Texas agriculture student shined in national competitions hosted by the National FFA Organization October 30 through November 2. Texans dominated career development events, agriscience fair competitions and made a solid showing in award competitions based on student supervised agricultural experience programs.
“It’s not a perfect correlation, but national competition gives us an idea how our students, teachers and programs stack up against those in other states,” says Texas FFA Executive Director Tom Maynard.
“Intense competition at the state level usually produces students who can perform consistently at a high level on a national stage,” he says. “The overall performance by our students is a credit to them and their teachers.”
“National competition also reveals areas that need attention,” Maynard says. “After the dust settles, we always sit down to dissect the data and assess current strategies and tactics to improve overall student performance.”
Texans Dominate in National Agriscience Fair
Texas members brought seven national titles in the National FFA Agriscience Fair back to the Lone Star State, with 13 of its 20 finalists finishing in the top three and 17 rated as gold in the four tier rating system (gold, silver, bronze, participant).
Stephenville led the way with three national winners and a runner-up along with James Madison that captured two national championships and a runner-up.
“There’s good instruction involved in that result, but biggest piece of it is that the students have to be 100% invested in the inquiry process,” says Texas FFA Agriscience Fair Superintendent and Texas Tech University professor Rudy Ritz.
Texas had 20 of its 21 entries qualify for the national finals in pre-judging held earlier in the year.
The FFA Agriscience Fair provides a showcase for members whose individual experiential learning program, referred to as a supervised agricultural experience, is research and experimentation in sciences related to the animal, plant, food, social and environmental sciences and engineering.
Historically, Texas members have fared well in the national competition winning 60 total Agriscience Fair national titles since the event’s inception in 1998. No state has won more agriscience championships than Texas.
Texans had the greatest number and percentage of its entries finishing in the top three and the largest number of gold-rated and winning entries. New Jersey had the highest percent of gold-rated finalists, but had only eight entries emerge from pre-judging.”
• Kylie Patterson, East Central: Animal Systems, Division 1
• Michah Rainey and Mary Butler, Stephenville: Environmental/Natural Resource Systems, Division 3
• Travis Rooney, A&M Consolidated: Plant Systems, Division 2
• Junelyn Gamao and Layne Garza, James Madison: Plant Systems, Division 4
• Juan Martinez Garcia and Joshua Saleen, James Madison: Power, Structural and Technical Systems, Division 3
• Kenna Faulkenberry, Stephenville: Social Systems, Division 2
• Conner McKinzie and William Pettit, Stephenville: Social Systems, Division 3
• Stephan Harris/Claire Seibel, Iowa Park: Animal Systems, Division 3
• Taylor Kalka and Garren Wetzel, James Madison: Power, Structural and Technical Systems, Division 4
• Chelsi Vineyard and McKinzie Ford, Stephenville: Social Systems, Division 4
Career Development Events: Lone Star Supremacy
As a state, Texas turned in a performance for the record books, capturing eight national career development event titles, the greatest number of national championships in a single year in Texas FFA’s 86-year history. Texans turned in 12 top-five finishes, the most since 2005 when Texans recorded 13 top-five performances.
Thirteen of the state’s 24 entries finished in the top ten (54%). Twelve states failed to crack the top ten in any event.
Since 1928, 80 Texas entries have claimed national championships. Only California has won more national titles. Seven states have never won a national FFA career development event in that time span.
National CDE’s—Texas Top 10 Summary
• National Champion: Agricultural Issues Forum, Madisonville
• National Champion: Extemporaneous Speaking, Marion
• National Champion: Food Science, East Central
• National Champion: Marketing Plan, Madisonville
• National Champion: Meats Evaluation: Hondo
• National Champion: Milk Quality, La Vernia
• National Champion: Poultry Evaluation, Sandra Day O’Conner
• National Champion: Veterinary Science, James Madison
• Other top 10 finishes by Texas entries:
3rd Agricultural Communications, Anson
3rd Environmental and Natural Resources, Rusk
4th Prepared Public Speaking, East Central
5th Horse Evaluation, Hondo
9th Floriculture, Katy-James Taylor
Trio of Texans Claim Proficiency Awards
Texans won three national proficiency awards in Indianapolis. 13 Texans were onstage as national finalists.
Pilot Point FFA achieved the rare feat of capturing two national proficiency championships in a single year. Britt Larson of Pilot Point was the national winner of the Beef Production-Entrepreneurship Award. Classmate Thomas Glascock was the winner of the Diversified Agricultural Production Proficiency Award.
Brooke Millican of Decatur earned top honors in the Home and/or Community Development Proficiency Award.
FFA Proficiency Awards recognize achievement in student supervised agricultural experience programs, individualized hands-on career experiences which are an integral part of the agricultural education teaching model.
Historically, Texans haven’t fared as well in proficiency award competition, but in the last five years have surged as Texas teachers engage in the process and learn to navigate the national application and selection process.
Texas ranked fifth in the total number of national finalists and was tied with California, Illinois, Minnesota and Tennessee for number national winners. Only 19 of the nation’s 52 state FFA associations had national winners.
Texas Recognized for Nation’s Top Membership Growth
The Texas FFA Association was recognized for the nation’s top membership growth in an award ceremony that was part of the national delegate process. Texas FFA grew by 8,630 between membership year 2011-12 and 2012-13 become the first state association to surpass 95,000 in total membership. The Texas membership surge accounted for more than a third of the National FFA Organization’s 24,525-student membership growth. Texas FFA has grown by 32,320 members since 2009, in large part to a revision in the membership business model. 2013 marks the fourth consecutive year that Texas has recorded the top membership gain.
Grapeland Wins Invitational FFA Quiz
Grapeland topped the senior division of the National FFA Invitational Quiz Contest held in conjunction with the National FFA Convention and Expo. Atlana Watson led the team to a 22-point margin of victory over second-place Bookeville, Tennessee. Watson led all contestants, with 88 correct responses on the 100-question FFA knowledge test. Decatur finished fifth in the contest.
The invitational quiz contest is open to all chapters and states and since 1980’s, has been held during convention week in or near the national convention host city. Chapters from 11 states participated in the senior division. Chapters from 14 states competed in the junior division which was won by Troy, Missouri.
Texans Receive Honorary American FFA Degrees
Seven Texas agricultural science teachers received the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 86th National FFA Convention. Donald Paul Booth of Sandra Day O’Conner, Charles Davidson of Greenville, Tracy Hicks Denny of Chisum, Jeff Klose of Canyon, Michael Douglas Meadows of Simms, Loyd Nations of Van and David W. Reiley of Seguin received the highest honorary degree bestowed by the National FFA Organization. Each year, a state may submit nominations not to exceed ten percent of the total number of teachers in the state.
Other Texans receiving the Honorary American Degree were Steve Fowlkes of Houston, Terry Hausenfluck of Bryan, Richard D. “Dick” Perkins of Houston, Dennis Lee Pierce of Spring, Donald Pilgrim of Peaster, Dr. Lori Moore of College Station and Dr. John Rayfield of College Station.