Capital Press | FFA Capital Press Sat, 21 Oct 2017 21:20:59 -0400 en Capital Press | FFA Cedarcrest FFA members exhibit at Evergreen State Fair Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:23:54 -0400 Kendra MutchCedarcrest FFA Reporter The FFA program at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Wash., would like to recognize the hard work of those students who exhibited at the Evergreen State Fair in August.

All students competing at fair invested much time caring, raising, and learning about their animals and livestock. The dedication to their projects is reflected in the success of each FFA member that exhibited at the 2017 Evergreen State Fair. Cedarcrest students competed and placed in several categories. 

Dairy Cattle: In the dairy cattle division, Dylan Aldridge won reserve champion in showmanship and Leann Starns received grand champion for her Jersey Heifer.

Dairy Goats: Showing FFA dairy goats were Leila Misallati, Ella Dianich and Anna Christensen. Leila won champion in showmanship and type contests while Ella also earned a champion ribbon. Anna won best in show and outstanding dairy goat exhibitor.

Fiber Animals: Among the FFA fiber animal exhibitors, Keaton Downing and Holly Gunn took first and second place in the obstacle course competition. Parker Downing earned grand champion in public relations and Brooke Downing won champion in fiber goat showmanship. Sawyer Vondra and Elli Case both won grand champion in showmanship for llamas and alpacas, while Amy Duer was the outstanding fiber animal exhibitor. 

Horses: Those who exhibited horses include Avery Jacob and Haley Wilkes. Avery won reserve and grand champion ribbons in showmanship and multiple riding classes. Haley won grand champion in English Pleasure as well as reserve in showmanship with her miniature horse.

Meat Goats: Showing FFA meat goats were Megan Reid who won reserve showmanship and Dietrich Brooks who was the outstanding meat goat exhibitor. 

Poultry: In the poultry division, Elsa Brouwer won reserve champion for both her cockerel and pullet chickens. Anna Knutson received class champion ribbons for multiple Call ducks. Benjamin Benson placed senior champion in poultry showmanship and Megan Reid won outstanding FFA poultry exhibitor.

Rabbits: In FFA rabbits, Kendra Mutch was the outstanding rabbit exhibitor. 

Landscape: In addition to exhibiting animals, FFA students designed and installed two landscapes for the fair. Both landscapes entered by Cedarcrest placed first and second in the competition. 

Career Development Competitions: All exhibitors also competed in a variety of competitions pertaining to agricultural careers. Of these competitions, Cedarcrest excelled in the Veterinary Science and Forestry competitions achieving second place in each.

For additional information regarding the Cedarcrest high school FFA program, contact the program advisors at

Washington FFA hosts summer conferences Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:36:25 -0400 The Washington FFA Association held two of its biggest summer conferences, the Washington Agriculture Leadership Experience (WALE) and District Officer Training (DOT) in Yakima in July, hosting approximately 200 students who earned their way to the conference through application and selection processes.

The WALE conference, held for the fourth consecutive year in the Yakima Valley, allowed students from across the state to immerse themselves in Washington agriculture and Washington careers. Students learned common practices from industry representatives, while at the same time, experiencing a hands-on tour of their operation or place of business.

Some of the conference tours included tree fruit production and processing, as well as the wine grape and hop industries, which are some of the biggest in the nation. FFA members also met with human resource professionals to construct and perfect industry-ready resumes and cover letters.

The District Officer Training, hosted by the Washington State FFA Officer Team, is training specific for FFA members who have been elected to assume the responsibility of leading their FFA district, a regional group of FFA chapters, to promote premier leadership, personal growth and career success.

The training included workshops and breakout sessions with the state officers and how to lead districts with purpose.

“DOT was the first time my district officer team got to work together and prepare for the year,” said Seth Smith, current state president and past district officer. “This year my state officer team and I are really looking forward to setting the tempo for the districts and the year inspiring them to be leaders, just like past state officers did for me.”

The Washington Agriculture Leadership Experience and District Officer Training work to engage the student participants and inspire them to grow in their leadership, make their communities stronger and strengthen American agriculture.

Washingon FFA chapters attend leadership conferences Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:06:04 -0400 Students from FFA chapters across Washington attended the 212 Degrees and 360 Degrees Leadership Conferences in February.

The conferences are an activity of the National FFA Organization made possible by title sponsor Syngenta. Three hundred Washington FFA members from 34 FFA chapters attended the event in Grand Mound, Wash.

The 212 Degrees program — the temperature at which water boils — focused on taking students to the boiling point of leadership.

“At 211 degrees, water is extremely hot, but just one more degree gets us to the next level,” a Washington FFA press release states.

The two-day 212-degree Leadership Conference focused on student development and helped FFA members become aware of their passions and virtues. FFA members attended sessions on discovering their passions, making positive decisions, setting SMART goals and taking steps towards self-improvement.

The 360 Degrees program takes students full circle in terms of chapter leadership. The two-day 360 Degrees conference is focused on the importance of vision and how to become a visionary leader. Students spent their time in sessions understanding the importance of vision, conducting a chapter needs assessment, crafting a vision plan for their local FFA chapter and developing a strategy to implement their vision.

More than 8,000 students across the nation participated in a 212-Degree or 360-Degree Leadership Conference.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Oregon FFA, Les Schwab, Wilco combine to Drive Away Hunger Sat, 7 Oct 2017 14:59:56 -0400 Seasons are changing, and that means it is back to school and farmers are busy with final harvest. But one thing that does not change with the seasons is the need across Oregon to help fight hunger.

Those affected by food insecurity are in need year-round, and that is why Les Schwab Tire Centers of Oregon has partnered with Oregon FFA in a Drive Away Hunger event to help raise awareness and to raise as much food as possible to help end hunger. The initiative will take place the entire month of October.

More Oregonians today are suffering from food insecurity and worry about where their next meal may come from. Since 2008, the Oregon Food Bank has seen the demand for emergency food boxes increase by 40 percent.

All month you may see FFA members across the state doing a variety of service activities to raise as much food as possible. Please be on the lookout for activities and collections happening throughout our community.

The public is encouraged to drop food donations at any Les Schwab Tire Center, Wilco Farm Store or a local FFA Chapter. Collection bags are being distributed to subscribers of the Capital Press, East Oregonian, Wallowa County Chieftain, Hermiston Herald and Blue Mountain Eagle, or you may pick up a collection bag at your local Les Schwab Tire Center or a Wilco Farm Store.

FFA members are encouraging everyone to be #TiredofHunger and fill a grocery bag to drop at any of the collection sites.

In addition to nonperishable food, the FFA is seeking farm and ranch crop donations as well. To donate portion of a food crop, please contact a local FFA chapter or Kevin White, executive director of the Oregon FFA Foundation, at All donations received will be given first to local food pantries. If there is more, it will be distributed by the Oregon Food Bank to other pantries throughout the state.

Last year the FFA’s Tired of Hunger initiative helped raise more than 500,000 pounds of food. That was enough food to provide 416,667 meals or feed 4,960 families for nearly a week.

This year, the more than 6,000 FFA members from 105 FFA chapters have partnered with the 107 Les Schwab stores in Oregon as well as the 13 Wilco Farm Stores to make a huge dent in helping supply the Oregon Food Bank and other local food pantries with much needed food.

