Harrisburg - From life-size exhibits to interactive demonstrations and livestock shows, Pennsylvania FFA members are the foundation of the Pennsylvania Farm Show each year.
Two outstanding mentors, Mike and Penny Brammer, have dedicated their lives to these young leaders, inspiring them to make good decisions while serving as advocates for the agriculture industry.
Mike, a former Virginia FFA state officer, has been the executive secretary of the Pennsylvania FFA Association, a national youth leadership program that betters the lives of students through agricultural education, for the past 10 years. Along with his wife, Penny, the adult treasurer of the organization, he works hard to better the lives of FFA members.
The Brammers work closely with the team of 11 FFA state officers each year, often serving as mentors long after the team's term has ended. All told, they have worked with 107 state officers.
On average, the Brammers and the leadership team travel more than 200,000 miles each year to host leadership conferences and conventions, visit more than 120 schools and attend more than 85 banquets and 50 county, area and regional events.
"The Brammers are anchors in the FFA Association, always working to make the FFA experience rewarding," said Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding. "They pay close attention to detail and have to ability to always focus on solutions, and they do it all with a great attitude."
Paul Hostetter, the 2001-2002 State FFA President, said "I am thankful for Mr. Brammer's wisdom and leadership while serving as a state officer on his first officer team. He continues to build a fantastic State FFA program and I wish him continued success."
Other past officers shared their thoughts on the Brammers:
Kelly Over, 2006-2007 State FFA President:
"The Brammers are truly multidimensional people. They are selfless, giving, and empowering. They have a strong working relationship with industry stakeholders, teachers and members."
Britney Marsh, 2008- 2009 State FFA Reporter:
"Mr. and Mrs. Brammer are family to me. I worked closely with them during my state officer year, two years ago. They pushed me to always do my best. They celebrate my successes with me and I can always count on a hug and a consoling word after my failures. No matter what, they have stood beside me and I would not give up their friendship for anything."
Caleb Wright, 2009-2010 State South Central FFA Vice President:
"They are parent figures to me, always pushing me to grow professionally and make the most out of every opportunity. Even when times are tough, they are still there."
Stephanie Beeman, 2005-2006 State South Central FFA Vice President:
"The Brammers were instrumental in advising me on public speaking and professional skills when I was a state officer. They continue to provide advice and career support."
Sarah Gutshall 2004-2005 State FFA Reporter:
"The Brammers were a great influence on me when I was a state officer. Mr. Brammer was always willing to sit down and help fix a speech I was working on or edit my Blue & Gold newspaper articles. They were always pushing my team to make conferences and chapter visits better. They a very caring people and I'm glad I had the opportunity to work with them."
To learn more about the Pennsylvania FFA Association, visit www.paffa.state.pa.us or www.ffa.org.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10.
For more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us
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