At the beginning of the year, I was told something I will not soon forget: “Make the most of every second in office because it flies by!” At first, I thought this was bizarre and over the top. After all, there are a lot of seconds in a year! As we get closer and closer to our retirement at the 2020 Oregon FFA State Convention, however, the state officers have begun to realize the importance of seizing every opportunity and using every moment we have.

The same principle of making the most of our lives applies to us as individuals, too. Right now, it’s probably easy to think that we can wait until tomorrow to utilize every second we are given here on this earth, but let’s live lives that we can look back on with no regrets and a heart full of joy!

With excitement for every second of the journey ahead,

Josiah Cruikshank

2019-2020 Oregon FFA State President

Behind the Scenes…

              Take a moment back in time with me to the 2001 Oregon State Fair. In the sheep barn my mom, dad, and a slew of sheep friends running around getting ready for the Hampshire breeding show. You may be wondering why I am explaining this story to you, and it’s because, I was right there with them. In a front pack that was passed around from person to person was seven-month-old me. This was my earliest encounter with the State Fair. My experience remained relatively the same at fair for 17 years, creating a summer tradition for my family. However, this year I entered a whole new capacity serving as a state officer. Instead of exhibiting I was able to be part of the innerworkings that makes the Oregon State Fair a success every year. 

              Entering week one I was so excited to share my summer tradition with my team. Though I did get to enter the open show sheep ring for Supremes this year, being a part of fair looked completely different. This year I gained a new appreciation for all the people who make State Fair possible. Being an exhibitor, I never got to experience what went on behind the scenes at fair. This year I was able to experience and be a part of the prep, grunge, and thankless work that often goes unnoticed. This gave me a new appreciation for the efforts put forth by countless individuals who keep the fair running. Whether it be the work crews who set up panels, the advisors who made sure shows run smoothly, or the individuals who keep track of all the scores that came in; all these people put in time to allow for the success of others. Without these individuals state fair would not be possible.

In addition to this it was amazing to see the members and their families who support them. When you are in the showring it is easy to forget about the people who truly support and believe in you. Parents, friends, and advisors are all ringside supporting members as they show. This support comes in the form of show help, pit crews, and cheer teams. Watching all these roles play out made me appreciate the individuals who have done those same things in my life. By taking a step out of my normal fair role I was able to gain a new appreciation for the people who have both directly and indirectly supported me so that I could find success. As my team and I gear up to start our leadership tour, I have a new appreciation for the small actions that people do. Having a new perspective and outlook has opened my eyes for how grateful I can be for the small things in life.

Ellie Hanson’s flock of Southdowns in Supreme during the 2019 Oregon State Fair

With gratitude,

Ellie Hanson