August 2008
The Business of Farming

2008 State FFA Convention — A Success!

Click to enlarge
James Paul Bailey, 2008 Future Farmer/Agribusinessman of the Year from the Sand Rock FFA Chapter, along with Rick Norton (left), Vice President of Interstate Oil and Barry Bailey (right), Sand Rock FFA Chapter Advisor.

By Jacob Davis

The 79th Annual Alabama FFA Convention was held June 4-6, 2008, on the campus of Auburn University. The opening session began at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4. Ms. Salora Wright, 2006-2007 State President, delivered the invocation. The Past State Officers Alumni recognized the 2008 Wall of Honor recipients. Parliamentary Procedure Career Development Event (CDE) and the Prepared Public Speaking awards were given to the winning teams and/or participants. Patrick Grady was the keynote speaker for this session. He entertained the crowd with his energetic presentation. The awards were given for the String Band Competition and the Convention was privileged to hear the sounds of the Sand Rock FFA String Band, winner of the 2008 String Band Competition.

The second session began at 7:30 p.m. on June 4. National Chapter Award recipients were recognized along with the Top Five Chapters in the state. The State FFA Officers honored their parents and advisors. James Paul Bailey from the Sand Rock Chapter was named as the Future Farmer/Agribusinessman of the Year. His Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) included beef cattle and crop production. Justin Posey from the Montevallo Chapter was named the recipient of the Mindy Stringer Memorial Scholarship worth $1,000. Scottie Hunter and Brendon Boyd both gave their retiring addresses and Patrick Grady presented a hilarious hypnotist program.

June 5, at 8:30 a.m., marked the opening of the third session. The Crime Prevention Awards were distributed recognizing the top chapters in the state having crime prevention activities included in their program of activities. Chapters which had 100 percent Chapter membership were also recognized. CDE awards were given for the following areas: Agricultural Construction & Maintenance, Agricultural Mechanics, Creed Speaking, Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Floriculture, Forestry, Horse Evaluation, Land, Livestock, Nursery & Landscape, Poultry, Safe Tractor Driving and Small Engines. Proficiency Awards were given for Agricultural Mechanics, Agricultural Sales and/or Service, Beef Production, Dairy Production, Diversified Crop Production, Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management, Equine Science, Floriculture, Forest Management, Landscape Management, Nursery Operations, Poultry Production, Specialty Animal Production, Swine Production, Turf Grass Management and Wildlife Management Proficiency Awards were also given out in the following specialty proficiency areas:  Agricultural Communications, Agricultural Education, Agricultural Processing, Forage Production, Outdoor Recreation, and Small Animal Production and Care. To close out the session the top six quartets vied for top honors in our Quartet Competition.

Bethany Ray Lewis of the Ashford FFA Chapter was named the 2008 State Star Farmer for Alabama. Her advisor is Mrs. Donya Holland.


   June 5, at 8:30 a.m., marked the opening of the third session. The Crime Prevention Awards were distributed recognizing the top chapters in the state having crime prevention activities included in their program of activities. Chapters which had 100 percent Chapter membership were also recognized. CDE awards were given for the following areas: Agricultural Construction & Maintenance, Agricultural Mechanics, Creed Speaking, Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Floriculture, Forestry, Horse Evaluation, Land, Livestock, Nursery & Landscape, Poultry, Safe Tractor Driving and Small Engines. Proficiency Awards were given for Agricultural Mechanics, Agricultural Sales and/or Service, Beef Production, Dairy Production, Diversified Crop Production, Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management, Equine Science, Floriculture, Forest Management, Landscape Management, Nursery Operations, Poultry Production, Specialty Animal Production, Swine Production, Turf Grass Management and Wildlife Management Proficiency Awards were also given out in the following specialty proficiency areas:  Agricultural Communications, Agricultural Education, Agricultural Processing, Forage Production, Outdoor Recreation, and Small Animal Production and Care. To close out the session the top six quartets vied for top honors in our Quartet Competition.

On Thursday afternoon, students also had an opportunity to attend the first ever FFA Social sponsored by the Auburn University College of Agriculture and a meal provided by Thompson Tractor Company and the Federal Land Banks of Alabama.

The 2008-2009 State Officers for the Alabama FFA Association(l-r): Anna Leigh Peek, State Sentinel from West Limestone; Clifford Brown, State Reporter from Marbury; Raven Buchanan, State Treasurer from Wilcox Central; Michelle Vasbinder, State Secretary from Enterprise; Brandy Feltman, State Vice President from Oakman and Zachary Jones, State President from Spring Garden.

The fourth general session began promptly at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5. This session boasted a keynote address from Troy Newton, Alabama FFA Advisor. Mr. Newton encouraged the members to consider the field of agriscience education. Matt Barton from the Gaston FFA Chapter was named the recipient of the Frances Mizell Scholarship. The Star Farmers of Alabama were brought on stage and Bethany Ray Lewis from the Ashford FFA Chapter was named the Star Farmer of Alabama. Her SAE included work on a dairy farm. Melody Murrell and McKenzie Crabtree gave their retiring addresses and Becky Sullivan, National FFA Secretary from the Spring Hill, Kansas, FFA Chapter delivered her keynote address. Next, the Honorary State FFA Degree was bestowed on some well-deserving supporters of our program. Awards were given to the top four quartets in the Quartet Competition. The Convention was also privileged to hear the harmony of the state winning quartet from the Sylvania FFA Chapter.

The fifth general session began at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 5. James Paul Bailey, 2007-2008 State FFA President, delivered his retiring address. Then the State Officers gave their end-of-the-year report. About 150 FFA members from across the state received their State FFA Degrees during
the State FFA Degree Ceremony. The Convention closed with the installation of the 2008-2009 State FFA Officers. The state officers were assisted with the announcement of the new slate of officers by a member of the Nominating Committee, Justin Posey, who is a member from the Montevallo FFA Chapter. The new State FFA Officers for
the 2008-2009 school year are: President – Zachary Jones, Spring Garden Chapter; Vice President – Brandy Feltman, Oakman Chapter; Secretary – Michelle Vasbinder, Enterprise Chapter; Treasurer – Raven Buchanan, Wilcox Central Chapter; Reporter – Clifford Brown, Marbury Chapter and Sentinel – Anna Leigh Peek, West Limestone Chapter.

The new State Officer Team will be participating this summer in two training workshops. The first was Blast Off. This was a leadership workshop held in Montgomery on June 10–12, 2008, at the Drury Inn and Suites. This is a FFA-sanctioned training workshop, but Alabama includes all Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) in the training: FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, TSA, SkillsUSA, FBLA and DECA. During the Blast Off conference, the officers learned new skills and techniques like dinner etiquette, speech development and delivery, how to address a group and various other leadership activities. The State FFA Officers then traveled to Raymond, Mississippi, to attend the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO). They were involved with a four-day training program conducted by two of the National FFA Officers. They will then be trained and ready to conduct and assist with 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 Alabama.

Jacob Davis is FFA Executive Secretary.