FFA News

Twins, best friends, teammates

By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter

They had a pact to never compete, but twins Grant and Grace Lach broke that pact in May of 2018 for their individual efforts to earn a spot on the Ohio FFA State Officer Team.

“All throughout our time in the FFA we had a pact that we wouldn’t compete against each other and running for state office was the first time that we broke that pact,” said Grant Lach, 2018-19 State Vice President at Large.

With the bright lights, adrenaline pumping and the election results being announced, their broken pact made the big moment for anyone running for state office even bigger for the twins from the Bloom Carroll FFA Chapter. But, as it turns out, breaking the pact paid off. They are the first twins to ever serve together as state officers in Ohio.

Grant and Grace recently had the chance to reflect on what it was like to serve together on the 2018-19 state officer team.… Continue reading

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Meet our 2019 Ohio FFA Student Reporters

Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal is pleased to introduce our 2019 Ohio FFA Student Reporters. Over the next two days, these young people will be helping our team report the latest happenings from State Convention. Here’s a bit about them:

Mackenzie Hoog

Hello everyone! My name is  Mackenzie Hoog, I’m 17 years old, and a junior at Valley View High School. I belong to the Valley View MVCTC FFA Chapter and am currently the 2018-19 Vice President, but will soon be the 2019-20 President. In high school, I participate in other activities such as varsity cheer, Interact Club, NHS, FCA, and student government. I am currently the President of my class and am planning prom, which is a daunting task but with the help of my team, I’m sure everything will run smoothly. Outside of school, I am a competitive cheerleader, in 4-H, President of the Montgomery County Junior Fair Board and member of our fair’s court as well.… Continue reading

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Students find unique ways to engage with agriculture

By Sydney Snider, OCJ FFA reporter

Raising livestock, growing crops or working for an agribusiness are recognized areas agricultural education students are often involved with as a part of their supervised agricultural experience (SAE). Nationally, there are 47 proficiency award areas for students to be recognized for their efforts and earnings in different areas of agriculture.

The Ohio FFA Association has two proficiency award areas not recognized on the national level: organic agriculture and accounting. These areas interest students across the state and allow them to gain skills, knowledge and experience in two unique, yet vital, sectors of agriculture. Keep reading to learn more about two students who have developed passions for these Ohio-specific proficiency areas.


Organic Agriculture

Grant DeBruin, a junior member of the Miami Trace FFA Chapter, helps on his family farm as a part of his organic agriculture SAE. DeBruin’s family has an organic pasture dairy farm located near Greenfield, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Wanted: 2019 Ohio Ag Net Student FFA Reporters

The 2019 Ohio FFA State Convention is right around the corner and Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net is on the search for outstanding Ohio FFA members to help serve as student reporters for this year’s event.

In our ninth year of the student reporter program, selected FFA members will get the opportunity to help cover the convention and work alongside our news staff, including Matt Reese, Dale Minyo, Joel Penhorwood, and Kolt Buchenroth. Ever wonder what it’s like to do our job? Here’s your chance!

The live coverage of the Ohio FFA Convention will be posted on www.ocj.com and various social media outlets with reporters helping to host news coverage alongside our staff in addition to a couple veteran student reporters.

Students will assist in gathering information, shoot video of newsworthy items and people, share their commentary of what happened in each session, and much more.

To be considered:

  • Applicants must be attending both days of the Ohio FFA State Convention May 2 and 3, 2019.
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Golden Owl Award finalists announced

During December and January, 10 agricultural educators were named as Golden Owl Award finalists in surprise ceremonies throughout the state.

Presented by Nationwide, Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio FFA, the Golden Owl Award honors agricultural educators for their outstanding contributions in helping future leaders.

Nominations were accepted through November 2018. Each of the teachers who were recognized as Golden Owl honorees received a $500 prize and entrance into the final selection stage. One honoree then will be chosen for the grand prize, the Golden Owl Award and $3,000.

The 10 finalists for the Golden Owl Award are: Dave Stiles

Indian Valley High School, Stephanie Conway Bowling Green High School, John Poulson Pettisville High School, Randy Eisenhauer

Shelby High School, Erin Wollett Cardington-Lincoln High School, Michael Spahr Greene County Career Center, Tom Holton East Knox Junior-Senior High School, Shelby Faulkner Ridgemont High School, Holly Jennings Felicity-Franklin High School, and Katrina Swinehart Central State University.… Continue reading

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1928-2018: A glimpse at the past 90 years of FFA

By Sydney Snider, OCJ FFA reporter

It has been a successful year for FFA members and chapters across the Buckeye State. Membership has reached a high with over 25,000 FFA members and 315 FFA chapters. A record number of state degree recipients were awarded at the state FFA convention in May and Ohio was honored to have several national winners recognized at the national FFA convention in October.

2018 also marks the 90th anniversary for the formation of the “Future Farmers of America.” Ohio has had a rich history in leading innovation and growth within FFA since it’s inception in 1928. Continue reading for a quick glimpse into the past 90 years.


