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Madras FFA member receives FFA jacket from Northwest Farm Credit Services through the Blue Jacket Experience.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jesse Newbill, right, shakes hands with Weston Fowler of Northwest Farm Credit Services, as Fowler presents the freshman FFA member with his new FFA jacket.
Jesse Newbill, a Madras FFA member, zipped up his official blue and gold corduroy jacket last week, when Weston Fowler, a credit officer from Northwest Farm Credit Services, presented the FFA member with the jacket during his agricultural sciences class.

The Blue Jacket Experience, also known as Adopt-a-Member is one way Northwest Farm Credit Services gives back to Oregon FFA, by providing students who need them with FFA jackets.

The jackets run anywhere between $50 to $80, and sometimes students end up wearing borrowed jackets instead of purchasing their own. The blue and gold corduroy jackets that come with the member's name embroidered in corn gold on the front — a point of pride for members — have been a part of the national organization since the 1933 national FFA convention, where they debuted as a band uniform. They were later adopted as the official dress of the organization.

Each year, advisers from each of the Oregon FFA chapters are asked to nominate one student within their respective chapter for the Blue Jacket Experience.

This year Newbill, a Madras High School freshman, was nominated by his adviser, Sara Vollmer. Newbill has been involved in all aspects of the Madras agricultural program and FFA, according to Vollmer. He was also an active member last year at Jefferson County Middle School and is always willing to jump in and get his hands dirty, whether it's stacking firewood, serving and cleaning up after community service events or helping around the ag shop and greenhouse, Vollmer said.

Currently, Newbill is serving as the 2019-2020 greenhand reporter, an entry level officer position within the chapter who serves alongside the overall chapter reporter. According to Vollmer, he takes his role seriously and is always eager to write articles and makes sure they get done on time, communicating often with others and always willing to help. Newbill is also involved in JROTC, where he is a team leader.

While at the school to present Newbill with his jacket, Fowler shared with the Agriculture Science and Technology 1 class about NWFCS and how he got to where he is in his career.

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