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CULTIVATING GREATNESS

By DAVE HINTON

dhinton@news-gazette.com

SPRINGFIELD — Jaton Shaffer, 18, of Farmer City was announced as state Future Farmers of America vice president at last week’s state convention in Springfield.

Shaffer, a son of Dyke and Kendra Shaffer, is a 2021 graduate of Blue Ridge High School.

“As a state officer, it is my goal to continue to share my passions, experiences and leadership with others,” Shaffer said. “I hope I can inspire the next generation of FFA members.”

Shaffer was also recognized as one of 10 outstanding chapter presidents in the state for exceptional leadership and service. He was also recognized as one of eight outstanding section presidents.

Another award for Shaffer was the Agricultural Sales Placement State Proficiency recognition.

For his supervised agricultural experience, Shaffer works at Corneglio Ag, a small hardware store in Farmer City. He assists local community members, farmers and agricultural service companies to find what they are looking for.

The chapter was also recognized for coordinating a local campaign for the Illinois Foundation FFA that raised $3,000.

Other officers are President Adam Loker of Keenes, Wayne City FFA; reporter Lauren Mohr of Carlock, Normal West FFA; secretary Grace Murphy of Macomb, Macomb FFA; and treasurer Kara Freebairn of Ottawa, Serena FFA.

The five officers were elected from a group of 10 finalist candidates selected by a committee in early May. Each officer puts their collegiate pursuits on hold for one year to serve the Illinois Association FFA in a full-time capacity.

The 93rd annual state FFA convention was hosted in person and virtually.

Other area chapters’ award winners:

Armstrong

Armstrong chapter’s Makayla Learned was installed as president of the Illinois FFA’s Section 18.

The 25 newly-installed section presidents are members of the 2021-2002 Illinois state officer team.

GCMS

The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley chapter was recognized for coordinating a local campaign for the Illinois Foundation FFA, which raised at least $3,000. The chapter’s fundraising total was $4,000.

LeRoy

The LeRoy chapter was recognized as a Foundation $3,000 Club Award recipient for meeting the goal of raising $3,000 for the Illinois Foundation FFA.

Also, LeRoy chapter’s Emerson Tarr, daughter of Stan and Jennifer Tarr of LeRoy, was recognized as an Agricultural Sales Entrepreneurship State Proficienty Award winner.

For her supervised agricultural experience, Tarr sells freezer beef and cattle embryos for breeding.

She buys these products from her family’s farm, Fox Creek Cattle, and markets them on social media.

Also, chapter member Brian Clapp was installed as president of the Illinois FFA’s Section 9.

Monticello

Beau Mumm of the Monticello chapter was recognized as the recipient of the Diversified Agricultural Production State Proficiency Award.

Mumm is a son of Jason and Megan Mumm of White Heath. His FFA advisers are Elizabeth Rost, Alicia Burger and Tucker Muse.

For his supervised agricultural experience, Mumm keeps records on his sheep and forage production projects. A few years ago, he started a herd of Tunis sheep, which he raises to show all levels of the industry. He recently added 10 acres of forage that he produces and harvests to keep his sheep to cut down on feed costs.

PBL

PBL chapter member Christina White was installed as Section 17 state president. She is a daughter of Mike White and the late Julie White. Her advisers are Mike White, Aaron Slack and Kirsten Wyatt White won several other recognition awards. She was recognized as a Star in Agriscience finalist. For her supervised agricultural experience, she keeps records on two experiments — one in which she works with Eden Park Illumination in Champaign to see if its ultraviolet micro-plasma light system helps with the growth of vegetables, particularly lettuce, and the other performing slake tests on different soil types to study soil health and the effects of regenerative agriculture.

White was also recognized as one of the 10 outstanding chapter presidents in the state for exceptional leadership and service. The award is sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau.

White was recognized as one of the top four outstanding section reporters in the state for exemplary dedication and diligence in communicating with chapters and the media throughout the section. The award is sponsored by Illinois Agri-News.

