State proficiency application deadline and sectional speaking contests draw near, Foundation seeks sponsors.

The Wisconsin Association of FFA has announced the Wisconsin FFA proficiency application deadline and dates for the 2013 Sectional Speaking Contests. The application deadline for state proficiency awards is February 20, and the 10 sectional speaking contests will be held across Wisconsin throughout March. For a full listing of sectional speaking contests, visit
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"Public speaking contests and proficiency awards give FFA members real-world experience that they can apply in their future careers," says Nicole Nelson, executive director of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. "These competitive environments motivate them to achieve greater levels of technical knowledge and skill."

Proficiency awards are presented to FFA members based on their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs. With several categories, members can tailor their involvement in ag business, leadership, production and communication to fit an SAE program.

Public speaking contests offer a broad range of options such as parliamentary procedure, extemporaneous public speaking and job interview to help members become comfortable in various settings. They are held each year, beginning with district contests in January and February. First and second place winners advance to the sectional speaking contests, to be held in March. First place winners at those contests will then compete at the Wisconsin FFA Convention in June.

High participation by Wisconsin FFA members in these programs helps the state continue its national reputation of excellence in both public speaking and proficiency program honors. In fact, in national competition, Wisconsin has ranked in the top 10 states for number of proficiency award winners for 12 of the past 13 years; earning top honors in three of those years.

State public speaking contest and proficiency awards are funded through contributions to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation with monetary prizes awarded in several categories at the Wisconsin FFA Convention.

"We're proud of the incentive we can provide to our state's top speaking contestants, proficiency applicants and state degree recipients through sponsorship assistance," Nelson says. "Not only do winners receive cash awards, plaques, trophies and pins, but they receive these awards at state convention before a crowd of thousands."

Nelson also notes that the state convention recognition is known to encourage younger members in the audience to see the opportunity and set their own award goals for the following year.

These award opportunities are made possible by donations of companies and individuals that sponsor these award areas. A listing of areas needing sponsorship this year can be found on the Wisconsin FFA Foundation website,, by following the "Special Project" navigation on the left side of the home page. Sponsorship options range from $270 to $3,200.

Representatives for Kuhn North America, long-time supporter of Wisconsin FFA programs, say they look forward to supporting the state Job Interview Speaking Contest again this year, and adding new support for the Forage Production Proficiency Awards.

"Supporting these programs is an investment in our future and the future of the agriculture industry," says Jill Leitzen, director of human resources for Kuhn North America. "FFA has a strong history of preparing students for careers in the agricultural industry and we appreciate the chance to be part of continuing this success by sponsoring state award programs through the Wisconsin FFA Foundation."

Sponsors also receive recognition and visibility for their support, including an invitation to present the respective award on stage, opportunity to interact with the FFA members and recognition in convention programs, press pieces, the Foundation's Annual Report and at the Sponsors and Award Winners' Reception and Dinner at the convention.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities within the Wisconsin FFA Foundation visit Questions can be directed to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation at or 608-831-5058.