Winners of the 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Winners were named during the week of the virtual 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo.
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 complete 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.
Related: Stay up-to-date with all the news from the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo here.
Those recipients are:
Agricultural Communications — Entrepreneurship/Placement
William Joseph Gaspard
After his seventh grade Introduction to Agriscience class, William Joseph Gaspard of the Louisiana School for the Agricultural Science FFA Chapter in Louisiana felt like he was awakened to the importance of agriculture. He decided to write a small column for the local newspaper about what he had learned. This led to working with his local Farm Bureau agent. He began writing blogs and making videos for their social media platforms. Gaspard eventually became an intern for the Louisiana Farm Bureau Public Relations and Information Department. He spends 20 to 30 hours each week producing written and visual content. He is supported by his parents, Monique and William, and his FFA advisors, Summer Anderson and Ward Bordelon. Bader Rutter and Red Brand sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Education — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Madison Alivia Taylor
Since she began high school, Madison Alivia Taylor of the Newton College & Career Academy FFA Chapter in Georgia has known that she wanted to be an agriculture educator. Encouraged by her FFA advisor, she has focused on early childhood agricultural education. She has shadowed elementary school teachers, helped develop agricultural-based lessons, created an agriculture literacy program that has been adopted by all 14 elementary schools in her community and assisted in planning livestock shows. Taylor has also attended teacher conferences hosted by her local Farm Bureau. She is supported by her parents, Lee-Ann and Tim, and her FFA advisors, Cecily Gunter and Marcus Pollard. The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation sponsors this proficiency.
Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication — Entrepreneurship/Placement
In California, Cole Marchy of the Turlock FFA Chapter in California was only nine years old when he was introduced to welding and fabricating on the family farm. Just two years later, he began to learn the art basics, and his first project being fabricating and constructing a top rail with cable fencing for his show animals. Since learning skills like arc welding and MIG welding and advanced cutting techniques, Marchy has fabricated an ATV hydraulic dump trailer and a 34- foot tilt trailer. He is supported by his parents, Lori and Bob, and his FFA advisors, Randee Prada-Vitorino, Joe DiGrazia, Anton Fernandes, Chad Booth and Alexandra Hahlbeck. Lincoln Electric sponsors this proficiency.
Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance — Entrepreneurship
Terrance Crayton of the Wetumpka FFA Chapter in Alabama owns a small engine repair service in which he repairs four-cycle and two-cycle engines on agricultural equipment. He utilizes Facebook Marketplace and classified ads to find and sell equipment. He also receives donations of unusable equipment from people in his community. He routinely repairs string trimmers, tillers, lawnmowers, and other equipment by replacing spark plugs, rebuilding carburetors, replacing coils, replacing piston rings and rod bearings, and more. Crayton is supported by his father, Terrance, and his FFA advisors, William Norris and Keith Lucy. Kubota and Mystik Lubricants sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance — Placement
Lane Douglas of the Screven County FFA Chapter in Georgia has worked for Wammock Milling Company, SmithCo Heavy Diesel Service and Yancey Caterpillar. His duties include maintaining the mill’s equipment, including payloaders used to move the feed commodities in the feed mixer and the trucks used to haul the feed to customers. The other positions allow him to repair heavy diesel equipment, including tractors and 18-wheelers, and repair Caterpillar equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and forestry equipment. Douglas is supported by his parents, Brandy and Dick, and his FFA advisors, Nancy Sell, Cali Smith, and Zach Weaver. Tractor Supply Company sponsors this proficiency.
