Winners of the 2023 National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Awards were named during the second and third sessions of the 96th National FFA Convention & Expo on Thursday, which is being held in Indianapolis.
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 compete 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.
These 2023 recipients are:
Agricultural Communications – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Jack Phillip Lingenfelter
Jack Phillip Lingenfelter of the Coffee High FFA Chapter in Georgia records, edits and publishes episodes of the agriculture-promoting podcast, “The Straws That Stir the Drinks.” The podcast is a collection of conversations from national and state FFA officers, elected officials, farmers, agriscience educators and FFA members. Lingenfelter also coordinates a social media account to advertise and network the podcast. He is supported by his parents, Kellie and Nathan, and his FFA advisors Joshua Rogers, Drew Williams, Janie ‘Kailee’ Bennett, and Spencer Highsmith.
Agricultural Education – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Lillie Anne Cagle
Lillie Anne Cagle of the Bledsoe FFA Chapter in Tennessee wrote and illustrated an interactive children’s book designed to advance agricultural knowledge and education among elementary-age students. She has taken her book to elementary schools to read to students and was inspired to create a nonprofit called Ag Across the Board. For it, Cagle transformed a trailer into a mobile agricultural education classroom. She is supported by her FFA advisor, Ronny Collier.
Agricultural Sales – Entrepreneurship
Kendra Downing of the Cambridge FFA Chapter in Illinois has owned and operated the Downing Daughters’ Farm Stand for the last four years. She buys pumpkins, honey, mums, popcorn, Indian corn, broom corn, and straw from local wholesales, selling them in her retail store, which is a 15 feet by 50 feet rustic barn. In September and October, she opens the farm stand on Fridays and Saturdays. Downing is supported by her parents, Crista and Zane, and her FFA advisor, Trenton Taber.
Agricultural Sales – Placement
Hunter Sharp of the Chiefland FFA Chapter in Florida is the assistant manager at Quincey Beef. He is tasked with taking inventory on trucks and in cold storage, inventory management, connecting with wholesale customers, maintaining records, and more. He also posts sales information on various social media platforms. Sharp is supported by his parents, Donna and Bud, and his FFA advisors, Dallas Locke and Bailey Buchanon.
Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems
Madison Perkins of the Gilmer FFA Chapter in Texas has conducted a four-year study on the effects of vegetation, pond age, algae control methods, and agricultural practices on the biodiversity and water quality of aquatic habitats. Her project consisted of 20 ponds in seven watersheds. Ponds were divided into three experiment groups: fertilizer only, cattle only, and both cattle and fertilizer. Perkins is supported by her parents, Donna Sue and Mike, and her FFA advisors Sue Witt, Russell Thomas, Jacqueline Cole, and Kyle Keahey.
Agricultural Services – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Maggie McDonald of the Magnolia FFA Chapter in Arkansas owns M2 Genetics and Testing, a lab to test ruminant animal blood to confirm pregnancies. She saw a developing need for this service in 2019 when the lab she used during kidding season closed. She has had more than 250 customers from 10 states. McDonald is supported by her parents, Kristal and Robert, and her FFA advisors, Kelsey Elam and Daniel Davis.
Service-Learning – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Adam Jaycob Stone
Adam Jaycob Stone of the Bowdon High School FFA Chapter in Georgia sought to create sustainable change rather than a temporary fix when he recognized the food desert in his community. He created a nonprofit called Go Grow Georgia to fight food insecurity through educational opportunities relating to producing food at home and providing agricultural resources to support the effort. Stone was able to build a garden on public lands and teach clinics on growing food at the learning garden. He is supported by his parents, Meredith and Brian, and his FFA advisor, Richie Farrow.
Agriscience Research – Animal Systems
Jay Bliler of the Taylorville FFA Chapter in Illinois has conducted his research in partnership with JRW Calf Ranch, using their equipment, feed, medications and 80 beef cattle. His objective was to conduct research and share his findings on how to improve calf health and feed efficiency. He began by comparing the effectiveness of an added digestive enzyme in a calf’s dairy milk. Bliler is supported by his parents, Elizabeth and Nathan, and his FFA advisors Sue Schafer, Katie King, Charles Dammerman, and Lori Parks.
