FFA Member Profile

Sam Mell, President

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Tell us about your farm and family. I grew up on my family’s 200-cow registered Holstein dairy farm. This farm was started in 1852 by my great-great-grandpa, Thor, and has been in the family ever since. I live with my dad, who is part owner of the farm with my uncle; my mom, who is a large animal veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and my sister, who is a junior studying dairy science at UW-Madison.

Why did you join FFA? I joined FFA for a variety of reasons, the first being to carry on my family’s tradition. My grandpa was a part of the DeForest FFA Chapter within its first few years of being a chapter, and my dad was the president when he was in high school. I joined the chapter because I like meeting people with similar interests. Agriculture is an important part of the world, and being able to meet people who you might work with in the future can be very influential to the success of any operation. FFA does a great job of introducing you to those people.

What is your role in the chapter? My main role is being the president. With that, I am also the head of many smaller committees, including the committee that packaged 51,264 meals to help families who are food insecure in the Dane County area. I am also the chair of the DeForest Ag & FFA Land Lab, where I am in charge of managing 84 acres of corn and soybeans.

What FFA contests do you compete in? This year, I competed in the discussion and employment skills LDEs at the district and sectional level. I will be competing at the state competition for employment skills in June. I also competed in the agronomy CDE where I placed fourth as an individual.

What do you look forward to most in the upcoming FFA year? While I will be graduating in June, I look forward to seeing the chapter grow with the addition of our seventh-grade program. Our chapter has 513 members, so this addition will allow more students to learn about agriculture and what it has to offer. I am also looking forward to seeing our officer team find their way within agriculture and put on events to strengthen our chapter.

How has FFA shaped you as a person? FFA has changed my life completely. Growing up, I knew I wanted to be involved in agriculture, but I didn’t know half the opportunities that were out there. Through FFA, I have learned about the thousands of agricultural careers within Wisconsin. I have met many people with similar interests who I will more than likely be working with in the future. These people have become some of my best friends and feel more like family most of the time. FFA is the greatest organization in the world, and that is shown by the nearly 1 million members who are a part of it. I couldn’t be more proud to be one of them.

What are your duties on the farm? I am the calf manager, which includes feeding, vaccinating and bedding the calves. I am also involved in manure management, milking cows, fieldwork, basic maintenance and anything else that is needed. I have worked daily on my family farm since fourth grade and am working there through the internship program at our school that allows me to work and get credits at the same time. I have been fortunate to grow up on a family farm and credit most of my knowledge to helping manage our operation.

What are your future plans? Next year, I will attend UW-Madison to major in agronomy. I am not exactly sure what I want to do; however, I want to work with crops whether that is with science, agronomy or coming back to the farm to grow our crop operation.

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