Agricultural Processing — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Creed Ammons of the Tyler FFA Chapter in West Virginia started his entrepreneurship ham and bacon curing and processed retail pork supervised agricultural experiences as a freshman. He also raises and processes fresh holiday turkeys, meeting a large demand in his community. He uses a facility at his school’s agricultural education program at no cost, including a walk-in cooler, band saw, curing room, drying room, smoker, grinder, meat mixer, and vacuum sealer. Ammons is supported by his parents, Deanna and Leon, and his FFA advisors, Leon Ammons and Annie Hall Erwin. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Sales — Entrepreneurship
Alyssa Loredo of the Merced FFA Chapter in California has a supervised agricultural experience named Wild Game Jerky, involving the sale and marketing of domesticated and exotic animal jerky products. The business began small, with her setting up booths at local events like county fairs and industry festivals. Today, Loredo has an Amazon online storefront, in addition to expanding her sales throughout California and Nevada. She currently has more than 30 types of jerky, ranging from alligator to bison, and even ostrich. She is supported by her mother, Justina, and her FFA advisors, Steve Mua, Nicole Cecil, Karl Montague, Lesley Zorra, Julia Brewer and Stefanie Kuhr. Nutrien Solutions and Valent USA Corporation sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Sales — Placement
Austin Timmerman of the Versailles FFA Chapter in Ohio has a job placement at Superior Implement and Supply Company, a wholesale distributor of farm, lawn, and garden equipment through Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania. His responsibilities have grown from shipping, filling orders, mowing/landscaping, and stocking inventory to utilizing software to inventory stock, testing new equipment, and customer service. Timmerman is supported by his parents, Barb and Gary, and his FFA advisors, Dena Wuebker and Taylor Bergman. Cargill and Fastenal sponsor this proficiency.
Agricultural Services — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Cason Love of the Stephenville FFA Chapter in Texas works for a custom hay baling company. The operation involves providing the agricultural services of cutting, baling and hauling hay for customers. In all, the operation performs custom hay on roughly 1,200 acres. His duties include hauling equipment, cutting hay and running the tractor with the baler. The operation consists primarily of baling 1,000 to 1,200-pound round bales of coastal Bermuda grass hay. Love is supported by his parents, Jennifer and Robert, and his FFA advisors, Ryan Best, Savannah Bowers, Brock Burch, and Jordan Smith. The National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization sponsor this proficiency.
The next eight proficiency award winners will be announced during the second general session. The 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo is being held virtually this year, Oct. 27-29. For more information, visit Convention.FFA.org.
Diversified Crop Production — Entrepreneurship
Jacob Daniel Dierking
Jacob Daniel Dierking of the Santa Fe FFA Chapter in Missouri began renting land from two neighboring landowners in 2015. He started with 29 acres but has grown to 122 acres in recent years. He has grown sweet corn, green beans, yellow corn, and soybeans. Dierking networks with local businesses, landowners and other farmers to grow and diversify his operation. He is supported by his parents, Marla and Joel, and his FFA advisor, Martha Schreiman. The National FFA Foundation and Organization sponsor this proficiency.
Diversified Crop Production — Placement
Nathan Randy Kroeger
Nathan Randy Kroeger of the Carroll Area FFA Chapter in Iowa works for his family’s crop farm and grain hauling business. He is tasked with completing all corn and soybean crop production jobs, from planting and harvesting to tillage and application of fertilizer, fungicide, insecticide, and pesticide. The operation consists of 1,800 acres of soybeans and 6,000 acres of corn. They utilize a continuous flow grain dryer system and 36 grain bins to store more than one million bushels. Kroeger is supported by his parents, Michelle and Kevin, and his FFA advisor, Brady Eischeid. AgReliant Genetics and CHS Foundation sponsor this proficiency.
Diversified Horticulture — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Kaylie Nicole Roberts
Kaylie Nicole Roberts of the Tift County FFA Chapter in Georgia began a home landscaping project using flower beds and gerbera daisies when she was in middle school, igniting her passion for the art. She then began volunteering after school to work in her school greenhouse watering plants. Eventually, Roberts began collecting floriculture and nursery landscape plants to make floral arrangements on her own. She’s added the propagation of blackberry, strawberry, cabbage and marigold seedlings, as well. She is supported by her parents, Catherine and Russel, and her FFA advisors Lynne Cook, Brittaney Schwing, Heath Cross and Carl Nichols. The Toro Company sponsors this proficiency.
