Meridian FFA members find success at leadership conference

The Idaho State Leadership Conference was held on the College of Southern Idaho campus in Twin Falls.

By Loretta Lacy

2016-2017 Meridian FFA Reporter

Published on May 4, 2017 3:36PM

Last changed on May 4, 2017 4:01PM

Meridian FFA students after receiving their State Degrees on stage. From left are Joe Wieting, Kaitlyn Muniz, Ellie Higgins, Mollie Hiscox and Lauren Barker.  Not pictured is Ashton Shaul.

Photo by Kiara Wetzel

Meridian FFA students after receiving their State Degrees on stage. From left are Joe Wieting, Kaitlyn Muniz, Ellie Higgins, Mollie Hiscox and Lauren Barker. Not pictured is Ashton Shaul.

Meridian FFA Nursery Landscape team takes 5th place at State.  From left are the coach, Mrs. Trish Stokes; Hailey Buffham; Kaitlyn Muniz; Mollie Hiscox (3rd high individual); and Cameron King.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

Meridian FFA Nursery Landscape team takes 5th place at State. From left are the coach, Mrs. Trish Stokes; Hailey Buffham; Kaitlyn Muniz; Mollie Hiscox (3rd high individual); and Cameron King.

On the right, Meridian High senior Ashlyn Schiers with her $2,000 scholarship, sponsored by the J.A. Wedum Foundation.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

On the right, Meridian High senior Ashlyn Schiers with her $2,000 scholarship, sponsored by the J.A. Wedum Foundation.

From left are Meridian FFA Yearbook Officers Sydney Plum, Ellie Higgins and Kiara Wetzel. Their yearbook placed 2nd in their division for the Scrapbook CDE.

Photo by Arizona Harrignton

From left are Meridian FFA Yearbook Officers Sydney Plum, Ellie Higgins and Kiara Wetzel. Their yearbook placed 2nd in their division for the Scrapbook CDE.

Fifty-three Meridian FFA Members attended this year’s State Leadership Conference. Most of them are pictured here.

Photo by Sharon Muniz

Fifty-three Meridian FFA Members attended this year’s State Leadership Conference. Most of them are pictured here.

Lauren Barker represented Boise Valley District as the Star in Agribusiness.

Photo by Ellie Higgins

Lauren Barker represented Boise Valley District as the Star in Agribusiness.

Eagle High senior Caitlin Martin won the State Small Animal Production and Care – Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award area.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

Eagle High senior Caitlin Martin won the State Small Animal Production and Care – Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award area.

Meridian FFA Horse Judging team takes 3rd place at State. From left are Michael Staley, Rachel Mansfield (3rd high individual), Emma Carley and Ashlyn Schiers.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

Meridian FFA Horse Judging team takes 3rd place at State. From left are Michael Staley, Rachel Mansfield (3rd high individual), Emma Carley and Ashlyn Schiers.

Meridian High student Mallie Miller won 1st place in the Job Interview CDE. On the left is the coach, Miss Katie Mosman, and on the right is state winner Mallie Miller.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

Meridian High student Mallie Miller won 1st place in the Job Interview CDE. On the left is the coach, Miss Katie Mosman, and on the right is state winner Mallie Miller.

Mountain View High senior Alexa Phillips poses with her $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by the Idaho FFA Foundation’s Tractor Raffle.

Photo by Kiara Wetzel

Mountain View High senior Alexa Phillips poses with her $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by the Idaho FFA Foundation’s Tractor Raffle.

Meridian FFA Farm Business Management team took 3rd place at State. From left are Isaac Livesay, Kobe Manzer, Kiara Wetzel, Lyric Snurkowski and the coach, Miss Michelle Ball.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

Meridian FFA Farm Business Management team took 3rd place at State. From left are Isaac Livesay, Kobe Manzer, Kiara Wetzel, Lyric Snurkowski and the coach, Miss Michelle Ball.

Eagle High senior Lauren Barker won the State Equine Science-Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award area.

Photo by Arizona Harrington

Eagle High senior Lauren Barker won the State Equine Science-Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award area.


On April 5, 53 Meridian FFA members and 13 advisors traveled to Twin Falls, Idaho to attend the Idaho State Leadership Conference (SLC) held on the College of Southern Idaho campus.

This conference is held annually and lasted four days, from April 5 to 8. During SLC, members from chapters all over the state compete in Career Development Events (CDEs), interview for Proficiency Awards and National Chapter Awards, attend many workshops and sessions, and listen to the state officers give their retiring addresses.

