Winners of the 2017 National Agricultural Proficiency Awards were announced during the sixth general session at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo. Awards were given in 47 categories.
Kolt Buchenroth of the Kenton-OHP FFA Chapter in Ohio began his career in agricultural communications when he was offered a job at WKTN Radio as the agriculture news reporter. Serving the northwest Ohio region, he works to report factual, accurate and engaging agricultural news to his listeners. Kolt also manages the Hardin County Fair website and other social media outlets. He plans to attend The Ohio State University at Lima and pursue a degree in agricultural communications and eventually become a farm broadcaster. He is supported by his parents, Jolene and Buck, and his FFA advisor, Shalie Logan. This award is sponsored by Bader Rutter and Associates, Inc. and Red Brand.
Katelyn Ann Zimmerman—Wisconsin
Katelyn Ann Zimmerman of the Spencer FFA Chapter in Wisconsin has been a leader in her chapter’s agricultural literacy programs and Breakfast on the Farm activities. She became a camp counselor at the school’s agriscience camp and taught a lesson about seeds with a hands-on activity. Katelyn eventually became a camp director and was charged with developing lesson plans, recruiting and training counselors and more. She plans to pursue a career as an agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor. She is supported by her parents, Cheryl and Mark, and her FFA advisor, her father. This award is sponsored by The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation and Tulsa Welding School.
Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Bryce Cline of the Stephenville FFA Chapter in Texas works with his father in his construction firm. He started by working on small projects such as pen systems, livestock equipment, and small structures. He eventually learned to cover all aspects of the operation, including planning, securing materials, building and finishing large-scale custom metal buildings. Cline plans to attend Tarleton State University to study agricultural education and agribusiness, with the goal of a career in agricultural science and research. He is supported by his parents, Jennifer and Grant, and his FFA advisors, Michael Rainey and Ryan Best. This award is sponsored by Carry-On Trailer Corporation and Lincoln Electric.
Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance—Entrepreneurship
Aaron Lane Hendrich—Ohio
When Aaron Lane Hendrich of the Eaton-MVCTC FFA Chapter in Ohio was seven years old, his parents gave him an old push mower that did not run. After disassembling it, he made some repairs, put it back together and it ran. His interest in engines continued, and he was eventually selected to represent Ohio in the National 4-H small engine competition, placing second. Aaron hopes to have a career in small engine maintenance and repair and eventually become a mechanical engineer. He is supported by his parents, Esther and Phillip, and his FFA advisor, Rebecca Holbrook. This award is sponsored by Kubota Tractor Corporation and Mystik Lubricants.
Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance—Placement
Drake Logan Davis—Indiana
Drake Logan Davis of the Southmont FFA Chapter in Indiana started in agricultural mechanics five years ago by helping his father on the farm. He has restored a 1949 Farmall Cub, a 1962 Farmall 504, a 1935 Farmall F12 and a 1977 International 1086. Davis has also competed in a Chevron Delo tractor restoration contest, placing third and being named the reserve national champion. He plans to graduate from Parkland College with an associate degree in applied science, becoming an agricultural mechanics technician. He is supported by his parents, Melody and Dan, and his FFA advisors, Erin Gilley and Gary Mosbaugh. This award is sponsored by Chevrolet and Tractor Supply Company.
Garrett Hershel Harrell—Georgia
Garrett Hershel Harrell of the Colquitt County FFA Chapter in Georgia works at Collier Tomato, a produce packing facility that packs more than 11 million pounds of tomatoes each year. He works in the packing shed, monitoring the temperature of the holding tanks, customization of belts to sort the sizes of the tomatoes and checking pH levels in the tanks. In addition to earning his degree, Garrett plans to buy into Collier Tomato and become both the farm manager and overseer of the packing shed. He is supported by his mom, Julie, and his FFA advisors, Adrienne Smith, Stacey Beacham, Jesse Boland and Gene Hart. This award is sponsored by CHS.
