MEEKER I Almost everyone in Rio Blanco County knows what FFA is—the Future Farmers of America. Now, the group website states that its now the FFA Organization and they’re not only future farmers, but also the future biologists, future chemists, future veterinarians, future engineers and future entrepreneurs of America.
At Meeker High School (MHS), agriculture education teacher Trina Kay Smith leads the effort as the FFA advisor and sponsor. On May 20, the Meeker FFA held its annual banquet at which member achievements were recognized and celebrated.
Each year, FFA students acquire information in the classroom and put it to the test in district- and state-level leadership and career development events. The events are based on Colorado Agriculture Education Standards and measure student knowledge of the standards – all of which prepare participants for careers in agriculture or related industries, just better appreciating agriculture as an adult, and/or being successful in an agricultural vocation.
The students in the Meeker program earned 44 Proficiency Awards at the chapel level this year, ranging from ag communications and entrepreneurship to beef, goat, poultry, sheep, swine, forage and turf production, equine science and outdoor recreation (outfitting).
One of the most apparent efforts was the FFA Ag Issues Team of Lori Ann Klinglesmith, Meghan Smith, Jamie Moyer, Sam Baylie, Peyton Burke, Jake Smith and Clay Anderson. Teams are charged with identifying a critical issue facing agriculture relevant to the community, demonstrating an understanding of the issue from all sides, researching by contact with principal parties involved and increasing awareness of the issue through local, regional and possibly higher level presentations.
This year’s topic was the wild horse issue on grazing lands in western Rio Blanco County and the team placed first at State with a Team Gold. They will be representing Colorado at the 2015 National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 28-31.
In ag sales, members must research and create sales presentations of an agricultural product and “sell” it to a judge, plus take a written exam and present a sales pitch as a team on a product chosen by the judges. The Meeker Ag Sales team of Chase Rule, Hunter Garcia, Sheridan Harvey and Casey Turner, placed sixth out of 15 teams at State with a Team Silver Award. Turner also received an individual Silver Award.
FFA Leadership Development includes public speaking. Brittany Smith won extemporaneous speaking at the District level and will compete this week at the State FFA Convention in Pueblo, June 1-4. Macy Collins won third place at District in prepared public speaking and second place in creed speaking. Collins was the Chapter Creed Speech Champion.
Seven Meeker Chapter members are to receive State FFA Degrees this week in Pueblo for high success in their Supervised Ag Experience (SAE) programs. To qualify, they must show they have earned and productively invested at least $2,500 or worked in excess of 750 hours outside of class in their SAE. In addition, they must have kept accurate records. Final approval for the state degrees comes from the State FFA Association’s Executive Committee. The Meeker State Degree earners are Jake Smith, Sam Baylie, Ty Dunham, Jamie Moyer, Madi Shults, Austin Purcell and Jamie McLaughlin.
Chapter FFA Degrees are awarded to second- and third-year FFA students who have already received a first-year award (Greenhand), completed two semesters of ag education, have a satisfactory SAE, earned and productively invested at least $150 or worked through at least 45 hours outside class in their SAE, led a group discussion, demonstrated five procedures of parliamentary procedure, performed 10 hours community service and held at least a 2.0 grade point average. The 12 members who earned Chapter Degrees this year are Clay Anderson, Cole Brown, Hunter Garcia, Sheridan Harvey, Lori Ann Klinglesmith, Chase Rule, Meghan Smith, Casey Turner, Kasey Rosendahl, Anna Walsh, Peyton Burke and Tyler Ilgen.
Samuel Baylie received the Star Chapter Farmer Award for “most involvement in all phases of chapter activities.” Brittany Smith and Austin Purcell were the Chapter Stars in Ag Placement. For her work in nursery operations and ag education, Jamie Moyer was the only student to receive State Proficiency Awards. Her efforts garnered State Gold.
Greenhand Degrees went to 18 first-year members who had satisfactory plans for an SAE and learned the FFA motto, salute, creed, emblem, colors and code of ethics. This year’s Greenhand recipients were Madeline Arnold, Macy Collins, Zach Dinwiddie, Jake Edinger, Uri Goedert, Jordan Goodwin, Logan Hughes, Kadie Hummel, Doak Mantle, Noah Mayerle, Trapper Merrifield, Daylon Nielsen, Kiyoko Thelen, Lauren Urista, Jazzmyn Wakefield, Dayton Willey, Patrick Williams and Codee Woodward. The “rising star” Greenhand awardees were Urista and Wakefield.
The Ag Mechanics program requires students to develop knowledge and competency in ag technology and systems important to the modern workplace. The 2015 Ag Mechanics Team—Daylon Nielsen, Codee Woodward and Jazzmyn Wakefield—competed against 37 other teams and 144 total competitors at the state competition, placing 24th.
The Horse Evaluation/Equine Science Team consisted of Lauren Urista, Jordan Goodwin and Kiyoko Thelen. They placed 25th out of 47 teams, and Urista received an overall individual Silver Award.
Community members recognized for their contributions were Cassie McGuire, Bryce Purkey, White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts, Colowyo Coal, the RBC commissioners, the RBC Fair Board, Mike and Sam Lopez, Tyrell Turner, Callie Hendrickson, Friends of the FFA Alumni and Margie Joy. Honorary FFA Chapter memberships were awarded to two volunteer coaches—Billy Goedert for horse evaluation and Kent Nielsen for ag mechanics.
Meeker is in Colorado FFA District I. District officers are elected to preside over all district events.
Jamie McLaughlin served as District president from March 2014 to March 2015. Meeker members serving as district officers now until March 2016 are executive committee members Jamie Moyer and Ty Dunham as well as reporter Madi Shults.