On April 5, Meridian members woke up early to participate in the Dairy and Livestock Judging Invitational contests. These contests are invitational and are considered practice, as they are not state qualifiers. The following members participated in Dairy Judging:

• Emma Sells (8th place individual) (RMHS)

• Cody Duff (RMHS)

• Hunter Patterson (RMHS)

• Dylan Peterson (RMHS)

• Kaden McCarney (MHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

The following members participated in Livestock Judging:

• Emma Sells (RMHS)

• Cody Duff (RMHS)

• Hunter Patterson (RMHS)

• Dylan Peterson (RMHS)

• Joe Wieting (MHS)

• Kaden McCarney (MHS)

• Trace Beaucannon (RMHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

On the evening of April 5, the Floriculture CDE was held in the Evergreen Building on the College of Southern Idaho Campus. Meridian FFA Floriculture team placed 8th in the state. The following members participated in this CDE:

• Lauren Barker (EHS)

• Caitlin Martin (EHS)

• Jordan Bettencourt (EHS)

• Kayla Schubert (EHS)

On April 6, four Meridian members participated in Proficiency interviews and two Meridian members attended the National Chapter Interview. To apply for a State Proficiency, members must have a strong Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), submit a quality application, and complete an interview. Members that win the Proficiency in their designated area then are able to compete at the regional level. The following members applied for a State Proficiency award:

• Caitlin Martin (Entrepreneurship – Small Animal; Gold ranking; 1st place) (EHS)

• Lauren Barker (Entrepreneurship – Equine; Gold ranking; 1st place) (EHS)

• Alexa Phillips (Placement—Small Animal) (MVHS)

• Loretta Lacy (Entrepreneurship—Equine) (CHS)

“Winning a Proficiency award for my horse project was amazing,” said Lauren Barker. “It helped me realize how important all of my record-keeping was. I have never gone through an interview before so the whole process was a really fun learning experience!”

The chapter president and vice president from each chapter will fill out an application very similar to the proficiency application, but will cover various chapter events held throughout the year. Two Meridian members, Loretta Lacy (Reporter) and Kyle Schmit (President), participated in the National Chapter interview and Meridian placed 9th with a Gold ranking. The National Chapter application will be sent to Nationals to be reviewed and scored again.

Also on April 6, Taylor Nelson (Idaho State Reporter) gave her retiring address entitled “Be a Friend.” At the end of her address, Loretta Lacy and Kyle Schmit accepted it and congratulated Taylor on a job well done over the past year. Spread throughout the six sessions, each State Officer presented a motivational and influential speech as a closing to their time of serving Idaho FFA as a state officer.

Members got the chance to participate in the Idaho State Parliamentary Procedure Exam. This examination covers basic to advanced Parliamentary Procedure rules. The member with the highest score is awarded the title of Conference Parliamentarian. Meridian FFA had eight members participate in this exam. The members are as follows:

• Ashton Shaul (1st high individual; Conference Parliamentarian) (MHS)

• Hayley Bowring (8th high individual) (MVHS)

• Sarah Miraya (9th high individual) (MVHS)

• Courtney Marshall (EHS)

• Rose Frazee (MVHS)

• Sydney Plum (MHS)

• Jonathan Muniz (MVHS)

• Madison Belanger (MVHS)

During the 4th general session on April 7, six Meridian members were awarded their state degrees. These degrees are displayed as gold emblems attached to gold chains that are hung off of the inside of your jacket. This degree is the highest degree that a high school member can achieve. Congratulations to these six members for their great achievement. The following members received their state degrees:

• Joseph Wieting (MHS)

• Lauren Barker (EHS)

• Mollie Hiscox (MVHS)

• Ashton Shaul (MHS)

• Kaitlin Muniz (MVHS)

• Ellie Higgins (MHS)

Besides the sessions and interviews, CDEs were also held on Thursday. Meridian members participated in Horse Judging, Farm Business Management, Job Interview, and Scrapbook Judging throughout the day. Horse Judging is a CDE in which a team of four members will judge, score, and present oral reasons on classes of horses. These classes can range from judging how a horse is built to judging how a horse moves and listens to its rider. Meridian placed 3rd in the State. The following members who participated in Horse Judging are as follows:

• Rachel Mansfield (3rd place individual) (MVHS)

• Michael Person (CHS)

• Ashlyn Schiers (MHS)

• Emma Carley (BKHS)

“I have been competing in horse judging through various organizations throughout the past five years,” said Rachel Mansfield. “I’ve always enjoyed the contest as a whole and giving oral reasons has really amplified my public speaking skills. Horse judging is a very subjective competition, so it’s a challenge to not let your personal opinions interfere with how you judge certain classes. I enjoy the challenge of not really knowing what to expect and the pressure of having to develop a set of oral reasons in a very limited amount of time.”

