Melissa Ploeckelman was active on her parents diversified dairy farm from the time she was born. Her mother often talks about taking her out in the stroller and pushing her down the walkway as they milked in a 45 cow station barn. Ploeckelman joined both 4-H and FFA as soon as she was able and had leadership positions in both. While attending UW-River Falls for Agricultural Education Ploeckelman served as the 2006-2007 State FFA Parliamentarian. After finishing that endeavor she was named the 2008 Marathon County Fairest of the Fair and then the 2009 State Fairest of the Fairs attending 47 county, district and state fairs in one summer.
She finally graduated in 2010 and was named an Alice in Dairyland finalist. While she didn’t get chosen, she was thankful for the opportunity prior to starting her teaching career at the Colby High and Middle School. Ploeckelman was the Ag instructor, the FFA advisor and the Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator. She is proud to say she has done a lot of face-to-face outreach, presentations and media interviews, and is experienced in event, activity and project planning.
Ploeckelman still lives on the family farm (Ploeckelman Paradise) which has gotten smaller in size with only about 30 cows being milked. However, it continues to be diversified with 1 donkey, 2 horses, 7 alpacas, a potbellied pig, numerous rabbits and guinea pigs, hundreds of ducks, chickens, geese, and turkeys, 2 dogs, many cats, a parrot, a leopard gecko and some other animals to round out the farm. The family also has a maple syrup operation which takes place every spring and every summer a large garden is planted so much canning can occur all fall. Ploeckelman has 2 nephews and a niece on the way that she is very proud of.
At NFMC she’ll be channeling her agricultural connections and communication/education talents into digital outreach efforts. Plockelman says, “It’s very exciting to be entering this new pathway. I can’t wait to see where it takes me and what new friends it leads me to!”