September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
At the Iowa FFA Convention held this spring, Logan Worden from Oelwein won top proficiency honors for her Dairy Production-Entrepreneurship project, and Nicole Trenkamp from Preston won in the Dairy Production-Placement category.
An "entrepreneurship" project is defined as a student-owned enterprise where the student assumes responsibility for all financial and management decisions for the successful completion of the project or activity. A "placement" project is defined as when a student works for an agriculture-related business or individual, either for pay or for the experience.
Logan Worden is quick to say that on the farm she learned "hard work, dedication and responsibility" and that has already helped her a lot in life.
"I can apply these skills to all aspects of my life," she said. "as well as to FFA."
The daughter of Dennis and Joan Worden of Oelwein is a junior at Iowa State University. The family owns and operates Onward Swiss, which was established when Dennis and Joan married in 1979.
She was recently honored at the state level for her Dairy Production-Entrepreneurship FFA project.
Worden has three older siblings, all of whom are still involved with the dairy industry. Her sister, Jonna, is married to Lance Schutte. They dairy farm near Monona. Her brothers, Jacob and Noah, returned to the farm after school and farm in partnership with their parents. Worden plans on returning to the home farm also and hopes to work a side job as well, possibly in sales or promoting dairy products to consumers.
This summer, she is working as a teller at Fidelity Bank and Trust. She handles all the calf care, milks, does barn chores and takes care of show cattle.
The Worden family milks about 75 cows. Their herd is mostly Brown Swiss, but every major breed of dairy cattle is represented in their herd.
They farm 250 acres, growing corn, alfalfa, soybeans and they also have pasture ground.
She said they work hard to have good genetics, and work hard to be prosperous in the show ring. They usually show at the Fayette County Fair with 4-H and FFA as well as in open class, and they exhibit at the Iowa State Fair and World Dairy Expo. Worden recalls her first time showing dairy cattle as a five year old, and winning for the first time when she was six. She also remembers being a little girl leading around really big cows with the help of her older brothers.
She owned her first animal in first grade, and had eleven by the time she started her FFA record keeping her freshman year of high school. She now owns 26, all of which are Brown Swiss except for two. She is proud of the quality of the genetics of her animals, and says they have been doing ET work on the cows using the best AI bulls around.
"We have sold embryos across the country. It's a great way to get our farm name out there and grow in that aspect," she said.
Last year, Worden served on the Iowa FFA officer team as Northeast State Vice President. She traveled more than 20,000 miles doing chapter visits, assisting FFA members and working with advisors, and of course, preparing for state convention.
"I wanted to give back," she said about why she ran for state office. "It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about myself and it was great getting others more involved with all the opportunities FFA has to offer."
"I wouldn't be the same person I am today without FFA," she said.
Worden said she always was pretty outgoing, but she found it electrifying to meet new people and compete in public speaking competitions. In high school, her Dairy Cattle Evaluation team topped the state competition and placed ninth at nationals. Her other awards included top Greenhand, Rising Star (both locally and at the state level) and she has earned her Iowa Degree. She plans on applying for her American Degree next year.
"Cows have always been my best friends," said Nicole Trenkamp of Preston. "I used to sit in the pasture for hours and not get bored."
Trenkamp was recently honored at the state level for her Dairy Production - Placement FFA project.
Trenkamp is the youngest of Lonnie and Lola Trenkamp's six children. When she graduated from high school, her parents started talking about dispersing the herd after 30 years of dairy farming. Another of her good friends, Tyler Kirschbaum, farms with his dad, Lynn, near Glen Haven, Wis. They not only hired Nicole, but they bought part of the Trenkamp herd as well.
"He knows I love farming. He realized how great it would be for me to continue dairying," she said.
Trenkamp grew up milking 75 cows in a 14-stanchion barn with her family. Now she helps milk about 95 cows in a parlor that was recently updated from a swing-6 to a swing-8 with automatic take offs.
She has been readily learning how to do things differently than they did on the home farm, and says it is going well. She was used to doing the simpler field work, but now she is also learning about operating bigger equipment.
Trenkamp said back home she milked with her mom the last couple of years, and she worked more with her dad when he wasn't working off the farm.
"I wanted to learn more about the equipment so I would know when it was broke and how to fix it," Trenkamp said.
She put in an average of 25 hours a week at the home farm.
The Kirschbaums are involving Trenkamp in their operation and she is involved with decision making as they work on expanding to about 125 cows. She typically milks morning and night, takes care of the calves, hauls manure and does other field work.
"They have already said they want me to stick around, and I love how well we work together," she said.
The Kirschbaums hope to upgrade their facilities and expand at some point in the future.
Dairy farming is definitely part of what has shaped Trenkamp's life thus far, and so is FFA.
"I wouldn't be the person I am today without FFA," she said. She notes that she used to be quiet and shy, and FFA made her more outgoing. She said that FFA doesn't just teach students about the ag industry, but also about life and how to think.
"FFA taught me how to love life," she said.
Her junior year of high school her soils judging team competed nationally, and she also participated in public speaking, in addition to her dairy project.
Trenkamp earned her Iowa FFA Degree, and this fall she will be one of four students from her graduating class of just 28 students to earn her American FFA Degree.
She said her FFA advisor Patty Schmidt "never let us have a dull moment and kept us working hard." Trenkamp said. "She is a big part of the reason I succeeded. She helped me for hours on end."
The ag classroom was like a second home, she says.
Trenkamp is working toward obtaining a degree in ag business from NICC. She has been taking classes online, and next fall she will take classes on campus three days a week.
She hopes to also earn her crop advisor certification. "My family used to call me the 'dirt doctor.' We'd drive by a field that didn't look so good and diagnose the problem."
She said she hates seeing things fail when the knowledge and technology exists to fix it.
Trenkamp said that even though there was a lot of paperwork to apply for the FFA award, she enjoyed it. "They ask you things like the pluses and minuses of your project, which makes you look at that. The paperwork makes you think more."
Of Trenkamp's five siblings, four are involved with agriculture. Two of her brothers have beef herds, one brother is going to vet school, and one works at a fertilizer co-op. Her sister works at Opportunity Homes for mentally challenged people.[[In-content Ad]]
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