Beef Production – Entrepreneurship
Kyelynn Coombe of the Joliet FFA Chapter in Montana started her project in 2006 when her parents gave her one polled Hereford cow. Since then, she has increased her herd to include 131 females and three bulls. She has 38 yearling heifers in her parents’ feedlot. Her project goal is to have 140 cows, make more money than it costs to raise them, sell 20 bred heifers, sell 20 bulls in a genetics bull sale, and produce the best registered Simmental and Angus cattle. Coombe is supported by her parents, Kelli and Chris, and her FFA advisor, Chad Massar.
Beef Production – Placement
Amanda Osmundson of the Oakdale FFA Chapter in California works on her family’s beef operation, helping to manage 300 heard of registered Beefmaster, commercial, and E6 cattle. Her focus is a seed stock operation to sell registered bulls and donor cows to commercial producers in order for them to maximize the quality of the market cattle. Osmundson has learned to perform artificial insemination on cattle. She is supported by her parents, Mayra and Gregory, and her FFA advisors Edward Hartzell, Matt Marshall, Isaac Robles and Julie Schellhase.
Dairy Production – Entrepreneurship
Clancey Krahn of the Scio FFA Chapter in Oregon has a herd of 41 purebred registered Jersey and Brown Swiss dairy cattle. In 2018, her family built a farmstead creamery and began processing milk on-site in a vertically integrated system. She utilizes a vat pasteurization, non-homogenization system for processing her milk, which is bottled in recyclable glass bottles and sold to 50 retail stores and coffee shops in Oregon. Krahn is supported by her parents, Amy and Ben, and her FFA advisor, Krysta Sprague.
Dairy Production – Placement
Lauren Homan of the New Bremen FFA Chapter in Ohio is an assistant herdsman at her family’s dairy farm, an operation raising 480 Holstein cows and 400 heifers. Her work started with feeding calves and has grown to taking care of calves, heifers, and dairy cows. Homan works with the manure press system as well, cleaning, greasing and pressing at the right speed to make dry bedding for the cows. She is supported by her parents, Tanya and Gregory, and her FFA advisor, Maria Homan.
Diversified Agricultural Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Brant Failes of the Cherokee FFA Chapter in Oklahoma began his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) with a small commercial cow herd, a bull and 20 rented acres of wheat farm ground. He has expanded his program to include replacement heifers, meat goats, bottle calves, 120 acres of farm ground and 35 acres of grass pasture. He pays cash rent for the 120 total acres of wheat ground and for the equipment he uses. Failes is supported by his parents, Gayla and David, and his FFA advisor, Christy Snider.
Diversified Livestock Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Emilee Munchrath of the Graford FFA Chapter in Texas has her own business, Glory Days Livestock, which consists of breeding, raising, and selling registered cattle and club lambs. She retained retired show heifers and purchased breeding sheep with a U.S. Department of Agriculture youth loan. Quality females are transferred back into production enterprises to continue growing her scope. Munchrath is supported by her parents, Amber and Nathan, and her FFA advisors Robert Ray and her mother.
Equine Science – Entrepreneurship
Madilynn Jayde Campbell
Madilynn Jayde Campbell of the Adair FFA Chapter in Oklahoma raises and trains halter quarter horses using her family’s open stall barn and arena. Her project began with three foundation quarter horses gifted to her by her grandfather. She now has seven mares and geldings and a large clientele. She closely tracks all feed, veterinary and equipment expenses. Campbell is supported by her parents, Becky and Shanon, and her FFA advisors Devin DeLozier and Shane Johnson.
Equine Science – Placement
Morelia Vieyra of the Madera FFA Chapter in California works as a stable hand and groomer at Rancho Alegre Stables, boarding and training more than 40 horses. The ranch has 42 covered stalls and multiple pastures to house the horses, a racetrack, an arena, and a chute system. Vieyra is supported by her parents, Irma and Alejandro, and her FFA advisors Kristin Sheehan, Sigifredo Valladares Renteria, Jordana Faria and Brianna Ellis.