The initial years

In November of 1928, 33 vocational agriculture students met in Kansas City to form the “Future Farmers of America.” Among the students was Ashley, Ohio native Lawrence Augenstein, who helped develop the by-laws and constitution for the FFA.… Continue reading

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Over 600 Ohio FFA members take part in OSU CFAES Hockey Night

38 members of the Zane Trace FFA Chapter visited the Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University on Friday, November 16th as part of the OSU College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Hockey Night.

Over 600 FFA members from around the state took part in the event. The college had representatives present at the game to answer questions from students in between the periods. The game gave students a chance to learn some of the traditions of Ohio State such as the O-H-I-O cheer and hearing the band play Hang On Sloopy.

The hockey team won over Wisconsin by a score of 4-0 and everyone who attended had a great time bonding with their fellow members and learning more about opportunities at OSU.… Continue reading

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Utica FFA holds 29th annual toy show and pancake breakfast

Submitted by the Utica FFA Chapter.

On Sunday, November 11th, the Utica FFA held its 29th annual toy show and pancake breakfast.

This year, 25 vendors were in attendance and over 400 visitors attended, making record attendance.

The Utica FFA would like to thank their sponsors: Oilers Meat, Kroger’s, Todd Salome/ Heritage Chicken, and Trillium Farms. FFA Members who helped at the event were, Demitri Lowry, Montanna Moran, Melodie Woodruff, Aramaik Wright, Shaeley Warner, Emily Hill, Todd Orr and Trina Orr.  Thank you to the FFA members who help to set up on Nov 10th, Mackenzie Woodruff, Montanna Moran, Melodie Woodruff, and Emily Hill.… Continue reading

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Utica FFA advances in Food Science CDE

Submitted by Kimberlee Hornyak, Utica FFA

On Monday, November 12th, 9 members from the Utica FFA chapter attended the District Food Science CDE at Zane Trace high school and qualified for the state competition in December. The Food Science CDE tests members abilities to identify aromas, identify food safety errors, and identify food science equipment. This CDE also requires members to perform a triangle taste test and use mathematics to find information about foods. The Utica FFA chapter placed second out of fourteen teams. Individually, Trina Orr placed placed 4th, Aramaik Wright placed 5th, Seth Blake placed 13th, Kimberlee Hornyak placed 23rd, Georgia Gamble placed 35th, Montanna Moran placed 78th, Bella Ellis placed 90th , Lindsay Gray placed 104th, and Melodie Woodruff placed 133rd out of 140 participants. Trina Orr, Aramaik Wright, Seth Blake, and Kimberlee Hornyak will be represeting the Utica FFA chapter at the State Contest on December 1st at the Ohio State University.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA members awarded through Blue Jacket program

The Ohio FFA Foundation recently announced it would be awarding the symbolic FFA jackets to first-year members. Students from across Ohio applied to receive the jackets as part of the Blue Jackets program, sponsored by Beck’s Hybrids and the Ohio FFA Foundation.

Beck’s Hybrids is committed to helping provide FFA jackets for first-year members who otherwise may not be able to afford the jacket. With the generous support of individuals and the Beck’s Hybrids dealer network, 107 FFA jackets were awarded this year to Ohio FFA members.

Sponsors of the jackets were as follows: Beck’s Hybrids; Cardinal Creek Seeds; Centerra Co-op; Madden Seed Sales; Tri Ag Products, Inc.; Christopher Andrus; Jason Bormuth; Joe Hoerst; and Roger Wright.

The blue corduroy jacket is part of FFA Official Dress, the student organization’s uniform worn at local, state and national events. FFA jackets open doors for students by allowing them to participate in competitions, conferences and events.

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Anthony Wayne FFA member makes history

Submitted by the Anthony Wayne FFA Chapter.

Louis Pawliski, Anthony Wayne 2017 graduate, made school history as he was a national proficiency finalist at National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana this fall. With 1,444 total state proficiency winners, Louis made it into the top 188 finalists in the country, being in the top four in the area of Agricultural Mechanics Design & Fabrication. This award was based on a application that Louis completed, as well as the state competition that he won. This was all due to the business that he began and grew as an FFA member called Krusty Lures. Today Louis continues to build his business, where he hand-makes fishing lures and rods, in downtown Toledo. He recycles used lead to create fishing lures that are useful to area fishermen. Louis is currently a sophomore at University of Toledo where he is studying business to further build Krusty Lures.… Continue reading

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National FFA Convention from the eyes of a first-year adviser and student

By Sydney Snider, OCJ FFA reporter

The 91st National FFA Convention and Expo was a memorable experience for attendees across the country. Featuring a concert from Garth Brooks, countless student winners and a visit from President Trump, the convention was full of energy, passion and booming enthusiasm. The convention was held in Indianapolis from Oct. 24 to 27.

Blake Campbell is the adviser at Warren high school in Washington County.

For a first-year FFA adviser, Convention brought light to the “behind the scenes” work that advisers put in for Campbell.