Hannah York of the Caldwell County FFA Chapter in Kentucky creates autumn displays in her community for private homes and businesses. After local fields have been combined, she gathers leftover cornstalks — approximately 250 at a time — and sorts them into groups of 12 to 15 for display purposes. Hannah uses mums, pumpkins, and gourds as well to provide a decorative option for those looking for decorations but lacking time to do it themselves. She is supported by her parents, Nikel and Wes, and her FFA advisors, Magen Woods, and her father. This award is sponsored by Crop Production Services and Valent USA Corporation.
Sierra MacKenzie Drewes—Ohio
Sierra MacKenzie Drewes of the Kern Valley FFA Chapter in California works at a feed store in her community, selling medicine, grooming supplies, supplements, and tack. Entrusted to open and manage the store on her own, she also has the opportunity to develop skills in public relations, money handling, public speaking and business management. Sierra is attending Fresno State University and plans on majoring in agriculture education with a focus in animal science. She is supported by her parents, Lauren and Todd, and her FFA advisors, Emily Keverline and Robert Hanger. This award is sponsored by Fastenal and Provimi North America, Inc.
Charlie Hoppe of the Cedar Park FFA Chapter in Texas has a supervised agricultural experience that began with business trading portfolios. He has maintained online investment accounts for his family, friends and himself since 2012. This includes the buying, selling, shorting and hedging of agriculture stocks, options, commodities, exchange-traded funds and dividend funds. In the future, Charlie will pursue opening his own financial advising firm. He is supported by his parents, Jennifer and Chris, and his FFA advisors, Jack Winterrowd and Myles Russell. This award is sponsored by Stanley Black and Decker, Inc.
Agriscience Research—Animal Systems
Claire Seibel of the Lord Botetourt FFA Chapter in Virginia began her research with the hope of improving the genetic quality of the herd on her family farm by increasing the number of heifers in standing estrus. This enables the animals to breed with artificial insemination. She ran her trial eight times over four years, drastically improving the herd and inspiring Claire to pursue a future career in agriscience with ag engineering and enology. She is supported by her parents, Megan and Andy, and her FFA advisor, Stuart Byrd. This award is sponsored by the National FFA Foundation and National FFA Organization.
Agriscience Research—Integrated Systems
Amelia Anne Hayden—Wisconsin
Amelia Anne Hayden of the Big Foot FFA Chapter in Wisconsin initially developed a passion for research because she wanted to find solutions for issues within the agricultural industry while improving her skills. She has conducted research observing the effects of cinnamon as a nutritional supplement on the development of various systems. Amelia was hoping to find a dietary supplement which would lower blood glucose levels in animals. In college, she plans on majoring in microbiology and work in the field of epidemiology. She is supported by her parents, Claire and Edward, and her FFA advisors, Lisa Konkel, Jeanne Case and Zachary Markhardt. This award is sponsored by Seneca Foods Corporation.
Agriscience Research—Plant Systems
Courtney Jane Cameron—Georgia
Courtney Jane Cameron of the Lowndes FFA Chapter in Georgia has used her research skills to tackle the problem of the tobacco mosaic virus, or TMV, by using acetylsalicylic acid. TMV is a viral crop disease worldwide impacting approximately 250 species of plants with no known cure. Through her work, Courtney determined that aspirin was effective in controlling TMV in heirloom tomato plants and went on to test the same on heirloom pea plants. She plans on attending the University of Georgia to study horticulture with a goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in plant pathology. She is supported by her parents, Mary Beth and Wes, and her FFA advisors, James Corbett, Quinton Hadsock and Michael Lee Barnes. This award is sponsored by FMC Corporation, Agricultural Solutions.
Lane Fanning of the Laverne FFA Chapter in Oklahoma has a labor exchange agreement with his parents, allowing him to use facilities, machinery, and equipment. This agreement has allowed him to grow a herd of 230 stocker cattle and maintain 169 acres of grassland. Responsible for the purchase, health, care, and feeding of his stocker cattle, he had approximately 500 cattle in his herd in 2014. Max has completed the Master of Beef Advocacy program through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, allowing him to tell the story of his beef production experience and promote beef in a positive way. He is supported by his parents, Michele and Tom, and his FFA advisors Sandi Kolbe and Jim Culp. This award is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and Rabo AgriFinance.
