News That Matters To Antelope County - Your News. Your Way. Every Day!
© Pitzer Digital, LLC
Students may have more opportunity to thrive within agriculture thanks to Neligh-Oakdale introducing agriculture classes, along with FFA.
Board talks last spring led to implementing the Future Farmers of America program. That caught one young teacher's eye in particular.
Having a strong background in agriculture, Kali Bohling took interest in the potential position as well as the small-town, agriculturally strong community. She explained that her passion for agriculture started at a young age, helping her dad and grandpa on their family farm near Hooper.
While attending Logan View Public Schools, Bohling kept busy in sports, music, FFA and many more activities. Participating in her high school FFA chapter was a huge factor in Bohlings future, as it was one of the big motivators for her future as an ag educator.
Bohling is now able to share her passion in the classroom at Neligh-Oakdale. As the school year began, the new teacher explained that her main goal has been to really focus on getting to know the kids and teaching exactly what the three parts of ag education is — classroom, supervised agriculture experience and FFA.
Although it is not a requirement, Bohling said she has strongly encouraged her students to join FFA as she believes the skills they will attain with this experience will carry out into their futures.
Of the 23 high school students taking ag classes, 16 are members of the FFA program.
Among those are Cody Booth, Shelby Pitzer (treasurer), Kristen Snodgrass (reporter), Adysen Boggs, Kendall Wiseman, Colby Sehi, Kyle Snodgrass (parliamentarian), Cole Belitz (president), Hannah Schrader (secretary), Colton Klabenes, Mackenzie Rudolf, Thomas Daniel (sentinel), Jackson Keetle, Kaleb Pofahl (sentinel) and Bailey Frey (vice president).
With the program in its infancy, students had the opportunity to enter into a fundraising campaign by the Nebraska FFA Foundation called Blue Jackets, Bright Futures Program. Within this campaign, students filled out an application answering four short answer responses to different essay questions as well as their general information.
Bohling said there were 764 applicants with only 277 jackets awarded. Of those, seven went to the Neligh-Oakdale chapter. Cole Belitz, Adysen Boggs, Colton Klabenes, Shelby Pitzer, Kaleb Pofahl and Kristen Snodgrass all were recognized for their essays and were awarded jackets.
Thanks to the grant, these students are able to cut back on some of the costs that come along with being involved in FFA. Bohling said the community has stepped up to help with costs for the rest of the members by having the Antelope County Alumni Association donate the rest of the chapter’s jackets.
Not only will the chapter members be keeping busy with competition but coming up, the members will be selling fruit, meat and cheese, as well as chocolates during November 1-5. They will also be sending out information shortly regarding the Nebraska FFA Founding “I Believe in the Future of Agriculture” Campaign where the funds designated to the Neligh-Oakdale chapter will come back, as well as matching funds provided by corporate sponsors.
As a new teacher in the area, Bohling is very appreciative of the community support towards the new program.
Bohling said, “Anyone that is willing to help is always welcome. If they have a strong interest in an area, we are always looking for individuals to help our FFA teams prepare for competitive events, as well as having guest speakers in class. The community support so far has been great, and I look forward to continuing to build connections with community members as we continue to build the Neligh-Oakdale Agriculture Education Program and FFA Chapter.”
FFA has always been close to Bohling’s heart. During high school, she served as a chapter officer her junior and senior years while participating in a wide variety of activities including dairy judging and livestock evaluation, creed speaking, parliamentary procedure, floriculture, nursery and landscape and agriscience.
Her involvement within Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) also allowed her to earn her State Degree her senior year, as well as receiving her American Degree (highest award) at the National Convention in Louisville, KY in October 2014.
Bohling furthered her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education in the May of 2017. During college, she also had the honor of being a part of the Cornhusker Marching Band for two years. Continuing on, Bohling continued her passion with student teaching at the Crofton Community Schools alongside of Stephanie Mann during the fall of 2016.
“I have always had a passion for agriculture and enjoy helping others. Nebraska, as well as the nation currently have a shortage of agriculture educators, so after beginning my college career and exploring a few options, I then decided to pursue a degree in education,” she said. “Agriculture education is unique in that we take what students are learning in their core classes (math, science, English etc.) and apply it to real world scenarios. This allows for a lot of hands on learning opportunities and really brings the classroom to life.”
The new chapter will have a busy first year learning all of the ropes as well as participating in a variety of competitions. Next on the horizon for the students is a Livestock Evaluation Clinic on November 2nd where the students will get the opportunity test the waters in livestock judging and understand just what happens within those competitions. That will then lead them to their first competition on November 15 with the District 10 Livestock Evaluation CDE. Starting in the new year, the students will then have the opportunity to participate in Leadership Development Events which will expose them to the speaking aspect of FFA. In the end of February they will attend the District Career Development Events which is held at NECC in Norfolk. To wrap up their first year, they will attend the State Convention in April.