Molalla students to compete at upcoming National FFA Convention
At the end of this month, a big group from Molalla FFA will fly to Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the National FFA convention.
The group includes two advisers, a principal, four American FFA Degree recipients (of five receiving the degree) and two teams of students — the Agricultural Issues team and the Horse Judging team – who earned the honor of competing. Both of those teams won their respective competitions at the state level in spring of 2019.
The five American Degree recipients are John Cross, Artemy Ivanov, Samantha Moore, Jessica Rhoades and Hailey McCloud.
The horse judging team members are sophomore Emma King, junior Chloe Corless, senior Kelsey Morgan and University of Oregon freshman Shelby Nunn.
This team will evaluate eight classes of halter and equitation horses and defend their placings with three sets of oral reasons. They will also compete in team events, where they complete a variety of horse-related knowledge practicums. Additionally, the team members will have the privilege of visiting horse farms in Kentucky for practice before the event.
According to Adviser Mackenzie Behrle, Molalla has a long history of success in horse judging under Adviser Danell Blair, but this will be the first time Molalla FFA is taking an Agricultural Issues team to nationals under Behrle.
"I am really excited to have an Agriculture Issues Team at nationals for the first time," Behrle said. "This is my 20th year teaching and almost every year I have had a team compete at state, so it feels good to finally have won this competition at state. My students have learned so much about our topic, the hemp industry. It has been challenging because everything is new and there are a lot of unanswered questions, but they are doing an excellent job."
The Ag Issues team members are Pacific University freshman Brice Sperl, senior Emilie Mendoza, senior George Hunter, senior Adam Miller, senior Natalee Litchfield, sophomore Ethan Dennis and former foreign exchange students from Spain Alia Enard, who is making a special trip to Indianapolis for the contest.
To prepare for state and national competitions, these Ag Issues team members spent time working closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and studying the production of hemp in Oregon. Ultimately, the group wrote a paper on their topic: should a pinning system be developed for hemp in the state of Oregon? They also gave a 15-minute presentation to industry leaders and answered relevant questions.
In addition to participating in the contests at the convention, all of these student attendees will also have the opportunity to attend workshops and sessions, listen to motivational speakers and tour agriculture facilities.
With their attendance, Molalla's students will be a part of one the largest youth gatherings in the world, which, according to Behrle, is estimated to reach an attendance of 80,000 members this year.
So, while the students are at the convention from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, Molalla residents can be cheering them on from home.
To find out more and to see results when they're posted, visit convention.ffa.org.
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