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By: Texas FFA News
November 15, 2015

Texas agriculture students shined in national competitions hosted by the National FFA Organization at the 88th Annual Convention in Louisville, KY. Texas FFA members dominated agriscience fair competitions and made a solid showing in career development events and award competitions based on student supervised agricultural experience programs. 

“Intense competition at the state level usually produces students who can perform consistently at a high level on a national stage,” said Texas FFA Executive Director Tom Maynard. “The overall performance by our students is a credit to them and their teachers.”
Texans Dominate in National Agriscience Fair

Texas members brought five national titles in the National FFA Agriscience Fair back to the Lone Star State, with 13 of its 21 finalists finishing in the top three, 18 rated as gold, and 3 rated as silver in the four tier rating system (gold, silver, bronze, and participant).

Georgia led the way with a record eight national winners, and Texas came in a close second, with five.     

Historically, Texas members have fared well in the national competition winning a new total of a record 72 Agriscience Fair national titles since the event’s inception in 1998. No state has ever won more agriscience championships than Texas. 


National Champions
• Hannah Wellman & Jordan Rayburg, James Madison, San Antonio: Food Products and Processing Systems, Division 4
• Erin Steglich, Holland: Plant Systems, Division 1
• Jordan Mendez & Mayson Schulze, Marion: Plant Systems, Division 4 
• Max Coppenbarger & Robert Guerrero, Canutillo: Power, Structural and Technical Systems, Division 3 
• Colby Gipson & Jake Traylor, Gilmer: Social Systems, Division 4
National Runner-up
• Olivia Wise-Dent, James Madison: Animal Systems, Division 2
• Cameron Gipson, Gilmer: Env. Services/Natural Resource Systems, Division 1 
• Daniella Burleson, James Madison: Food Products and Processing Systems, Division 2
• Katherine Marie Fazzino, Rudder, Bryan: Plant Systems, Division 2 
• Riley McKinzie, Stephenville: Social Systems, Division 1 
Career Development Events: Continuing a Tradition of Excellence  

As a state, Texas boasted another strong showing in Louisville, capturing four national career development event titles, and one national runner-up title. Texans also turned in nine total top-ten finishes as well this year. Creed Speaking as well as Environmental and Natural Resources were first-time wins for Texas FFA. 

Since 1928, 86 Texas entries have claimed national championships. Only California has won more national titles with 105. Six states have yet to win a national FFA career development event in this time span.


National CDE’s—Texas Top 10 Summary
• National Champion - Creed Speaking: Carlye Winfrey, Seminole
• National Champion - Environmental and Natural Resources: Rusk
• National Champion - Meats Evaluation: Stephenville 
• National Champion: Poultry Evaluation: Sandra Day O’Connor
• National Runner-Up - Veterinary Science: James Madison 
Other top 10 finishes by Texas entries
• 3rd Agricultural Issues Forum, Madisonville
• 5th Parliamentary Procedure, Bellville
• 5th Food Science and Technology, Florence
• 8th Horse Evaluation, Pearland 
• 9th Nursery/Landscape, Flatonia 

Texans Claim Five Proficiency Awards

Texans won five national proficiency awards in Louisville. A total of 12 Texans were onstage as national finalists.

Historically, Texans haven’t fared as well in proficiency award competition, but over the last five years have surged as Texas teachers engage in the process and learn to navigate the national application and selection process. This year, the playing field was levelled somewhat due to the implementation of a new national proficiency application. 

Texas ranked seventh in the total number of national finalists behind Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Indiana. Only 17 of the nation’s 52 state FFA associations had national winners.

2015 Texas National Proficiency Award Winners: 
• Beef Production-Entrepreneurship: Kylie Patterson-East Central, San Antonio 
• Beef Production-Placement: Tyler Nelson-Canyon
• Equine Science-Entrepreneurship: Kaine Warnken-Schulenburg 
• Forage Production-Entrepreneurship/Placement: Bailey Wilson-Pilot Point 
• Small Animal Production and Care-Entrepreneurship/Placement: Lacie DeRojas-Dawson 

American Star Finalists Make History

The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. Four national finalists vie for the star award in each of the four categories. Finalists for the award have mastered skills in production, finance, management and/or research. For the first time in the state’s 87 year FFA history, the Texas FFA Association was represented by a finalist in all four categories. 

In the Star American Farmer category, Thomas Glascock of the Pilot Point FFA chapter competed with his beef production SAE. Glascock is no stranger to this family tradition, as his sister Rachel was also a national star finalists in the same category. Also a sibling legacy, Dakota Crissman of the Bells FFA chapter led the way with his American Star in Agribusiness; his brother Austin was also a finalist in 2012. In the American Star in Agriscience category, Rory Tucker of Klein FFA represented the Lone Star State. Finally, Britt Larson also of the Pilot Point FFA chapter rounded out this historic slate of star finalists with his American Star in Agricultural Placement category. 

