The Winnfield FFA traveled to the 93rd Louisiana State FFA Convention held in Alexandria, LA, on June 6-9. The State Convention is held the first complete week of June each year. It is held to recognize the achievements of the past year, conduct statewide business (including the election of the area and state officers), and host various state competitions.
The weekend before the convention starts is when some of the business begins. FFA members from across the state ran for officer positions by going through a nominating committee process that spanned two and a half days. The committee, consisting of FFA members, business leaders, and educators, interviewed the candidates and had them put on workshops, give speeches, and participate in other activities to see who best represented the qualities they were looking for. On Monday, after the convention officially started, the committee’s report nominated Winnfield FFA’s Annie Heard and Lauren Poole for State Vice President and State Sentinel, respectively. The candidate’s nominations were unopposed, so by the end of the week, they would be installed as members of the 2022-2023 Louisiana FFA State Officer team. This is the second consecutive year two Winnfield FFA members have served on the Louisiana State FFA Officer team. This marks only the ninth time in Louisiana FFA history for this to happen. Out of those nine times, four were from chapters in Winn Parish, the last one being from Calvin in 1992-1993 and 1993-1994. The only time for a chapter to do so three years in a row was Winnfield FFA in 1971-1972, 1972-1973, and 1973-1974.
Outside of State Officer elections, Winnfield FFA had a busy schedule. Over the span of 4 days, there were five general sessions and two business sessions, with many meetings in between. Throughout the deliberations, activities, and competitions, Winnfield FFA received much recognition.
The group competed in the Food Science Career Development Event and received third place in the state! The food science and technology career development event is designed to promote learning activities in food science and technology related to the food industry and to assist students in developing practical knowledge of principles used in a team decision-making process. Team members included Gracelyn Chevallier, Parker Sonnier, Alyssa VanBlaricum, and Chloe Whisonant. Gracelyn was the third high-point individual overall, and Alyssa was the fourth overall.
Winnfield had two state champions in proficiency awards. Proficiency Awards award FFA members who, through their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), have developed specialized skills that they can apply to their future careers. Students can compete for awards in almost 50 areas covering everything from agricultural communications to wildlife management. This year, Madison Green won state in Goat Production. Madison’s supervised agricultural experience focuses on caring for and maintaining around 35 Boer, Pygmy, and Nigerian Dwarf goats, as well as the farm’s facilities. Lauren Poole won state in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management. Lauren’s supervised agricultural experience consisted of a paid placement position as a Youth Conservation Corps worker at the United States Forest Service (USFS) Winn Ranger District in Winnfield, Louisiana. These projects will be sent to National FFA and judged this summer against other projects across the country. They will find out the results by the end of August.
The chapter was recognized as being a Superior Chapter through the National Chapter Award program. A central component of a successful FFA chapter is having a strong Program of Activities, or POA. The POA is designed to address three major pillars: Growing Leaders, Building Communities, and Strengthening Agriculture. Chapters that develop and implement an outstanding POA are eligible for recognition in the National Chapter Award Program. To qualify for a state or national award, your chapter must complete at least 15 activities: one for each of the five quality standards in each of the three divisions. This recognition signifies the chapter completed all 15 of the activities required. Only ten percent of chapters in the state received this award.
Throughout the week, Winnfield FFA had three members go through the nominating committee process to be elected to Area II officer positions. Area II consists of the following parishes: Desoto, Natchitoches, Sabine, Grant, LaSalle, Winn, Beauregard, Rapides, and Vernon. The area nominating committee process is similar to the state process but with four rounds instead of six. In a business session on Thursday, Parker Sonnier and Joy So were nominated for the positions of Vice President and Treasurer, respectively. They will serve the year by visiting other chapters in the area and serving as leadership delegates for next year’s state convention.
Other than the awards, the week also served as a tribute to the previous year. Winnfield had Peyton Little retiring as the state president and Parker Carlino retiring as the state sentinel. The chapter was also recognized as being the Area II Sweepstakes winner, which goes to the chapter that has had the best showing in career and leadership development events throughout the year.
The FFA is a national organization containing over 800,000 members practicing leadership and preparing for careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture. In the Winnfield FFA Chapter alone, we have 165 members. The FFA is an integral part of the agricultural education program in public schools. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Peyton Arthur and Ryan Riley are the Winnfield Senior High School FFA advisors.