Meech is Star in Production Placement
By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 05/21/2012 2:01 PM
SEBEKA, Minn. — Amanda Meech of Sebeka admits she is never at a loss for words —at least, not very often.
One of those rare moments occurred at the FFA Convention when the Sebeka FFA vice president received the Star in Production Placement. The honor noted her work on and knowledge of the family's dairy farm.
She's done it all in the 400-cow operation from feeding calves to milking plus field work and now, artificially inseminating cows.
Meech credits her parents, Todd and Patty.
"It makes a difference if you have parents who enjoy what they are doing," she said. "I enjoy it, too. I love it ... My parents are proud farmers. It's a great way of life and a great way to grow up."
Meech was five when she first fed calves with her mother, Patty. She began helping in the parlor when she was 10. Now she works one morning on weekends and each weeknight milking in the double-12 parlor.
She now works with automatic feeders to feed calves.
After taking an artificial insemination course through Genex, Meech and her brothers will be A.I. technicians, selecting sires for the farm's Holstein and Holstein and Milking Shorthorn crosses.
She treats sick cows and trims hooves. In the next few weeks, she'll operate the farm's three robotic milking units. The family hopes to add two more, she said. They will continue to milk older cows in the parlor.
The high school senior plans to attend Ridgewater College next fall and major in dairy management. She hopes to eventually return to the dairy operation.
Meech was one of 16 finalists — four in each category —vying for the association's top awards as Minnesota FFA Star Farmer; Minnesota FFA Star in Agri Business; Minnesota FFA Star in Production Placement; and Minnesota FFA Star in Agri Science. The awards honor students who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through their supervised agricultural experience.
Each finalist was interviewed by a panel of judges. Meech said she received few questions from the judges who visited her farm. She walked them through the farm, explaining the ration, cow care, milking system, calf feeding and crops.
Sebeka FFA advisor Jacob Oyster helped her with records and offered advice.
She was surprised when her name was announced as the Star in Production Placement, she said.
"My dad said, 'I knew you could do it,'" Meech said. "'If you can put your mind to anything, you can do it.'"
Meech plans to continue the hard work through the National FFA Convention in the fall. Meech was also part of the Sebeka FFA's dairy foods team, which took top honors at state.
She's been part of the chapter's dairy foods team since she joined FFA. She knew as a young FFAer that she wanted to take part in contests. She'd seen her father's blue FFA jacket. Meech picked dairy foods.
She was joined by Emily Ronnebaum and, later, Bethany Meech and Jayde Pickar. Meech's mother helped prepare for contests by asking them questions. Her father continued to work with the chapter's dairy judging team.
They were surprised with their top finish. The team will spend the summer preparing for the national contest.