The duo of finalists from Pilot Point FFA represent another historic moment for teachers Tammy and Randy Glascock and Ms. Casey Brinlee as they became the first advisors in Texas FFA, and in recent National FFA history to have two American Star Finalists in the same year. 

Continued Consistency in Texas National Chapter Awards 

Texas posted a consistent overall showing in the National Chapter Award, with 9 chapters earning three-star ratings, and 15 chapters earning two-star ratings in the three-tiered rating system that evaluates a chapter's program of activities execution. 

Texas chapters haven't established themselves on a consistent basis as strong contenders in this national award program as is the case in other award areas. 

Texas Recognized for Nation’s Top Membership Growth for the 6th Consecutive Year
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 5,374 between membership year 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Lone Star state also became the first state association to surpass 100,000 in total membership. The Texas membership surge accounted for 28% of the National FFA Organization’s 19,127-student membership growth. Texas FFA has grown by 34,733 members since 2010, in large part to a revision in the membership business model. 2015 marks the sixth consecutive year that Texas has recorded the top membership gain.

Texans Receive Honorary American FFA Degrees

Four Texas agricultural science teachers received the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 88th National FFA Convention. Michael Bowen of Como, Michael Brummond of Magnolia, Christina Capps of Plantersville and Brent Lankford of Ponder received the highest honorary degree bestowed by the National FFA Organization. 

Other Texans receiving the Honorary American Degree were Angel Armstrong of Damon, Samantha Dacke of Newark, Dr. Ted Ford of Stephenville, Jennifer Ingram of Waco, Tony Neely of Justin, Mike Ritchie of Amherst and Jay Wilder of Bryan. Also, receiving a VIP Award is Dr. Steve Fraze of Lubbock. 

Taylor-Katy Wins Hall of States Competition

For the first time since 2011, Texas has won the Hall of States. The Taylor-Katy Chapter (Katy ISD), near Houston, fielded the winning entry. The Hall of States features displays promoting agriculture and agricultural education in participating states. Visitors to this year’s display traveled through the various regions of the Lone Star State through a vividly creative display that captured the essence of everything Texas.

Since 2006, Texas FFA has solicited chapter proposals from across the state and supported a display created by a local chapter. Hall of States team members attend the display throughout the convention, field questions from the public and from a panel of judges who evaluate the displays and select a winner.

Texas Takes Top Four in National Invitational FFA Quiz Contest
For the third consecutive year, Grapeland FFA topped the senior division of the National FFA Invitational Quiz Contest held in conjunction with the National FFA Convention and Expo. Team members claimed high individual titles with Monica Davila at 1st, Victoria Martin at 4th, JD Martin at 5th and Rebekah Turner at 9th. 

Grapeland FFA also claimed the junior high division title after members claimed numerous high individual placings with Keaundra Harris at 1st, Madilyn McCombs at 2nd, Sonia Davila at 3rd and Cayden LeBlanc at 5th.  

Texans Make History at the Novice Parliamentary Procedure Contest

A total of 182 teams from 26 states entered the 2015 Novice Parliamentary Procedure Event that is held in conjunction with the National FFA Convention and Expo. Sandra Day O'Connor FFA was named the National Champion in this year’s event. This is the first team from Texas to win this event in its four-year history. 

Tradition of Success in Tractor Restoration

Chevron Products Company, a Chevron U.S.A. Inc. division, maker of the Delo® brand of technologically advanced engine oils, lubricants and coolants, announced Matt Mahler as Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition for his restoration of a 1972 John Deere 4320 tractor. The FFA member from Iowa Park was selected for the $10,000 Grand Prize by a panel of expert judges following presentations by all twelve finalists at the 87th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. This was Matt’s fourth trip to the national finals.
2015 Texas Delo Tractor Restoration Competition Finalist
• Matt Mahler, Iowa Park FFA: 1972 John Deere 4320 (Grand Prize Winner & Best Presentation)
• John Michael Grunseich, Bellevue FFA: 1964 John Deere 1010
• Hunter & Ryder Merta, El Campo FFA: 1951 John Deere Model A
• Dubiski Career High FFA: 1946 Farmall B
• Cotton Center FFA: 1950 Farmall H
Marion Livestock Team is “Royalty” in Kansas City   

The Marion livestock was crowned as champions of the 116th American Royal Livestock Judging Contest late last month.  Marion placed three of its members in the contest's top ten with Reagan Langemeier earning 2nd high-point individual honors. The national judging competition was held during same week as the National FFA Convention and Expo. Marion, qualified for the national competition by placing third in the Texas competition in May. The state runner-up in the Livestock Career Development Event has the opportunity to choose between competing in Kansas City or at the National Western in Denver. The third-place team is certified for the remaining contest berth.