Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Reinholds family honored for its contributions to FFA
BY DEAN LEE EVANS, Correspondent
For the Kauffman family of Reinholds, being involved with the Future Farmers of America is more than a part of daily life, it has become a tradition.
Because of the family's strong bonds to FFA, Harold and Ann Kauffman received the special parent award Jan. 7 at the 79th annual Mid-Winter FFA Convention at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
To receive the special parent award, a family must have four or more children who have earned the Keystone degree, the highest honor Pennsylvania FFA members can achieve.
Only five Pennsylvania families earned the award this year.
The Kauffman's five oldest children have all received the Keystone degree, including Scott in 2006, Stephanie in 2008, Toni in 2010, Terri in 2011 and Kirsten, a senior at Ephrata High School and the Cloister chapter president, who received the degree at this year's Mid-Winter Convention.
"I worked really hard (to earn the degree) and am really proud of myself," Kirsten said.
Kirsten, who has worked around animals all her life, is most interested in calves and cows.
"But no chickens, pigs or sheep. We live on a farmette -- a smaller version of a farm -- and we have calves, but no cows," she said.
The Kauffman's youngest child, Kelli, a freshman at Ephrata High School, is preparing to be the next in line to earn the degree.
Although the Kauffman family resides in Reinholds in the Cocalico School District, Kirsten and Kelli both attend classes at Ephrata High School.
"Cocalico does not have an ag program, but Ephrata does," said Sarah Quigg, Cloister FFA advisor and agricultural educator at Ephrata Area.
Quigg said it is was quite an honor for the Kauffman family to earn the special parent award, especially since earning a Keystone degree is not an easy thing to do.
On an annual basis, only 3 to 4 percent of the more than 7,000 members in Pennsylvania even qualify to earn the degree.
Recipients must demonstrate leadership abilities and earn or productively invest at least $1,000 and/or work at least 300 hours in a supervised agricultural experience program.
Quigg said applicants for the Keystone degree must be high school seniors, and while most earn the degree as high school seniors, some members earn the Keystone up to three years after graduation.
Earning awards and recognition runs in the Kauffman family.
Quigg joked that keeping up with the Kauffmans is far more entertaining -- in a good way -- than keeping up with the Kardashians.
Kelli Kauffman received her blue corduroy FFA jacket at the Mid-Winter Convention courtesy of a jacket campaign sponsored by the state FFA Alumni Association.
Kelli is an active horseback rider and has an interest in horses as a future career.
"Hopefully, as long as something opens up for me," she said.
Kelli won the jacket after she interviewed an FFA alumni member and wrote an essay about what the jacket represents to her.
Quigg did not know the total number of blue jacket applicants this year, but said about 300 first-year FFA members throughout the state won jackets.
On Oct. 27, Terri Kauffman earned her American FFA degree -- one of the highest national FFA honors --- at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.
That was an achievement in itself since fewer than half of 1 percent of all national FFA members earn the award.
Recipients for the national award must receive at least three years of agriculture education, demonstrate outstanding leadership, and earn at least $7,500 or productively work 2,250 hours and invest $1,500 in a supervised agricultural program.