Plymouth FFA members compete at Nationals


The Dairy Evaluation is made up of members, from left, Brooke Reichert, Erica Helmer, Emily Meinnert and Holli Harms. — Submitted photo The Dairy Evaluation is made up of members, from left, Brooke Reichert, Erica Helmer, Emily Meinnert and Holli Harms. — Submitted photo The FFA chapter at Plymouth High School attended the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo with three Career Development Event teams, a National Proficiency Finalist and 10 members receiving the American FFA Degree.

The National Convention was held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Louisville. More than 60,000 FFA members from throughout the United States were expected to attend.

National Finalist

Andy Helmer was selected as one of four finalists for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Dairy Production - Placement. His profi- ciency is based on his Supervised Agricultural Experience, which takes place on the family farm, Helmer Dairy Farm Inc., part of the Helmer family for more than 150 years.

As a seventh-generation dairy farmer, Andy is proud to live out the family heritage. His roles and responsibilities have grown throughout his years on the farm; he now assists with feeding, milking, sire selections, vaccinating and management of the dairy herd, as well as working with financial decisions, seed selection, fieldwork, paperwork and records of the farm.


The Poultry evaluation team members include, from left, Alex Schultz, Hannah Larson and Spencer Hanson. — Submitted photo The Poultry evaluation team members include, from left, Alex Schultz, Hannah Larson and Spencer Hanson. — Submitted photo Andy plans to succeed in ownership of Helmer Dairy Farm after completing his degrees in dairy science and crop science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Career Development Events

Career Development Events (CDEs) help students develop the abilities to think critically, communicate clearly and perform effectively in a competitive job market. There are 24 CDEs, covering job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.


Andy Helmer is the Wisconsin State Winner in the Dairy Production Placement Profi- ciency. His application was forwarded for national competition where he was one of four finalists. — Submitted photo Andy Helmer is the Wisconsin State Winner in the Dairy Production Placement Profi- ciency. His application was forwarded for national competition where he was one of four finalists. — Submitted photo Three Plymouth teams competed at the national level in the following CDE areas: Dairy Evaluation, Dairy Products and Poultry Evaluation.

The Dairy Evaluation team consists of Erica Helmer, Emily Meinnert, Brooke Reichert and Holli Harms, with coaches Sara Hanke and Heidi Taylor. This CDE enables students to put the skills they have been taught in their agricultural education classes to use in a practical manner. Participants will judge six classes of dairy cattle, present oral reasons on their placing of three of the previously mentioned classes, evaluate pedigrees, complete a linear evaluation of five dairy cattle and engage in sire selection.


The Dairy Products team consists of members, from left, Emily Schicker, Morgan Klumpyan, Stephanie Thiel and Spencer Hanson. — Submitted photo The Dairy Products team consists of members, from left, Emily Schicker, Morgan Klumpyan, Stephanie Thiel and Spencer Hanson. — Submitted photo The Dairy Products team consists of Stephanie Thiel, Morgan Klumpyan, Spencer Hanson and Emily Schicker, with coach Wayne Wedepohl. During this CDE participants will taste milk samples for flavor, identify different types of cheese, score the degree of sediment on milk pads according to the USDA sediment standards for milk and milk products, evaluate milk samples using the California Mastitis Test, perform titrations and participate in a team problem. In addition to rating the quality of the milk, participants will also need to taste and determine the fat content of various product samples. They also complete a written exam on milk production and marketing.

The Poultry Evaluation team consists of Alex Schultz, Hannah Larson and Spencer Schultz, with coach Don Mier. Team members will evaluate, identify and present conclusions on live production hens, ready-to-cook turkeys, breaded chicken patties, cartons of eggs, and broiler parts. In addition, students complete a multiple-choice test and a problem-solving selection on poultry management and production. Students become acquainted with current market and industry trends because the contest is kept current with industry standards.

American Degree Recipients

Ten PHS students received the American Degree, awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA. Only 3,765 FFA members in the nation received this recognition during the 2014 convention.

The following Plymouth FFA members have earned this degree: Sarah Schalk, Megan Klumpyan, Joseph Wimmler, Jackson Wimmler, Spencer Thiel, Chris Reichert, Andrew Michaels, Alex Huibregtse, Michelle Meinnert and Anna Kleinhans.


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