FFA News

Pardon me, Mr. Turkey: National FFA’s Morgan Anderson assists in White House ceremony

Morgan Anderson, Ohio’s recently elected National FFA Officer, was one of those in attendance alongside her fellow student leaders as one of the great American traditions around this time of year took place. That’s right – two fortunate National Thanksgiving Turkeys were pardoned this week by President Biden on the South Lawn of the White House.

According to the National Turkey Federation, this White House tradition has been observed since 1947, signaling the beginning of the holiday season of national thanks and representing agriculture’s plentiful harvest and the contributions of America’s turkey growers.

The FFA members were able to witness the 20-week-old, 42-pound birds, named Liberty and Bell be pardoned.

In this interview, our own Matt Reese talks with Anderson about the unique experience.

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Seneca East FFA members excel at State competition

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA reporter

As the age-old saying goes, “Winning isn’t everything,” but for the Seneca East FFA Chapter, their hard work certainly paid off. On Oct. 14, four FFA members competed in the State Agricultural Soils Career Development Event (CDE), and to their surprise, they came home as state champions.

“To be a state champion in the Agricultural Soils CDE still seems unreal,” Ella Martin said. “When I first looked at the results, I didn’t even believe what I saw. I was sure they had messed up and something was going to change. Being on a champion team is something I hope everyone gets to do. To be on a team and become close with my teammates is a bond and experience that I will never take for granted. I wouldn’t have wanted to experience this with another group of people, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Morgan Anderson elected National FFA Officer

Morgan Anderson, Ohio’s candidate to be a National FFA Officer, has been elected to be part of the 2023-2024 officer team as the eastern region vice president. Anderson is originally a member of the Amanda-Clearcreek FFA Chapter and is currently a student at Ohio University studying broadcast journalism.

Anderson has also served as a part-time employee of Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal as an FFA reporter.

In the video above, we spoke with her in the week leading up to her selection about what motivates her to lead the nearly-one-million member strong organization.… Continue reading

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Trotter wins Nursery Operations Proficiency

Vanessa Trotter of the Peebles FFA Chapter in Ohio was named winner of the Nursery Operations Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency at the 2023 National FFA Convention.

She began a small pumpkin patch when her father purchased a piece of land in 2012. With that, TNT Greenhouses was born. She owns three greenhouses to produce flower and vegetable flats, pots, planters and hanging baskets. Trotter is responsible for trimming, deadheading, and watering plants. She is supported by her parents, Holly and Carl, and her FFA advisor, Rebecca Minton.… Continue reading

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Gossett tops the nation in Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement

Matthew Gossett, of the Lynchburg-Clay FFA, was a National Proficiency Award winner in the area of Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement.

Matthew Gossett of the Lynchburg-Clay FFA Chapter in Ohio began his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) in the fall of 2019 when he rented 12 acres of ground to farm soybeans. He has since increased his land to 43 acres. Gossett also works his family’s soybean farm of 662 acres. He plants, fertilizes, sprays and harvests the crop. He is supported by his parents, Lori and Ronnie, and his FFA advisor, Dara Landess.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s National FFA Agriscience Fair winners announced

The National FFA organization has announced the 2023 National FFA Agriscience Fair winners for Social Systems. The winners were recognized today during the second session of the 96th National FFA Convention & Expo. The National FFA Agriscience Fair recognizes students who gain real-world, hands-on experiences in agricultural enterprises. Students use scientific principles and emerging technologies to solve complex problems related to agriculture, food and natural resources. The agriscience fair is for middle and high school students. Students compete in one of six categories in the agriscience fair and under one of the six divisions — either individually or as a team.

Ohio’s first place winners are: Animal Systems Division 1 – Lauren Giesige, Patrick Henry; Environmental Services and Natural Resource Systems Division 4 – Xavier Stuck & William Browning, Ridgemont; and Food Products and Processing Systems Division 6 – Kaylee Jennings & Joanna Hamilton, Felicity-Franklin.… Continue reading

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Two more Ohio Proficiency winners announced

The Friday morning General Session at National FFA Convention revealed a couple more National Proficiency Award winners from Ohio.

Sam Bolen, South Central FFA, Poultry Production  –  Entrepreneurship/Placement
Sam Bolen of the South Central FFA Chapter works for Double A Eggs Farms, a free-range and organic layer operation with two barns that each house approximately 30,000 birds. His duties were initially very simple, but today he is charged with adjusting belts, welding rods on the rock conveyor, advanced troubleshooting, supervising other farmhands, and more. Bolen is supported by his parents, Lorraine and George, and his FFA advisor, Sarah Lucha.

“I’ve learned about feed and water I learned about some of the health issues that can be a problem for the birds and the issues with eggs like deformities,” Bolen said. “I’ve learned a lot of responsibility and time management. I had to work between classes and work I had to learn how to manage time.… Continue reading

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Homan wins National Proficiency Award

Lauren Homan of the New Bremen FFA Chapter won the National Proficiency Award in the area of Dairy Production – Placement.

