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Views and opinions: Artist helping an Iowa FFA chapter with its fundraising


This year at the National Farm Toy Show in Dyersville, Iowa, Maquoketa Valley FFA students were set up along with their advisor, Dawn Mausser, to sell Charles Freitag prints to raise money for the chapter. This is the first time Beckman students have been part of an FFA chapter.

Beckman Catholic High School this fall added new vocational agriculture classes through a shared teacher arrangement with Maquoketa Valley High School in Delhi. This program made them eligible to join the FFA, and 28 students took advantage of it.

Dawn teaches crop science and animal science classes. She received a Council Awards Excellence in Agricultural Education after being nominated by her students, this April. Ag education uses a three-pronged approach: one is to deliver teaching through classroom instruction, two is to provide supervised agricultural experience programs and third to offer leadership development through FFA.

The FFA in her state is quite active, Dawn said. “There are 238 chapters in Iowa. We have a record enrollment of 14,000 students.”

The students set up at Beckman were all sophomores and many are working toward their American FFA degrees. According to the National FFA, this Degree is awarded to members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA. These students were first working for their chapter degree, and trying to earn or invest points through the SAE, or supervised agricultural experience, which is the first step toward the chapter degree.

For leadership opportunities, the FFA chapters need funds – and that is where the sales of the Freitag prints come in. The funds they raise will be used for leadership activities.

The prints fit right in with the agricultural and farm toy aspect of the National Farm Toy Show. Growing up around agriculture, Freitag has explained "in each of my paintings, I try to convey my fond childhood memories of life on the family farm.”

Like the FFA members, the artist is a native Iowan. He was raised on a small farm and shares these experiences through his art. This full-time artist attended Hawkeye Community College, then finished his degree at the prestigious Academy of Art in Chicago.

In works inspired by his favorite illustrator, Norman Rockwell, it is easy to see similarities, which often includes antique tractors, making Freitag a favorite artist of collectors. He can often be found at antique tractor shows set up with his art. This father of six lives in Marion, Iowa.

The prints being sold are part of the Charles Freitag Iowa FFA Foundation Art Prints. At the high school they had the prints “A Living Legacy” and “FFA & the State Fair – A Proud Tradition.” For more information on his prints, log on to

Besides the prints, Dawn said the FFA also had toy models of the Farmall M available for fundraising. It was pretty difficult to pass up the students in the high school halls at the Dyersville show. With their friendly faces and FFA logos, they showed collectors the face of the future of the farm toy hobby.

For more information about the Maquoketa Valley FFA, see their Facebook page at

The National Farm Toy Show is staged every year in Dyersville, during the first weekend of November. It is hosted by Toy Farmer magazine. More details can be found about next year’s show at


Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication. Learn more of Cindy’s finds and travel in her blog, “Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl,” at