FFA is an evolving organization that has much to offer beyond showing livestock, and Stillwater’s FFA program is working to demonstrate that every day. And as the school year begins, the chapter is celebrating its previous successes and looking forward to new ones.

Stillwater’s chapter members are already looking toward competing for a number of national titles at the 92nd National FFA Convention, held in Indianapolis Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

Three instructors help Stillwater’s students to develop agricultural, technical and leadership skills through the FFA program and that work seems to be paying off.

Stillwater’s FFA chapter recently learned that it had been named one of the top 10 programs in the nation as part of the national Chapter of Excellence competition.

Chapters are evaluated based on 15 quality standards, agriculture education teacher and FFA sponsor Robby Branscum said. Now that Stillwater has been named a Top 10 program, the sponsors will select a team of three students to make a presentation delving further into what the chapter does and how it meets those standards.

Judges at the National Convention will select a national Chapter of Excellence based on those student presentations.

Over the years, outreach and community service has become a major part of FFA, Branscum said.

The Stillwater chapter focuses on that by volunteering at organizations like Our Daily Bread and hosting events like an annual Summer School Farm Day, which gives elementary summer school students hands-on agricultural experiences. As our society becomes increasingly distanced from agriculture and the people who produce our food, those opportunities are becoming harder to get and more important, Branscum said.

In addition to the chapter award, 15 chapter members will be competing for project or proficiency awards at the national level when they attend the convention.

Eight agriscience fair projects designed by 12 students received first place at the state competition and will now advance to represent Oklahoma in the national competition: 

• Riley Luginbill and Kenzie McAlister – Animal Systems Division 4

• Maddy Burris – Environmental Systems Division 3

• Landree Siebert and Corbin Lacy – Social Systems Division 4

• Teegin Crosthwait – Plant Systems Division 3

• Austin Hooten – Power, Structures Division 3

• Wyatt Watkins – Power, Structures Dision 5

• Megan Comstock and Osker Ehrlich – Power, Structures Division 4

• Abigail Burton and Cassandra Huffman – Plant Systems Division 2

Five chapter members submitted National Proficiency Award applications. Three have been named as finalists and will also advance to compete at the National FFA Convention:

• Abbie Wooten - Nursery Operations

• Riley Luginbill - Ag Research Animal Systems

• Austin Hooten - Ag Research Integrated systems,

In addition, Mia Gaches was awarded a gold emblem in Ag Research Plant Systems and Kenzie McAlister was awarded a bronze emblem in Equine Placement.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP