Tell us about your chapter. Goodhue is a small agricultural community surrounded by large ag companies and organizations. This has a big impact on our students’ opportunities and their exposure to the industry. Our graduating class sizes range from the low 40s to high 50s, with a membership of 90-100 members every year; that is a lot of our school that is actively involved in our chapter. That gives you a feel of our outstanding ag community we are surrounded by. We are blessed to have an active agricultural community. Our chapter is proud of where we come from and loves to work with our local businesses and farmers, involving not only our students but all of our community in all that we do. Our community is vital to our success.
How does your chapter volunteer in the community throughout the year? We are fortunate to have such a supportive town. We have many events we participate in to give back. We start in the fall with a field meal and corn drive event. While we collect corn and monetary donations to be donated to the True Friends Organization, we also deliver over 160 hot meals to local farmers, right in the field. In the fall and spring, we also clean ditches of a major highway in our county. As we round the corner to spring and summer, we participate in the breakfast on the farm event. Our role is to help promote the dairy industry by supplying event volunteers and the petting zoo. We also provide a petting zoo and agricultural-related activities at our local National Night Out event, hosted by our local police department. During county fair week, we participate in volunteering hours to run the pork booth and the children’s barnyard. Whatever we can do to lend a hand, we step in. There are many more volunteer opportunities we participate in, but I don’t want to write a book.
What fundraisers does your chapter do throughout the year? We have a few fundraisers that we participate in every year. Our largest fundraiser would be our fruit sale in the fall. Our members step up to make this fundraiser a success. The funds from this event allow our members to experience reduced or no costs for workshops, travel, registration fees, conventions and so much more. In the spring, our large fundraiser is our plant sale. Our community was supportive in the building of a brand new, large greenhouse five years ago. Our plant science and FFA students grow beautiful annuals and veggies beginning in February with a sale on Mother’s Day weekend. We have created a growing program and typically sell out on our first day of sales. This has been a great project for our students, so much is gained knowledge-wise each year.
What are the biggest events of the year? We have many events we host in a year, but what we are most excited about and passionate about is our annual Ag Day. This event started three years ago and has expanded to be much more. We are excited to open this event to other school districts this coming spring. This is a day of agricultural education for our entire school district. The goal of the event is for students to be exposed to all the opportunities in this industry. In the morning, our high schoolers participate in workshops or agricultural tours. Our students have taken workshops on livestock judging, fly fishing and careers in construction. Tours were of a manufacturing business, a dairy farm and Ellingson. Our elementary-aged students travel through stations in the industry. This includes livestock stations, grain demonstrations and tractor row. Our middle schoolers and high schoolers make their way back to the career and college fair in the afternoon. We typically have 25-30 agricultural businesses and colleges represented from our community. Students get to network and make connections. We end our day with a tractor parade as this day also serves as our Drive Your Tractor to School event.
What is unique about your chapter? Our passion for agriculture, education and our community. Goodhue has a rich history, and it is an honor to carry that on.
When was your chapter founded and how has it evolved? Our chapter was chartered in 1955; this will represent our 69th year as a chapter. Goodhue has evolved significantly from when it began back in 1955, yet we still hold true to our agricultural roots and foundation. Our membership in the last 15 years has grown significantly and even more recently in the last six years. We went from an average-year membership in the mid 40s to now where our average-year membership is averaging in the low 90s. The events we offer and the impact on our community has changed. We have put community at the forefront of what we do, utilizing the citizens and organizations of Goodhue, working as a collective to push agricultural education.
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