(National FFA Organization) — Nine winners of the 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Awards were named during the fourth general session of the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 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.
Today, awards were announced for nine of the 45 categories. Those recipients are:
Forest Management and Products – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Ella Mae Griner
Ella Mae Griner of the Pierce County High FFA Chapter in Georgia works with her family’s agribusiness, Diamond G Forest Products, harvesting raw pine gum from slash pine trees using the bore-hole method. This process involves drilling holes at each tree’s base, spraying the hole with stimulant and an insecticide, inserting a PVS pipe, and attaching a plastic bag to the pipe. The operation will drill approximately 80,000 trees each summer, typically harvesting about 150,000 pounds of oleoresin each year. The product will be distilled into turpentine and pine gum rosin. Griner is supported by her parents, Julie and Henry, and her FFA advisors, Seth Prescott and John Ratliff. John Deere sponsors this proficiency.
Fruit Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Tyler Thomas Gardner
Tyler Thomas Gardner of the Pittsville FFA Chapter in Wisconsin works for his family’s cranberry production operation. He is involved in cultivar selection, planting, nutrition, harvesting, and distribution of the crop. The family owns more than 1,700 acres of cranberry beds and manages an additional 10,000 acres of supported land. Gardner also helps lead insect, weed, and disease management for the operation. He is supported by his parents, Janeen and Thomas, and his FFA advisor, Lindsay Meissner. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
Goat Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Lucas Paul Falkenstien
Lucas Paul Falkenstien of the Labette County FFA Chapter in Kansas began his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) with 18 does that he raised with his family and six higher-quality donor does that he purchased from breeders. Using that base herd and a breeding program of natural and artificial insemination with flush and embryo transfer, he built an operation to be proud of. He uses an online marketing platform to sell his goats across the nation. Falkenstien is supported by his parents, Melissa and Rich, and his FFA advisors, Kyle Zwahlen, Dustin Wiley, and Keith Geren. Tractor Supply Company sponsors this proficiency.
Grain Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Whitney Glazier of the Lomega FFA Chapter in Oklahoma has an SAE that centers around working on the family farm in all aspects of the grain production and operating an independent 25 acres of grain production. The farm includes 4,000 acres of wheat, barley and oats. Her duties include operating tractors and tillage implements to perform all the necessary tasks associated with a conventional and minimum tillage operation. A unique aspect of Glazier’s work is the production of registered and certified seed. She is supported by her parents, Lori and Dale, and her FFA advisor, Laramie Lopp. Wilbur-Ellis Company sponsors this proficiency.
Landscape Management – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Randy Eversole of the Cushing FFA Chapter in Oklahoma has a landscape business called Diamond E Land Services. He says his most important goal is to meet the customer’s needs by offering various outdoor beautification services, including landscaping, mowing, trimming, brush hogging, finish mowing, and tree trimming. He also plants grass, flowers, trees, and shrubs and removes trees and prevents weeds. Eversole is supported by his parents, Shelly and Randy, and his FFA advisors, Shane Caldwell and Travis Peery. Tractor Supply Company sponsors this proficiency.
Nursery Operations – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Abigal van Klaveren
Abigail van Klaveren of the Modesto FFA Chapter in California works at Generation Growers, her family’s wholesale container nursery. Her tasks include propagating new plants, managing greenhouses, creating soil media and supporting customer workshops, specifically in the area of citrus. The nursery grows more than 700 varieties of plants, including 26 varieties of budded citrus, allowing her to learn about different growing techniques and processes. She is supported by her parents, Deanna and Roger, and her FFA advisors, Scott Layne and Julie Schelhase. NuFarms America sponsors this proficiency.
Outdoor Recreation – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Ethan Ellis of the Chattanooga FFA Chapter in Oklahoma works for two outfitters, scouting and guiding hunts while also running his own similar service. He ran goose, duck and turkey hunts for those two operations before beginning his own service, Cave Creek. Each season, he scouts, sets decoy spreads and guides clients. He sells hunting trips throughout southwestern Oklahoma. Ellis also runs waterfowl, deer, dove, turkey, predator and hog hunts. He is supported by his parents, Angie and John, and his FFA advisor, Carley Snider. Yamaha Motor Corporation USA sponsors this proficiency.
Poultry Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Michael Bair of the Miami East MVCTC FFA Chapter in Ohio raises and markets pasture-raised, certified organic broilers at virtual markets through on-farm cash sales and local farmers markets. He was motivated to start this business after helping his family expand a segment of their organic dairy. He also has a job placement at the family’s organic 120-laying hen farm. Bair is supported by his parents, Annette and David, and his FFA advisor, Marie Carity. Tractor Supply Company sponsors this proficiency.
Service-Learning – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Ryen L. Macy
Ryen L. Macy of the Harrah FFA Chapter in Oklahoma has volunteered at the National Institute on Developmental Delays, applying her knowledge of food products and animal husbandry to develop enrichment activities for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. These activities include horseback riding, swimming, nature walks, arts and crafts, and aerobics. No longer a volunteer, she now serves as a board member for the organization. Macy is supported by her parents, Quina and Brett, and her FFA advisors, Brad Carey and Jessica Barnes. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
The final ten proficiency award winners will be announced during the fifth general session, which will air live at 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Oct. 29, 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