Brian and Amy Pohl named this year’s FFA Hall of Fame inductees

YORK – Brian and Amy Pohl were named as this year’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) Hall of Fame inductees during York Public School’s annual Harvest Moon Banquet held Sunday night.

Each year, the York FFA Chapter announces an inductee/inductees, as a way to honor them for ongoing service to FFA, ag education and the ag sector in general.

The Pohls have been heavily involved with the York FFA Chapter – as well as York County 4-H – for many years.

“Growing up, I would have loved to have been involved in FFA, but when I was going to high school in Benedict back in the day, they didn’t have a FFA chapter,” Amy said. “We were always very, very involved in 4-H, however, and we have always believed in the opportunities given to our young adults through that type of agricultural education.”

The Pohls’ three children – Evan, Hailee and Mattie – were very involved in 4-H and FFA as they grew up. And through those years, Brian and Amy were very involved in helping to grow the York chapter’s opportunities.

“It was natural for my kids to be involved in FFA and it was a natural progression from our work and experiences with 4-H,” Amy explained.

“We really got involved with York FFA when my cousin, Jason Hirschfeld, took the job at York High School as the ag teacher,” Amy remembered. “He came to us with a dream of creating an animal lab at the high school. Brian and I helped him down the groundwork for that vision. Brian built walls, we did the floors and helped them transform the old shop into the animal lab. We wanted to help Jason with that dream and did whatever we could to help make that a reality.”

The reality of what has been transformed at York High School is a nationally-recognized agricultural program complete with an animal lab as part of the high school facilities.

“Jason is so passionate about the kids they teach and it was easy for us to get involved,” Amy said. “And when he wanted to start the Harvest Moon as a fundraiser to support FFA, we got onboard too. Boy it has grown since then. We kept outgrowing venues and now we are at the convention center each year because it has grown so much over the years. It benefits the kids and the ag sector, by ultimately teaching kids where our food comes from. The farm to table approach to education. And FFA is a lot like 4-H in that it teaches kids life skills as well.”

Amy has been heavily involved with helping the FFA members organize and run the silent auction each year. They’ve been involved with the York FFA Chapter for more than 10 years now – and keep on helping in many ways, even though their kids have graduated from high school.

Amy is typically the first person to arrive the day of setting up the silent auction items for the Harvest Moon event and is always the last to leave after all the work has been done. Matter of fact, she was tending to the display and answering questions when she was summoned to the stage for the surprise award Sunday night.

“FFA is such an important program and we are happy to keep helping,” Amy said.

The Pohls have helped spearhead other projects as well, pairing together their support for 4-H and FFA. One impressive example was a massive effort in 2019, following the devastating floods in northeast Nebraska. They brought together their Lively Livestock 4-H Club and local FFA chapters to fundraise, collect and deliver tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fencing, hay, livestock feed, water and other items in dozens of semi-loads, to help livestock producers take care of their animals and rebuild after suffering such loss and damage.

Amy says her belief in FFA and 4-H comes from seeing young people making lifelong friendships and relationships, as well as being a great way for kids to have opportunities through college credits and an extended education, even when they are still in high school. Of course, there is the aspect of valuing hard work and recognizing the importance of community service.

“These programs help us raise good people who help others,” Amy said. “My kids were blessed to go through the program and we have seen hundreds here do the same. We were raised to help others out. I’m still helping with 4-H and FFA because they are great programs. And these organizations aren’t just for farm kids anymore – they are for all kids. And that is a great thing, as kids who don’t live on the farm now also get an opportunity to see what agriculture is all about.”

How long will the Pohls keep helping with the local FFA program? Amy says “as long as Jason keeps asking, we are happy to help. It’s all about the kids. I like to be a worker bee in the back, behind the scenes. And Brian, being the good sport he is, he always wants to help as well. I’m very surprised we have been honored and we appreciate it so much, but we really just want to be here to support a program which helps our kids grow.”

What does she envision for the future of FFA?

“I think it would be great for York’s FFA Chapter and the entire ag program if the dream of a new, larger facility could become reality,” Amy said. “It would benefit a lot of children. Also, it would be reflective of the core of York County’s economy and lifestyle, while promoting all sectors of agriculture.”

Five hundred people attended this year’s FFA fundraiser with hundreds of donated items being sold via live and silent auction.

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