Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA'ers elected as top state officers
SIBLEY, Iowa -- For the second consecutive year, a graduate of Sibley-Ocheyedan High School will lead the Iowa FFA Association as its president, and two of the school's graduates will serve on the state officer team.
Josh Earll, now a freshman at Iowa State University, was elected Iowa FFA President Tuesday night during the final session of the 85th annual Iowa State FFA Leadership Conference in Ames. Dylan Brockshus, a Sibley-Ocheyedan senior, was elected Iowa FFA Vice President and President of the Northwest Iowa District.
Earll and Brockshus grew up on farms within a mile of each other in northern Osceola County. Earll said they grew up as friends, and their families were friends.
"I think it will be really fun to serve alongside of (Dylan)," said Earll, the son of Mike and Mary Earll.
As a 2012-2013 Iowa FFA vice-president, Earll was well acquainted with the process of pursuing a state office a second year in a row. He was one of 27 candidates from across the state to vie for one of nine open spots on the officer team.
The week before the state convention, candidates appeared before a nominating committee consisting of two FFA delegates from each district. They completed five rounds of interviews, covering everything from personal information to knowledge about the FFA.
"It was kind of a long couple days of interviews and exciting days, too," Earll said, adding that relationships were forged with the other candidates.
On Monday, 18 finalists were announced. Each then gave a speech and answered questions before the 333-member delegate body.
While Earll said the reality of being the Iowa FFA president hasn't quite sunk in yet, he will hit the ground running. His first responsibility is to lead the district officer leadership camp at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.
As he looks to the challenges of his year as president, Earll also looks back at the school where it all began. His dad, Mike, is retiring as the Sibley-Ocheyedan High School ag teacher and FFA Advisor at the end of this school year. It took 31 years for the elder Earll to see one of his students become the Iowa FFA Association president, and now it's happened in consecutive years.
"I'm fortunate," Josh Earll said of his dad. "He's been my greatest influence, my greatest superhero. I'm very happy to have had that opportunity with my father.
"He definitely made a difference," Earll added. "He made an impact in the state and national level, too. He's really a good advisor and the best dad, also."
Growing up surrounded by the FFA, Earll said the agricultural organization turned into a passion of his.
"I really enjoyed the friendships I built in the FFA, and I just wanted to keep growing, keep expanding in the FFA," he said.
Nearing the end of his freshman year at Iowa State University, Earll is pursuing a degree in agriculture education. He hopes to one day be an auctioneer and work in real estate and appraisals.
"I'd like to continue my family's farm and continue my cattle herd as well," he said.
Brockshus, the son of Jason and Shanise Brockshus of rural Sibley, is now the third member of his family to be a state FFA officer in Iowa. His dad served as State FFA vice president from the northwest district in 1992-93, and his older brother Steven just completed his term as the Iowa FFA president earlier this week. Another brother, Brandon, was a Northwest District FFA officer.
"When I started off with FFA my freshman year, I wanted to become a chapter officer," Brockshus said. "As I saw other members in the chapter progress to become a district and state officer, I wanted to become a state officer myself."
When his name was announced Tuesday night, he said he was "beyond excited."
"I was thankful, grateful for all of the people who got me to where I am," he said. "It really hasn't set in yet. It just feels great to be on the officer team with everyone else."
One of those people who helped Brockshus along the way was his FFA Advisor, Mike Earll.
"Without him, I would not be where I'm at today," he said. "He saw my potential my first year in the FFA and has just pushed me along to higher steps."
During his junior year in high school, Brockshus was the Northwest District FFA reporter, which allowed him to travel to chapters in the district, meet FFA members and talk with them about the FFA and agriculture.
"I felt by doing that, I had an impact on their lives and they had an impact on mine," he said.
Now, as a state officer, Brockshus can make that impact on a larger scale.
"I'm willing to dedicate my entire year for the service of the members -- leading them through leadership team building activities and advocating for agriculture throughout the entire state," he said.
This fall, Brockshus will begin his freshman year at Iowa State University, where he plans to pursue a degree in animal science and minor in ag business. He hopes one day to work with a cooperative, perhaps selling livestock products or working with farmers in some way.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.