McDonald County High School FFA chapter president Carson Hoth and second vice president Laney Wilson recently shared what the chapter has been up to and what it has planned for the rest of the year.
This year has been a little different in terms of activities, Wilson said, because of the covid-19 pandemic. She said students held fruit and meat sales to raise money for FFA National Convention.
They sold baskets of mixed fruit or large boxes of fruit such as pears. They also sold turkeys and hams for the holidays. Another fundraiser was selling cookies and cheesecakes to raise money for National Convention, as well as Farm Fest, which was held in Springfield at the Ozark Empire Fairground.
Wilson said Farm Fest is a chance for students to learn about businesses in the agriculture field. Hoth said businesses showcase their merchandise, and livestock companies bring in animals to show, as well.
"This year National Convention looked a lot different," Hoth said. He said it was held virtually at the high school in "our own home quarantine group" and focused on leadership skills, team building and community-mindedness. The group went to Pineville Bowl as an activity and spent a night at the school, he said.
"For the circumstances we had, it was a great opportunity for our students," he said.
In November, the chapter held its second annual degree night, where green hand pins were awarded to freshmen and chapter degree pins were awarded to sophomores.
On Jan. 30, Hoth said, the FFA Alumni Association sponsored a labor auction and pie auction. Students were auctioned off in pairs to do whatever kind of labor the buyer chose.
"I had a teacher buy me to help set up her classroom," Hoth said. Other students were asked to help with yard work, he said. Wilson said, in the past, students have helped with a haunted house or painted fences. They sold 12 pairs of students, she said.
Hoth said contest teams will start in March. Last year covid-19 shut down the contest, but this fall students were able to hold an online competition. This spring they will have an in-person contest and in-person state convention, he said. Categories for contests include meats judging, dairy cattle, nursery, agriculture sales and others. The event will be in April in Sedalia at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, with social distancing, he said.
Also in April will be the FFA banquet, to which all members, parents and alumni are invited. Seniors will be honored and awards will be presented.
Wilson said FFA Week will be observed Feb. 20-28. All members will attend a local church together on Sunday. This year they have selected Mill Creek Church in Noel. They will wear their official dress, she said.
The week is like a spirit week, and each day there is an activity. Monday is blue and gold day, and there will be a sign on which members of each class get to paint their hands a different color and place their hands on the sign. Tuesday is dress like a farmer day, and the activity is drive/pull your tractor to school day. Lawnmowers are also accepted. Wednesday is official dress day, and students will be serving a big lunch. Also, along with Farm Bureau, they will be serving breakfast for the community and farmers. Thursday is camo day, and the activity is a "muddiest truck" contest. The cost to enter is $1, and there will be a special judge. The winner will split the entry fees with FFA. Friday is flannel day, and members will go to Skateland in Neosho.
The students shared what FFA means to them.
Hoth said, "FFA has always been my passion. It's created a lot of opportunities for me, a lot of friends I've created. It's really helped me improve my public speaking skills and broaden my horizons."
Wilson said, "I live on a family farm. Agriculture is about animals and working. I live it every single day. This is a way to appreciate my life. FFA is like one big family. You meet so many people along the way. It opens so many doors you would not expect it to for meeting people in general."