This is a very special project for the Oregon FFA, because FFA members are able to live out their motto of “learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve.” In this service initiative, FFA members can follow in the footsteps set by those at Les Schwab Tire Centers, as you see them giving back to their communities every day.

“This is a chance for our members to follow that example and give back to their communities and to those who need it most,” White said.

The Oregon FFA is part of the National FFA Organization and is a national youth organization of 649,355 student members — all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. There are 7,859 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Oregon FFA has more than 6,000 members in 105 chapters throughout the state. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. To learn more, visit the Oregon FFA Facebook page and #TiredofHunger. To learn more about FFA visit or

Sisters take their FFA teams to nationals Sat, 7 Oct 2017 14:44:15 -0400 CRAIG REED SUTHERLIN, Ore. — Cassidy Leatherwood is considering a career in international agriculture.

If it is that industry or some other that the Sutherlin High School senior eventually enters, she’ll be more than ready to advocate for it, thanks to the experience she is getting now as a student involved in parliamentary procedure through the FFA program.

Parliamentary procedure involves using Robert’s Rules of Order to run a business meeting.

Cassidy chairs her school’s advanced parliamentary procedure team. The team won its district, sectional and state competitions, all earlier this year, and is now preparing to participate at the FFA National Convention that is scheduled for Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis, Ind. An advanced team from each of the 50 states is expected to compete at nationals.

What is unique about this year’s FFA competition for Sutherlin High is that its beginning parliamentary procedure team also prevailed in its earlier competitions to earn a trip to the national convention. And the chairperson of that beginning team is sophomore Regan Leatherwood, Cassidy’s sister.

“For both these teams to be from the same school, that hasn’t happened in Oregon in 10 years,” said Wes Crawford, the agricultural science teacher and FFA adviser at Sutherlin High. “Then for the chairperson of the teams to be sisters, that’s probably never happened.”

The Oregon state competitions were won in March when Sutherlin’s advanced team consisted of juniors and one senior and the beginner team consisted of all freshmen. The students competing on the advanced team with Cassidy at nationals will be seniors Tristan Vincent, Madelyn Higgins, Hailee Holder and Taylor Moser and Umpqua Community College freshman Esten Harrington.

Joining Regan on the beginning team are sophomores Nolan Carson, Hailey Boehm, Grace Matteo, Zach Lor, Sydnee Tilley and Hannah Jarman.

The students first learned about parliamentary procedure in their Introduction to Agriculture class at Sutherlin High.

“In agriculture, you need to know how to debate and discuss issues that concern agriculture,” Cassidy said. “Learning parliamentary procedure gives you a little bit more of a competitive edge, it helps you debate more efficiently.”

Crawford said it is important for future members of such organizations as the Farm Bureau, livestock associations and Granges to know how to conduct themselves in business meetings and discussions.

“If we want our students to be able to engage others in advocating for and defending agricultural industries, the ability to articulate a debate and the knowledge to be able to access how to get business done is invaluable,” the teacher said. “In our events, the topics students debate are often current events and issues in agriculture.

“There is no one else teaching students how to do this,” he added. “Students who leave high school knowing how to run a meeting and speak well doing it were probably enrolled in an agricultural science class.”

Cassidy said that at nationals, teams will be judged on how well they use Robert’s Rules of Order during a meeting. The advanced teams will have to demonstrate 10 different parliamentary motions and will have to debate at least 15 times during an 11-minute meeting. The advanced students will also be given a written test on the rules.

The beginning teams will have to demonstrate a few less motions and their written test won’t be as complex.

Cassidy was on the school’s beginning parliamentary team as a freshman and has been the chair of the school’s last two advanced teams.

“Winning state was three years in the making,” she said. “We put a lot of work into that state competition. I was happy with how we did, regardless of whether we had won or not. I did not expect us to win so when we did, it was very surprising.

“At nationals, I just want us to do the best we can,” she added.

Regan described the beginning team as “pretty dedicated.”

“We have a lot of skills,” she said. “I don’t know if we’ll win, but we have the potential to do well.”

In addition to the two parliamentary procedure teams, Sutherlin will have students competing at nationals in three other categories: Lee Wesenberg in prepared public speaking; Mackenzie Price in extemporaneous public speaking; and Taryn Whelchel, Kalana Granger, Raichel Wolfe and Destiny Pedersen in veterinary science.

Idaho high school re-starts its ag education program after 50-year pause Fri, 6 Oct 2017 14:47:39 -0400 Sean Ellis CALDWELL, Idaho — After a five-decade hiatus, Caldwell High School has an agriculture program again.

Caldwell, Idaho’s sixth largest city, is located in Canyon County, one of the state’s smallest counties in size but in the top five when it comes to farm cash receipts.

But CHS has not had an ag program since the Caldwell School District was split in the 1960s.

Ag industry leaders welcomed the news and offered to support the program and help it grow.

“I think it’s great that they’ve got the program going again. If they need it, I’ll be glad to help in any way I can,” said Darrell Bolz, a retired legislator and former University of Idaho agricultural extension agent who is involved with several farm-related groups.

Bolz is among a handful of ag industry members who showed up for an Oct. 3 advisory committee meeting at the school hosted by the program’s instructor, Kaycee Scherger.

All of them offered to assist the program.

The idea to re-start the program started when Shalene French took over as CSD superintendent last year.

French, whose father is a cattle rancher in East Idaho, said she couldn’t believe the school didn’t have an ag program.

“When I realized Caldwell didn’t have one, I ... was surprised,” she said. “Why wouldn’t we? This is one of the main farming counties in Idaho.”

Caldwell farmer Sid Freeman helped French get the program started.

“It’s fantastic that Caldwell School District has re-established its ag education program,” said Freeman, the National FFA Alumni Council vice president for the western region of the U.S.

He said an ag program is not only for rural kids who are more likely to understand agriculture.

“It’s also for the city kids who don’t know anything about agriculture and where their food comes from,” Freeman said. “They need to know. It will give them an awareness of what’s driving the economy right there in their own back yard.”

Scherger, who was raised on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, moved to Idaho this summer to oversee the school’s ag program and started teaching introductory classes in August.

“I’m very excited about this program and I have some students who are very excited about it,” she said.

The program has almost 200 students and about 15 are active in FFA.

Scherger said the school expects to get its FFA charter next spring and she hopes to have a greenhouse next semester. She is the program’s lone teacher right now but she plans to significantly expand the program.

“We’re going to have a big FFA chapter once we get it going,” she said.

French said there is a lot of industry support for the program.

“I do think it’s going to take off,” she said.

Scherger said she’s looking for guidance and ideas from local farmers and ag-related businesses. She can be reached by email at

Advocates tout importance of FFA, other career-technical programs Tue, 3 Oct 2017 15:58:58 -0400 Tim Hearden Advocates for agricultural and other career-technical training in California high schools should make their voices heard during upcoming budget negotiations, state lawmakers told them this week.

Ag teachers, FFA students and other enthusiasts for career-oriented instruction packed a high school performing arts center in Buena Park, Calif., on Oct. 2 as state leaders discussed how to stabilize funding for the programs.

Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, encouraged school board members, administrators and others to educate their elected officials about the importance of including money for the programs in next year’s budget.