Diversified Livestock Production — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Cory Yarbrough of the Madison County FFA Chapter in Georgia is busy managing his family’s cattle herd, raising market hogs for his uncle, and working as a research assistant at the University of Georgia Poultry Science Department. He began managing the 75-head cattle operation as a seventh-grader. Over time, he increased the herd to 275-head of breeding stock, heifers, and calves, as well as established an identification system and means to maintain records. He began raising the hogs in 2016. As a paid poultry research assistant, he maintains the nutritional needs of broiler breeders whole also charged with waste management, semen collection and processing, and artificially inseminating hens. Yarbrough is supported by his parents, Melissa and Jimmy, and his FFA advisors, Kalie Hall Blevins, Kathrine Bell, Cindy Jones and Josh Daniel. Bekaert Corporation and Tractor Supply Company sponsor this proficiency.
Environmental Science and Natural Resources — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Spencer Stephens of the Merced – Golden Valley FFA Chapter in California was ten years old when he began working for his family’s business, SS Blue Diesel Exhaust Fluid. His work focuses specifically on the cleaning and maintaining of the facilities. The fluid is a combination of deionized water and urea, which, when combined, is used in all new tractors, trucks, and other agriculturally-related equipment, reducing carbon emissions in the air because it removes nitrous oxide. Stephens is supported by his parents, Nicole and Trevor, and his FFA advisors, Rebecca Mendonza, Vikki David, Cody Jacobsen, Corey Mesa and John Olson. CHS Foundation sponsors this proficiency.
Equine Science — Entrepreneurship
Ashlyn Mohling of the Adams Central FFA Chapter in Nebraska has been caring for and riding horses since a young age. She cares for five horses for her equine project, ensuring both their health and safety so they can perform. Throughout the year, she shows her horses at local, state and breed show levels in all different disciplines from Western to English classes. Mohling also teaches special needs children how to brush a horse, interact with a horse, and employs therapeutic riding for children age eight to eighteen. She is supported by her parents, Heather and Brett, and her FFA advisor, Brandon Jacobitz. Zoetis and Red Brand sponsor this proficiency.
Equine Science — Placement
Deyvet Carbajal of the Madera FFA Chapter in California is the main ranch hand at his family ranch, where he cares for all the horses and trains the horses to dance. The ranch specializes in breeding and raising Friesian and Azteca horses whose original stock was imported from Holland, Guadalajara, Jalisco, and Mexico City in Mexico. The horses are all taught the art of “dancing” to perform in charreria competitions across California and Mexico. The ranch currently has nine stallions used to perform and three mares used in the breeding program. Carbajal is supported by his parents, Irma and Martin, and his FFA advisors, Julie Luxon, Cory Withers, Brianna Ellis, Hannah Bianchi, Kristin Sheehan, Crystal Luera and Brent Geor. Tractor Supply Company sponsors this proficiency.
Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Peter Bliss of the Merced – Golden Valley FFA Chapter in California remembers sitting in his father’s lap when he was three years old, raking hay and cultivating cotton fields. By the time he entered the sixth grade, he was operating tractors and harvesters while growing and harvesting cotton. Once he started high school, he had inherited thirty acres of open ground to plant his own cotton. Today, he grows on 182 acres and manages all field preparation, irrigation, planting, chemical application, and Acala cotton harvesting. Bliss is supported by his parents, Jeannie and Michael, and his FFA advisors, Vikki Davis, Cody Jacobsen, Rebecca Mendonza Corey Mesa, and John Olson. Bunge North America sponsors this proficiency.
Forage Production — Entrepreneurship/Placement
Mallory White of the Union County FFA Chapter in Kentucky works in forage production on her family farm. Forages grown on the operation include cereal rye, fescue, orchard grass, red clover, and ladino clover. It is primarily used for feed for the cow/calf beef cattle aspect of the farm. Her responsibilities include performing all production activities, such as cutting, raking, tedding, baling, and moving bales, performing maintenance on production equipment, and even making decisions about when to perform production activities. White is supported by her parents, Brooke and Ryan, and her FFA advisors, Kelsie Bewley, Emilee Graves and Jeremy Hill. Claas of America sponsors this proficiency.