“Convention was different in many ways as a teacher over a student,” Campbell said. “This time I was in charge of finding restaurants for dinner along with helping the bus navigate Indianapolis, which can be a challenge during convention. I was in charge of making sure we had all students at each stop we left — making sure to not leave anyone behind.”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s results at the 2018 National FFA Convention at a glance

American FFA Degrees – 434


Honorary American Degrees

Melissa Bell, Zanesville
Leslie Kinder, Fletcher
Jean Scott, Tontogany

Virgil Strickler, Columbus


National Proficiency winners

Agricultural Communications – Jamie Hart, Versailles

Agricultural Processing – Emily Holcomb, Firelands

Agriscience Research Plant – Abigail Hissong, Milton-Union MVCTC

Beef Production-Entrepreneurship – Garrett Hagler, Miami Trace

Diversified Crop Production-Entrepreneurship – Todd Peterson, Miami Trace

Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production – Sarah Lehner, Buckeye Valley-DACC

Specialty Animal Production – Nathan Stewart, East Clinton

Turf Grass Management – Carson Eyre, Western Brown


Two-Star Chapters – Anna, Fayetteville, North Union, Northeastern, Talawanda-Butler Tech,


Three-Star Chapters – Amanda-Clearcreek, Black River, Bowling Green-Penta, Cardington, Cedarville-GCCC, Covington-UVCC, Eaton-MVCTC, Elgin, Felicity-Franklin, Firelands, Genoa-Penta, Houston-UVCC, London, Lynchburg-Clay, Miami East-MVCTC, Miami Trace, Missinssinawa Valley-MVCTC, National Trail-MVCTC,

New Bremen, Norwayne, Otsego-Penta, Peebles, Ridgemont, South Central, St. Marys,

Stoneridge-Pickaway Ross, Upper Sandusky, Versailles, Zane Trace


National Agriscience Fair winners

Food Products and Processing Systems Division 1 – Luke Jennings, Felicity-Franklin

Food Products and Processing Systems Division 5 – Emily Beck-Aden, Athens

Plant Systems Division 1 – Ian Hoffman, Millcreek-West Unity

Power, Structural and Technical Systems Division 6 – Joseph Glassmeyer and Jared Hamilton, Felicity-Franklin

Social Science Division 5 – Adrianne Moran, Eastern Brown


Career Development Event winners

Food Science and Technology CDE – Big Walnut-DACC

Food Science and Technology CDE – Lex Marvin, Big Walnutt-DACC (1st place individual)


National Band Participants

Meredith Bischoff-Kenton-OHP, Seth Taylor-Clyde


National Chorus Participants

Shay Bolton-Parkway


National Talent Participants

Macey Butchko-Firelands, Megan Drake-United, Aaron Hand-Wynford… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 79 | FFA success and more #WaterDrama18

The 79th episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, brings together host Ty Higgins alongside Joel Penhorwood, Matt Reese, and Dale Minyo.

Ohio FFA members excelled at the 2018 National FFA Convention, with 434 American Degrees. Joel talks with Sydney Malone about her American Degree and hearing President Trump speak.

Joel and Matt also sit down for a roundtable discussion with several Ohio FFA state officers.

Ty gets an update on the latest #WaterDrama18 with Kris Swartz of Soil and Water as well as Ohio Farm Bureau’s Adam Sharp.

All that and much more in the Ohio Ag Net Podcast.… Continue reading

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Eight Ohio FFA members named National Proficiency winners

Out of the 47 categories of National Proficiency Award areas available from the National FFA Organization, Ohio was represented by 24 national finalists. Eight Ohioans came out on top of their respective categories, an extremely difficult task. More about each of this year’s winners from the Buckeye State below:

Agricultural Communications – Entrepreneurship/Placement

Jamie Hart

From the moment Jamie Hart of the Versailles FFA Chapter in Ohio gave her first presentation in her Agricultural, Food and Natural Resources course, she was hooked on public speaking. She was motivated to find a job as a Farm News Director. When her local radio station was searching for a student farm news broadcast, she jumped at the chance. Six counties in Ohio and Indiana regularly hear news delivered from Hart. She is supported by her FFA advisor, Dena Wuebker. This award is sponsored by Bader Rutter and Associates, Inc. and Red Brand.

Agricultural Processing – Entrepreneurship/Placement

Emily Holcomb

Emily Holcomb of the Firelands FFA Chapter in Wakeman, Ohio, began producing maple syrup as a family project with her father.… Continue reading

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President Trump, politics and the FFA

By Matt Reese

Are you ready for an FFA kerfuffle? It’s been going on all week.

I must confess I was totally in the dark about this until I read an odd comment on the post at ocj.com about President Donald Trump speaking this weekend at the National FFA Convention. Here is is:

(From September)

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Kari Hanson and I am the advisor of the FFA members you have referenced in your letter to me regarding their attendance at the September 6, 2018 President Trump rally for Matt Rosendale. I want you to know that I am deeply sorry and regretful for how my students have been portrayed and the impact that this has had on each of them, my chapter, my school, the Montana FFA Association, and National FFA Organization.

I know that some that read my response will find no value in any justification I attempt to provide.Continue reading

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