Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, July 01, 2000, Image 46

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    86-Lancaster Fanninfl, Saturday, July 1, 2000
Mullen Heads State FFA Organization
Lancaster Farming Staff
Co.) Within one year, Jimmy
Mullen watched his greatest dis
appointment turn into his most
satisfying achievement.
The newly-appointed state
FFA president said that one year
ago, he ran for state FFA office,
and was devastated when he was
not appointed a position by the
nominating committee.
For years his goal was to be
come a state FFA officer. He was
an early achiever, garnering
many awards and working hard
in many FFA-related activities.
After losing last year’s compe
tition, Mullen decided to put the
loss behind him and go on to
other things. He entered State
University ot New York at Al
fred State and became active in
many events, but the loss kept
nagging him. It was like the
missing piece to a puzzle.
“1 wanted to give back to the
program that has given so much
to me,” the 19-year-old said. So,
he again applied for a state FFA
After a grueling three-day
competition with top achievers
throughout the state organiza
tion, this year, in a resounding
victory, Mullen was named presi
dent of the state organization.
He believes the year has ma
tured him and will enable him to
bring strong leadership to the
role. His motto is a quote from
Eleanor Roosevelt, who said,
“Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s
a mystery, and today’s a gift.”
Assisting him are 10 other offi
cers including another Lancaster
Countian Jenniffer Zimmer
man, eastern regional vice presi
dent. She is a recent Ephrata
High School graduate.
Mullen, son of James and
Elaine Mullen, Peach Bottom,
credits 4-H with helping him de
velop many of his skills that were
later honed through FFA in
Mullen was only 14 years old
when he won the state 4-H public
speaking contest. Generally these
positions are won by high school
seniors. His speech, “Pain
Plays,” focused on baseball woes
of a beginner. Mullen continued
his 4-H involvement, and also
joined Solanco FFA as soon as he
entered high school.
As FFA eastern vice president,
booked for the year with meetings
she needs to fulfill.
Whenever Mullen needed to
chose 4-H or FFA projects, he se
lected public speaking rather
than animal judging projects.
“I liked both the prepared and
the extemporaneous competition,
but it seemed that I generally did
better in the unprepared catego
ry," Mullen said.
It is his ability to connect emo
tionally with the listener that
seems to create audience appeal.
Mullen explained it this way; “If
I need to give a 15-minute pre
sentation on the three problems
agriculture faces. 1 would give
more of a personal response for
the extemporaneous speech. But
for the prepared speech, I would
have time to do research and
would include information simi
lar to that found in a book.”
Mullen considers himself for
tunate that he was a high school
freshman when two Solanco
FFA’ers were named president
and vice president for the state
FFA; Andy Young and his cous
in Joy Young.
“They took a small handful of
us freshmen and got us involved
in chapter and regional pro
grams and leadership confer
ences. It was a really neat experi
ence working with state officers,”
Mullen said.
One of the most prestigious
events was attending the Nation
al Institute of Cooperative Edu
cation (NICE). The week-long
event focused on working with
cooperatives and combined both
learning and entertaining experi
On the final evening, Mullen
was asked to serve as the master
of ceremonies for an evening
banquet with attendance of 1,500
adults and another 1,500 youth.
He was selected when leaders
read in his application that he
had extensive public speaking in
Mullen was only 16 years old
at the time, one of the youngest
students in attendance, but he re
mained calm and relaxed
throughout the evening.
He must have done a good job,
because the next year, Mullen
was invited back as a second
year scholar, only one of five stu
dents across the state. He worked
in a teaching capacity with stu
dents his age and older.
For five years, Mullen placed
Zimmerman is
in the top 10 in 4-H state public
speaking competition.
“I finished my last year in 4-H
with a kick,” Mullen said. In ad
dition to excelling in public
speaking, he also won the top
physical fitness award with his
first try.
But his goal to become a state
FFA officer didn't materialize.
“It was disappointing, and I
did not intend to come back,”
Mullen said of FFA involvement.
He went to SUNY-Alfred
State University to study dairy
herdsmanship. He enjoyed work
ing on the school farm. While
there, he was asked to judge
three FFA speaking contests and
to act as a visual judge for live
stock judging competition.
Talking with FFA members
and hearing of their involvement
as state officers made Mullen feel
as if he were really missing a lot.
After much wrestling with the
pros and cons, Mullen asked for
an application to reapply for
“I went in with more will
power, more knowledge of how
the judging process worked, and'
I wasn’t as nervous or as hard on
myself,” Mullen said. But that
didn’t calm him from roller
coaster emotions as he sat
through the final judging.
Names were called for the fol
lowing offices: Amos Aurand,
sentinel; Michael Livingston,
chaplain; Tony Lee Resh, trea
surer; Kristen Pfeifer, secretary;
Lisa Allen, reporter; Jessica Hy
land, western region vice presi
dent; Heidi Good, north central
region vice president; Andrew
Flinchbaugh, south central re
gion vice president; Jenniffer
Zimmerman, eastern region vice
president; and Jennifer Whit
man, vice president.
