The National FFA Convention took place in Indianapolis from October 25th to the 28th. This 90th annual convention is one of the longest running conventions in the U.S. and attracted over 67,000 people. Nearly five hundred students from Montana attended the convention.
Speakers for the event included Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Laila Ali – author and professional boxer, Mick Ebeling – motivational speaker, Jon Petz – motivational speaker. Leadership workshops were held throughout the week and sponsors and exhibitors from across the U.S. participated in the trade show. Additionally, national winners were determined in a number of career development events (CDE’s) or more commonly referred to as contests.
Montana’s career development event teams represented a good portion of the state. From Shepherd to Kalispell, students competed in twenty-one different events. Leading the way for Montana was the livestock evaluation team from Big Timber who placed fifth, the Townsend FFA Agricultural Sales team who placed seventh, and the Belgrade Farm Business Management team who also placed 7th. The livestock team members from Big Timber were Jess Moody, Bailey Veteto, Dylan Laverell and Gunner Hathaway. Townsend’s sales team was Tyler Noyes, Trenton Braaten, Andrew Ferrat and Jyler Thompson. Belgrade’s business team was Joe and Anthony Tatarka, Shelby Stump and Emily Cady. These three teams as well as all the other Montana teams competed for the national title against state winning teams from the forty-nine other states in their respective events. The highest individual placing was earned by Crystal Sutton from Kalispell with a third-place finish in Vet Science and Trenton Braaten from Townsend with a 9th place finish in Sales.
Other FFA members participating at the national convention were Michaela Allred from Corvallis, Karli Blanchard from Colstrip, and Jerrica Bursik from Park City who were members of the national FFA Chorus, Jean Blackman from Cascade who served with the national band. A team of two from the Simms FFA Chapter competed in the Environmental Services and Natural Resource Systems area of the national Agriscience competition, while Megan Toplovich and Morgan Zuidema from Electric City FFA participated in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems area in the national Agriscience competition. Forty-seven Montana FFA Members received the American FFA Degree which is the highest degree that can be bestowed upon a member. Finally, Kacie Cummings from Cascade represented Montana in her unsuccessful bid for a national FFA officer position.
The next activity for Montana FFA members is the John Deere Agriculture Exposition which will be held at Montana State University in Bozeman on November 9th through the 11th.
Final CDE results are as follows:
Contest Chapter Placing
Agriculture Communications Cascade Silver
Agriculture Issues Corvallis Silver
Agriculture Mechanics Missoula Silver
Agriculture Sales Townsend 7th place – Gold
Agronomy Missoula Silver
Conduct of Chapter Meetings Shepherd Bronze
Environmental Science Missoula Bronze
Farm Business Management Belgrade 7th place – Gold
Floriculture Hinsdale Bronze
Food Science Conrad Bronze
Forestry Missoula Bronze
Horse evaluation Missoula Gold
Livestock evaluation Big Timber 5th – Gold
Marketing Plan Victor Silver
Meats Missoula Bronze
Parliamentary Procedure Joliet Gold
Veterinary Science Kalispell Silver
Employment Skills Kolby Dietz/Shepherd Silver
Creed Speaking Mckenna Quirk/Missoula Bronze
Extemporaneous Speaking Katie Koterba/Electric City Bronze
Prepared Speaking Claire Stevenson/Hobson Bronze
*The Gold, Silver and Bronze ratings represent approximately the top third, the middle third and the lower third respectively of all teams/individuals competing at the national level.
Photo: Montana FFA