Thomas Logan Waldrop—Georgia
Thomas Logan Waldrop of the Franklin County FFA Chapter in Georgia works with four different cattle operations located throughout north Georgia. Beginning his experience as a seventh-grade student, he learned the ins and outs of beef cattle on his family farm. Assisting in facility management, herd health, managing forages and synchronizing the herd for breeding, his endeavors have led him to work nearly 800 acres and 300 head of cattle. Thomas plans to attend the University of Georgia and study animal science. He is supported by his parents, Mary and Tommy, and his FFA advisors, Cale Watkins, Eric Hickox, Anna Watkins and Owen Thomason. This award is sponsored by Red Brand.
Isabella Lynn Portner—Minnesota
Isabella Lynn Portner of the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter in Minnesota grew up on the family dairy farm, receiving her first registered Brown Swiss calf when she was seven years old. By 2016, her herd had grown to 34 cows, heifers and bull calves. Allowed to house her herd on her family farm, she barters milk sales for her expenses of feed, housing, vaccinations, semen, BST, bedding and vet costs. Isabella hopes to continue expanding her herd throughout her life and become more productive through genetic selection. She is supported by her parents, Mary and Tom, and her FFA advisors, Mary Hoffman and Kelsey Brandt. This award is sponsored by New Holland.
Jared T. Dickman—Illinois
Jared T. Dickman of the Eastland FFA Chapter in Illinois milks 150 registered Holsteins and one Jersey cow twice a day. At the operation he works for, they feed three different types of rations: one for the milking herd, one for the dry cows and another for breeding age heifers. Jared’s tasks include everything related to the production and care of the dairy animals and the quality of the milk that they produce. He plans on majoring in dairy science at the University of Wisconsin Platteville. He is supported by his parents, Tina and Connan, and his FFA advisor, Cynthia Feltmeyer. This award is sponsored by Kuhn North America and Nasco.
Diversified Agricultural Production-Entrepreneurship/Placement
Nole Gerfen of the Ridgemont FFA Chapter in Ohio remembers a childhood of riding in tractors with his parents. Today, his supervised agricultural experiences include commercial breeding swine, finisher hogs, breeding sheep, roaster lambs, market steers, beef breeding heifers, corn silage, hay, corn and some placement experiences on the family swine farm. His own swine breeding enterprise consists of 33 sows that farrow two and half times each year to produce 11 pigs per litter. Nole plans to attend The Ohio State University, majoring in agricultural business. He is supported by his parents, Kim and Steve, and his FFA advisor, Stephanie Jolliff. This award is sponsored by Ram Trucks.
Diversified Crop Production—Entrepreneurship
Cole Ketterling—North Dakota
Cole Ketterling of the Wishek FFA Chapter in North Dakota started his farming operation when he was in the seventh grade. At first, he rented 40 acres from his father. Today, he farms 300 acres, growing corn, sunflowers, spring wheat and soybeans. Cole’s crops are sold and used for food, ethanol and cooking oil. He is attending North Dakota State University, majoring in accounting and agricultural economics. He is supported by his parents, Dynette and Kermit, and his FFA advisor, Kristi Tonnessen. This award is sponsored by CHS.
Diversified Crop Production—Placement
Landon D. Herring—Georgia Landon D. Herring of the Lowndes FFA Chapter in Georgia grows tobacco, bell peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and multiple varieties of squash on a family farm. Since he began his supervised agricultural experience, his tasks have ranged from minimal skill jobs like stacking boxes to managing farm laborers. Since graduating high school, he has been working to grow the farm from a 10- to 20,000-acre farm that reaches from Georgia to North Carolina and Florida. He is supported by his parents, Lisa and Joey, and his FFA advisors, James Corbett, Quinton Hadsock and Michael Lee Barnes. This award is sponsored by Growing America’s Farmers and National Crop Insurance Services.
Jimmy Joey Reyes—Oregon Jimmy Reyes of the Dayton FFA Chapter in Oregon works on his family’s 15.8-acre container and bare root nursery operation and landscape maintenance company. As a child, he would go with his father to help mow lawns and prune landscapes. He began in the nursery as a general field worker, tasked with weeding, irrigating and transplanting plants. He is now the assistant manager. Jimmy plans to pursue a degree in horticulture and agriculture business management. He is supported by his parents, Victoria and Rufino, and his FFA advisor, Mitch Coleman. This award is sponsored by The Toro Company and Wilbur-Ellis Company.
