MN State FFA Convention

Apr 28, 2019

MN State FFA Convention

Sibley East FFA Farm Business Management Team Does Well at Nationals

What differentiates a job from a career? A job is something usually done just to earn money whereas a career is full of opportunities that utilize your experiences and education, and provide opportunities to further your learning, networking and overall life.

To foster careers, the National FFA Organization created Career Development Events (CDE), which allow FFA members to explore different agricultural career opportunities, develop skills and provide real life application. This year, Sibley East FFA members participated in the Farm Business Management CDE and gained a whole new level of career and life preparation.

Sibley East FFA Farm Business Management Team places first in the 2018 state contest.

Team members Logan Tesch, Derrek Schmidt, Abby Widmer, and Lucas Tesch all worked hard to earn a spot on the Farm Business Management team. This CDE helps students learn business skills and apply economic principles to ag business. By competing, the team demonstrated their ability to analyze ag business management information, apply economic principles and concepts, evaluate business management decisions and work as a team. Logan has been associated with the Farm Business Management team since eighth grade. Derrek is a second-year member while Abby and Lucas were both new to the team. Advisor Tim Uhlenkamp said, “It’s one of the best CDE events to participate in. It will teach you real life skills and business skills no matter what career area you go into, agriculture or other.”

This past winter, the team competed at the regional FFA contest held in Belle Plaine. They placed second overall, awarding them the opportunity to compete at the state level during the Minnesota FFA Convention.
 The team knew they wanted to do well at state and were motivated to learn, study and improve. So, for the next two months, they worked hard to prepare, building study binders with information, terms, examples and previous years’ contest scenarios and tests. They also started working with an area Farm Business Management Instructor from South Central College, Pam Uhlenkamp, who has been an instructor since 2010. “The kids had a great foundation knowledge of farm management principles. I worked with them on how to apply those principles in analyzing a farm and what financial indicators to look for to make smart and informed decisions. These kids put their heart and soul into this contest.” said Pam. Uhlenkamp is no stranger to the Sibley East FFA. Beyond   being a coach to the Farm Business Management team, she is the wife of advisor, Tim.

This team was also able to draw on their own personal experiences with their families’ farming operations. Lucas, Logan, Derrek and Abby are all actively interested and involved in helping their parents on the farm. They were able to ask their parents questions, do a deeper dive into their own operations and see first hand how farm business management has helped make decisions. Having a personal connection to how these principles work in their families’ lives brought out a passion and purpose for what they were doing.
 In April, the team went into the state contest well-prepared and with a drive to do well. Placing first as a team, three of the members also placed in the top ten individually—Derrek first, Abby fourth and Logan seventh—and the team advanced to the National FFA Convention.

 A lot had changed since the state contest in April. Logan and Derrek graduated high school and went off to college—Logan is attending South Dakota State University for Animal Science and Ag Business and Derrek is at Alexandria Tech for Diesel Mechanics. Abby and Lucas entered another year at Sibley East High School with full class schedules and activities.

Practicing together wasn’t a viable option anymore so the team communicated and practiced through emails, phone calls and text messages. FFA Advisor, Stephanie Brandt, commended the students for their dedication. “The group did such a great job managing their time between school, jobs on and off the farm, preparing for the contest and being regular teenagers. I am so proud of the work they put in and their dedication to doing well.”

The team sneaks in one last study night in Indianapolis before the contest with their coach, Pam Uhlenkamp.

The National FFA Convention was held in Indianapolis, Ind. from Oct. 24 through 27. The team and coaches headed down on the 22nd to get some group study time as well as a good night’s rest before the contest. The individual farm and economics test was held on the 24th. They were given information and numbers from a real farming operation and had use all the financial and production numbers to complete the test. With three hours to take the test, the students put their calculators to good use, completing equations and entering numbers into their reports.

The following day, the Sibley East team participated in a group test, making decisions and recommendations for their farm scenario. They received the highest team score for this portion on the contest and coach Pam Uhlenkamp couldn’t have been prouder. “Any business in the local area would be privileged to have any one of these students’ business knowledge at their company. These individuals are a true asset to the agriculture community.”

Left to right:  Coach, Pam Uhlenkamp, Abby Widmer, Derrek Schmidt, Logan Tesch, Lucas Tesch, and advisor, Tim Uhlenkamp.  Not pictured is advisor Stephanie Brandt.

Overall, the team ended up receiving ninth place in the nation! Three members earned gold ratings (top third of participants) individually and one member ranked silver.  Logan Tesch placed sixth overall individually at the contest and earned a $700 scholarship. At the contest awards banquet, John Deere CEO Samuel Allen addressed the group saying, “This contest will teach you economics for any career or business you go into.”
 Congratulations to all the team members, coaches and advisors on an excellent performance in Farm Business Management. We know these individuals have bright careers in their future and will do great things for our agriculture community.

If you would like to see what else the Sibley East FFA Chapter is up to, check out their Facebook page www. If you are interested in finding out more about the Farm Business Management Program, visit www.centerofagriculture. org/farm-business-management/farm-business-management.

Article taken from UFC's magazine publication Fieldviews - 2018 Winter Edition - written by Jennifer Wendinger.

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