FFA Student is Great Reporter

Hughson FFA Student Thrives on Agriculture

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

California FFA Association, a high school youth leadership and career development organization, is very dynamic in the state. FFA chapters are located throughout the state’s agricultural areas. We had a conversation with Michelle Borges, a sophomore at Hughson High School. She is an active member of the Hughson FFA and serves as the 2016-17 FFA Chapter reporter.California FFA student

“My job is publicizing the FFA to everyone in the community. I write articles to the local newspapers. I’m in charge of the social media for Hughson FFA. Basically any radio broadcast, television broadcast, anything like that to get the word out about FFA,” Borges said.

Borges was also active in the 4-H starting at age five. She raised and sold goats, and she is devoted to California agriculture to this day. “One of the reasons why I love agriculture is because both my parents work in the agriculture industry. Both my brothers were super involved in the FFA, so I was kind of born into it,” she said.

Borges noted that while her family does not farm, they are involved in agricultural education. “My dad is the Dean of Agriculture at Modesto Junior College, and my mom used to be an agriculture teacher in high school, but now she teaches junior high,” she said.

While still in high school, Borges wants to continue pursuing her passion for agriculture. “When I grow up, I want to be an animal nutritionist. I’m really interested in nutrition for animals and I have also raised goats. . . ‘Seeing them grow up and then selling them. That whole project; it is really interesting to me. Also, with FFA, there’s a lot of public speaking competitions and I really enjoy public speaking in front of a crowd,” she said.

To hone her skills for that animal nutrition career, Borges plans to go to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, after she graduates from high school.

New FFA State Stars Honored

Halley Lauchland Wins FFA Star State Degree in Agriscience Award

By Charmayne Hefley, Assistant Editor

During the opening session of the 88th California Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Convention in Fresno last Saturday night, four California FFA members were honored with the top Star Awards during an onstage ceremony. As reported by the California FFA Association in a press release, each of them excelled in one of four areas:

Andrea Thomas from the Colusa FFA chapter was named the California Star Farmer state winner in recognition of proven leadership skills for an aspiring young farmer. Thomas raises and maintains hogs, cattle and hay.

Halley Lauchland, 2016 FFA Star State Degree in Agribusiness Award winner
Halley Lauchland, 2016 FFA Star State Degree in Agriscience Award winner (Photo Credit: California FFA)

Nitin Gupta from the Tulare FFA chapter was named the California Star in Agribusiness state winner, the highest achievement for a person pursuing a career in agribusiness. Gupta started the business Simple Sand three years ago in which he collects, markets and distributes sand from his family’s ranch to local businesses.

Paul Barcellos, also from the Tulare FFA chapter, was named the California Star in Agricultural Placement state winner, the highest recognition in the state for a young person excelling in job placement in the agricultural industry. Barcellos works alongside his dad at Cain Trucking as a Foreman in the Composting and Air Pollution Control Operations in recycling agriculture products and preventing air pollution.

Halley Lauchland, a high school junior from the Lodi FFA chapter received the 2016 FFA Star State Degree in Agriscience Award, the highest achievement for a person pursuing a career in agriscience.

“My project was cane pruning for the control of Eutypa Dieback in winegrapes,” A fifth-generation winegrape grower, Lauchland told CalAgToday, “The disease is commonly found in cabernet franc finds.”

Lauchland conducted her research in part to help her family’s 18-year-old vines with the Eutypa Dieback disease,  which she defined as “a fungal spore that enters the vine through pruning wounds. This will eventually kill the vine, causing the farmer to have to replant, which costs a lot of money and isn’t efficient.”

Lauchland tested cane pruning versus the commonly-used method of spur pruning to keep the disease at bay. “We tested two rows and found [cane pruning] was a more efficient way to do it, and it was going to save us more money in the long-run.” Spotting her research catching on in local vineyards, Lauchland said  “It seems people are going to the cane prune.”

Lauchland’s research was published in the Lodi District Grape Growers Association Update last year as, “Lodi High School Student to Compete in State FFA Agriscience Fair with Eutypa Dieback Research Project.” Lauchland stated, “That helped put out the word, what this [method] does and how it helps farmers.”

Overjoyed to have been selected to win the Star in Agriscience award, Lauchland said, “Words can’t really describe how I feel right now.”

The California Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Convention was sponsored by PG&E and the J.G. Boswell Foundation, as a special project of the California FFA Foundation.

Fresno State Students are Ag Ambassadors

Fresno State Students are Ag Ambassadors

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Students serving as Ag Ambassadors for the Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology represented the school at the 2016 World Ag Expo. Steve Rocca, associate professor of agriculture education at California State University, Fresno said “It’s a group of about 80 student ag ambassadors who attend events and are really an extension of the outreach and recruitment efforts by our College.”

“There’s nothing better [for prospective students] than to learn about our college from actual students who are studying in our college and who know firsthand what Fresno State has to offer,” Rocca said. “Approximately 80 students has been the norm for the past several years. It’s a large group. They’re very enthusiastic and are great supporters of Fresno State. At events like the World Ag Expo, they talk to both prospective students and also to alumni, as a lot of loyal alums stop by and want to talk about Fresno State.”

In addition to the ambassador program, Rocca said Fresno State students can join the FFA State Conference Committee, which assists the California FFA Association in organizing the California FFA Field Days/State Finals Contests and State Conference in Fresno every April. “The California FFA State Conference is the largest annual conference in the city of Fresno,” Rocca said. “There are about 6,000 students as well as advisors who come to Fresno each year to develop their leadership skills, enhance their personal growth and compete in various career development activities. Our students at Fresno State assist directly with the events that take place during that convention.”