Hallie Wettstein, was recently awarded a State FFA Proficiency Award in Grain Production. Courtesy photo
• Leader & Times
A farmer’s work is never done and recently, a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter in Hugoton was recognized for her work done on her family’s farm throughout the past year.
Hallie Wettstein, daughter of Rustin and Ashley Wettstein, was recently awarded a State FFA Proficiency Award in Grain Production – Placement during the 90th Kansas FFA Convention at the end of May for accomplishments she has made in developing programs to help her in a career in agriculture. The award is sponsored by the Kansas Wheat Commission.
“I just kept thinking ‘Wow I actually did it!’ I had originally wanted to wait another year so I could have more records but my advisor thought we could do it this year so we did,” Wettstein said of hearing about her award. “This is my third year going to the convention. For the first two years I was just in the band and was just kind of there but this year I actually got to walk across the state and everything and seeing everyone else who received proficiency awards was really interesting because it was cool hearing about their projects. It was just overall a really good experience and a lot of fun.”
Wettstein, who will be entering her senior year of high school in the fall, works her father and grandfather on the family farm north of Liberal, which includes helps deal with 6,000 acres of wheat, corn, sunflowers and grain sorghum. She began working as a youngster by washing windows and taking out the trash and other small tasks and as she got older, her reponsibilities increased to helping running equipment and transporting seed to the fields on the farm.
The application process for the honor, Wettstein added, was a lengthy one. The process included keeping record books of hours worked and work completed as well as a series of essays that needed written for the judges to read, among other criteria.
“I first had to send the application off to the district and then they had to go through it and judge it,” Wettstein explained. “I won at the district level and then I had about two weeks to tweak it and get it ready for the state level. My advisor was absent for a short time and when he’d left the applications were still being judged and I was thinking ‘Okay, I guess I didn’t get it.’”
Shortly after that happened, however, Wettstein was proven wrong. In a good way, of course.
“About a week and a half later I was in my first class of the day and during the morning announcements they said to congratulate me for getting the award, so I actually found out the same time as the rest of the school,” Wettstein recalled with a chuckle. “I just kept thinking ‘Wow I actually did it!’ I had originally wanted to wait another year so I could have more records but my advisor thought we could do it this year so we did.”
Overall, Wettstein said, her experience with her FFA peers while in high school has been great. With Leadership Development Events Wettstein has done ag communications, job interview and prepared public speech. Then with the Community Development Events she has done land/home site evaluations, dairy cattle evaluation and entomology, making for a packed FFA career so far.
“Our FFA chapter is a lot of fun. It helps especially with the younger members to get to know them because with a lot of them, if we weren’t in FFA together, I don’t think we would have ever met or gotten to know each other so getting to know everyone and their stories is a lot of fun,” Wettstein said. “I’m excited but also a bit sad because this will be the last year I’ll get to do competitions. It’ll also be my last year of doing applications and those things but I’m really excited to get my state degree, which is the highest degree the state can bestow on an FFA member and it’s been a goal of mine to do that since my freshman year.”
Wettstein added some encouragement for youth in the area to check out FFA and also expressed praise to those who have been there during her FFA career thus far.
“I would say just come out and talk to us and come to a contest to see what it’s all about. If it turns out not to be your thing, that’s fine but if you do like it, come talk to us and we’ll be glad to have you,” Wettstein said. “I really want to thank my chapter and my advisor and everyone who helped me get to where I am. FFA’s really a great thing for people no matter if they have an ag background or not because we truly have something for everyone – my advisor always likes to say ‘We’re not just cows and plows.’”