Local Students Attend National FFA Convention

Tyrone one of only three chapters in the state to receive a 3 star rating

15 Tyrone Area FFA members who attended the 94th National FFA Convention and Expo: sitting left to right – Remington Weaver, Randi Williams, Rayann Walls (holding Mr. Duck), Hailey Houck; standing lt. to rt. – Claire Fisher, Jillian Williams, Garin Hoy, Leo Veit, Nora Hoy, Maverick Fleck, Paige Hoy, Jenna Weyer, Karly Diebold, Catie Ewing, and Jaden Williams.

Fifteen Tyrone FFA members and two chaperones traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 94th annual National FFA Convention from October 26-30.

I think this trip was very informative and it gave us all a new perspective on our past history.”

— Rayann Walls

Student-centered workshops focusing on leadership, teamwork, and community service were part of the convention experience. Teachers were also able to attend professional development workshops on the many facets of teaching agricultural education.

FFA members from all fifty states, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were in attendance.  Tyrone Area FFA members attended a minimum of two workshops each.

“While students were at their workshops, I was able to attend three workshops. The opportunity to work with others who understand what it is to be an agricultural educator is a great motivator. I’m actually using the Trail Mix sustainability lesson series as a new unit in Food Science,” reflected Tiffany Hoy, TAHS Agricultural Educator, and FFA advisor.

The more than 60,700 members, advisors, and guests registered for the convention and expo gathered in the Lucas Oil Stadium. Six National FFA Officers conducted the sessions by recognizing individuals, teams, and chapters for their outstanding performances, bringing greetings from the Secretary of Agriculture and other key figures, and engaging the audience through activities.

The opening session highlighted the keynote speaker, Courtenay Dehoff. She spoke about how she is both a rural cowgirl and an urban city girl.

“I enjoyed watching each of the states carry their flags on stage and to see the stage flooded with gold and blue. The keynote speaker also did a wonderful job of grabbing the attention of everyone in the stadium, and it was a very humbling experience,” added senior Jillian Williams.

I enjoyed watching each of the states carry their flags on stage and to see the stage flooded with gold and blue. The keynote speaker also did a wonderful job of grabbing the attention of everyone in the stadium, and it was a very humbling experience.”

— Jillian Williams

During the 2nd session, the Tyrone Area FFA Chapter received its Three Star National Chapter Award on October 28, 2021.

Only three chapters from Pennsylvania received this outstanding award.

Agriculture Industry tours were incorporated into the five-day trip. Fair Oaks Farms of Fair Oaks, IN provided an opportunity for the Tyrone Area FFA members to observe and interact in the Dairy Adventure: Dairy Farming in their robotic dairy, the dairy-go-round milking parlor, and calving center; the Pig Adventure: peering down on the breeding and gestation facilities, learning about raising pigs, and the indoor ropes course; and finally the Crop Adventure: how agriculture is improving crops to feed 7 billion people and counting.

En route to Indianapolis, the group stopped at the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Members viewed the various planes, learned about space travel, and were exposed to aviation impacts on WWI, WWII, and other historical events. Presidential planes of Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, and John F. Kennedy allowed participants to walk through the narrow aisles to provide a hands-on experience of how the planes have evolved over time.

“The Air-Force museum held a lot of facts and information that was new to me. I think this trip was very informative and it gave us all a new perspective on our past history,” said junior Rayann Walls.

On the way home the group also visited Freshwater Farms of Ohio in Urbana, OH.

Freshwater Farms is the largest indoor hatchery in Ohio and allows visitors to get up close and personal with rare, endangered fish at the sturgeon petting tanks. FFA members also interacted with turtles, toads, crawfish, and trout. Trout feeding frenzies occurred as students fed fish in outdoor growing tanks – step back as the water was being splashed everywhere.

Dr. Dave Smith, the founder of Freshwater Farms, took the time to lead a tour of the facility to the FFA members. The students learned how the once poultry farm was transformed into an integrated fish hatchery, fish grow-out, processing plant, and wholesale/retail market operation, which specializes in chemical and drug-free rearing of rainbow trout in water-recycling indoor systems in solar-heated barns. During the tour members also learned about invasive plants like poisonous Hemlock and Asian Honeysuckle.

“I enjoyed stopping at Freshwater Fish Farms of Ohio. I liked seeing the trout and petting the Sturgeons. I also really enjoyed the private tour the owner of the farm offered us. He showed us both invasive and helpful species of plants around wetlands, how they are striving to make the farm 100% renewable water. 99% of their water is used in their ponds and tanks, while the remaining 1% is used for a small plot for gardening. He also told us about the needs of trout, and how fish are the best for producers, as it only takes a pound of feed to make a pound of fish, as compared to other animals who need more feed to make a pound of meat. At the farm, they feed the fish by hand in order to keep track of their behavior,” said junior Catie Ewing.

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.