FFA News

Historic 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo wraps for the year

The 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo may have been held virtually this year, but numbers indicate that many members across the country enjoyed the event. There were more than 217,415 viewers and participants of the event.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made in late June to host the largest student event virtually this year instead of in-person. The event kicked off Tuesday, Oct. 27, and students had the opportunity to attend events on a virtual platform.

“When it was clear that the pandemic would preclude our ability to host an in-person convention, we immediately began planning for a fully inclusive virtual event,” said CEO of the National FFA Organization Mark Poeschl. “We recognized that meeting virtually created new opportunities to connect with students from across the country, including those who would never have had a chance to attend the event in Indianapolis. So while we can’t wait for the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo to be back in our home city of Indianapolis, we know that there are aspects of this year’s virtual convention that will be repeated next year and hopefully for years to come to connect with many more FFA members than ever before.”… Continue reading

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American Degree long-awaited dream come true

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Hannah Sykes is one of the .5% of FFA members who receive the highest honor they can possibly achieve — the American FFA Degree. It’s been over 40 years since her chapter at Adena High School has had an American Degree recipient. And as of this week, 23 men have earned their American Degree for the chapter, and one woman.

Sykes grew up on her family’s beef farm in Ross County, where she raised and showed market steers and breeding heifers for her SAE project. She had an internship that coincided with her project as well her work at Select Sires, where she was a lab intern. Sykes said the most challenging part of her SAE project was the amount of work and effort that she put into it.

“I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours out at the barn just to get to where I am at this point,” she said.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA members earn top honors in National FFA Agriscience Fair

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 in a team. Ohio winners include:

Animal Systems: Division 4: Teylor Meyer and Lillian Hughes of the Covington-UVCC FFA

Plant Systems: Division 1: Joscelyn Layman of the Millcreek-West Unity FFA

Power, Structural and Technical Systems: Division 2: Kaylee Jennings and Joanna Hamilton of the Felicity-Franklin FFA

The National FFA Agriscience Fair is sponsored by Cargill, John Deere and Syngenta; Bayer, Corteva, General Mills, Wrangler and Zoetis are sponsors of the agriscience fair pathways.… Continue reading

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Ohioans named national proficiency winners

The 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Winners have been named during the virtual 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo.

Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Students complete in areas ranging from agricultural communications to wildlife management. Proficiency awards are also recognized at local and state levels and provide recognition to members exploring and becoming established in agricultural career pathways. So far, Ohio’s national proficiency winners are:

Veterinary Science – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Bailey Lowe

Bailey Lowe of the Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter has always had an interest in animals, but her experience was limited to mainly feeding and bathing dogs and cats. In her sophomore year in high school, she was hired as a kennel attendant at a local veterinary clinic. Her duties required her to feed, water, and walk domestic animals in addition to giving them medications and vaccinations.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA’s Shining Star Chapters

By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter

Ohio FFA has 33 three-star chapters to be recognized at the 93rd National FFA Convention and Expo. This award is the highest ranking a chapter can achieve and recognizes outstanding FFA chapters that are growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.

The McClain FFA Chapter in Highland County is a three-star chapter being honored for the third year in a row.

“To our chapter receiving the three-star chapter award is a huge deal,” said Maysun Faulconer, 2020-2021 McClain FFA Reporter. “We are honored and very proud of our officer teams who have worked hard and paved the way for our chapter to reach its goals.”

To become a three-star chapter, McClain sets goals, improves events, uses the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and outlines a program of activities. For each event, the chapter sets goals, outlines the process to achieve the goals and then executes the event.… Continue reading

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National FFA finalists for National FFA Agriscience Fair

The National FFA Organization has announced the 2020 National FFA Agriscience Fair finalists. The winners will be recognized during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo, which will be held virtually this year.

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 will compete in one of six categories in the agriscience fair and under one of the six divisions — either individually or in a team.