The Farm Business Management CDE consists of four team members who will each take a test over practical math used commonly on a ranch or farm. Meridian placed 3rd at SLC. The following members who participated in Farm Business Management are as follows:

• Isaac Livesay (6th place individual) (MHS)

• Lyric Snurkowski (MHS)

• Kiara Wetzel (MVHS)

• Kobe Manzer (MHS)

“I love Farm Business Management because it was something I tried on a whim and I ended up becoming passionate about it,” said Lyric Snurkowski. “Not to mention it shows me that not all math sucks.”

Mallie Miller placed 1st in the state for Job Interview CDE and she will be representing Meridian FFA and Idaho FFA at National Convention this fall. This CDE consists of the member creating a strong resume and cover letter, undergoing an interview, and then completing up with a follow-up letter.

“I enjoy the Job Interview CDE because it is an independent competition,” said Mallie Miller. “I would recommend doing this CDE to every FFA member because it really prepares you for real life.”

Scrapbook Judging is an event where most Idaho FFA chapters submit their yearbooks or scrapbooks for judging. The Meridian FFA yearbook covers all of the major events from the past year and the articles that cover them; there are also a few “fun pages” that consist of “Senior Best” and some of our members’ interesting SAE projects. Meridian’s yearbook placed 2nd at the state level in our division. The following members created the 2016-2017 Yearbook:

• Ellie Higgins (Yearbook Chief) (MHS)

• Kiara Wetzel (Yearbook Staff) (MVHS)

• Sydney Plum (Yearbook Staff) (MHS)

On Friday April 7, the Nursery Landscape CDE was held in the CSI Greenhouse. Meridian FFA placed 5th in the state. The following members participated in this CDE:

• Mollie Hiscox (3rd place individual) (MVHS)

• Hailey Buffham (10th place individual) (MVHS)

• Cameron King (MVHS)

• Kaitlin Muniz (MVHS)

“I enjoy Nursery Landscape because it’s very hands-on and challenging,” said Mollie Hiscox. “I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun and useful CDE to participate in.”

The Days of Service event was held Friday afternoon as a way for FFA members to give back to the Twin Falls community. Members got the chance to choose from three activities: teaching about agriculture to children, volunteering at a thrift shop, or participating in a community service scavenger hunt.

Throughout the week, three Meridian members, Mallie Miller (MHS), Maddie Bennett (University of Idaho), and Alexa Phillips (MVHS), underwent vigorous interviews, extemporaneous speeches, and various tests as a part of the Idaho FFA State Officer sifting process. Every year at the State Leadership Conference, the past year’s state officers retire and the new officers are introduced.

“State officer sifting was an amazing experience because, not only did I get the chance to meet other members who were passionate and dedicated, but it will also prepare me for future interviews,” said Alexa Phillips.

Also going on during the week, Trinity Martin (MHS) and Cody Duff (RMHS) represented Meridian FFA as delegates. Both members attended many sessions to debate and vote on new rules and changes to Idaho FFA.

Meridian FFA would like to thank the College of Southern Idaho for hosting this event every year. We would also like to thank the Meridian Alumni chapter for lowering the cost of attendance for Meridian members. Meridian FFA would like to thank Mr. Alan Heikkila for driving the chapter from Meridian to Twin Falls. Thank you to all of the sponsors that made this year’s Idaho SLC possible: J.R. Simplot Co., D.L. Evans Bank, Wells Fargo, Lithia of Twin Falls, D&B Supply, Standard Dairy Consultants, Crop Production Services, Agri-Service, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Falls Brand, Idaho AgCredit, Tesoro Logistics, KeyAg, Pacific Northwest Farmers’ Cooperative, Idaho Farm Bureau, and Standlee Hay.

Good luck to Mallie Miller with Job Interview at National Convention, and best of luck to our proficiency winners Lauren Barker and Caitlin Martin in the next round of proficiency judging.























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