Diversified Livestock Production—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Adam Daniel Blumenschein—Ohio
Adam Daniel Blumenschein of the Fairbanks FFA Chapter in Ohio raises and manages a herd of 100 commercial Dorset ewes, 111 market lambs, 18 commercial Angus females and 13 market and replacement cattle. He started showing Hampshire sheep with his sister when he was only seven years old. He markets his sheep and cattle to local customers as freezer meat. Adam has worked to get an increased rate of gain in his lambs and steers by using ground ear corn. He hopes to have the largest commercial flock in central Ohio and increase to his cattle to 40 head. He is supported by his parents, Aimee and Dan, and his FFA advisors, Rob Riddle and John Thomas. This award is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and Wahl Clipper Corporation.
Environmental Science and Natural Resources—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Margaret Mackin of the Rigby FFA Chapter in Idaho works for a family business, consulting with land owners and developers, including ranchers and other agricultural producers, to comply with government laws and regulations, particularly those of the Environmental Protection Agency. She helps clients avoid wetland violations, defend alleged allegations and more. Margaret hopes to study finance in college and become a financial advisor. She is supported by her parents, Susan and William, and her FFA advisors, Robert Hale, Holly Fullmer and Lex Godfrey. This award is sponsored by CHS.
Demi West of the Gilmer FFA Chapter in Texas purchases, trains and sells ranch and performance horses and ponies as part of her supervised agricultural experience. Starting with a sound-minded and well-built colt, she brings out its innate potential. She begins with ground work, lunging, stopping and turning. Throughout her four-year SAE, she has trained and sold 12 horses and have four that are being trained to sell. Demi plans to attend Northeast Texas Community College and continue growing her horse business. She is supported by her parents, Wendy and Shannon, and her FFA advisors, Russell Thomas, Sue Witt, Paulette Aguilar, Kyle Keahey and Cati Heikkinen. This award is sponsored by Red Brand.
Cody Lane Wofford—Georgia
Cody Lane Wofford of the Madison County FFA Chapter in Georgia has been exhibiting, managing and training Tennessee Walking Horses since the seventh grade. Each day, he exercises the stable’s 22 horses, rehearsing a plethora of gaits that will be expected of them in show. In addition to training and feeding the horses, he also assists in trimming hooves and shoeing as needed. After graduating high school, Cody plans to enroll at Casey and Son Horseshoeing school to become a certified farrier. He is supported by his parents, Jenny and Bret, and his FFA advisors, Katie Hall, Deion Latimer, Kathrine Bell and Cindy Jones. This award is sponsored by Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment and Tractor Supply Company.
Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Luke Muller of the Navajo FFA Chapter in Oklahoma grew up in the cotton furrows, learning every aspect of the operation. He’s been tasked with irrigating, chopping weeds and helping his father scout for pests. Luke was present when a canola crop of 300 acres was added to the farm. Starting out on a crew, he is now put in charge of a three- to five-man crew. He is attending Oklahoma State University and majoring in plant and soil science. He is supported by his parents, Kellie and Matt, and his FFA advisor, Scott McCombs. This award is sponsored by Bunge North America.
Food Science and Technology—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Ann Marie Shelby—Ohio
Ann Marie Shelby of the Zane Trace FFA Chapter in Ohio has a supervised agricultural experience program that consists of food science projects related to developing new products and solving problems. One such experiment included determining whether certain fruits were more nutrient dense than others. Through the World Food Prize, she also became interested in food insecurity issues. Shelby plans to study chemical engineering or food biological and environmental engineering. She is supported by her mom, Carol, and her FFA advisors, Jennifer Johnston and Aaron Miller. This award is sponsored by Pilgrim’s.
