Last week at the 85th State FFA Convention, several Marion Local FFA members were recognized as being among the top in the state, as they were gold rated officers, finalists in their proficiency award area, or a state degree recipient. The chapter took a total of 36 members to the convention which was held at the state fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio . Members left Thursday morning and toured the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg.
Eight Marion Local FFA members competed as finalists in nine different proficiency award areas. The proficiency award program recognizes students from across the state that have outstanding Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs. Students complete a 20 page application that focuses on the hours they have worked, skills they have attained, and activities complete on a daily basis. This award program is very competitive. Students’ applications are evaluated on the district level which includes 40-50 schools and then on the state level. At this level, the top four students in each area are named. These four finalists complete an interview with a panel of experts and then a state winner is name. The process is time consuming but very rewarding. It is an honor to be a finalist in this program, and Marion was extremely proud to have finalists in 9 areas.
The results of this process were announced on stage at State Convention. Eric Schmitmeyer was a finalist in two areas. He was named a state winner in the area of Dairy Production Placement and 2nd in the state in Ag Service. Eric’s SAEs consist of working on his family dairy’s farm and also at Maria Stein Grain’s fertilizer facility. Heather Mescher was also a state winner in the area of Vegetable Production. Her SAE was based on the work that she has done at Harvest Sun Farm in New Knoxville, Ohio where she assists in many aspects of vegetable production. Sam Poeppelman was named a state winner in the area of Ag Mechanics Design and Fabrication for his work at G and L Sales and Service where she has been employed for the last four years.
The chapter was pleased to have three state winners and several other members that joined them as finalists. Other proficiency finalists included: Ross Reichert who placed second in the area of Ag processing for his work at Maria Stein Grain’s feed mill; Jason Will who placed 4th in Ag Mechanics Repair and Maintenance for his work at Will Farms refurbishing equipment; Madison Chrisman who placed 3rd in the state in the area of Veterinary Science for her work at the Fort Recovery Veterinary Clinic; Abby Fleck placed third in the area of poultry production for her work at Robert Fleck and Sons Poultry Farm; and Adam Kremer who placed fourth in the area of poultry production his work at R&S Farms.
The chapter was named a Gold Medal Chapter- based on the activities that it had completed throughout the year. This program ranks the top chapters in the state, and then declares the top 10% of chapters in the state with the gold medal distinction. Because this award is based on the activities that members participate in and conduct throughout the year, this is an award that belongs to the whole chapter.
The convention ended with thirteen Marion Local FFA members earning their State FFA Degree. This degree is the highest award the state association can bestow upon its members. In order to earn this recognition, members must have worked over 1,000 hours at their Supervised Agricultural Experience Program, participated in 2 Career Development Events and five activities above the chapter level, completed more than 40 hours of community service, and maintain a 3.0GPA or 92% attendance rate. The degree is given to the top 2% of Ohio’s 24,000 FFA members. Marion’s newest State Degree recipients are Eric Schmitmeyer, Kristen Hemmelgarn, Adam Kremer, Ryan Bruns, Carmen Meyer, Tim Droesch, Tegan Fortkamp, Heather Mescher, Jo Hartings, Lexi Wilker, Jason Will, Madison Chrisman, and Rose Homan.