YAMHILL, Ore. — A four-person team of Yamhill-Carlton High School students came away from the recent National FFA Convention with second place in Ag Sales — and the team’s youngest member took first place overall in the competition.
Before their Oct. 19-22 visit to Indianapolis to compete against and mingle with 63,000 of their FFA peers, 17-year-olds Elsie Duyn and Abbey Berhorst, along with Ryan Berhorst, 14, and 18-year-old Liberty Greenlund had to navigate their way through a series of district and state FFA competitions.
The chapter took second in the seven-chapter District FFA contest earlier this year and first place in the Oregon state FFA event, said Y-C chapter president Duyn. She also took first place in the individual Hog Proficiency competition at the state meet.
The national second place in Ag Sales that was conferred upon the Y-C team was bolstered by Ryan Berhorst’s individual first place finish. The Y-C freshman came out on top of a group of 160 FFA members from around the country to earn $1,000 and an impressive plaque.
Greenlund graduated from Y-C in June and is the Oregon FFA secretary. She and the two other young women on the team were effusive about both the team’s second-place success and Ryan’s individual triumph in Ag Sales.
“Ryan was a ‘pick-me-up,’” said Duyn. Y-C’s was an all-girls team until one of the students headed off to Purdue University and Ryan — Abbey’s younger brother — became available.
“We picked him up two months before the national competition,” said Duyn. He was on the team that also found second-place success in district competition.
“He was really the only one in our chapter who had experience with (the Ag Sales competition), so we just figured, ‘Why not?’” Abbey said of her younger brother.
Greenlund added that she felt Ryan, the only freshman in the national competition, “put his whole heart and soul into it.”
“For the national competition, they actually chose the product for us, which was John Deere balers,” Ryan said. “So we studied all the manufacturer’s balers, the features and benefits of each of them.”
“We had to know those balers inside and out, because we didn’t know which questions would be asked,” Duyn said.
She said that since the four-member team “basically spent most of our entire summer” studying at the home of one of the coaches — Greg Wildhaber — they were planning a reunion dinner there to celebrate their accomplishments.
The four members also have plans after high school. Greenlund is traveling the state in her position as state FFA secretary and will attend Eastern Oregon University next year, while Duyn heads to Linfield College to study nursing and Abbey Berhorst has her eyes on the Eastern Oregon University agricultural education program.
The youngest member, Ryan Berhorst, has yet to settle on a definite course after high school. He claims an interest — for now — in underwater welding, but indicated that may change.