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Iowan Named National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Winner
Iowa Ag Connection - 10/29/2020

Nine winners of the 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Winners were named during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo on Wednesday, which is being held virtually this year.

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.

Wednesday, awards were announced for nine of the 45 categories during the third general convention session. Those recipients were:

Diversified Crop Production -- Placement

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 Crop Production -- Entrepreneurship

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 Horticulture -- Entrepreneurship/Placement

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.

The next nine proficiency award winners will be announced during the fourth general session -- which will air live at 7 p.m. EDT on RFD-TV, the Cowboy Channel and streamed live on FFA.org. The 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo is being held virtually this year, Oct. 27-29. For more information, visit Convention.FFA.org.

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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