“The commitment from the governor is gone, so we need to make it happen next year,” said O’Donnell, who chairs the lower chamber’s Education Committee. “Every time you’re at a function, you need to say to your state senator or Assembly member, ‘Hey, we need to continue (career-technical education) funding.”

The sense of urgency comes after Gov. Jerry Brown sent shock waves through many high schools when he proposed deleting $15.4 million for FFA and high school career-technical programs from the 2017-18 state budget.

Brown reinserted the funding in his May budget revision after parents, students and other FFA advocates took to social media to rally support for the programs. The outcry prompted 65 legislators to send a letter to the governor and to budget committee leaders asking that the funding be restored.

Of the 114,000 students that would have been affected by the cut, 86,000 are in FFA, which has a foundation to help raise money but relies on the $250,000 state allocation as “base funding,” California Agricultural Teachers Association executive director Jim Aschwanden has said.

But Brown found one-time funding for the programs for this academic year, meaning they can be on the chopping block again next year.

“What you need to do is take this to your school boards and administrators and make sure they’re advocating and reaching out to elected members,” O’Donnell said during the Buena Park informational meeting, which was streamed online.

O’Donnell was joined by his committee’s vice chairman, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, who chairs the chamber’s Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy; and other lawmakers.

The legislators heard from panels of students, teachers, superintendents and other school officials and took about an hour of comments from the audience.

Edwin Madrid, an FFA member at Buena Park High School, told the lawmakers he manages a 4-acre farm that grows avacados and other commodities and plans to study agriculture at California State University-Chico.

“I’ve developed skills that are practical and real world,” Madrid said. “I go to competitions and compete in them. I compete in job interview.”

Aaron Gonzalez said his auto shop class motivated him to continue his education. He was 30 credits behind, but made them up and graduated from Redlands High School in June. He now he has a job with California Steel Industries.

“It was the only reason I wanted to go to school,” Gonzalez said. “Auto shop was my getaway. When I would have problems in a regular class, I would go there and work it out.”

He said career-technical programs help high school graduates get a start in life.

“Regular high school ... is preparing you just for more school,” he said.

While lawmakers rescued the career programs last spring, convincing them of their long-term value could still be a challenge, committee members said.

“When I got to the Legislature, people fought with me about career-technical education as if it were a dead end,” said Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood.

“You have achieved soft skills,” she told the students. “Every one of you speaks so well.”

Meridian FFA plans three-day Ex Expo Thu, 14 Sep 2017 09:57:00 -0400 Ellie HigginsMeridian FFA Chapter Reporter Little kids, big education! At the Meridian FFA Chapter Agricultural Exposition (Ag Expo), every first-grade student in the West Ada School District attends to learn what agriculture is really about.

The Ag Expo is a three-day-long event, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. on the Sept. 26-28. Each first-grade class spends on average of 2 hours at the Ag Expo, and travels to 26 different stations. These stations range from tractors to live animals, dairy products to livestock feeds, tack to camping safety, and much more.

Members of the Meridian FFA Chapter put on a huge portion of this event. Tour guides lead each first-grade class, making sure that every student is comfortable and having fun. Speakers run each station, sharing their own knowledge about the species or topic they are teaching.

Finally, many dedicated members work to put on this event by setting up items, loading and unloading supplies, and working together to ensure that the best possible event is being put forth.

Community members and family are welcome to attend the Ag Expo open house that will take place 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27. We hope to see you there!

Cedarcrest FFA landscape team thanks its sponsors Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:53:26 -0400 Kendra MutchCedarcrest High School FFA Chapter Reporter DUVALL, Wash. — In March, the Cedarcrest High School FFA landscape design team placed first at the state Nursery/Landscape competition, qualifying to represent Washington state in competing at the National FFA Convention this coming October. As a team, these students are working for local organizations and individuals to earn money for this opportunity. Cedarcrest FFA would like to thank their local sponsors, to date, who have contributed in funding the national team.

Cherry Valley Horticulture Club:

The Cherry Valley Horticulture Club wanted to support and promote Cedarcrest FFA horticulture education. The Horticulture Club has generously donated to fund the landscape team’s trip to national competition.

City of Carnation Fourth of July Committee:

The Fourth of July Committee for the City of Carnation allowed Cedarcrest FFA the opportunity to manage a booth at the Carnation Fourth of July event.

Flower World:

Flower World nursery, located in Maltby, Wash., has donated to fund the team. Flower World supports the Cedarcrest FFA chapter by providing the plants for the FFA landscape design exhibits at the Evergreen State Fair.

Jo’s Fleece Fields:

Don and Jody Stanwick, owners of Jo’s Fleece Fields, have provided opportunity for the team to work for their farm/ feed distribution business. This has given the team opportunity to gain experience in agriculture while fundraising for national convention.

Kim Klingenberg:

In addition to the expenses of traveling, each member pays a registration fee for the plants, soil, agriculture mechanical equipment, and other landscape materials provided in hosting the national competition. Kim Klingenburg with Keller Williams realty has donated the funds to pay for each team members’ registration.

King County Farm Bureau:

The Cedarcrest Landscape team would like to thank the King County Farm Bureau for supporting the students’ agricultural interests by donating to their national competition.

Sally Grimes:

Sally Grimes employed the landscape team to assemble a greenhouse. The national landscape competition requires the competitors to identify various tools and obtain skills relating to the mechanical area of landscaping. Building this greenhouse allowed the students to gain hands-on mechanical experience and earn money for their national expenses.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cedarcrest High School horticulture program, contact the Cedarcrest FFA advisors at:

W. Idaho Fair: Food, friends and ribbons Wed, 30 Aug 2017 15:02:03 -0400 Ellie HigginsMeridian, Idaho, FFA Reporter Early mornings, fair food, friends, and ribbons: what a way to end the summer! At the Western Idaho Fair, Meridian FFA members rounded off their jam-packed summers with nearly a week full of showing their project animals. Because of months and sometimes even years hard work with their projects, Meridian FFA showmen displayed exemplary success in all areas of showing.

Meridian FFA members competed with nine different animal species, including both small and large animals. These species included beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy goat, horse, poultry, rabbit, cat, sheep, and swine. These exhibitors spent countless hours raising, training, fitting, preparing, and finally showing their animals. Listed below are all Meridian FFA members with the species they showed. Members that made the top five overall are listed first with their placing, and all showmen after are listed alphabetically.

