Spencer FFA participated at the 33rd Annual Northwest Iowa Ag Outlook Conference and Trade Show by hosting a booth and taking the opportunity to visit with more than 110 vendors featuring the latest in agriculture products, equipment and services. Students also heard several featured speakers scheduled throughout the day.
For SHS Sophomore, Jonathon Gastelum, Ag Outlook provided a great opportunity to learn more about the industry. “We went around to find out what the companies do and how they help the ag industry with the tools and products they have. There are a lot of great companies out here,” said Gastelum. In describing the Spencer FFA booth, Gastelum explained, “We have a booth, and as people stop by, we tell them about our events that we participate in. We are presenting to the community what we are doing as a chapter.”
Gastelum got involved in FFA as a freshman, and this year he is serving as Vice President of the Spencer chapter. Though he doesn’t live on a farm, he spent time on a farm as a middle schooler and loved being around the machinery and animals. Following his farming experience, Gastelum picked a couple of ag-related classes for his freshman year, and within the first three months, fell in love with animal science and agriculture. Because of his passion, he encourages younger people to get involved in FFA, and said, “I tell people they don’t have to live on a farm or own animals or anything. If they have a heart for the agriculture industry or want to learn about animals or farming, just join right in.”
Another FFA member and SHS Sophomore, Kate Rasch, has been involved in FFA for two years. Though Rasch doesn’t live on a farm either, she spends time at her grandpa’s farm and participated in 4-H in middle school. Both opportunities helped her to realize how much she likes the farm, and she shared that her favorite experience is showing her goats that she keeps at Ray and Linda Foerster’s home.
After a brief lunch break, Brook Erdman, Spencer FFA President, gathered the other members to head to the FFA Award Ceremony. Area chapters submitted a detailed account of their activities during the past year. The Spencer Chamber Agriculture Committee read and ranked the chapters, and each was presented with a plaque and a cash award ranging from $100 to $250. Erdman and her fellow members accepted their award, and soon after, headed off for more learning and networking with the ag experts.