(National FFA Organization) – Nine winners of the 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Winners were named during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo on Tuesday, Oct. 27, which is being held virtually this year.
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.
Today, awards were announced for nine of the 45 categories during the first general convention session.
Those recipients are:
Agricultural Communications– Entrepreneurship/Placement
William Joseph Gaspard
After his seventh grade Introduction to Agriscience class, William Joseph Gaspard of the Louisiana School for the Agricultural Science FFA Chapter in Louisiana felt like he was awakened to the importance of agriculture. He decided to write a small column for the local newspaper about what he had learned. This led to working with his local Farm Bureau agent. He began writing blogs and making videos for their social media platforms. Gaspard eventually became an intern for the Louisiana Farm Bureau Public Relations and Information Department. He spends 20 to 30 hours each week producing written and visual content. He is supported by his parents, Monique and William, and his FFA advisors, Summer Anderson and Ward Bordelon. Bader Rutter and Red Brand sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Education – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Madison Alivia Taylor
Since she began high school, Madison Alivia Taylor of the Newton College & Career Academy FFA Chapter in Georgia has known that she wanted to be an agriculture educator. Encouraged by her FFA advisor, she has focused on early childhood agricultural education. She has shadowed elementary school teachers, helped develop agricultural-based lessons, created an agriculture literacy program that has been adopted by all 14 elementary schools in her community and assisted in planning livestock shows. Taylor has also attended teacher conferences hosted by her local Farm Bureau. She is supported by her parents, Lee-Ann and Tim, and her FFA advisors, Cecily Gunter and Marcus Pollard. The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation sponsors this proficiency.
Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication – Entrepreneurship/Placement
In California, Cole Marchy of the Turlock FFA Chapter in California was only nine years old when he was introduced to welding and fabricating on the family farm. Just two years later, he began to learn the art basics, and his first project being fabricating and constructing a top rail with cable fencing for his show animals. Since learning skills like arc welding and MIG welding and advanced cutting techniques, Marchy has fabricated an ATV hydraulic dump trailer and a 34- foot tilt trailer. He is supported by his parents, Lori and Bob, and his FFA advisors, Randee Prada-Vitorino, Joe DiGrazia, Anton Fernandes, Chad Booth and Alexandra Hahlbeck. Lincoln Electric sponsors this proficiency.
Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance – Entrepreneurship
Terrance Crayton of the Wetumpka FFA Chapter in Alabama owns a small engine repair service in which he repairs four-cycle and two-cycle engines on agricultural equipment. He utilizes Facebook Marketplace and classified ads to find and sell equipment. He also receives donations of unusable equipment from people in his community. He routinely repairs string trimmers, tillers, lawnmowers, and other equipment by replacing spark plugs, rebuilding carburetors, replacing coils, replacing piston rings and rod bearings, and more. Crayton is supported by his father, Terrance, and his FFA advisors, William Norris and Keith Lucy. Kubota and Mystik Lubricants sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance – Placement
Lane Douglas of the Screven County FFA Chapter in Georgia has worked for Wammock Milling Company, SmithCo Heavy Diesel Service and Yancey Caterpillar. His duties include maintaining the mill’s equipment, including payloaders used to move the feed commodities in the feed mixer and the trucks used to haul the feed to customers. The other positions allow him to repair heavy diesel equipment, including tractors and 18-wheelers, and repair Caterpillar equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and forestry equipment. Douglas is supported by his parents, Brandy and Dick, and his FFA advisors, Nancy Sell, Cali Smith, and Zach Weaver. Tractor Supply Company sponsors this proficiency.
Agricultural Processing – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Creed Ammons of the Tyler FFA Chapter in West Virginia started his entrepreneurship ham and bacon curing and processed retail pork supervised agricultural experiences as a freshman. He also raises and processes fresh holiday turkeys, meeting a large demand in his community. He uses a facility at his school’s agricultural education program at no cost, including a walk-in cooler, band saw, curing room, drying room, smoker, grinder, meat mixer, and vacuum sealer. Ammons is supported by his parents, Deanna and Leon, and his FFA advisors, Leon Ammons and Annie Hall Erwin. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Sales – Entrepreneurship
Alyssa Loredo of the Merced FFA Chapter in California has a supervised agricultural experience named Wild Game Jerky, involving the sale and marketing of domesticated and exotic animal jerky products. The business began small, with her setting up booths at local events like county fairs and industry festivals. Today, Loredo has an Amazon online storefront, in addition to expanding her sales throughout California and Nevada. She currently has more than 30 types of jerky, ranging from alligator to bison, and even ostrich. She is supported by her mother, Justina, and her FFA advisors, Steve Mua, Nicole Cecil, Karl Montague, Lesley Zorra, Julia Brewer and Stefanie Kuhr. Nutrien Solutions and Valent USA Corporation sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Sales – Placement
Austin Timmerman of the Versailles FFA Chapter in Ohio has a job placement at Superior Implement and Supply Company, a wholesale distributor of farm, lawn, and garden equipment through Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania. His responsibilities have grown from shipping, filling orders, mowing/landscaping, and stocking inventory to utilizing software to inventory stock, testing new equipment, and customer service. Timmerman is supported by his parents, Barb and Gary, and his FFA advisors, Dena Wuebker and Taylor Bergman. Cargill and Fastenal sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Services – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Cason Love of the Stephenville FFA Chapter in Texas works for a custom hay baling company. The operation involves providing the agricultural services of cutting, baling and hauling hay for customers. In all, the operation performs custom hay on roughly 1,200 acres. His duties include hauling equipment, cutting hay and running the tractor with the baler. The operation consists primarily of baling 1,000 to 1,200-pound round bales of coastal Bermuda grass hay. Love is supported by his parents, Jennifer and Robert, and his FFA advisors, Ryan Best, Savannah Bowers, Brock Burch, and Jordan Smith. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
The next eight proficiency award winners will be announced during the second general session – which will air live at 7 p.m. EDT on RFD-TV, the Cowboy Channel and streamed live on FFA.org. The 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo is being held virtually this year, Oct. 27-29. For more information, visit Convention.FFA.org.
The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Source: National FFA Organization