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Best of NAMA 2020

Under the leadership of Bernie Staller, the National FFA has increased membership, gained financial stability, reorganized personnel and successfully relocated to new headquarters in Indianapolis.
Bernie Staller has devoted his entire adult life to FFA service, launched as an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor in Janesville, Wis., on through his years with the FFA Foundation before the consolidation of facilities and construction of the National FFA Center in Indianapolis.

During those years, he moved from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C., and then Indianapolis.

Recently, Staller confessed the job left time for little else - little else beyond making a permanent impression upon those he has taught and led.

Retiring this fall during the diamond anniversary of the National FFA Organization, he intends to ratchet up his other noteworthy pursuits once he and his wife, Martha, relocate to southern Wisconsin to be closer to their family and long-time friends.

Once there, he intends to devote attention to more personal passions including gardening, gourmet French cooking and furniture design and building.

A master gardener, he enjoys the pastime because it affords him the rare opportunity to be outdoors. He especially relishes raising garden produce from heirloom seed.

The farmer in him may be responsible for his practice of double, triple, sometimes even quadruple cropping his garden plot.

He will continue employing his master carpentry skills building Shaker furniture. Each piece, reflecting the Shakers' simple lifestyle, is unique, hand-crafted in his fully appointed workshop. He enjoys the pursuit "because everyday life can be so complex."

The Stallers, who are avid learners, are also planning to take in some enrichment classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As a youth, Staller was active in both 4-H and FFA, serving as president of both his FFA chapter and 4-H club. He was an honors graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural education.

He has served his association community well. In an early indication of his vision into the vital relationship between business and education, he was president of the Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Instructors.

In 1979, the U.S. Office of Education selected Staller as one of five agribusiness instructors from across the nation to develop an urban agricultural program.

A director of the National Education Foundation of Alpha Gamma Rho board for six years, he was its president from 1988 to 1990; he also is an honorary member of Gamma Sigma Delta, the agricultural honor society.

Staller served on the board of the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Association and received their Honorary Alumni Recognition Award for his years of leadership and dedication to youth. He also was a member of the University of Wisconsin Agriculture Education Department Advisory Panel.

Staller has always belonged to his local community, regardless of where he lived. While "stationed" in Wisconsin, his memberships included the Wisconsin Advisory Council for Vocational Agriculture Education, the Rock County Agriculture Workers Association, Rock County Horticulture Council, the Rock County Fair Board, and the Rock County Environmental Association. His numerous other affiliations included Trees for Tomorrow Resources Education Center Board, the Middleton Agribusiness Department Advisory Committee and his local church council.

A frequent presenter and speaker at agribusiness and education meetings, he has authored numerous articles within the agricultural education and service community; his task force participation includes agricultural literacy efforts.

Agri Marketing would like to thank Mickie Miller with the National FFA Organization and Paul Miner for their incredible contribution to this supplement.

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