INDIANAPOLIS ? Eight winners of the 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Awards 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 compete 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.
On Tuesday, awards were announced for nine of the 45 categories during the second general convention session.
These recipients are:
Agriscience Research – Animal Systems
Hunter Eide of the Gettysburg FFA Chapter in South Dakota has conducted four research projects built around state fisheries production challenges. He investigated how iodine affects the mortality of salmon eggs. He collected and fertilized the eggs and stored them in four different iodine concentrations. His research was published in 2018 and 2019 and implemented by the fisheries industry in 2019. Eide is supported by his parents, Gerri and Shon, and his FFA advisors, Gerri Eide, Lucas Eide, and Mercedes Lemke. Zoetis sponsors this proficiency.
Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems
Paige Stuber of the Academy for Sciences & Agriculture FFA Chapter in Minnesota was in the ninth grade when she developed her first research project using milk. She compared casin bioplastic engineered from cow’s and goat’s milk and determined that cow’s milk provided the greatest yield. For another project, she evaluated consumers’ level of confusion and preference regarding the marketing of dairy milk and nondairy milk alternatives. Stuber is supported by her mother, Sharyl, and her FFA advisors, Jordan Pollock, Samantha Norden, Haely Leiding, and Kathleen Crowley. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
Agriscience Research – Plant Systems
Cayden Hall Mathews
Cayden Hall Mathews of the Lowndes High FFA Chapter in Georgia conducted his project over three years. The project consisted of three experiments. He solved an agricultural problem using the scientific method by demonstrating that Cool Terra, a bio char-based soil amendment, can increase soil microbe activity, crop yields and plant production. Mathews hopes that this work will help him pursue his desired career as a doctor of veterinary medicine. He is supported by his parents, Debbie and Chris, and his FFA advisors, James Corbett, Quinton Hadsock, and Anglia Crosby. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
Beef Production – Entrepreneurship
Hunter Aue of the Merced-Golden Valley FFA Chapter in California raises, breeds and sells bucking bulls. He grew up going with his parents to the feedlot to feed the cattle and developed a passion for it. His project began in 2008, and by high school, the bulls he produced were becoming competitive at Professional Bull Rider (PBR) events across the Western and Midwestern United States. He currently has 105 head of Brahman-influenced cows and nine bulls that are active in PBR events. Aue also has eight bulls that have competed in the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas. He is supported by his parents, Kelley and Doug, and his FFA advisors, Rebecca Mendonza, Cody Jacobsen, Corey Mesa, John Olson, and Vikki Davis. Merck Animal Health and Rabo-AgriFinance sponsor this proficiency.
Beef Production – Placement
Emma Victery of the Chickasha FFA Chapter in Oklahoma works for her family farm — a seed stock, commercial cow-calf and stocker operation spanning nearly 2,000 acres. Her responsibilities initially included feeding stocker calves, helping vaccinate and deworm the animals, moving cattle from field to field, and providing basic husbandry skills. Today, she makes breeding decisions on the farm’s seed stock, helps cut and bale hay, and markets their Igenity-tested bulls for commercial cattlemen. Victery plans to take over the operation’s advertisement responsibilities by the end of her senior year. She is supported by her parents, Amy and Clark, and her FFA advisors, Emily Schmidt and Kolby Schmidt. Zoetis sponsors this proficiency.
Dairy Production – Entrepreneurship
Octavia Elizabeth Bushey
Octavia Elizabeth Bushey of the Gilmer County FFA Chapter in Georgia purchased her first commercial heifer calf in July 2015 and her first registered red and white Holstein in August 2016. She now has a herd of 20 dairy cattle. Through her supervised agricultural experience (SAE), she has learned how to evaluate then select appropriate sires for each of her heifers. By implementing high-quality bulls and genetic advancements, Bushey can maintain and produce a strong herd. She is supported by her parents, Terri and Michael, and her FFA advisors, David Bushey, Claire Woodard, and Mike Bushey. New Holland sponsors this proficiency.
Dairy Production – Placement
Caleb Peckham of the Killingly FFA Chapter in Connecticut is a seventh-generation dairy farmer. His family farm consists of 150 milking cows, made up of Holsteins and Jerseys. In recent years, the farm also began to bottle their milk by opening a retail farm store, causing Peckham to take on extra responsibilities. Peckham is supported by his parents, Chrissy and Matthew, and his FFA advisors, Bethany Knowlton, Bonnie Kegler, Calvin Brodersen, Rebecca Pond, and Courtney Cardinal. Kuhn North American sponsors this proficiency.
Diversified Agricultural Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Lane Griffin of the Howe FFA Chapter in Texas works for his father’s farm and Rocking G Cattle Company. Griffin Farms is an 11,500-acre operation producing grain, oil and fiber crops. The cattle company is a 1,300-head cattle production operation. On the family farm, he helps to grow 2,000 acres of wheat, 5,500 acres of corn, 1,000 acres of cotton, 1,000 acres of soybeans and 2,000 acres of forage. Griffin is supported by his parents, Debby and Kenneth, and his FFA advisors, Ronald Blum and Tracy Blum. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsors this proficiency.
The next nine proficiency award winners will be announced during the third general session – which will air live at 2 p.m. EDT today, Oct. 28, 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.