Blake Kirchhoff of the Superior FFA Chapter in Nebraska owns and operates a custom swathing and baling business. In 2014, he started baling for the family farm and selling its hay. Through advertising at local businesses, he’s been able to pick up more acres and clients. Blake eventually added a swather to his operation so he could easily take on a 500-acre job. He’s also purchased a John Deere 4255 tractor. He is supported by his parents, Cindy and Matthew, and his FFA advisor, Seth Going. This award is sponsored by Claas of America.
Forest Management and Products—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Samuel Rhodes of the Central High School Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Virginia started receiving small chores in his father’s sawmill when he was ten years old. He developed a passion for the work, learning to evaluate tree stands, identify trees and pests and disease and effectively work with customers. At the mill, Samuel assists in record keeping, reforestation, billing and more. He hopes to ultimately end up in the forest industry. He is supported by his parents, Anita and Joseph, and his FFA advisors, Sherry Heishman and Amanda Curry. This award is sponsored by John Deere.
Dillion Gerome Givens—Tennessee
Dillion Gerome Givens of the McMinn County FFA Chapter in Tennessee works on his father’s seven acre muscadine vineyard, assisting in growing the 1,400 plants that produce 25 tons of muscadine grapes. His responsibilities include pruning, working within the limits of the weather, controlling weeds and making the vineyard aesthetically pleasing. Dillion hopes to continue advancing his pomology and agribusiness skills. He is supported by his parents, Hayley and Randy, and his FFA advisors, Suzane Edwards, Brittany Davis and Michelle Parrott. This award is sponsored by AgroFresh and the DuPont Company.
Thomas William Woelfle—Tennessee
Thomas William Woelfie of the Munford “Big Boll” FFA Chapter in Tennessee began his interest in goat production 11 years ago when his grandfather purchased two Boer/Kiko mixed does and a buck for him. By the time he started high school, he had five registered Boer does – a number that would increase to 30 over the next five years. His daily work consists of caring for livestock, fence repair and general maintenance. Thomas is attending Austin Peay State University, pursuing a degree in agriculture and animal sciences. He is supported by his parents, Karen and Woody, and his FFA advisors, Ashley Bringle, Glenn Goulder, Bill Newsom, Ann Johnson and Leanne McRae. This award is sponsored by the Bekaert Corporation and Tractor Supply Company.
Jaclynn Knutson—South Dakota
Jaclynn Knutson of the Viborg FFA Chapter in South Dakota had already purchased 61 acres of land by the time she joined FFA. Since that time, she’s bought about 37 and rented an additional 137. With crop rotation, she has grown corn, wheat, soybeans and cover crops. Jaclynn employs no-tillage and soil conservation and has seen her operation flourish. She is attending South Dakota State University, pursuing a degree in agricultural communications. She is supported by her parents, Alicia and Jason, and her FFA advisor, John Rist. This award is sponsored by Valent USA Corporation.
Joel Baltazar Mendoza—California
Joel Baltazar Mendoza of the Hamilton City FFA Chapter in California has a supervised agricultural experience that includes rice field preparation, planting trials, collecting field data and harvesting the crop. Starting his freshman year, he began working with his father as a rice researcher. Starting with simpler tasks, Joel eventually learned to spray, irrigate, clean and dry seed, ship and harvest. He hopes to major in plant science at California State University at Chico. He is supported by his parents, Lorena and Baltazar, and his FFA advisors, Janice Lohse and Ryan Bentz. This award is sponsored by BASF.
Home and/or Community Development—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Ben Murray of the Berrian FFA Chapter in Georgia works for his county’s Chamber of Commerce and is an assistant to the economic development coordinator. Through his efforts, he has worked to develop activities that have spurred economic growth in his community. These events include a harvest festival, rodeo and “Shop Small Town” events. Ben also volunteers with FFA, 4-H and his church. He plans on attending the University of Georgia to pursue a degree in agriculture business. He is supported by his parents, Leasa and Gregg, and his FFA advisors, Blake Kendrick, Garvie Nichols, Rebekah Dunn and Scott Johnson. This award is sponsored by Carhartt, Inc.
