By CECILIA PARSONS
For the Capital Press
FRESNO, Calif. -- Nipomo High School student Riley Nilsen was elected state FFA president on the closing day of the annual state FFA leadership conference.
Serving with Nilsen will be Valerie Canas of Santa Maria, state FFA vice president; Gabrielle Franke, Galt, state FFA secretary; Gage Willey, East Nicolaus, state FFA treasurer; Sheldon Overson, McArthur, state FFA reporter and Hunter Berry, San Jacinto, state FFA sentinel.
The conference's 3,000 delegates also voted on ballot proposals, passing one that allows FFA regions to select their representative to the state FFA executive committee rather than allowing the regional president to serve.
Star awards were presented to the top student in each of four areas related to production agriculture.
California's Star Farmer for 2013 is Roy Yates from the Lodi-Central FFA chapter. This award recognizes the top agriculture program as well as leadership skills. Yates maintains a cow-calf operation.
Travis Clark from the Tulare FFA chapter is the California Star in Agribusiness. His project consists of cutting and selling firewood.
Matthew VanderPoel from the Tulare FFA chapter is the California Star In Ag Placement, an award that recognizes excellence in a work setting. VanderPoel works on his family's 1,200 cow dairy operation.
California's Star in Agriscience is Jillian Drake of the Fallbrook FFA chapter. She serves as an intern to a citrus facility where research to prevent disease and invasive species is conducted.
Winners of the 2013 State Proficiency Awards: Lauren LeGrande, Maxwell, agricultural communications; Jared Price, Los Banos, agricultural education; Andres Francis, Bakersfield North, agricultural mechanics-design fabrication; Austin Brown-Silva, Paso Robles, agricultural mechanics -repair maintenance entrepreneurship; Collin Fernandez, Tulare, agricultural mechanics repair maintenance placement; Cameron Cates, Kingsburg, agricultural processing; Vanessa Bergthold, Lodi, agricultural sales entrepreneurship; Alexis Anderson, Placer, agricultural sales placement; Michael Valencia, Madera South, agricultural services; Joshua Kelley, Elk Grove, agriscience research; Anh D. Nguyen, Sacramento Florin, agriscience research plants systems; Jillian Drake, Fallbrook, agriscience research integrated systems; Roy Yates, Lodi, beef production entrepreneurship; Jordan Sparrowk, Lodi, beef production placement; John Pimental, Hanford, dairy production entrepreneurship.
Johnny Sousa, Lemoore, dairy production placement; Cody McCorkle, Hamilton City, diversified agricultural production; Aaron Avila, Hanford, diversified crop production entrepreneurship; Brandon Martin, Tulare, diversified crop production placement; Tyler Simmons, Lake Isabella Kern Valley, diversified horticultural production; Ernesto Maldonaco, Wasco, diversified horticultural placement; Steven Pozzi, Petaluma, diversified livestock entrepreneurship; Isaac Lewis, Tulare, diversified livestock placement; Bradley Thurm, Pine Valley, environmental sciences; Morgan Davis, Shingle Springs, equine science entrepreneurship; Kelsie Kennicut, Elk Grove, equine science placement; Richard Cardoza, Tulare, fiber/oil crops; Billy Yecny, Laton, forage production; Colton Ross, Fortuna, forest management products; Brandon Denier, Galt, goat production.
Joshua Allen, Firebaugh, grain production entrepreneurship; Jason Allen, Firebaugh, grain production placement; Gianna Pendelton, Sebastopol, home-community development; Thomas Opice, Chino, landscape management; Carina Duran, Wasco, nursery operations; Brandon Viets, Lakeside, outdoor recreation; Kiana Peters, Chowchilla, pomology production; Stephanie Berrera, Firebaugh, poultry production; Regina Pozzi, Petaluma, sheep production; Ben Liwanag, Manteca, small animal production/care; Melody Harris, Hanford, specialty animal production; Ivan Kosareff, Bakersfield Frontier, specialty crop production; Garrett Morales, Atwater Buhach, swine production entrepreneurship; William Vailey, Ceres Central Valley, swine production placement; Joseph Garibaldi, Morgan Hill turf grass management; Becky White, St. Helena, vegetable production entrepreneurship; Caycia Allison, Lemoore, veterinary medicine; Jason Verozza, St. Helena, viticulture production; Karlee Delisle, Templeton, wildlife management.
More than $40,000 in scholarships were awarded to FFA members during the state leadership conference. Scholarship donors, amounts and winners are:
Actagro: 2 $1,000 scholarships, Ciara Babcock, Big Valley FFA, Jana Columbini, Linden.
Almond Board of California, 6 $1,000 scholarships, Oscar Alvarez, Arvin; Kayla Cardoza, Sierra; Riley Nilsen, Nipomo; Russel Tobias, Hollister; Haley Warner, Bret Harte.
Jerry Biggs Memorial, 1 $1,000 scholarship, Angelica Maria Smith, Oakhurst.
Crop Production Services, 6 $1,000 scholarships; Jonathan Briggs, Littlerock; Courtney Callaway, Cuyama Valley; Clayton Lauchland, Lodi; Mitchell Liwanag, East Union; Sheldon Overton, McArthur; Adriana Delucchi, Escalon.
Jerry T. Davis 1 $1,000 scholarship, Cameron Dale, Fortuna.
Paul Freitas Memorial, $750 to Ben Howard of Orland.
Hartford Insurance Co. Scholarship, 1 $1,500, 2 $750; Bridget Cosio, Los Molinos; Natalie Massa, Willows; Brian Tobias, Hollister.
Mabel W. Jacks Memorial Scholarship 8 $1,000 scholarships; Jessica Cain, Las Plumas; Jacob Koster, Tracy; Adriana Langarica, Los Molinos; Taylor Mae Lindquist, Templeton; Hannah Neville, Las Plumas; Alexandra Rocha, Escalon; Brianna Wilmoth, Norco.
Byron J. McMahon Memorial Scholarship 1 $1,000 Valerie Canas, Santa Maria.
Dorothy McMillan Memorial Scholarship, 1 $1,000 Claire Schauer, Clarksburg-Delta.
Dean McNeilly Scholarship 1 $1,000 scholarship Joshua Dowell, O'Neals-Minarets.
Jaimie Lynne Pettey Memorial Scholarship 1 $1,500 and two $750; Madison Albiani, Elk Grove; Arianna Koster, Tracy; Lindsay Nicole Vieira, Tulare.
Premier West Bank Scholarship 2 $1,000; Raeann Magill, Yuba City; Kayla Nichol,West Valley.
Zenith Insurance Co. Scholarship, 2 $3,000 2 $2,000; Katie Carroll, Sierra; Katie Migliazzo, Atwater-Buhach; Ali Einolander, Templeton; Emma Sills, Tulare.