The chapter was also recognized for winning the state parliamentary procedure LDE, which requires students to conduct a mock chapter meeting to demonstrate their knowledge of basic parliamentary law and the correct use of parliamentary procedures.

The chapter’s Gracie Wagoner was recognized as one of 10 outstanding chapter reporters in the state for exemplary dedication and diligence in communicating with chapter members and the local media.

The PBL chapter was also recognized as a Foundation $3,000 Club Award recipient for the Illinois Foundation FFA to raise at least $3,000 The chapter’s fundraising total was $7,000.

Chapter members Christina White and Maci Kingren were recognized as two of the top participants in Environmental Services & Natural Resource Systems.

The Illinois FFA Agriscience Fair provides the opportunity for students to gain real- world, hands-on experiences in agricultural enterprises and use scientific principles and emerging technologies to solve complex problems related to agriculture, food and natural resources.

Rantoul

Chloe Smith of the Rantoul Township High School FFA chapter was recognized as the high individual at the state Job Interview Leadership Development Event.

Participants submit a rèsumè, complete job applications and participated in mock interviews and practicums with a panel of possible employers.

Salt Fork

Salt Fork chapter member Wyatt DeAth was named a State Discovery Star Farmer winner. He is a son of BJ and Laura DeAth of Indianola.

His advisers are Jodie Boen and Stacey Rickard.

For his supervised agricultural experience, DeAth keeps records on his beef cattle cow/ calf operation, sweet corn patch and soybean production projects on the family farm. He manages seven head of cattle, a sweet corn patch in the summer and a little more than 10 acres of soybeans throughout the growing season. He makes it a priority to work safely and reflect on his work so he can make better decisions when expanding his project in the future.

Unity

Unity’s chapter was recognized for winning the Agricultural Business Management Career Development Event, which helps team members develop business management skills and learn to apply economic

ABOVE: Rantoul High’s Chloe Smith was the high individual at the state Job Interview Leadership Development Event. LEFT: Blue Ridge FFA adviser Jacalyn Meisner, state FFA Vice Ppresident Jaton Shaffer of Farmer City and his parents, Kendra and Dyke Shaffer. BELOW: LeRoy’s Brian Clapp was installed as president of the Illinois FFA’s Section 9.

principles to agriculture and agribusinsses. Cargill sponsors the event.

The team included Emma Felsman, Phillip Hartke, Delaney Kamradt and Destiny Williamson.

Marie Baxley was recognized as the top individual participant of the State Agricultural Business Management Career Development Event.

The chapter’s team of Olivia Shike and Emma and Rachel Aders was recognized as State Winner Horse Evaluation (With Reasons).

The competition requires team members to evaluate and rank horses based on breed characteristics, conformation and performance. Students also provide oral reasons to describe and defend their placings.

Emma Aders was recognized as the top overall participant in the event.

Shannon Flavin of the Unity chapter was recognized as a Vegetable Production State Proficiency winner. She is a daughter of Bill Flavin of Ivesdale and Dawn Huzenga of Tolono. Her chapter adviser is Rich McCabe.

For her supervised agricultural experience, Flavin grows and sells 35 varieties of pumpkins. She is responsible for every aspect of her project, including managing and marketing her crops. During September and October, she sells her pumpkins at her farm, roadside stands and wholesale auctions.

The chapter’s Olivia Shike was recognized as a top participant in one of the six system categories of the Illinois FFA Agriscience Fair. Students gain real-world, hands-on experiences in agricultural enterprises and use scientific principales and emerging technologies to solve complex problems related to agriculture, food and natural resources.

Photos provided

FFA STATE CONVENTION

From left, Unity chapter’s Emma Felsman, Phillip Hatke, Delaney Kamradt and Destiny Williams — members of the state-winning Agricultural Business Management Career Development team.

Monticello’s Beau Mumm — Diversified Agricultural Production State Proficiency Award winner — with chapter advisers Tucker Muse and Elizabeth, left, and his parents, Megan and Jason Mumm.

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