On Oct. 27th through the 31st, eight Littlestown FFA members traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the 88th National FFA Convention to compete in two different Career Development Event Contests (CDE’s). The two competitions they participated in were Forestry, and the Environmental and Natural Resource. The Littlestown FFA students qualified to compete at the national competition since they won 1st place at the Pennsylvania State competition in June.
The Forestry team from Littlestown took 15th place in the nation winning a silver team award. All four students on the team placed in the top 25% as individuals earning gold medals. The participants included Hope Patrick, senior, who placed 33rd. Rebecca Lee, junior, placing 34th. Brandon Spangenberg, sophomore, taking 46th. Cheyenne Ward, a junior, placed 52nd. There were 156 students competing in the Forestry competition from 39 states.
Members in the forestry competition had to: take a written exam, do a forestry issue interview, scale hardwood timber, identify trees, a chainsaw activity, identify forest products by species, and complete a team activity. The species they identified were from all over the United States.
The Environmental and Natural Resource team from Littlestown placed 27th in the nation becoming a silver winning team. Members of this team included Jacob Crawmer, graduate, who placed 32 and earned a gold medal. Kaitlynn Bateman, graduate, who placed 64th earning a silver medal. Danielle Reed, junior, placed 103rd earning a silver medal; and Hannah Leppo, a junior, placed 113th earning a silver medal. There were 164 students competing in this competition from 41 states.
Members of the Environmental and Natural Resource team had to take a written exam, prepare a team activity addressing an environmental problem, write a letter, do a Global Positioning System activity, measure and analyze water quality of a pond, land judge a soil profile, and complete a waste management scenario.
This was the first time in Littlestown FFA history to have two team competitions at the National Convention in the same year. Also, the Forestry team made history by having all four members earn gold medals. The previous best Littlestown team in 2012 had two gold medalist and the highest individual, Jacob Crawmer, placed 41st. Each time a team competes at the national competition, the Littlestown FFA advisor, Mr. Brant, learns a few tips to better prepare the next team. The Littlestown FFA teams practiced every day after school for the first two months of school. Four of the team members had over 75 hours of practice to prepare for the event.
There were over fifty five thousand FFA members from across the Nation in attendance at the National Convention. FFA is the largest student run organization in the United States with over 625,000 members. The National FFA Organization changed its name in 1988 from the “Future Farmers of America” to the “National FFA Organization”. This change was caused because the FFA prepares students not to just become farmers, but also prepares them for all the other jobs in agriculture as well. Less than 1.5% of Americans are farmers today, however there are many careers in the agriculture field that are not “farmers” but are agriculturally related. They include fields like Forestry, Horticulture, Plant Science, Animal Science, Food Science, Agriculture Sales, and Agriculture Mechanization. Agriculture remains Pennsylvania’s number one industry today. The FFA also gives students other skills such as public speaking and leadership which can transfer to any career they choose.