For the second year in a row, Calamus-Wheatland FFA has earned the Supreme FFA Chapter Award. The award, sponsored by Wallaces Farmer, is presented each year at the Iowa State Fair.
For a number of years previously, Eddyville-Blakesburg FFA won this award. Calamus-Wheatland paid attention to the example Eddyville set, taking a chapter from their playbook.
“To win this award requires teamwork; the involvement of as many members of your chapter as you can muster,” says Jacob Looney, Calamus-Wheatland FFA president. “Our goal is to do our best each year and to come back and win it again at the state fair. Maybe we can put together a long winning streak like Eddyville did.”
To compete for the Supreme FFA Chapter Award, a chapter’s members must enter their projects they’ve been working on during the year in exhibits and competitions at the Iowa State Fair. They are awarded points for entering and exhibiting, and more points for winning. The point total is cumulative for each chapter.
“You don’t have to have the grand champion steer,” says Janna Diercks, chapter sentinel for Calamus-Wheatland FFA. “You have to get a lot of your members involved and do a lot of projects in various categories. Whether it’s horticulture, photography, ag mechanics, showing livestock or whatever, you earn points depending on how well your project places in the competition at the fair and the amount of time and effort you put into it. The chapter with the highest point total wins.”
More members participate
Calamus-Wheatland had 38 students participating at this year’s fair. Usually a chapter has five to 10 of its members active in entering projects at the fair.
“If you can get over 20 of your chapter’s members participating, that is great,” says Looney. “You have an active chapter showing and exhibiting. You have indoor and outdoor projects displayed.”
What’s also impressive is Calamus-Wheatland FFA has a total of 74 members. For a small school, that’s a big number, and to have 38 of those 74 students participating, showing and displaying exhibits at the state fair is also impressive.
“We’ve had more students join FFA every year in recent years,” says adviser Jonah Ewers. “You achieve awards like this and have an active, successful chapter and students want to be a part of FFA. It keeps our chapter growing.”
The Iowa State Fair is an example of where ag education shows FFA’s three-component model: classroom learning, individual projects, and then awards, recognition and leadership development. The supervised ag experience (SAE) projects that the students develop during the year are shown at the fair.
There are many categories for exhibiting and winning as individuals, but to achieve the Supreme Iowa FFA Chapter Award, it takes the whole chapter working together toward that goal.