Gardner Gab: Future Farmers of America

by Michele Ploor

Hello, Town of Gardner residents. Know someone I should talk to or have anything to share? Email me at [email protected].

Have you ever heard of FFA CDEs?  

No? Me either until last year when both of my children participated. However, until I was asked to coach a team this year I really had no idea what they were.  

So for those of you that don’t know FFA stands for “Future Farmers of America.” It has grown to encompass so much more than farming. CDE stands for Career Development Event. FFA members form teams of four and compete in events in April at Fox Valley Technical College. The winners of each category move on to the state level. The events include Equine Evaluation, Dairy Production, Vet Science, Ag Sales, Ag Tech and Mechanical Systems, Agronomy, Dairy Cattle, Dairy Handler, Environmental Science, Farm Business Management, Floriculture, Forestry, Livestock Evaluation, Market Plan, Meat Evaluation and Technology, Milk Quality and Products, Nursery and Landscape, Poultry Evaluation, and Wildlife Management.  

I’m coaching Andrea Vandertie (8th grade), Breanna Bongle (sophomore), Michaela Ploor (sophomore) and Becca Bongle (senior) in the Vet Science CDE for Southern Door’s FFA. These girls have to be able to identify and put into a classification more than 300 different animals and medical instruments. They have to learn math conversions. They have to be able to figure how much medication to give if the animal is X number of pounds and the medication comes in X kg but the animal should only have X mg in X number of hours.  

They have to be able to answer questions on a written exam that will include medical terminology, body systems and how they work, safe animal handling procedures, safe chemical and sanitization procedures along with so much more. I asked the girls why they chose the Vet Science one (it’s by far the hardest and has the most to learn). Andrea and Breanna both said because Becca asked them to and Michaela said it appeals to her interests.

The girls all agree the hardest part by far is memorizing all the animals and equipment and being able to put them in the proper category; for example, a miniature schnauzer is in the Terrier category not the Toy category. If I say “Angora” these girls have learned that can be a cat, a rabbit or a sheep.

Becca has found the different ways of learning and memorizing to be a great skill to have. She’ll be going to UW-Platteville in the fall for forensic investigation and chemistry, with an emphasis on DNA investigation.

Andrea thinks vet science is hard to learn but that it’s been fun to learn the different dogs and their classifications. She’s thinking of becoming and RN after high school.

Breanna finds the math to be the hardest (I agree!). She’s interested in biochemistry, vet science or financial management after high school.

Michaela finds that she’s surprised by how much she thought she knew but really didn’t. After graduation she’d like to be a 911 operator.  

I think I just figured out why they all chose vet science. The background they’re learning now will carry through for all of them. These girls have been studying two to three days a week since the beginning of December. If you see them, wish them luck!

The Gardner Plan Commission has scheduled an electronic recycling event for June 7, 4 to 7 pm at the Gardner Town Hall. Check to find contact information for town officials and garbage schedules.

Now you get out there and make it a great day!

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