Beef Cattle

• Kyleigh Davis

• Gunnar Glineski

• Braxton Hiatt

• Sierra Horton

• Ethan Johnson

• Trinity Martin

• Kayla Shubert

Dairy Cattle

• Jordyn Bettencourt – Grand Champion

• Cameron King – Reserve Champion

• Savannah Christensen

• Mollie Hiscox

• Sierra Horton

• Ashton Shaul

• Kayla Shubert

Dairy Goat

• Ellie Higgins – Grand Champion

• Abby McMillian – 3rd


• Lauren Barker – Reserve Champion

• Ellie Higgins – 3rd

• Isaac Livesay – 4th

• Emma Carley

• Rachel Mansfield

• Ellie McNeal

• Alexa Phillips


• Sophia Schuler


• Amber Hansen

• Emma Sells


• Emma Sells


• Joe Wieting – Reserve Champion

• Dani Turnbough – 3rd

• Zach Ball – 5th

• Cody Ball

• Emmerson Billings

• Emma Carley

• Daisy Davidson

• Braxton Hiatt

• Sierra Horton

• Miranda Hurska

• Cameron King

• Isaac Livesay

• Rachel Mansfield

• Trinity Martin

• Kaden McCarney

• Jon Muniz

• Kaitlin Muniz

• Colby Peugh

• Emily Pile

• Olivia Sells

• Ashton Shaul

• Brock Schurtz

• Kaitlyn Steppe


• Abby McMillian – Grand Champion

• Zach Davis – Reserve Champion

• Savannah Helsey

• Blake Hilderbrand

• Ashley Kerby

• Julia Matthews

All Grand and Reserve Champion showmen attended the Round Robin. The Meridian FFA Chapter had eight members attend Large Animal Round Robin, including Jordyn Bettencourt, Cameron King, Ellie Higgins, Lauren Barker, Joe Weiting, Dani Turnbough (second runner up for sheep), Abby McMillian, and Zach Davis. Round Robin participants show all livestock species, including beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy goat, market goat, horse, sheep, and swine. Top four participants were Ellie Higgins with Grand Champion, Abby McMillian with Reserve Champion, Cameron King with 3rd high, and Joe Weiting with 4th high. Ellie Higgins will continue on to compete in the Super Round Robin, where the Grnad Champion showmen from 10 different county fairs in Idaho and Oregon compete.

In addition to showing, members also volunteer in the Meridian FFA Fair Booth. This booth raises money for the chapter, and provides delicious treats for our community, as well as opportunities for our members! Money raised in the Meridian FFA Fair Booth goes towards travel, jacket, and conference expenses that allow members to fully immerse themselves into FFA, even if they may not be able to afford it.

The Meridian FFA Chapter has many people to thank for their support. From our livestock buyers to our Dairy Heifer Replacement Project buyers, and from our incredibly supportive parents to our amazing advisors. Without all of these people, it would not be possible for Meridian FFA members to do what they love.

Oregon State Fair features new attractions, old favorites Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:38:31 -0400 Aliya Hall SALEM — As the Oregon State Fair prepares to open its doors Friday, 4-H’ers Jessica Simpson and Kaitlyn Bloom are excited to show off their Boer goats and make new friends.

“Showing is my passion,” Simpson, 14, said. “At the state level it’s more competitive.”

But she’s not worried. She described herself as being “really competitive” as well.

Simpson has been part of 4-H for five years. She is a member of the Livestock Royalty group from Deschutes County in Central Oregon.

At age 13, Bloom is attending her first Oregon State Fair. Originally from Sonora, Calif., she has been a member of 4-H for four years. She is part of two groups, the 40 Swiners for pigs and one for goats.

Bloom enjoys showing because she gets to know her animals’ characteristics better.

The fair starts Friday, Aug. 25, and runs through Monday, Sept. 4, at the Salem fairgrounds. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The carnival opens daily at 11 a.m.

This year the fair features a new Agricultural Showcase Stage, six new rides and new special events and featured performances.

The fair also continues hosting signature agricultural events, such as the 4-H and FFA competitions and the Open Class Livestock exhibits.

“We are proud of the increasing popularity of the Oregon State Fair — and are thrilled we’ve continued to grow from year to year,” said Dan Cox, a fair spokesman. “The event uniquely combines the excitement of today with the nostalgia of yesteryear. As soon as fairgoers enter the gate, there are events, experiences and activities to remind them or inspire them — no matter what their age.”

Starting Friday, the Agricultural Showcase stage will feature presentations and activities related to agriculture. It will be in a tent on the west side of the Forster Livestock Pavilion. The purpose of the stage is to allow “an opportunity to bridge the gap between producer and consumer,” Brooke Broadbent, organizer of the showcase, said.

“The stage is an opportunity to show different aspects of the industry as a whole, and the importance of agriculture in everyday life,” she said.

Events include the Oregon leaders’ annual Goat Milking Showdown, the Dairy Princess meet and greet, country-western dance lessons and Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom “Egg Day,” when they’ll give out 1,500 eggs on a stick.

There will also be speakers from the Capital Press, and Oregon Forest Resource Institute, as well as booths from agricultural organizations, such as the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Farm Bureau.

Elsewhere this year, the fair will also offer animal attractions, such as Creature Feature Extreme and Dog Town, as well as the horse shows and competitions and livestock competitions.

The horse shows are featured throughout the day, with events including a drill team competition, a miniature horse demonstration and Tennessee Walkers.

The livestock competition categories are Open Class Livestock and 4-H and FFA horses, along with small animal competitions.

Agriculture and horticulture competitions include farm and garden, floral, honey and other products of the hive.

New this year are Cirque Ma’Ceo — an acrobatic equestrian show — and the Colors of Fun Fire Finale, featuring the Sacred Fire Dance Company and its nightly exhibition of pyrotechnic special effects.

Tickets are available at the Cirque Ma’Ceo website and the 20-minute fire show is every night free with admission.

Eleven concerts are in the 2017 line-up: Dwight Yoakam, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Salem Symphony, Josh Turner, For King and Country, Kenny Loggins, Third Eye Blind, Vince Neil, Trace Adkins, the Salem Symphony and Eddie Money.

All of the 11 concerts are free with fair admission except the Salem Symphony performances. Limited VIP seating is available for all of the performances for $35 online.

In addition to the 40 carnival rides, the fair is offering six new ones: the Vortex, Shockwave, bumper cars, Mardi Gras and the new Rainier Expo Wheel. One ride ticket is 50 cents, 120 tickets are $50 and 250 tickets for $100. An unlimited ride wristband is also available for $50.

Other contests include Creative Living Competitions, featuring a new First Lego League Global Scientific Challenge, and four culinary and beverage contests, including the 58th Gerry Frank Chocolate Layer Cake Contest.

There are 10 opportunities for deals and discounts, including Senior Day, Free Kids Day and Two Dollar Tuesday.

For more information and tickets, visit

FFA members scramble to catch a calf Mon, 7 Aug 2017 10:57:44 -0400 Ellie HigginsMeridian, Idaho, FFA Reporter Catch that calf! In the heat of the 2017 Snake River Stampede Calf Scramble, Meridian FFA members can only focus on the possibility of getting a heifer of their own. In this annual event, competitors try to catch a calf, halter their catch and bring the calf into the center of the arena. Each calf-catching participant, plus each winner of the sportsmanship award, will receive a $1,000 grant toward a purebred registered beef heifer of their own.

This year, three Meridian FFA chapter members competed in the Calf Scramble. Jon Muniz, Kyleigh Davis and Ellie Higgins competed on Tuesday, July 18, with Jon and Kyleigh both catching calves. Ellie returned on Saturday, July 22, and received the sportsmanship award. All three members will be receiving a $1,000 grant, and will be able to purchase a beef heifer that they will bring back in one year to show at the Calf Scramble Cattle Show.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 18, the 2016 Calf Scramble winners brought their beef heifers to the show. These members got to show off their hard work by competing in showmanship and quality. Meridian FFA members Siera Horton (2nd place in showmanship), Gunner Glineski (1st place in quality), Cameron King (3rd place in quality), Joe Wieting, Mollie Hiscox, Kayla Shubert, and Zack Davis returned with their animals to showcase their year of hard work.

