The land lab harvest is being completed today thanks to Langeland farms (shown below) with the corn running 197 bushels/acre according to early reports. The Soybean crop was harvested a week ago by A and J Farms and ran 969 total bushels off the 20 acre parcel.
Each year the crops are produced as an extension of the classroom and FFA Chapter as a teaching/learning method, a true outdoor classroom. Profits from this project are shared back with the Ag Program and FFA Chapter. It is the intent of the Advisory Committee to bring rewards and incentives to students and show them the merits of pursuing a career in Agriculture. If you have any interests in assisting with the Land Lab or have questions please contact members including Trevor Clayton, Kevin Schoenborn, Herb Zahm and Calvin Lindberg. Student members on the committee include Arden Bouchard and Matt Horling with FFA Advisor, Kent Bollinger also involved. The crops will be sold or marketed as a project in conjunction with our Independent Study Ag Marketing students.
Thanks again for all of this years sponsors and donors!!!!!
We were very happy to welcome two State Officers to our November 13th Chapter meeting. Channon Turrell (Lapeer Vo tech) and Jake Bushey (Lakers) were in attendance at our meeting and brought a couple games to our meeting to give members a chance to show off their Rapping skills and to set a personal goal or two. Monthly meetings are always held the second Monday of the month and start at 7:30 pm. New members are always welcome, whether you have an Ag related class or not. Refreshments also are served ” We meet, we Eat”. Below are 10 of our Chapter officers for this year with our 2 guests.
The Community garden project has come to a close again this year with a production of over 6,400 pounds of produce being donated to local food pantries. A new wrinkle added this year was the addition of a deer and pest deterring fence around the perimeter of the sweet corn crop (pictured below). It worked like a charm and we harvested 1,200 pounds of sweet corn in 2 pickings. Thanks to the committee members Tyler Rozema, Clayton DeVos and Trevor Dietrich for a job well done again this year.
At the October 9th meeting the chapter recognized member Anna Rolfe with a new Jacket as donated by Syngenta Corporation. In addition to the member jacket, a check in the sum of $750.00 is also donated to the chapter for program costs this year. It is very likely that the chapter will apply that to the costs for State Convention and the purchase of a new Tablet. We would like to say Thank You to Mr Clayton Trevor and Mr Kevin Schoenborn for representing the companies mentioned above.The photo below shows our members who attended and said a big “Thank You” to both of our guests.
Our chapter recreation activity for October was a hot dog roast/bonfire/pumpkin carving night at Mr Bollingers house. We had 12 teams design and carve their best entry for this event. Seen below are a few of the expert carvers. The peoples choice winner was carved by Reese Watson with many others created by an energetic crew.
The Soybeans on the Land Lab were recently planted and should be on the grow soon. Thank you to K and H grain for planting this year. Students will soon be out studying the rate of growth, population levels, scouting and other activities during the summer to monitor progress of this project.
On Monday, May 22nd, fifteen members attended a Meeting at the Coopersville FFA/Alumni Land Lab on Cleveland. This 54 acre living classroom/laboratory is provided by a group of Alumni members and local Agricultural business partners for the purpose of giving students “hands-on” lessons about Agronomy and crop production. This year we will be having 18 acres of Soybeans and 36 acres of Corn produced. The first lesson learned this year was about timing and how germination of wheat is determined in part by seed planting and placement. The wheat that was started late last fall was unable to thrive and was sprayed down for the purpose of planting corn instead. Speakers at the meeting told students about soil sampling methods and the fertilization program was discussed based on the testing that had been done earlier. These meetings will continue throughout the summer with regular scouting and monitoring being done as needed. Thanks to our Alumni and the Land Lab committee for their continued help.
On May 15th, a group of 44 students from Coopersville High school were able to tour 4 local companies for some insight into what career options are out in the world for someone with an Ag Industries interest. The tour started at Zeeland Farm Services where our students got to meet with the program manager (Gary Brower), recruitment coordinator (Carol Webb) and others from on their staff. They told students about their current production of Soy products and the future opening of their Ithaca plant that is currently under construction. That plant will be triple the size of Zeelands current plant.
Our next tour stop was at Wilbur-Ellis chemical plant in Grant. Here members saw and heard about how fertilizers and spray chemicals are stored, formulated and applied to local farms. Manager, Kevin Schoenborn and Syngenta Rep. Trevor Clayton explained much about the day to day operations as well as many safety aspects to this part of our Industry. There are numerous careers available for students from applicators to sales positions and all require various amounts of technical training.
Our third stop was at Dietrich Orchards, where owners Mike and Lorraine Dietrich and manager gave us an overview of what their system includes. Students were shown the operation of the packing line and just how sophisticated it was. There are numerous cameras and detection devices included to examine each apple as it passes through the operation of the packing line. Food safety and security is an ever present concern for american consumers and this state-of-the-art facility reflects just how devoted producers are to meeting those needs.
After a great picnic lunch provided by Donna’s Catering at Chester Park in Conklin, we went on to our final destination of Continental Dairy in Coopersville. Here Plant Manager, Steve Cooper and Projects Coordinator, Chloe Pakalnis gave students a tour of their facility. There are currently 4 product lines in operation including dried milk powder, milk fats and butter production. Students were suited up and took a walking tour of the facility where they were shown first hand the Biosecurity practices associated with current food production standards. There are many well paid careers available in their industry as well and they are constantly looking for dedicated and hard working people.
All in all our group was able to see first hand what the Industry of Agriculture holds in store for them. We hope that this trip was “eye opening” for them and that they will consider all facets of Agriculture for future employment. Thank you to the FFA Alumni and Land Laboratory committee for their financial support of this and other activities that our program conducts on behalf of our students. It wouldn’t be possible without you!
Darren Kulicamp recently presented Ted and Matt Crowley with a token of Appreciation for their continued support of the Coopersville FFA Chapter. It has been their donation of Seed and expertise that has helped our Land Laboratory be successful. They were chosen this year by our officers to be recognized along with Langeland Farms for their help with product and services. Crowleys were unable to attend our banquet this year, so we decided to do the next best thing and bring the award to them. Our programs are strengthened by the local support of many in our community. Thank you to all who lend a hand for our students! As part of our educational use of the Land Lab, we will have a Twilight meeting at the plot on May 22nd at 7:30 pm. All members are invited to attend, the plan for this years cropping will be discussed and activities updated.
Our High School and Middle school members were spending their afternoon preparing for Ag Skills contests to be held on Friday April 21st at Michigan State University. Here you can see the members constructing a Corsage thanks to the instruction offered by Karen Kulicamp. Thank you for your help with this Mrs Kulicamp.
Members will also be competing in Veterinary Sciences, Land Conservation and Forestry.