“You have to be disciplined and work hard, want to do it, and have a passion for it because if you don’t have a passion for it, it’s not going work out the way you want it to,” Homan said. “If you have a passion and you work hard for it, you’ll achieve your dream.”

Homan is an assistant herdsman at her family’s dairy farm, an operation raising 480 Holstein cows and 400 heifers. Her work started with feeding calves and has grown to taking care of calves, heifers, and dairy cows. Homan works with the manure press system as well, cleaning, greasing and pressing at the right speed to make dry bedding for the cows. 

“I had to learn about management because I was also in high school and I played sports.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Luke Jennings vying for coveted American Star Farmer Award

Luke Jennings of the Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter in Ohio is currently serving as the Ohio FFA State President. If that wasn’t enough, he is also preparing to walk across stage at the 2023 National FFA Convention as one of four finalists for the coveted American Star Farmer Award, often recognized as the top award in the organization. He talks with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood about the work behind the Star Farmer effort, as well as his activities as a student leader of the organization while at the convention.

National FFA Convention coverage is sponsored by Wilmington College. More information at www.wilmington.edu.… Continue reading

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Riley Berger has built his ag knowledge from the ground up

Riley Berger of the Ridgewood FFA in Ohio is a finalist for the coveted American Star in Agricultural Placement award at the 2023 National FFA Convention. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood joins him to discuss how he has built his agricultural experience from the ground up over the past few years to have his own cattle herd today.

National FFA Convention coverage is sponsored by Wilmington College. More information at www.wilmington.edu.… Continue reading

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Secretary Vilsack: “If it was up to us, we’d put the young people of FFA in charge of the country”

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed attendees of the 2023 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis on Thursday. Following his speech, he was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree.

Listen below to his touching remarks about FFA members after the honor was bestowed.

During time with media, Vilsack gave his thoughts on Farm Bill funding priorities, as well as the difficult nature of starting a farm in today’s day and age for young people without an operation to come back to.

Farm Bill comments

Opportunities for young people wanting to farm

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Ohio’s National FFA officer candidate advances to final phase

Morgan Anderson is Ohio’s candidate to be a national officer at the 2023 National FFA Convention. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood visits with her on the first day of convention after she was named one of the 21 candidates advancing to the final phase of the selection process.

National FFA Convention coverage is sponsored by Wilmington College. More information at www.wilmington.edu.… Continue reading

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2023 National FFA Convention finalists and participants from Ohio FFA

Provided by the Ohio FFA Association

American FFA Degrees – 457

National Officer Candidate – Morgan Anderson, Amanda-Clearcreek

Star American Degree Finalists

American Star Farmer – Luke Jennings, Felicity-Franklin

American Star in Agricultural Placement – Riley Berger, Ridgewood

American Star in Agriscience – Audrey Pinger, Felicity-Franklin

VIP Citations

Emily Buck, OSU

Larry Lokai, Retired Ag Teacher

National Proficiency Award Finalists (19)

Agricultural Communications – Molly Clark, Bradford-UVCC

Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication – Nate Foltz, Fairfield Union

Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance-Entrepreneurship – Holden Nuhn, Western Reserve

Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance-Placement – Cory Timmerman, Versailles

Agricultural Sales-Placement – Audrey Pinger, Felicity-Franklin

Agricultural Services – Connor Sindelir, Covington-UVCC

Agriscience Research-Integrated Systems – Joanna Hamilton, Felicity-Franklin

Dairy Production-Placement – Lauren Homan, New Bremen

Equine Science-Entrepreneurship – Sage Whetnall, Cardington

Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production – Matthew Gossett, Lynchburg-Clay

Forest Management and Products – Dylan Bambauer, New Bremen

Fruit Production – Taylor Haines, Fort Frye

Grain Production – Cannon Waters, Ridgewood

Nursery Operations – Vanessa Trotter, Peebles

Poultry Production – Sam Bolen, South Central

Sheep Production – Bailee Amstutz, North Union

Small Animal Production and Care – Kaylei McHenry, West Muskingum

Specialty Animal – Anna Henry, Houston-UVCC

Veterinary Science – Mattilyn Griffith, Felicity-Franklin

Chapter awards

National Chapter Award-Premier Chapter: Building Communities


National Chapter Award-Premier Chapter: Strengthening Agriculture

National Trail-MVCTC

National Chapter Award-Model of Excellence Finalists


Three-Star Chapters – Anthony Wayne, Blanchester Great Oaks, Bowling Green, Cardington, Covington-UVCC,

Elgin, Fayetteville, Felicity-Franklin, Firelands, Genoa-Penta, Global Impact, London, Marion Local, Marysville,

McClain, Miami East-MVCTC, Monroe Central, Mowrystown, National Trail-MVCTC, New Bremen, Northeastern,

Paulding, Ridgemont, Southeastern, St.Continue reading

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The 96th National FFA Convention is almost here!