The Meridian FFA chapter owes many thanks to the Calf Scramble Committee, and all others who make this event possible. Without this program, many members would never be able to experience the joys of raising cattle, or the feeling of catching one bare-handed!

National FFA names 2017 American Star award finalists Sun, 23 Jul 2017 18:47:13 -0400 INDIANAPOLIS — the National FFA Organization on July 21 selected 16 students from throughout the U.S. as finalists for its 2017 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represents the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients, FFA officials said in a press release. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through the completion of a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program.

A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis. The four winners will be announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26.

ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, Elanco and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program.

The finalists include:

American Star Farmer

Joseph Arnold of the Lac qui Parle Valley FFA Chapter in Minnesota

Nickolas James Vollmer of the Merino FFA Chapter in Colorado

Jake Fanning of the Laverne FFA Chapter in Oklahoma

Mark Cavallero of the Madera FFA Chapter in California

American Star in Agribusiness

Nathan M. DeYoung of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana

Austin D. Nordyke of the Hugoton FFA Chapter in Kansas

Audra Montgomery of the Carrington FFA Chapter in North Dakota

Shaun Wenrick of the Anna FFA Chapter in Ohio

American Star in Agricultural Placement

Matthew S. Ries of the Lomira FFA Chapter in Wisconsin

Devin Debruhl of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana

Kellie Mae Einck of the South O’Brien FFA Chapter in Iowa

Bailey Wilson of the Pilot Point FFA Chapter in Texas

American Star in Agriscience

Chrysta Noelle Beck of the Pettisville FFA Chapter in Ohio

Elizabeth Baker-Mikesell of the Greenwood FFA Chapter in Pennsylvania

Leah Danielle Hefty of the DeKalb FFA Chapter in Indiana

Loren Gregory King of the Branch Area Career Centers FFA Chapter in Michigan

Visit for more information about the American Star Awards.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Washington, D.C., leadership conference instills importance of community service Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:54:51 -0400 Marsing, Idaho, FFA members Logan Stansell and Ashley Loucks have returned from the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., where they took part in an extensive development program and visited some of the nation’s capital’s most important historic sites.

Stansell is the chapter vice president and Loucks is the chapter secretary. They were accompanied by advisory board chairwoman and Marsing teacher Wendy Stansell during the July 11-16 session.

They were among many FFA members from throughout the country who converged on the nation’s capital this summer to evaluate their personal skills and interests, develop leadership and create service plans that will make a difference in their communities.

Stansell said highlights of the week included Arlington National Cemetery changing of the guard, the monument night tour, the Mount Vernon tour and meeting chapter members from across the U.S. He roomed with students from North Dakota, Alabama and Wisconsin.

Loucks said the highlights for her were Arlington, Mount Vernon and roommates from Wisconsin, Kentucky and Missouri.

More than 2,300 students attended the Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student event that the National FFA Organization hosts each year, according to an FFA press release. It was created in 1969 and is held annually.

FFA members attended the conference during one of seven weeks through July 29. They spent the week under the guidance of professionals, counselors and FFA staff.

In workshops, seminars and small groups, members focused on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. The capstone of the event was a civic engagement activity where participants applied what they learned to a hands-on activity.

Members also analyzed the needs of their communities, developed wide-ranging and high-impact community service initiatives and will implement their plans with the help of their FFA chapters upon return home. Students in recent years have promoted agricultural literacy, brought attention to abuse, collected and distributed shoes to individuals in Haiti and created a hunger awareness plan.

FFA members also experienced the history of the nation’s capital and toured landmarks including the Washington Monument, War Memorial, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol. Members also had an opportunity to participate in congressional visits during the week.

The 2017 Washington Leadership Conference was sponsored by title sponsors CSX, Monsanto, Farm Credit and weekly sponsor Valent. For more information, visit

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Retired ag teacher receives national service citation Mon, 17 Jul 2017 09:38:44 -0400 Craig Reed ELKTON, Ore. — Retired agricultural teacher Denny Quinby was recently honored as one of only six individuals nationwide who received the National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Service Citation.

Quinby retired in 2010 after a 31-year educational career as the ag teacher and FFA advisor at Elkton High School. He chartered the ag program at the school in 1980.

“I feel very honored,” he said. “But I don’t do things in life for recognition. I don’t want to be on the stage. I want the kids to be up there on the stage. Keeping kids in school in order for them to graduate, that was always my ultimate goal, not the recognition.”

So when looking for Quinby, look behind the scenes of the Douglas County Lamb Show or the Douglas County Fair. He is all about the kids and their animal projects at those events getting the spotlight while he helps with advice and guidance from the sidelines.

But thanks to a couple of his younger colleagues who initiated his nomination, Quinby was selected for the national service citation. He was recognized for his many contributions to his profession, both while teaching and continuing into retirement. He has been the chairman of the Lamb Show committee for the past five years and has helped with ag courses and projects at some county schools since retiring.

Quinby and his wife, Shortie, established the Elkton Wranglers 4-H Club and were its leaders for 30 years until retiring from it in 2010.

During his career at Elkton High, Quinby had two students become state FFA officers. He supervised many students through traditional and nontraditional agricultural experiences — projects related to agriculture that helped the students connect classroom learning to real-world activities.

Rachel Kostman, the ag science teacher at Oakland High School and a former student of Quinby’s at Elkton, said the Umpqua District ag teachers nominated Quinby for the award.

“He has devoted his life to ag education,” Kostman said. “Even in retirement he has stayed involved, mentoring young teachers in the district and inspiring students to learn hands-on applicable skills. He has a passion for agriculture and for agricultural education.”

Quinby has remained active in the FFA Forestry Career Development Event, a competition that develops student skills related to diagnosing forest disorders and managing forests. He has helped at the district and state level competitions and has coached forestry teams from Elkton and Oakland that have competed at the national level.

In the nomination letter that was submitted on behalf of Quinby by the Umpqua District, his continuing efforts to mentor both teachers and students were emphasized.

“Mr. Quinby has taken the role as a mentor to the current advisor (Braden Groth) of the Elkton agriculture program and other advisors in the district, a leadership role that is unmeasurable. Though he is retired, he still has a positive impact on students through his active role in the agricultural educational community. He still has, and always will have, a heart for kids.”

Even while helping others, Quinby does have his own agricultural projects at his home in the Elkton area — a mother cow and sheep operation.

“I guess I’ve just done some things right,” he said of the recognition. “I wouldn’t have done any of this if I hadn’t enjoyed it. I’ve done this for the betterment of the kids and the school system. If you want to help kids improve themselves, you have to give them your time.”

Ohio county fair hogs to be destroyed after swine flu found Fri, 14 Jul 2017 12:28:35 -0400 WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) — State officials have ordered the slaughter of nearly 300 hogs at a county fair in Ohio after at least two animals tested positive for swine flu.

WLWT-TV reports a Clinton County fair representative confirmed Thursday that hogs had tested positive and would be slaughtered.

An Ohio Department of Agriculture spokesman said Friday that the fair will disinfect the barn and its contents to stop any spread of the virus. Department spokesman Mark Bruce says any equipment inside the barn will be released to owners after disinfection.

Hog breeder Joey Johnson says it’s been difficult, especially for children whose animals will be slaughtered.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when humans are infected with swine flu it’s typically transmitted by prolonged exposure to hogs at agricultural fairs.

