FFA leaders exude passion

Cecilia Parsons/Capital Press Jason Mendes of Modesto, Calif., a candidate for the state FFA office of treasurer, greets voters during the annual state FFA Leadership Conference in Fresno.

Candidates gave inspirational, unique speeches to sway voting delegates


For the Capital Press

FRESNO, Calif. -- They had "passion in their jackets," determination and long lists of accomplishments, but the one they wanted most to add to their resume was "state officer."

During the Monday morning general session of the 84th annual California State FFA Leadership Conference, the 12 officer candidates had two minutes to convince delegates to cast votes in their favor.

Their speeches were inspiring, passionate and -- at times -- funny. At the end of their speeches, they often had FFA members standing and cheering. The prize for the six election winners is spending a year traveling to all parts of the state to encourage leadership in FFA chapters, along with priceless friendships and experiences.

Each presented their case in a unique style.

Tyler Menane of Nipomo, running for the state FFA reporter position, told students that they should have "passion in their jackets" for leadership.

Hannah Garrett of Galt -- the eventual winner of the state presidency -- advised FFA members to turn those awkward moments in their lives into something unforgettable.

Jason Mendes of Modesto promised to "spice up" the organization.

Following the speeches, FFA chapter delegates lined up in the convention hall to meet with the candidates who were handing out flyers and to cast their votes.

Delegates Kaylee Morris, 18, and Shannon Cobbett, 16, both Rosamond High School FFA chapter members, said they were most impressed with the speaking skills of the candidates and their ability to display their personalities in such a short time.

"This shows how much of an impact FFA has on students, how it encourages them to step up and say what they believe in," Morris said.

"They put so much of themselves into it," Cobbett said.

More than 4,000 students attended the four-day conference. In addition to electing new officers, delegates from chapters throughout the state debated and voted on state and national proposals, attended a career fair and heard motivational speakers.

The conference also highlighted student accomplishments in public speaking and production practices with proficiency awards, scholarships and special recognition.

New state officers

President: Hannah Garrett, Galt

Vice President: Leah Gibson, Paso Robles

Secretary: Kelcie Jones, Bakersfield-Frontier

Treasurer: Jason Mendes, Modesto

Reporter: Tyler Menane, Nipomo

Sentinel: Kyle Rohrmann, Fresno-Central

Star winners

Star in Ag Placement: Kyle Brem, Strathmore

Star in Agriscience: Jake Carlson, Elk Grove

Star in Agribusiness: Michael Valencia, Madera

Star Farmer: Victoria Pereira, Tulare

Star Advisor: Julie Beechinor, Frontier-Bakersfield

Star Administrator: Mark Richardson, Taft

Star Counselor: Wey Wyrick, Lemoore

Star Reporter: Kaitlin Wanner, East Nicholas

Proficiency Winners

Ag Communications: Brooke Aguirre, Fillmore

Ag Education: Brad Borges, Hughson

Ag Mechanics Energy Systems: Michael Buchmiller, Carpinteria

Ag Mechanics Repair Entrepreneurship: Christopher Barlow, La Habra-Sonora

Ag Mechanic Repair Placement: Francisco Manriquez, Wasco

Agricultural Processing: Garrett Howser, Modesto

Ag Sales Entrepreneurship: Rhianna Jones, Fresno-Central

Ag Sales Placement: Cody Dye, Templeton

Agricultural Services: Shelbi Enos, Hanford

Agriscience Research: Madison Albiani, Elk Grove

Agriscience Research: Jillian Drake, Fallbrook

Agriscience Research: Jake Carlson, Elk Grove

Beef Production Entrepreneurship: Regina Pozzi, Petaluma

Beef Production Placement: Hannah Bianchi, Hollister

Dairy Production Entrepreneurship: Vincent Migliazzo, Atwater-Buchach

Dairy Production Placement: Jacob Macedo, Tulare

Diversified Crop Production Entrepreneurship: Billy Yecny, Laton

Diversified Crop Production Placement: Richard Cardoza, Tulare

Diversified Horticultural Entrepreneurship: Ryan Howard, Santa Ynez

Diversified Horticultural Placement: Kyle Keane, Chico

Diversified Livestock Entrepreneurship: Macy Perry, Clovis East

Diversified Livestock Placement: Beth Boss, Menifee Heritage

Emerging Agricultural Technology: Robert DeValentine, Nicholas

Environmental Sciences: Drake Fusaro, Colusa

Equine Science Entrepreneurship: Ali Einolander, Templeton

Equine Science Placement: Else Stuart, Santa Rosa

Fiber/Oil Crops: Kiana Peters, Chowchilla

Forage Production: Elizabeth Gingles, Hanford

Forest Management: Joey Adams, Arroyo Grande

Goat Production: Rebecca Hobby, Hughson

Grain Production Entrepreneurship: Jason Allen, Firebaugh

Grain Production Placement: John Borba, Tulare

Home or Community Development: Samantha Mackle, Templeton

Landscape Management: Jordan Robinson, Lemoore

Nursery Operations: Ben Jacques, Fallbrook

Outdoor Recreation: Nicole Hardoy, King City

Pomology Production: Andrew Tremper, Arroyo Grande

Poultry Production: Russell Zimmerman, Hanford

Sheep Production: Skottlyn Snyder, Firebaugh

Small Animal Production and Care: Courtney Miller, Lodi

Specialty Animal Production: Courtney Miller, Lodi

Specialty Crop Production: Fernanda Ortiz, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley

Swine Production Entrepreneurship: Brandan Rogers, Lakeside-El Capitan

Swine Production Placement: Isaac Lewis, Tulare

Turf Grass Management: Jose Perez, Lemoore

Vegetable Production: Tyler Dickinson, Santa Maria Pioneer Valley

Vegetable Production Placement: Xia Vue, Fresno Central

Veterinary Medicine: Kelly Mitchell, Tulare

Viticulture Production: Yesinia Huerta, Lodi

Wildlife Management: Miles Mankins, Nipomo

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