National FFA Convention & Expo Announces 2023 Proficiency Award Winners

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INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023/National FFA Organization) – Seven winners of the 2023 National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Awards were named during the second session of the 96th National FFA Convention & Expo on Thursday, Nov. 2, which is being held in Indianapolis.

Agricultural proficiency awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Students compete in areas ranging from agricultural communications to wildlife management. Proficiency awards are also recognized at local and state levels and provide recognition to members exploring and becoming established in agricultural career pathways.

Today, awards were announced for seven of the 45 categories during the second general convention session.

The recipients are:

Agricultural Communications – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Jack Phillip Lingenfelter
Jack Phillip Lingenfelter of the Coffee High FFA Chapter in Georgia records, edits and publishes episodes of the agriculture-promoting podcast, “The Straws That Stir the Drinks.” The podcast is a collection of conversations from national and state FFA officers, elected officials, farmers, agriscience educators and FFA members. Lingenfelter also coordinates a social media account to advertise and network the podcast. He is supported by his parents, Kellie and Nathan, and his FFA advisors Joshua Rogers, Drew Williams, Janie ‘Kailee’ Bennett, and Spencer Highsmith.

Agricultural Education – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Lillie Anne Cagle
Lillie Anne Cagle of the Bledsoe FFA Chapter in Tennessee wrote and illustrated an interactive children’s book designed to advance agricultural knowledge and education among elementary-age students. She has taken her book to elementary schools to read to students and was inspired to create a nonprofit called Ag Across the Board. For it, Cagle transformed a trailer into a mobile agricultural education classroom. She is supported by her FFA advisor, Ronny Collier.

Agricultural Sales – Entrepreneurship
Kendra Downing
Kendra Downing of the Cambridge FFA Chapter in Illinois has owned and operated the Downing Daughters’ Farm Stand for the last four years. She buys pumpkins, honey, mums, popcorn, Indian corn, broom corn, and straw from local wholesales, selling them in her retail store, which is a 15 feet by 50 feet rustic barn. In September and October, she opens the farm stand on Fridays and Saturdays. Downing is supported by her parents, Crista and Zane, and her FFA advisor, Trenton Taber.

Agricultural Sales – Placement
Hunter Sharp
Hunter Sharp of the Chiefland FFA Chapter in Florida is the assistant manager at Quincey Beef. He is tasked with taking inventory on trucks and in cold storage, inventory management, connecting with wholesale customers, maintaining records, and more. He also posts sales information on various social media platforms. Sharp is supported by his parents, Donna and Bud, and his FFA advisors Dallas Locke and Bailey Buchanon.

Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems
Madison Perkins
Madison Perkins of the Gilmer FFA Chapter in Texas has conducted a four-year study on the effects of vegetation, pond age, algae control methods, and agricultural practices on the biodiversity and water quality of aquatic habitats. Her project consisted of 20 ponds in seven watersheds. Ponds were divided into three experiment groups: fertilizer only, cattle only, and both cattle and fertilizer. Perkins is supported by her parents, Donna Sue and Mike, and her FFA advisors Sue Witt, Russell Thomas, Jacqueline Cole and Kyle Keahey.

Agricultural Services – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Maggie McDonald
Maggie McDonald of the Magnolia FFA Chapter in Arkansas owns M2 Genetics and Testing, a lab to test ruminant animal blood to confirm pregnancies. She saw a developing need for this service in 2019 when the lab she used during kidding season closed. She has had more than 250 customers from 10 states. McDonald is supported by her parents, Kristal and Robert, and her FFA advisors Kelsey Elam and Daniel Davis.

Service-Learning – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Adam Jaycob Stone
Adam Jaycob Stone of the Bowdon High School FFA Chapter in Georgia sought to create sustainable change rather than a temporary fix when he recognized the food desert in his community. He created a nonprofit called Go Grow Georgia to fight food insecurity through educational opportunities relating to producing food at home and providing agricultural resources to support the effort. Stone was able to build a garden on public lands and teach clinics on growing food at the learning garden. He is supported by his parents, Meredith and Brian, and his FFA advisor, Richie Farrow.

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 945,000 student members as part of 9,163 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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