4-H, FFA members gear up for California State Fair Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:18:24 -0400 Tim Hearden SACRAMENTO — 4-H and FFA members throughout the Golden State are gearing up to face big-league competition at the California State Fair on July 14-30.

Entrants at the Sacramento County Fair over the Memorial Day weekend were offered the added benefit of doing a dry run at the facility where the state fair is held — Cal Expo.

FFA member Joshua Vargas of Elk Grove, Calif., said he knew of a few students at the county event who planned to go on to the state fair. For them, the competitions at the smaller gathering were an opportunity to know where to improve.

“The judges will tell you what to work on and what they want to see more of,” he said.

More than 4,000 animals are entered in youth and local divisions at the state fair each year. Exhibits in the fair’s livestock building and adjacent shaded stalls are shown in shifts, and the fair offers showmanship awards and prizes in different classes for youths.

Agriculture will again take center stage at the 164th state fair, whose theme this year is “Come One, Come All!”

One of the most popular destinations for attendees is the 34-year-old farm, where a local chef will offer cooking demonstrations with locally grown produce. Other farm features will include a daily farmers’ market, an aquaculture exhibit, a hydroponic greenhouse and an insect pavilion.

In addition, an exhibit called Farmyard Follies will feature goats, sheep, llamas and a spotted donkey from the Great American Petting Zoo, offering fairgoers a chance to learn about animals and see them up close.

Fair-related festivities kicked off June 22 with the State Fair Gala at Cal Expo, which raises funds for the Friends of the California State Fair Student Scholarship Fund.

Fair officials presented this year’s Agriculturalist of the Year award to Tom Nassif, chief executive officer of Western Growers, for highlighting the need for immigration reform and pushing for a new specialty-crop title in the Farm Bill.

Among other ag-related honorees, Paul Draper of the Cupertino-based Ridge Vineyards received the Wine Lifetime Achievement Award and Dutton Ranch Vineyards in Sebastopol received the Vineyard of the Year Award.

That morning, fair chief executive officer Rick Pickering and local dignitaries honored the Best of Show winners for the Commercial Wine, Cheese, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Commercial Beer competition in front of the state Capitol.

For more details on activities, visit the fair’s website, .

Meridian, Idaho, FFA banquet highlights year’s successes Fri, 16 Jun 2017 15:58:42 -0400 Ellie HigginsMeridian FFA Chapter Reporter At the 77th annual Meridian FFA Chapter banquet, held May 1 at the West Ada District Service Center, members were rewarded for a year of hard work and dedication. Friends, families, and community members — all of whom have made an impact in the lives of Meridian FFA members — were invited to attend the banquet.

Awards, ranging from scholarships to pins to plaques, were awarded to freshmen through senior members and to community members.

The Letter Award is an award allowing members to “letter” as a result of their excellence in FFA activities. This award was given to 34 freshman members, 11 second-year members, 12 third-year members and 6 fourth-year members.

The Scholarship Award, a recognition of members that uphold high academic standards, and the Record Keeping Award, a recognition of members who maintain impressive records on their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, are additionally awarded to freshmen through senior members. Those awarded the Scholarship Award included 9 freshman members, 8 sophomore members, 10 junior members and 6 senior members.

Those awarded the Record Keeping award included 10 freshman members, 6 sophomore members, 5 junior members and four senior members.

Select chapter members are recognized for their exemplary achievements in the Meridian FFA Chapter, Career Development Events (CDEs), and their SAE projects.

The Star Greenhand Award is given to first year, Greenhand Degree recipients who display characteristics that all first-year FFA members should strive to achieve. These members included Courtney Marshall, Olivia Sells, Kennedy Cox, Rose Frazee, Sierra Hennessy and Hunter Patterson.

The Outstanding Second Year and Third Year Awards are given to second- and third-year members who have continued to show truly outstanding success throughout their time in FFA. These members included Brock Shurtz, Issac Livesay, Cameron King, Sydney Plum, Cassidey Plum, and Rachel Mansfield as Second Year recipients, and Kaitlin Muniz, Joe Wieting, Ellie Higgins, Ashton Shaul, Mollie Hiscox, Trinity Martin, and Cody Duff as Third Year recipients.

Finally, Proficiencies are given to students who have excelled with their SAE projects. In the area of Science Entrepreneurship, recipients included Ellie Higgins (silver), Rachel Mansfield (silver), and Alexa Phillips (gold).

In the Small Animal Production Entrepreneurship area, the recipients were Zach Phillips (bronze), Lauren Barker (silver), Rachel Mansfield (silver), and Sarah Jane St. Michell (gold).

In the Veterinary Science Exploratory area, the recipient was Sami Kennel (gold).

In the Diversified Livestock Entrepreneurship area, the recipients included Ellie Higgins (silver), Ashton Shaul (silver), and Joe Wieting (gold).

In the Swine Production Entrepreneurship area, the recipient was Ashley Kerby (gold). In the Agricultural Mechanics and Design Exploratory area, the recipient was Ellie Higgins (gold). In the Food Science and Technology Placement area, the recipient was Joe Wieting (gold).

And finally, in the Dairy Cattle Entrepreneurship area, the recipients included Jordan Bettencourt (gold), and Sierra Horton (gold).

Individual FFA and community members who have made an incredible impact in the Meridian chapter, and the world of agriculture, are additionally recognized. Honorary Chapter Degree Members are “farmers, school superintendents, principals, members of boards of education, chapter advisors, teachers, staff members in agricultural education, business people and others” according to the National FFA Bylaws.

This year’s Meridian FFA Honorary Chapter Degree recipients were Mrs. Jill Lillienkamp, Jim and Colleen Schmit, Chris and Kendra Lacy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Anika Phillips, Mike Farris, Ms. Bly, Ms. Mosman, and Ms, Higer.

Scholarships and Individual Awards are given to FFA senior members who, throughout their time in school and FFA, have proven that they will continue their success throughout life.

Many awards were given, including the Fred Beckman Good Citizen Award, presented to Bailey Josoff; the Ada County Farm Bureau Scholarship, presented to Alexa Phillips, Kiara Wetzel, and Andrew Heikkila; Charlie Stevens Memorial Scholarship, presented to Ashlyn Schiers; the Steve Russell Work Horse Award, presented to Kobe Manzer; the Clay Tully Memorial Scholarship, presented to Zach Phillips; the Alumni Scholarship, presented to Kyle Schmi, Ashlyn Schiers, Loretta Lacy, Alexa Phillips, Hannah Smith, Lauren Barker, and Mallie Miller; the Gene & Marge Muller Scholarship, presented to Alexa Phillips; the Outstanding FFA Chairman award, sponsored by Washington Trust Bank, was presented to Kobe Manzer; the Most Improved FFA Member award, sponsored by Investment Resources, was presented to Kiara Wetzel; the FFA Senior Achievement award, sponsored by Dynamite Feeds, was presented to Mallie Miller; the Outstanding FFA Member award, sponsored by CFI Investments, was presented to Loretta Lacy and Ashlyn Schiers; the Outstanding Shop Student award, sponsored by Norco Inc., was presented to Zach Phillips; the Star Chapter Agribusiness Degree, sponsored by DL Evans Bank, was presented to Lauren Barker; the Star Chapter Farmer Degree, sponsored by Columbia Bank, was presented to Alexa Phillips; and finally, the Outstanding Senior FFA Leadership award, sponsored by Western States Equipment, was presented to Kyle Schmit.

