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S-O FFA members make history

SIBLEY, Iowa --They grew up just a mile apart in northern Osceola County, Iowa, were on the same Sibley-Ocheyedan High School football team, competed together in speech contests, and served as chapter and Northwest Region FFA officers at the same time.

Now, Steven Brockshus and Josh Earll will serve together on the Iowa FFA Association officer team.

Sharing in the excitement is S-O FFA Advisor and ag education instructor Mike Earll, who watched these boys grow up and become leaders in the FFA organization. Perhaps most noteworthy, however, is that for the first time in the FFA chapter's 75-year history, Sibley-Ocheyedan is the home chapter of the new Iowa FFA President. Brockshus was elected to the post Tuesday night, during the final events of the 2012 Iowa FFA Leadership Conference in Ames.

The evening grew even more exciting with Josh Earll's selection as the Iowa FFA Association's Vice President from the Northwest Region. With the role also comes the title of Northwest District President.

Earll and Brockshus are now part of a nine-member officer team that will lead the more than 15,000 Iowa FFA members during the coming year.

"I think it's a pretty neat thing for our chapter and for our kids as well," said Mike Earll, who just happens to be Josh's dad. "What's unique about both of these boys is they really go at this with a real servant leader mentality. They want kids to achieve their goals, not only in the FFA, but in life as well."

"It's very unusual for two members from the same chapter to be elected to serve on the same officer team," Iowa FFA Foundation Director Wayne Nattress said. "I can't recall the last time this has happened."

Both the Brockshus and the Earll families now have a history with the Iowa FFA Association, boasting two generations of state officers. Steven's dad, Jason, served as State FFA Vice President from 1992-1993, and Mike Earll was State FFA Vice President from 1977-1978.

Brockshus

takes the helm

At nearly 19 years old, Steven Brockshus had set his sights on a higher leadership role in the FFA organization while enrolled in agriculture classes at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School.

The son of Jason and Shanise Brockshus of rural Sibley, he served as both chapter secretary and chapter reporter before becoming the Iowa FFA vice president and northwest district president a year ago.

On Tuesday night, following two rounds of interviews and several speeches, Brockshus was elected by his peers to lead the state organization for 2012-2013.

He doesn't even remember hearing his name called while he was on stage with the rest of the retiring officer team.

"I remember hearing Sibley and my teammates pushed me out (of the huddle)," said Brockshus on Thursday. "I was bawling my eyes out -- it was just crazy."

Leading the Iowa FFA Association as its president will be a time-consuming role over the next year, but Brockshus, who is just wrapping up his freshman year at Iowa State University, is ready for it.

He will hit the ground running next week, as the new officer team gathers for the state leadership conference. It will be a time for the new state officers to get to know each other and meet the district officers who will follow their lead. Brockshus will meet with staff from the National FFA organization the week after that.

This summer, Brockshus and his team will meet nearly every week, and will be on hand for the entire two weeks of the Iowa State Fair.

"That's time for us to advocate for agriculture and get out there with the crowd that maybe isn't so closely connected to agriculture," he said.

Other duties of his new role are traveling to schools throughout Iowa, attending the National FFA Convention this fall in Indianapolis, Ind., and participating in conferences in Washington, D.C.

"It's a big year; there's lots of things going on," Brockshus said.

Meanwhile, he hopes to maintain full-time student status at Iowa State, where he is majoring in agriculture education.

"Mr. Earll has played a huge part in my life ... just the time he puts into us, in school and out of school, is simply amazing," he said. "I give him a lot of credit. I'm proud to say I'm one of his students."

Having worked up the ranks in the FFA organization, Brockshus isn't ruling out one day seeking a national FFA officer role.

"That's still a ways out," he said with a laugh. "I won't shoot down that opportunity. I'll see what this year brings and where the path takes me."

Earll steps

into state role

After serving as chapter officer-at-large his junior year, and both chapter and district treasurer his senior year, Josh Earll was eager to take on more responsibility and practice his leadership skills at the state level.

"I wanted to give back to the FFA," he said. "There have been so many people that have influenced me in the FFA."

Thanks to his dad's role as S-O FFA chapter advisor, Earll said he's been "hanging around" the FFA since he was 5 or 6 years old. His mom, Mary, is librarian for Sibley-Ocheyedan schools.

"My dad didn't push me into this ... this isn't what he wanted ... it's what I wanted for myself," Earll said. "FFA helped me find out who I really am. I'm really passionate about the FFA and the opportunity to serve the members."

With his role as one of six state FFA vice presidents, and president of the northwest district, Earll said he will be responsible for leading the organization in northwest Iowa, speaking at FFA chapter banquets, helping organize district and sub-district conventions, attending conferences and helping plan the 2013 Iowa FFA Leadership Conference.

Earll, who just turned 18, will graduate from Sibley-Ocheyedan High School next month. He plans to attend Iowa State University this fall, where he will pursue a degree in agriculture business. His ultimate goal is to return to rural northwest Iowa and be an auctioneer, realtor and appraiser.

"I really think agriculture business is a good area," he said. "I hope to have my realtor's license before I finish college."

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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