On December 9, FFA student members, Allison Hahn, Rebecca Starkenburg, Jack Sergenian and Libby Manthe, accompanied by high school agriculture teachers, Dan Kvalheim and Gwen Boettcher, explained to the DASD Board of Education the District’s Land Lab 2012 and 2013 harvest results.
The DeForest FFA rents approximately 66 acres of farm land that is owned by the DeForest Area School District as an educational test plot. FFA students and advisors meet every week over the summer to analyze the rotational crops of corn and soybeans. Local seed companies donate seed for the plots. Students work with agronomists to learn how to grow successful crops and the stages of crop growth. Students identify seed varieties that are grown, identify the different types of weeds, make decisions on weed control, and check plant progress. They use risk management concepts and skills when selling the crops and earn money, which goes back to the DeForest FFA Chapter. They sell the crops to local businesses, such as Gavilon Grain or Landmark Co-op.
During their presentation to the school board, the students reviewed their Land Lab activities and shared the results of their soybean and corn trials. According to the students, net soybean income for 2012 was $22,762.24. Net income for 2013 was $13,199.77, down from 2012 due to a 30% drop in corn prices. The land lab covers approximately 66 acres, located near Windsor Elementary School. The DeForest Area Chapter of FFA has 202 members (including graduates from the past two years). The students explained that their chapter has a high number of active members compared to other chapters, largely because the income generated from the land lab allows funding so that members can participate in activities with less financial concern.
Students presented Board President Jan Berg with a check for $6,828.67 as rent payment on the district property for 2012 and another check for $3,959.31 for rent in 2013.