The recipients that finished in the top three, listed alphabetically from Ohio are: 

Animal Systems: Division 4 Lillian Hughes of the Covington-UVCC FFA

Food Products and Processing Systems: Division 2
Faith Jennings and Ayla Rutherford of the Felicity-Franklin FFA

Plant Systems: Division 1 
Joscelyn Layman of the Millcreek-West Unity FFA

Power, Structural and Technical Systems: Division 1
 Alora Siegel of the Millcreek-West Unity FFA 

Power, Structural and Technical Systems: Division 2
 Kaylee Jennings and Joanna Hamilton of the Felicity-Franklin FFA

Power, Structural and Technical Systems: Division 4
Matthew Ruff and Joseph Elder of the Westfall FFA

Social Science: Division 5
 Madisen Jolliff of the Ridgemont FFA.… Continue reading

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Gerfen a Star Farmer finalist

Nole Gerfen of the Ridgemont FFA Chapter is one of four vying for the title of Star Farmer at the National FFA Convention and Expo. The results of his competition will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7pm. Coverage of the National FFA Convention is powered by Wilmington College.

Like many young American farmers, Gerfen owes a lot to his family, and taking care of them is a top priority — even if it means making sacrifices on their behalf.

“I enrolled at Ohio State when I graduated high school, and my dad … broke his hip, and I dropped out to help my parents,” Gerfen said. “And six months later, Dad broke his other hip. And then Mom broke her leg.”

For the past few years, Gerfen has been raising pigs, cattle and sheep for his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) with Ridgemont FFA in Ohio. His parents are steadily recovering, but back when they were both unable to work, Gerfen said he was taking care of around 1,250 pigs by himself.… Continue reading

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A convention for the future, for all

By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter

As the countdown to the 93rd National FFA Convention and Expo continues, FFA members, alumni, and supporters are excited and also curious for what a virtual convention will bring. For the first time, National Convention will be held virtually, which means that for the first time every FFA member who is interested in tuning in and taking part in the activities can do so.

For one FFA member, a virtual National FFA Convention creates a whole new set of obstacles to maneuver. Bailey Eberhart, a member of the Harrison Central FFA Chapter and the former 2018-2019 Ohio FFA State, is serving as Ohio’s national officer candidate. And instead of preparing for a week-long interview process to take place in person, Eberhart is preparing for rigorous week of interviews which will take place entirely online.

Eberhart has been involved in the FFA since the seventh grade when he enrolled in his chapters middle school program.… Continue reading

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2020 National finalists and participants from the Ohio FFA

Provided by the Ohio FFA Association

American FFA Degrees – 478

American Star Farmer Finalist Nole Gerfen, Ridgemont

National Officer Candidate Bailey Eberhart, Harrison Central

National Proficiency Award Finalists (19)

Agricultural Education – Mekenzie Jolliff, Ridgemont

Agricultural Sales-Placement – Austin Timmerman, Versailles

Agricultural Services – Grant Skinner, Buckeye Valley-DACC

Agriscience Research-Animal – Jessica McWatters, Pettisville

Agriscience Research-Integrated – Jared Hamilton, Felicity-Franklin

Agriscience Research-Plant – Christa George, Oregon-Clay

Beef Production-Entrepreneurship – Samantha Wallace, Lakota

Dairy Production-Placement – Riley Thobe, Anna

Diversified Agricultural Production – Wyatt Crozier, Felicity-Franklin

Diversified Crop Production-Entrepreneurship – Benjamin Sheaffer, Upper Sandusky

Diversified Livestock Production – Jacob Wuebker, Versailles

Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management – Jayme Pennell, West Holmes

Equine Science-Entrepreneurship – Kori Kile, East Clinton

Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production – Garrett Thomas, Kenton-OHP

Poultry Production – Michael Bair, Miami East-MVCTC

Small Animal Production and Care – Jon Steiner, Houston-UVCC

Swine Production-Placement – Luke Billenstein, Versailles

Veterinary Science – Bailey Lowe, Felicity-Franklin

Wildlife Production and Management – Madeleine Wixom, Pettisville

National Chapter Award-Premier Chapter Finalists

Growing Leaders – Southeastern, Valley View-MVCTC

Three-Star Chapters – Amanda-Clearcreek, Anna, Black River, Blanchester, Bowling Green-Penta, Cardington, Carey, Clear Fork, Covington-UVCC, Fayetteville, Felicity-Franklin, Firelands, Houston-UVCC, London, McClain,