Joshua Meixell of the Smyrna FFA Chapter in Delaware works for his father’s landscaping company. For over 25 clients, he installs and maintains lawns and landscapes throughout his state. His tasks have included mowing, weed and edge trimming, mulching, planting various types and sizes of plants and bushes, installing hardware features and snow removal. Joshua hopes to earn a degree in civil engineering and eventually take over the family lawn care business with his brother. He is supported by his parents, Wendy and Walter, and his FFA advisors, Keith Shane, Jay Davis, Kellie Michaud and Sarah Bell. This award is sponsored by Briggs and Stratton Corporation, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company.
Darin Paul Knobloch—Iowa
Darin Paul Knobloch of the West Lyon Community FFA Chapter in Iowa loved spending time in his parents’ greenhouse when he was a child. Today, he is involved in the actual production of plants, including mixing soil, seeding, cuttings, transplanting, potting, labeling plants and more. He also works in the retail store, honing customer service and people skills. Darin plans to pursue a degree in horticulture and business management, eventually taking over the family business. He is supported by his parents, Beth and Myron, and his FFA advisors, Craig Winquist and Shauna Kill. This award is sponsored Nufarm Americas.
Joshua Loew—New Jersey
Joshua Loew of the Cumberland Regional FFA Chapter in New Jersey works at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, a small business that consists of 20 row boats that can be rented for use at the local creek. Joseph focuses on ecotourism, working as a tour guide. He drives a boat into the marsh to observe natural scenery and to catch blue claw crabs. From his experience, he’s developed leadership, teamwork, customer service and critical thinking skills. He hopes to become a biological scientist in the future, studying animal species and ecosystems. He is supported by his parents, Tiffany and William, and his FFA advisor, Patricia Thorne. This award is sponsored by Yamaha Motor Corporation USA.
Trenton Michael Thomas—Alabama
Trenton Michael Thomas of the Goshen FFA Chapter in Alabama grew up helping on the family’s poultry farm. He works in eight broiler houses on a daily basis, working with 158,270 birds. His duties include managing the operation, monitoring and addressing problems, culling birds early in the growing process, as well as maintaining interior equipment, air quality, water, feed and ventilation systems. Trenton plans to attend Auburn University and study agribusiness management and poultry science. He is supported by his parents, Angie and Chris, and his FFA advisors, Cody Eiland and Jamie Rich. This award is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
Mikara Anderson of the Southern Huntingdon County FFA Chapter in Pennsylvania owns and operates a market lamb business and registered breeding flock. Since her sister introduced her to the lamb and wool industry, she has fallen in love with the opportunity to compete in the show ring and to raise a lamb from birth to maturity. Her current flock consists of ten brood ewes — eight of which are Hampshires registered through the American Hampshire Association — two stud ewes, and one Hampshire lamb. Mikara plans to attend Pennsylvania State University to study government law and Spanish. She plans to maintain her purebred sheep flock. She is supported by her parents, Holly and Gerald, and her FFA advisor, Rebecca Sellers. This award is sponsored by the National FFA Foundation and National FFA Organization.
Small Animal Production and Care—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Kam Childers of the Thomas Walker FFA Chapter in Virginia has an obsession with dogs that began when he was six years old, watching his first set of puppies being born. He has worked with border collies and raccoon hunting dogs. His duties have included helping with feeding, watering and cleaning kennels. He also regularly checks the health of the animals while training, caring for and managing the hunting dogs and sheep herding collies. Kam plans to study at Northern Oklahoma College, then earn a degree in agriculture sales and marketing at Virginia Tech. He is supported by his parents, April and Blake, and his FFA advisor, Robbie Cope. This award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health and Tractor Supply Company.
Specialty Animal Production—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Nicholas Perreault of the Killingly FFA Chapter in Connecticut is the aquaculture lab manager for his school district. With 1,000 tilapia fish, 50 koi and various other aquatic organisms including tropical fish and a turtle, he manages the lab after school, on weekends and during school breaks. His responsibilities include daily maintenance and managing all the systems to ensure the health and growth of the fish. Nicholas plans to work in the environmental sciences field. He is supported by his parents, Lynn and Michael, and his FFA advisors, Ken Couture, Bonnie Kegler, Courtney Cardinal, Rebecca Pond and Bethany Knowlton. This award is sponsored by the National FFA Foundation and National FFA Organization.
