Louisville, Kentucky, hosted over 64,000 FFA members from across the nation at the 88th National FFA Convention from Oct. 26 to 31.

Meridian, Idaho, FFA competed at the national level with the following teams:

• Parliamentary Procedure.

• Horse Evaluation.

• Food Science and Technology.

• Veterinary Science.

To qualify to compete at this level, the team must win at the state level.

We also had four members — Mitch Jackson, Matt Stokes, Justin Nesbitt and Jamie Short — earn their American Degrees. The requirements for this award are to have earned at least $10,000 and invested $7,500 in a Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE), or to have invested $2,000 and worked 2,250 hours in a SAE. This is awarded to less than 1 percent of the national membership each year. These individuals have demonstrated the highest level of commitment and accomplishments in the FFA.

While on our trip to Louisville, we were able to tour KESMARC (Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center), the Louisville Slugger Museum and Churchill Downs. At KESMARC we were able to see different methods of equine recovery from injuries. In the Louisville Slugger Museum the group was able to see how bats are made and learn more about the game of baseball. At Churchill Downs, we were able to see the race track the Kentucky Derby is run on and see the paddocks, grandstands and the museum.

Throughout the convention, members attended a career fair, filled with different agriculture colleges and companies, and shopped in the FFA mall. In addition, several keynote speakers spoke in sessions throughout the week. Our chapter was able to listen to Dr. Rick Rigsby, a motivational speaker and corporate coach, and Brad Montague, the maker of “Kid President.”

Meridian FFA had four teams compete at Nationals, all placing in the Top 10 overall. The following is the placings of the teams and individuals:

Horse Evaluation: Ninth place team with gold ranking, team members:

• Lauren Anderson — Eighth high individual and third high performance judging, receiving $400 cash scholarship, gold ranking

• Taylor Johnson — Gold ranking

• Alexa Phillips — Silver ranking.

• Chloe Varley — Bronze ranking.

Food Science & Technology: Eighth place team with gold ranking, team members:

• Kirsten Forster — Seventh high individual, receiving $400 cash scholarship, gold ranking.

• Clayton Christenson — Ninth high individual, receiving $400 cash scholarship, gold ranking.

• Zach Putzier — Silver ranking.

• Madison Boyd — Silver ranking.

Parliamentary Procedure: Sixth place team with gold ranking, team members:

• Taylor Nelson — Gold ranking.

• Kristin Nesbitt — Gold ranking.

• Maddie Bennett — Gold ranking.

• Amber Wong — Gold ranking.

• Kyle Schmit — Gold ranking.

• Megan Deim — Gold ranking.

Veterinary Science: Sixth place team with gold ranking, team members:

• Madison Bloom — Second high individual, receiving $1,000 cash scholarship, gold ranking.

• Abby Talbott — Gold ranking.

• Jaime Ellis — Silver ranking.

• Kennedy Kirk — Silver ranking.

Meridian FFA would like to thank the Meridian FFA Alumni Chapter for lowering the huge cost of this trip for each attendee. We would also like to thank the National Career Development Event (CDE) sponsors. The Food Science & Technology CDE was sponsored by Kraft Heinz Co., the Horse Evaluation CDE was sponsored by Ram Trucks, Tractor Supply Co. and Wahl Clipper Corporation, the Parliamentary Procedure CDE was sponsored by TransCanada and the Veterinary Science CDE was sponsored by Zoetis.

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