Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Brackman to compete at National FFA contest in diversified livestock
By Nancy Allen
Dan Brackman, a former Fort Recovery FFA member, is a finalist for the National FFA proficiency award in diversified livestock, one of just four people chosen from across the nation to compete.
The son of Doris and Keith Good, Fort Recovery, Brackman will compete for the award during this year's FFA National Convention in Indianapolis on Oct. 21-24.
He is a sophomore at Wilmington College pursuing a bachelor's degree in agriculture with a concentration in animal science.
"It's a pretty big deal for us. He's only the second student in Fort Recovery FFA history to make it to the national level," said Mike Gower, Fort Recovery FFA instructor.
Gower said Brackman became eligible to participate in the national contest by winning first place in the diversified livestock proficiency area at the Ohio FFA competition in May while he was a freshman at Wilmington. From there, each of the 50 states in the U.S. sent the names of its first-place finishers in each proficiency area for consideration to compete at the national event. From those names the top four candidates in each proficiency area are chosen to compete at the national contest.
The other three candidates Brackman will compete against are from Kansas, Texas and Wisconsin, heavy hitting ag states.
Brackman said he was "real surprised" in early August when he got a letter from National FFA informing him he had been chosen.
Brackman and the others will be interviewed by a panel of four or five people and his 20-plus page application will be reviewed during the national contest. In recognition of being a finalist, each of the four will receive a plaque and $500. The national winner will receive an additional $500.
The award recognizes outstanding student achievement in agri-business through students establishing a business, working for an existing company or otherwise gaining hands-on career experience.
Brackman's extensive records include 6,600-plus hours worked at Meiring Poultry & Fish Farm and his family's hog operation near Fort Recovery for four years.
Brackman said he worked at the family's hog finishing operation since he was a young boy and actually started working at the Meiring operation when he was in seventh grade. An older brother, Greg, also worked at Meiring before he started and a younger brother, Eric, now works there.
At the family hog farm he did everything from making sure automatic feed and watering systems were working correctly to removing dead animals and vaccinating animals. At the Meiring farm he would check for bird mortality losses and monitor their health a couple of times a day. He also helped feed the fish three to four times a day, remove dead ones, keep tabs on water levels and make sure all the water and oxygen pumps were working.
Brackman said the most interesting work was with the fish because it's unusual.
"Not everybody has fish in Mercer County. It's different," he said. "People at college always ask me about the fish, not the chickens and hogs."
He admits being nervous about the interview portion of the national competition, but plans to tell them what he knows and answer their questions.
Brackman credits his parents for sparking his interest in livestock farming and said the Fort Recovery FFA program helped him get to the national contest.
"He's a great kid, I'll tell you," Gower said of Brackman being chosen to compete at the national FFA contest. "He's very worthy of it."