Miami East-MVCTC, Miami Trace, Mississinawa Valley-MVCTC, National Trail-MVCTC, New Bremen,

Otsego-Penta, Peebles, Ridgemont, South Central, Southeastern, St.… Continue reading

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Student leaders prepare for the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo

FFA members and supporters from across the country will log on to their smart devices this week to celebrate agricultural education and agriculture during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo.

The event, which is traditionally the largest student convention in the country, will be held virtually this year, allowing even more people to participate in the event.

“The event may look a little different this year,” said Mandy Hazlett, associate director of convention and events for the National FFA Organization, “but we still have the amazing programming that we always offer our students and supporters. We are thankful for all of the support we’ve had as we’ve made the transition from the live event to the virtual platform. Convention activities will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27.”

The national convention and expo is an opportunity for FFA members from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to be exposed to new career paths and opportunities — while celebrating the accomplishments these future leaders have made over the past year.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 177 | National FFA Convention: Pandemic Style

Matt, Kolt, and a Birthday Boy Dusty host this week! Matt has interviews with two of the Between the Rows Farmers, Jake Heilmann and Willie Murphy. This week is the 93rd National FFA Convention and Expo- but it’s the first time it has ever been virtual! Kolt has an interview with Ohio’s shinning star, National FFA President Kolesen McCoy.  And Madi Kregel has an interview with Hannah Sykes from the Adena FFA Chapter! Wishing the Ohio FFA members and chapters a fun and fulfilling National FFA Convention! … Continue reading

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Miami East -MVCTC Teams Compete in Virtual State Soils Event

On Tuesday, October 20, several members of the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter competed in the Ohio FFA State Urban and Agricultural Soils Career Development Events. The 2020 events were held virtually with contestants completing all portions of the competition by watching videos, pictures, and summarizing descriptions. 

The Urban Soils team consisted of Landin Putnam, Ava Prince, Kynlee Patton, Hunter Randall, Thomas Wallace, Ayla Gilbert, McKayah Musselman, Caleb Richter, Reagan Howell, Jadyn Maingi, Kaden Weldy, Wil Puthoff, Michael Hohenstein, and Ella Fine. The team placed 25 out of 106 teams. Landin Putnam was the highest placing individual from Miami East placing 69 out of 572 individuals. 

The Agricultural (Rural) Soils team consisted of Brooklyn Taylor, Elisabeth Norman, Fletcher Harris, Lindsey Ott, Devon Abshire, Madison Maxson, Kyle Larson, Abigail Kadel, Ty Roeth, Logan Phillips, Alaina Helsinger, Nick Prince, Jacob Roeth, Brayden Link, Devan Nix, Kyle Vernon, Maya Bowsher, Conner Adamson, and Martin Desautels.… Continue reading

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West Holmes FFA competes in Forestry Contest

On Tuesday, October 6th, five West Holmes FFA members competed in the State Forestry CDE. Each participant took a general knowledge test, completed lumber pricing problems, tree identification, equipment identification, tree and forest problem identification, map reading practicum, forest product identification, and timber cruising. The team placed 25th out of 52 teams. Individually, Addison Yates was 78th, Jayme Pennell was 104th, Wyatt Myers was 185th, Dawson Doretich was 310th, and Dyllan Bender was 331st out of 404 individuals. … Continue reading

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Northwestern FFA competes in Soil Judging CDE