“The only position left to be
called was president, and I
hadn’t applied for that,” Mullen
said. He thought he’d lost again
until he heard the words; “the
second time is your best time....”
For Mullen, the second time
running was indeed his best time.
As president, he’s putting his
studies on hold in order to devote
his time to the FFA. His employ
ers at Graywood Farms, Mary
land, are allowing him an ex
tremely flexible work schedule to
enable him to travel throughout
Pennsylvania to fulfil his FFA re
Since Mullen does not live on a
farm, his decision to pursue a de
gree and career in dairy herds
manship is surprising to some
Mullen explains that his par
ents farmed for eight or nine
years after they married. They
Lancaster Farming Staff
REINHOLDS (Lancaster Co.)
Staying calm under stress is
one of the qualities a state FFA
officer needs.
After completing a three-page
application, six rounds of inter
views, a speech, and the scrutiny
of nine judges, Jen Zimmerman
felt stressed, but outwardly, the
18-year-old remained calm. Un
like some of the other 19 appli
cants vying for a state position
on the FFA officers team, Jen
was able to eat and sleep during
the three-day judging process.
On the last day of the FFA
convention, with 1.300 people in
attendance, the nominees waited
for their names to be called.
"We had no clue who won or
didn't. We're all sitting there in
wardly pleading, “Please,”’ Jen
To hear her name called after
Jimmy Mullen is the new FFA president. For one year,
he will travel extensively to work with leaders of the
state’s 147 chapters. After a disappointing loss in run
ning for state FFA office last year, Mullen is proof of the
old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
had two daughters. When the
parents determined that proba
bly neither of the daughters
would be interested in taking
over the family farm, they moved
away from the farm.
Mullen was bom after three
sisters. From the beginning, he
was intrigued with visiting farms
of relatives. He began helping at
an early age picking corn,
throwing hay bales, and typical
farm chores. In high school, he
got a job on a nearby farm. At
college, he was selected as an in
tern on the college farm.
“It was a great honor and
learning experience to be selected
as a freshman,” Mullen said. The
intern positions normally go to
second-year students.
Mullen has worked with dair
ies that range from 80-170 milk
ing cows.
“All I ever wanted to do was
work as a dairy herdsman for a
large dairy,” Mullen said. He has
his sights set on landing a job
with a Mid-western dairy with a
2,000-3,000 head herd.
Some of Mullen’s other inter
ests and involvements also pre
pared Mullen for working with
others. At Solanco, Mullen was a
member of the Lancaster County
Youth Peace Council, formed by
a nonprofit organization that se
lects high school students to
solve school violence. At first, the
Eager To Pay Back FFA
four years of working toward the
goal filled Jen with euphoria.
“It’s a great honor and it gives
me a chance to pay back all that
FFA has done for me,” she said.
The nominating committee
consisted of nine FFA members,
two from each of four regional
districts and one at large, but
none from the chapter a nominee
The 19 nominees worked to
gether in group activities as they
were closely monitored by the
nominating committee members.
Examined closely also is each
person’s high school involvement
with FFA.
Jen, a member of the Ephrata
High School Cloister Chapter,
served as both chapter and coun
ty FFA president.
Jen raised sheep for many of
her projects. She won numerous
top awards locally and state
wide for her Horned Dorsets and
organization was run by adults.
Later, Mullen was named presi
dent, the first student president
of the organization. Mullen
worked to have middle school
students involved in the pro
He said, “I thought it was im
portant to have students become
involved in solving disagree
ments peacefully at a younger
age rather than waiting until
they were older.”
At school, Mullen was active
in band, orchestra, musicals, and
wrestling. He is the only 4-year
letterman in wrestling at Solan
co. He also ran track and fieldfor
two years.
At church, Mullen is also ac
tive in the senior high youth
group, bell choir, and senior
Mullen said that he enjoys
learning and leadership. The 4-H
motto continues to guide his life
in “making the best better.”
Mullen is meeting with the
other state officers to form a
strategy to touch lives in each of
the 147 FFA chapters through
out the state.
“I have big footsteps to fol
low ,” Mullen said of the exam
ples of Andy Young, Joy Young,
and Bertina Robinson, former
state officers from Solanco High
School. “I will try to fill those
footsteps to the best of my abili
Southdowns. Her brother Jimmy
raises Cheviots and Hampshires.
Together they have about 35
ewes on their parents’, Jay and
JoAnn Zimmerman’s, farmette.
This year at the state Farm
Show, Jen had the reserve grand
champion carcass lamb, a great
accomplishment because the
lamb was bred and owned by Jen
rather than purchased from big
name breeders.
For the past two years, Jen
showed the supreme champion
ewe over all breeds at Ephrata
Fair. She said winning the su
preme champion at Eliza
bethtown Fair in 1995 really mo
tivated her to try to excel in
sheep breeding. Jen was also a
consistent showmanship champi
on at local fairs.
Throughout her FFA involve
ment, Jen also raised capons,
(Turn to Page B 7)