August 2008
The Business of Farming
  State Winning Parliamentary Procedure Team from the Geraldine FFA Chapter with their Advisor Mr. Terry Johnson, left. Presenting the award was Thomas Hall, with AFC Management Services Department.

2006 State FFA Convention
a Success!

The 77th Annual Alabama FFA Convention was held May 31 – June 2, 2006, on the campus of Auburn University. The opening session began at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.

Ms. Buffy Jones, winner of the ALFA Young Farmer talent competition, opened with the National Anthem followed by Matt Barton, 2004-2005 State President, delivering the invocation. The Past State Officers Alumni recognized the 2006 Wall of Honor recipients. Parliamentary Procedure CDE and the Prepared Public Speaking awards were given out to the winning teams and/or participants. Corey Flournoy, past National FFA President, was the keynote speaker for this session. He encouraged the members attending to use their talents and not be scared to get out of their comfort zone.
The second session began at 7:30 p.m. on May 31. National Chapter Award recipients were recognized along with the Top Five Chapters in the state. The State Officers honored their parents and advisors. Alicia Butts from the Leroy Chapter was named as the Future Farmer/Agribusinessman of the Year. Her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) included beef cattle and horses. Kimberly Henderson, from the Enterprise Chapter, was named the recipient of the Mindy Stringer Memorial Scholarship worth $1,000. Stuart Joy, National FFA Western Region Vice-President, addressed the convention with his speech. Proficiency Awards were given for the following areas: Forest Management, Landscape Management, Fruit/Vegetable Production, Nursery Operations, Turfgrass Management, Diversified Crop Production, and Swine Production. Awards were also presented for the String Band competition and the convention was privileged to hear the sounds of the Enterprise FFA String Band, winner of the 2006 String Band competition.

Nine o’clock a.m. on June 1 marked the opening of the third session. The Crime Prevention Awards were distributed recognizing the top four chapters in the state which have crime prevention activities included in their program of activities. Carmen Zirlott of the Hurricane FFA Chapter was named the winner of the M.K. Heath Animal Health Award. Her animal health practices on her farm with her horses and cattle won her this honor. CDE awards were given for the following areas: Nursery & Landscape, Floriculture, Forestry, Land, Poultry, Livestock, Agricultural Mechanics, Agricultural Construction & Maintenance, Safe Tractor Driving, Small Engines, and Creed Speaking. Proficiency Awards were given for Agricultural Mechanics and Agricultural Sales and/or Service. Six quartets vied for the top awards in that category as well. That afternoon, students also had an opportunity to attend one of many tours sponsored by the Auburn University College of Agriculture.

At the Thursday Night Session (June 1, 2006) of the 77th Annual State FFA Convention, Governor Bob Riley, the keynote speaker, was introduced by Matt Wilson, 2005-06 State FFA Secretary.  

The fourth general session began promptly at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 1. This session boasted a keynote address from Governor Bob Riley. Governor Riley encouraged the members to consider remaining in the field of agriculture. The Governor also made reference to the amount of publicity our state has been receiving concerning the nearly 75,000 new jobs that has been created by the automotive industry plants locating in Alabama. He also stated that we do not need to forget that one of the mainstays of Alabama’s economy is agriculture, employing almost 500,000 people in the state. The Star Farmers of Alabama were brought on stage and Carmen Zirlott from the Hurricane FFA Chapter was named the Star Farmer of Alabama. Her SAE included beef cattle, pecans, and horses.

Next, the Honorary State FFA Degree was bestowed on some well deserved supporters. An appearance of Melissa Moore, Miss Alabama Agriculture, was made. She brought a message of the importance of agriculture to the assembly. Prizes were awarded for the following Proficiency Awards: Equine Science, Beef Production, Poultry Production, Home and Community Development, Environmental

Science and Natural Resources Management, Specialty Animal Production, Wildlife Management, and other Special Area Proficiency Awards. Awards were then given to the top four quartets in the quartet competition and the convention was also privileged to hear the harmony of the state winning quartet from the Ider FFA Chapter. There was a FFA dance at the close of the fourth session for members to enjoy until 11:00 p.m.

  2006-07 State FFA Officer Team: (L-R) President: Salora Wright, Lexington FFA Chapter; Vice-President: Travis McGowin, Billingsley FFA Chapter; Secretary: Brandon Smith, Slocomb FFA Chapter; Treasurer: Jerika Buttram, Geraldine FFA Chapter; Reporter: Justin Posey, Montevallo FFA Chapter and Sentinel: Caleb Colquitt, Marbury FFA Chapter.

The fifth general session began at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 2. The State FFA Degree Ceremony was one of the first items on the agenda. Around 160 FFA members from across the state received their State FFA Degrees. Next, the State Officers gave their State Officers’ Report to the convention attendees.

The convention closed with the naming of the 2006-2007 State FFA Officers. The new officers were announced by the Nominating Committee Chairman, Paul Beasley, who is the Agriscience Teacher at Gaston High School. The new officers for the 2006-2007 school year are: President – Salora Wright from the Lexington Chapter; Vice-President – Travis McGowin from the Billingsley Chapter; Secretary – Brandon Smith from the Slocomb Chapter; Treasurer – Jerika Buttram from the Geraldine Chapter; Reporter – Justin Posey from the Montevallo Chapter; and Sentinel – Caleb Colquitt from the Marbury Chapter.

The new State Officer Team has since traveled to two training workshops. The first was Blast Off, a leadership workshop held in Montgomery on June 6 – June 8, 2006.

FFA Events to Remember:

District Officers Leadership Conference
June 30 – July 1, 2006 – Columbiana

North District Chapter Officers’ Leadership Workshop
July 11, 2006 – Boaz
July 12, 2006 – Decatur

Central District Chapter Officers’ Leadership Workshop
July 14, 2006 – Wetumpka

Alabama National Fair
October 6 – 15, 2006 

Alabama National Fair
October 6 – 15, 2006 – Montgomery

National FFA Convention
October 25 – 28, 2006 – Indianapolis, Indiana

(To see further information about youth animal science activities in Alabama, go to the following website: This link will take you to the web page for Bob Ebert, Extension Livestock Specialist, with the Cooperative Extension System.)

This was an FFA sanctioned training workshop, but Alabama includes all Career/Tech Student Organizations (CTSOs) in the training: FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, TSA, Skills USA, FBLA, and DECA. During the Blast Off conference, the officers learned items such as: dinner etiquette, speech development and delivery, how to address a group, along with various other leadership activities.

The State FFA Officers then traveled to Raymond, Mississippi to attend the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO). There they were involved with a four day training program conducted by two of the National FFA Officers. They were then trained and ready to conduct and assist with the ALFA Youth Leadership Conference, the District Officers’ Leadership Conference, and the Chapter Officer Leadership workshops held in the three districts across this state. They will also have opportunities to meet with various public officials and become spokespersons for FFA and agriculture in the State of Alabama.

Jacob Davis is the Executive Secretary for the Alabama FFA Association.