Specialty Crop Production—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Ryan Conway Patrum—Tennessee
Ryan Conway Patrum of the Paris FFA Chapter in Tennessee works on a 40-acre burley tobacco farm. While he typically helps with setting the tobacco, he also hoes the ground to keep weeds back. He tops and oils the plans and removes buds off the top of leaves. Ryan hangs the tobacco in to barn to be air cured for six weeks. He hopes to one day take over management of the operation. He is supported by his parents, Gayle and Gary, and his FFA advisors, Laura Moss and Ryan Inman. This award is sponsored by National FFA Foundation and National FFA Organization.
Collin Dunaway of the Felicity Franklin FFA Chapter in Ohio has an operation of 47 market hogs, marketed in five month intervals, which he has purchased and managed by himself. When he was 12 years old, he began with two market hogs that he showed at the county fair. From there, his passion was born. Today, he uses his operation to produce fresh, locally raised pork to market to consumers in his community. Throughout his experience, Collin has increased his knowledge of swine nutrition while also earning pork quality assurance certification. He is supported by his parents, Shawnna and Todd, and his FFA advisor, Holly Jennings. This award is sponsored by Farmland Foods, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company.
Trent C. Stevermer—Minnesota
Trent C. Stevermer of the United South Central FFA Chapter in Minnesota lives and works on the family farrow to finish hog farm. With 150 sows and artificial insemination, they have room to farrow approximately 30 sows at a time. When newborn pigs arrive, Trent clips needle teeth, gives iron shots, notches ears, cuts tails and gives vaccination shots. His responsibilities have only increased with age. Once he completes college – hopefully at Iowa State University – he plans to continue the operation. He is supported by his parents, Becca and Chuck, and his FFA advisor, Dan Dylla. This award is sponsored by the National FFA Foundation and National FFA Organization.
Turf Grass Management—Entrepreneurship/Placement
Austin D. Nordyke—Kansas
Austin D. Nordyke of the Hugoton FFA Chapter in Kansas maintains lawns for customers in his community. He started as an employee to his older sister, helping her mow lawns. Four years ago, he took over the operation and now has approximately 65 clients. He offers mowing, trimming, edging, sprinkler system maintenance, fall leaf clean up and snow removal. Austin is attending Wichita State University, pursuing a degree in engineering technology. He is supported by his parents, Shannon and Paul, and his FFA advisor, Les McNally. This award is sponsored by John Deere.
Liam Ludwig of the Batesville FFA Chapter in Indiana works on his family’s 200-acre vegetable farm, growing cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, corn, peppers, eggplant, squash, pumpkins, gourds and more. The business includes a greenhouse, allowing for quicker germination rates and increased growth. Liam plans to become a co-owner or farm manager of the operation, working with his older brother. He is supported by his parents, Rita and Larry, and his FFA advisor, Cassie Wallpe. This award is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and Wilbur-Ellis Company.
Katrina Siems of the Morro Bay FFA Chapter in California works for Los Osos Pet Hospital as a kennel technician. Growing up in a household with several pets, she was drawn to the veterinarian. She feeds boarding animals, walks the dogs, and cleans up after closing. She eventually took on the responsibilities of holding dogs for blood draws and giving insulin shots. Katrina plans to attend the University of California at Davis to study animal science with the goal of eventually becoming a veterinarian. She is supported by her parents, Alice and Chris, and her FFA advisor, Peggy Flynn. This award is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Blue Buffalo and Tractor Supply Company.
Wildlife Production and Management—Entrepreneurship/Placement
McKenzie R. Schneider—Colorado
McKenzie R. Schneider of the Platte Valley FFA Chapter in Colorado is a co-owner of the Double Rae Pheasants company. She raises common ring-necked pheasants to maturity before selling them. Her customers purchase these birds for meat, dog training, hunting, repopulating and more. McKenzie attends Colorado State University and hopes to eventually earn a PhD in animal science. She is supported by her parents, Jackie and Justin, and her FFA advisors, John Stahley, Desirae Weber, Stahley Weber and Jim Lotspeich. This award is sponsored by Yamaha Motor Corporation USA.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 653,359 student members who belong to one of 8,568 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 344,239 alumni members in 2,051 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.