Finally, the newly elected Meridian FFA 2017-2018 Chapter Officers were inducted into their positions. These officers included Representatives Siera Horton, Jonathan Muniz, Kaden McCarney, Cassidey Plum, and Sydney Plum; Parliamentarian Kaitlyn Steppe; Alumni Representative Isaac Livesay; Yearbook Staff members Madison Belanger, Kaitlin Belanger, and Lyric Snurkowski; Yearbook Chief Rachel Mansfield; Sentinel Cody Duff; Reporter Ellie Higgins; Treasurer Cameron King; Secretary Trinity Martin; Vice President Ashton Shaul; and President Joseph Wieting. The new Meridian Chapter Officers will go on throughout their year of service to represent the chapter with leadership, hard work, and a passion for agriculture.

Ag, Interior secretaries vow to partner with states, communities Fri, 2 Jun 2017 15:50:10 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE ­— U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited Idaho together June 2 and vowed to partner closely with states and communities on land management and other issues.

The two federal agencies plan to work closer together — and want to work closely as partners with states and communities, the secretaries told several hundred people at Boise State University.

“We’re aware that one size doesn’t fit all,” Perdue told the crowd, which included leaders of Idaho’s farming and ranching industries.

He said the agencies’ seriousness about giving local residents a real opportunity to impact federal policy was evidenced by their visit, which included a private breakfast meeting with 10 farmers and ranchers.

“We’re here to make that commitment to you today,” said Perdue, whose comments about partnering with states and communities were echoed by Zinke. “We’re (here) talking direct, eyeball-to-eyeball. We’re going to make a (change) in the way we do business.”

Zinke said one of his main focuses in the coming years will be building trust. “We have to re-establish that collaborative effort (of) working with communities,” he said.

The two secretaries were accompanied by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, a Republican rancher, who told Capital Press the visit was historic.

“Having the two of them here, together, in complete agreement with what their agencies’ relationship ought to be with the state is probably the most refreshing thing politically that I have seen in a long time,” Otter said.

During a question-and-answer session with the media, Otter said the secretaries’ message was clear: “There’s a new sheriff in town and there’s a whole new idea called collaboration and working together.”

The pair’s visit was praised by Idaho ag leaders who met with them during the private breakfast.

“The fact that we had two secretaries in Idaho at the same time to talk about natural resource issues was absolutely unprecedented,” said Laurie Lickley, a cattle rancher from Jerome.

During the meeting with the public at BSU, Perdue said, “I think it’s time we start looking at forests as crops and use them,” which drew praise from Idaho Farm Bureau Federation President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley.

“I thought that was phenomenal because that’s exactly right,” Searle said. “That’s our problem now — we’ve got too much fuel out there, old timber’s falling down and we haven’t treated them like crops.”

Several Idaho FFA members attended the BSU meeting, and Perdue praised that group at least twice.

“The young people to your left are what gives me hope and optimism” about agriculture’s future, he said to one person sitting next to a group of FFA members wearing the group’s iconic blue jackets.

Perdue said FFA members “are getting the best leadership training of any youth group in the country, bar none. ... I’m optimistic about the future of people like you.”

Kansas woman fights to keep state fair champion lamb title Fri, 26 May 2017 10:09:05 -0400 WASHINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A northern Kansas woman is fighting a decision by state fair officials to strip her champion lamb title and winnings because of alleged performance enhancement.

Kansas State University student Gabryelle Gilliam’s market lamb was crowned grand champion at the Kansas State Fair in September, the Hutchinson News reported. But in January, Gilliam was officially disqualified for “unethical fitting.”

The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Dr. Paul Grosdidier said he concluded after a carcass exam soon after the fair that a natural substance was injected into the animal “within a few days” of inspection. State fair rules prohibit treating animals with a substance to alter its body in any way.

Gilliam alleged in Reno County District Court documents that the fair’s actions weren’t supported by substantial evidence and the officials acted beyond their jurisdiction. She said she wants the disqualification overturned.

Gilliam’s father, Jerry Gilliam, told fair officials that neither he nor his family members injected the lamb, and that they were with the animal throughout the duration of the fair. Disqualification for Gilliam means losing the grand champion award, which the fair’s website says is $4,000 for the 2017 champion.

The Kansas Attorney General’s office is seeking until June 21 to respond to Gilliam’s complaint.

State fair general manager Susan Sankey said the fair has adopted the National Show Ring Code of Ethics.

Brown restores FFA, career tech funding after outcry from supporters Tue, 23 May 2017 11:56:54 -0400 Tim Hearden SACRAMENTO — After hearing an outcry from FFA advocates, Gov. Jerry Brown has reinserted funding in his budget proposal for high school agriculture education and career technical programs.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross reassured teachers that the $15.4 million for FFA and related programs zeroed out in Brown’s May 11 revised ledger has been put back in.

“Please be assured, Governor Brown remains committed to ongoing funding for these programs … through the California Department of Education,” Ross told educators in an email. “While one-time funding was used to support these programs in the current year, the governor is committed to ongoing funding for these programs for 2017-18 and beyond.”

The decision pleased Anna Canon, an agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Orland High School. The school’s ag program has 218 students, or roughly one-third of the entire student body, she said.

“When this came up with the budget cuts, we were asked to bring kids to the Capitol,” Canon said. “That (funding) is how we are able to do what we do. Now the governor’s office is supporting ongoing funding.”

The proposed cut was part of a plan to boost spending for community colleges by $160 million to, among other goals, improve students’ employment opportunities.

Whether the FFA allocation will be moved back from the community college fund or found elsewhere is yet to be determined by Brown and legislators, said Jim Aschwanden, the California Agricultural Teachers Association’s executive director.

“We have to work those details out,” he said. “I haven’t seen the details yet, but the commitment is there to fund it.”

Brown’s reversal came after parents, students and other FFA advocates took to social media to rally support for the programs. Last week, 65 legislators sent a letter to the governor and to budget committee leaders asking that the funding be restored.

The $15.4 million represents the state’s total contribution to FFA and other programs, including one for future business leaders, a family and consumer sciences program and SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization, Aschwanden said.

“What this money has enabled them to do is hold leadership conferences and bring state officers together to do leadership training for their chapters throughout the state,” he said.

Of the 114,000 California students that would have been affected by the cut, 86,000 are in FFA, which has a foundation to help raise money but relies on the $250,000 state allocation as “base funding,” he said.

“If there weren’t an FFA program, kids wouldn’t have the ability to develop leadership skills and a work ethic and (learn how to) manage money,” said Staci Alves, an agriculture teacher at Willows High School.

Budget negotiations at the Capitol have been ongoing since Brown presented his $124 billion revised ledger. The Democrat-controlled Legislature must approve a 2017-18 budget by June 15.

FFA members help special-needs kids raise goats for county fair Tue, 23 May 2017 10:07:45 -0400 Tim Hearden ORLAND, Calif. — All her life, Amanda Houtrouw dreamed of raising her own goat and taking it to auction at her county fair.