By: Jadeyn Berry, chapter reporter

This year the Northwestern-Wayne FFA chapter competed in both Urban and Rural soils Career Development Event. The contest is designed to educate students on how to evaluate soil for both Urban and Rural use. Each team evaluates the soil based on different characteristics to determine what the land can be used for. The urban land and soil judging CDE is an educational activity designed as a practical method of teaching students to evaluate land and soil to determine its potential use for urban, home site, and other non farm uses. The Agricultural Soils CDE is an educational activity designed as a practical method of teaching students to evaluate land and soil and to make decisions when faced with soil related issues that affect agricultural production.This year the Urban team consisted of Valerie Imhoff, Desiree Smith, Cassidy Brown, Jadeyn Berry, Gabby Ream, and Jacoby Gilbert.The Rural team consisted of Cole Wharton, Craig Wellert, Dugan McLaughlin, Kirsten Boreman, Kaleb Badger, Haley Caldwell, and Kade Tegtmeier. … Continue reading

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ZT FFA Members “Can For a Cause” to Address Local Food Insecurity Issues

What do you get when you combine 4 bushels of grapes, 75 pounds of sugar, 120 mason jars and a whole chapter of FFA members? Nearly 50 gallons of homemade grape juice ready for donating to local food pantries!

On October 5th and 6th the members of the Zane Trace FFA worked throughout the day to process 159 quarts and 12 half gallon jars of grape juice. The students started by picking, sorting and washing the grapes to ensure the top quality grapes were used for the juice. They then combined grapes, sugar and boiling water into sanitized mason jars and added the lids and rings. The jars were then processed for 20-30 minutes in a water bath canner to ensure sterilization and a tight seal of the lids. After this the jars were allowed to cool and rest so the flavors could blend.

After four days the members performed a quality check on the jars and found that all of them had correctly sealed.… Continue reading

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FFA Members Help Construct Zane Trace Student Courtyards

At the beginning of the school year, Zane Trace schools had a problem: how to space out students during their lunch periods and provide outdoor space for classroom learning?  After some creative solutions proposed by ZT Administrators and teachers, the idea of creating the Zane Trace Student Courtyards was born. The two outdoor courtyards were designed for both middle school and high school students to utilize for their lunch periods to provide for increased social distancing and for teachers, coaches and staff to use for outdoor classroom space and student organization meetings. 

Zane Trace High School Principal Ty Wertman approached the ZT FFA Advisors in early August to determine if the chapter could construct picnic tables to place in the courtyards. The chapter members responded by working with school maintenance staff to build ten picnic tables in time for the start of school and another additional ten tables before the end of September.… Continue reading

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ZT FFA Members Provide Veggies for School Lunches

How can you make a salad more interesting for high school students and teachers? Or add flavor to tacos and burritos on the school lunch menu?  The Zane Trace FFA chapter has the answer! Just add fresh tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos from their garden!

FFA members started seedlings in their chapter greenhouse during the first week of March, just before the schools closed for the COVID pandemic. Advisors and officers cared for the plants during the school shutdown and the garden was established in May. Since then students have picked tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and tomatillos from their raised beds to supplement the cafeteria lunch program. An average of 20 pounds of vegetables was processed each week during the first two months of school.

As fall approached, students started cold-weather crops including carrots, snow peas and spinach to provide fresh produce items for lunches in the coming months. They hope to continue the project by starting beds of greens in their greenhouse for harvesting over the winter.… Continue reading

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ZT FFA Officers participate in Ohio Legislative Leadership Conference

On Wednesday, September 30th ten members of the Zane Trace FFA Chapter participated in the Ohio FFA Legislative Leadership Conference. The event normally takes place in the Ohio Statehouse with FFA members enjoying lunch with their local representatives. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic this year’s event was delivered virtually through a Zoom meeting.  Nine members logged on to the meeting at Zane Trace and one accessed the meeting from home.

During the first session of the conference members listened to Ty Higgins, Tony Seegers and Jenna Beadle from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation regarding current agriculture policies and legislation.  US Congressman Troy Balderson and Ohio Senator Bob Peterson also addressed the students on the importance of legislative efforts to support agriculture and the importance of FFA in developing future leaders.

Students then split out into five different workshops led by Ohio FFA Association officer team members. These breakout sessions helped students to share their opinions on current agriculture issues and build their awareness of lobbying and policy change efforts.… Continue reading

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