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA reporter

For many FFA members across the nation, the fall season is best known for harvest and agricultural education’s finest — the National FFA Convention.

From Nov. 1-4, tens of thousands of FFA members will flood the iconic “Circle City” of Indianapolis to gather in the fellowship of the FFA’s national blue and corn gold. Whether members are receiving the coveted American FFA Degree or competing in a national contest, the 96th National FFA Convention is certainly an event you will not want to miss out on. With seven action-packed sessions and a huge expo, there is something for everyone in attendance. 

To ensure you make the most of your time at the National FFA Convention, here are a few pieces of advice and memories from the 2022-2023 Ohio FFA State Officer Team.

“When heading to National Convention, there are two essential items that will help you

have a successful weekend.… Continue reading

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A message of gratitude from Ohio’s National FFA Officer Candidate

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA reporter

Each year, tens of thousands of FFA members across the United States flood the streets of Indianapolis, Ind. with the iconic “sea of blue” corduroy FFA jackets. It is hard to believe it was not even a hundred years ago that this look did not exist.

On Nov. 20, 1928, the “Future Farmers of America” was established in Kansas City, Mo., which subsequently led to the first-ever National FFA Convention being held there, too. There were 33 delegates from 18 states (Ohio included!) in attendance when Leslie Applegate of New Jersey was elected as the first National President.

In the last hundred years, what started off as a few farm boys sporting the blue and gold as the “Future Farmers of America” has since grown into a diverse organization that represents nearly 1 million members nationwide. In fact, in 1988, the Future Farmers of America changed its name to the “National FFA Organization” to reflect the growing diversity in agriculture we see today.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum’s most iconic spot undergoes renovation

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter

Dubbed “The Happiest Place on Dirt,” Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum has served Ohio FFA and its members with unique outdoor experiences since 1942.

Located in Carroll County on the banks of Leesville Lake, Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum is often noted as one of many past FFA members’ most treasured memories in the blue jacket. From high ropes to boating, and volunteer projects to leadership workshops, Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum has played an active role in shaping members’ experiences in FFA. Students step out of their comfort zones, try something new and bask in the fellowship of what it means to be an FFA member.

One of camp’s most iconic spots is an outdoor amphitheater that surrounds an enormous rock, also known as the beloved “Blue Gill Rock,” just off the lake’s shore. The spot hosts everything from state FFA officer campfires in the evenings to early morning Sunday services.… Continue reading

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Shenandoah FFA’s Green Acres Farm is the place to be

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter

Deep in the rolling hills of southeast Ohio is Shenandoah High School, home of the Zeps and the first entirely student-operated farm in the Appalachian region.

It’s called Green Acres Farm, and it sits on almost 140 acres down the road from Shenandoah High School. Students become involved with Green Acres when they enroll in an agricultural education course doing everything from livestock vaccination to harvesting hay. While their peers sit in a classroom, the agricultural education students hop on a bus every day to spend 90 minutes on the farm getting their hands dirty.

Green Acres Farm is located off of Seneca Lake Road in Sarahsville, which is down the road from the K-12 campus. Photo taken by Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter.

But for some, they spend even more time on the farm.

Eliza Carpenter, a junior and the Shenandoah High School FFA chapter president, said she would do everything from vaccinating cattle to feeding piglets in a typical school day.… Continue reading

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Three Ohioans among FFA American Star finalists

The National FFA Organization has announced the 16 finalists for its 2023 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

Three Ohioans are among the coveted ranks: Luke Jennings from Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter, Riley Berger from the Ridgewood FFA Chapter, and Audrey Pinger from the Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter.

The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies by completing a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business, or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.… Continue reading

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RISE FFA Career Program grows student success

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter

At the 95th Ohio FFA Convention in May, Sunrise Cooperative announced its 2023 class of new hires to its RISE FFA Career Program. Following the application process, Sunrise hired 11 graduating seniors as full-time employees. Each of the students’ home chapters received a $250 grant to help enhance their local program. Sunrise is an agricultural and energy cooperative with locations across Ohio.

Here is this year’s crop of students who will be joining Sunrise University:

  • Antonia Lucio (Clyde)
  • Zoe Gifford (Firelands)
  • Bryce Parsons (Hillsboro)
  • Megan Kimbler (Indian Lake-OHP)
  • Luke Brunke (Miami East-MVCTC)
  • Troy Homan (New Bremen)
  • Grace Montgomery (New London)
  • Gage Lauderman (South Central)
  • Derick Murray (South Central)
  • Abraham Decker (Upper Scioto Valley-OHP)
  • Cayden Wood (Fremont Ross)

Of those 11, Bryce Parsons was selected to receive $1,000 for his chapter and a 2021 Jeep Gladiator truck as a signing bonus in addition to his full-time employment benefits.… Continue reading

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