This year, thanks to the mentorship of her fellow FFA members in Willows, Calif., she got the chance.

Houtrouw was one of six students with special needs who took part in her school’s first Mighty Honker Goat Project, which paired them with mentors who helped them raise, present and sell goats at the Glenn County Fair on May 18-21.

“I learned how to walk a goat and to clean his pen,” she said, adding that she and her mentor, Gina Amaro, will be friends forever.

The project was created by Willows High School senior Makaylee Lindsey, who saw a similar project at a fair in Southern California, she said.

“I went to the county fair in Santa Barbara and my cousin was a part of the program,” Lindsey said. “I decided to bring the program here.”

She rallied local businesses and agriculture boosters to donate materials and help with the cost, which was about $1,000 per student.

The students with intellectual disabilities were each given a goat purchased by donors in February, and they accompanied their mentors three afternoons a week to the high school’s farm to work with their animals.

The youngsters fed their goats, cleaned the stalls, weighed their goats and practiced showing the animals.

One of the students, Ryan Torres, and his mentor, Luis Garcia, raised the grand champion goat.

“It’s awesome,” said Staci Alves, an agriculture teacher at Willows High. “It kind of brought tears to everyone’s eyes.”

The students got to keep half the proceeds from the sale of their goats, while the other half went into a fund to continue the program.

The project has had an impact on the high school’s campus life, Alves said. Special-education students felt separated from the rest of the school, “but not anymore,” she said.

One of the students didn’t want to make eye contact with people, but now he can, she said.

“I think it has more of an impact on these kids,” the mentors, Alves said. “They’re not even trained (as teachers). It’s very natural.”

The parents of the special-needs kids said the experience taught them responsibility and gave them more confidence. Angelique Gomez said he daughter, Yolanda, has learned respect for animals and how to work with others.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids,” said Maria Rojo, whose daughter Alejandra participated in the program. “Alejandra is so happy. … This is the first time she could enter. She’s so happy and excited.”

Washington FFA adviser departing Tue, 16 May 2017 17:25:06 -0400 Matw Weaver Rebecca Wallace, Washington state FFA adviser for the past four years, has a new job.

She is the new executive director of career and technical education programs in the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

She will continue as FFA adviser until a replacement is named.

“My roots are in ag, I’m a product of FFA, I’m a product of ag education,” Wallace said. “I’ve really, truly enjoyed working with the teachers, directors and the students across the state to advance agricultural education.”

Wallace hopes to lead by example in her new position.

“If you have the ability to impact on a greater level, then you have the responsibility to do your best to try,” she said. “We’ve been able to do some great things in agriculture. I’ve certainly appreciated the support from the ag teachers and ag industry in general.”

Wallace believes FFA has begun strategic planning for the future of agricultural education in the next 10 to 15 years. She also pointed to FFA’s relationships with Washington State University and the industry.

“I’m really proud of the team we’ve built,” she said. “I’m proud of being able to bring to light some of the great things we already had been doing and growing and starting some new programs.”

Wallace has had an “unbelievable” and “immeasurable” impact for FFA, said Abbie DeMeerleer, executive director of the Washington FFA Association.

“She has been an tireless advocate,” DeMeerleer said. “She’s been innovative, creative and very supportive of new initiatives of diverse growth in our organization, helping us look and grow forward.”

Wallace said she plans to continue to support FFA in her new capacity.

Ag students shine at Oregon Envirothon Mon, 15 May 2017 10:15:18 -0400 Jan Jackson SILVERTON, Ore. — The 21st annual Oregon Envirothon, was May 5 at the Oregon Gardens in Silverton.

The five top winning teams were Logos Charter School, Medford; Newberg High School FFA; Amity High School; Sutherlin High School FFA Team 2; and Sutherlin High School Team A.

The Logos Charter School team will compete July 23-29 in the National Envirothon at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmetsburg, Md.

Newberg FFA, which placed second in the Envirothon and first in the FFA Division, will compete Oct. 25-28 during the 90th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Ind.

Bailey Field, FFA adviser and ag teacher at Newberg, spoke with pride about her FFA members taking a first in the FFA Division and scoring the highest in the agriculture soil and water conservation stewardship event.

“This was my first year at Newberg, and fortunately I had the help of long time biology, ecology and horticulture instructor and Envirothon trainer Pete Siderius,” Fields said. “Newberg was represented by a five-member FFA and a five-member freshman team this year. It is always exciting to see them put in all that effort and see it rewarded.”

Students train and test throughout the school year to compete in four hands-on natural resource categories — aquatic ecology, soils and land use, forestry and wildlife and one current environmental issue, which this year was ag soil and water conservation stewardship.

Envirothon was started by the Pennsylvania Soil and Water Conservation District in 1979. Oregon’s first Envirothon was in 1997 with five teams; 32 teams competed this year.

In 2003, the Marion County SWCD partnered with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute and moved the competition to the Oregon Gardens. OFRI will direct future Envirothon competitions starting with the 2018 event.

OFRI Senior Manager of Education Julie Woodward said 200 high school students competed this year.

“It started out as a very wet day, but students kept positive attitudes and we saw some amazing results,” Woodward said. “The advisers and instructors put a lot of time and energy into preparing students for the event and the test writers and judges routinely comment on how amazed they are with the skills and expertise of the students.

“We are looking forward to Envirothon 2018.”


Washington FFA chooses new state officers Sun, 14 May 2017 16:11:12 -0400 Matw Weaver PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington FFA installed a new slate of officers to cap its annual gathering, which attracted 3,318 members and advisers.

The new officers will demonstrate the power of letting the student leadership organization truly be guided by students, the organization’s officials say.

New officers elected during the 87th Washington FFA Convention and Expo in Pullman, Wash., are president Seth Smith of Tonasket, vice president Mollee Gray of Medical Lake, secretary Taylor Enns of White River, treasurer Sydney Klaveano of Pullman, reporter Kelci Scharff of Cheney and sentinel Matt Rounsley of Tenino.

Smith said he hopes to talk about FFA’s possibilities for all students in the coming year.

“It’s really open for everybody,” he said.

Smith said he doesn’t have an agriculture background, but became involved in FFA through a novice parliamentary procedure leadership development event.

“It opened up all these doors and this new journey I’m on to learning about this industry,” he said. “I realized how passionate I was about it and how effective it was in our world.”

Smith hopes to attend law school and ultimately work in natural resources law or water rights law.

Outgoing president Alyssa McGee in her retiring address urged members not to get so distracted by their goals that they miss the beauty of living in the moment.

“Over the next few years, that (FFA) jacket will serve as a collection of both great moments as well as moments of struggle,” she said. “Hold on tightly to both.”

“I’m excited to hear from them what they envision Washington FFA to be in the next year,” Rebecca Wallace, Washington FFA state adviser, said of the new officers.

“I can’t wait to see what kind of expectations they set for themselves this year, and then surpass,” said Abbie DeMeerleer, Washington FFA Association executive director. “This is a dynamic new group of individuals, and I think they’re going to have some pretty innovative and exciting ideas for the association.”

DeMeerleer hopes the industry greets the new officers with open arms, to help them better understand the “ins and outs” of the industry and its trading partners.

“So that these six students, in all of their travels throughout the year, can best represent not only FFA, but Washington agriculture as a whole,” she said.