By Ashley Wiebe
The Muscatine FFA Chapter had a great showing at the 2019 National FFA Convention and Expo held in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 30th through November 1st. Over 60,000 people attended the convention from all fifty states, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Primarily, the National Convention names National Champion teams and individuals in FFA leadership and career development contests. To compete at Nationals, students must win their state contest, often competing at sub-districts and districts beforehand. Fortunately, Muscatine FFA has hard-working students and teachers who consistently put teams and individuals in positions to succeed and advance. This year, Muscatine FFA had two state champion teams representing Floriculture and Poultry Evaluation.
For floriculture, students identified plants, judged floral arrangements, and solved related problems. Participants also demonstrated skills in flower arranging, propagation, and preparing flower and foliage products for sale. Judges evaluated teams on their ability to perform on assignments like those in the floriculture industry. Additionally, individual members contribute to the team’s effort by completing tasks such as the general floriculture examination, plant materials and equipment identification, problem-solving exercises, a practicum, a job interview, and a floral arrangement.
The Muscatine Floriculture team cracked the top ten, ending up eighth overall. Mckenna Riess, Dailyn Garrett, Belinda Brain, and Allen Tian competed, and Matthew Reissen and Elyse Reyna traveled with them. Riess earned Reserve National Champion Individual and earned a $900 scholarship.
In Poultry Evaluation, students selected live meat-type chickens for broiler breeding, evaluated and placed live egg-type hens according to productivity, and rated finished products by evaluating and grading ready-to-cook carcasses and parts of chickens and turkeys, like USDA graders do in production plants. They also evaluated eggs for interior and exterior defects and determined quality grades using USDA standards. They took a test on industry knowledge, anatomy, physiology, and production, and worked as a team to problem solve and present solutions to the judges. The Muscatine Poultry team earned fourteenth place. Alli Youngbauer, Hope Reichert, Lexy Donath, and Riley Webber competed. Jamie Sprague, Emily King, and Ethan Hausch accompanied them.
Muscatine FFA members Hunter Britton and John Brooks earned their American Degrees, the highest degree offered in FFA. To qualify, students must earn their state degree, actively participate in FFA for three years, participate in local and state activities, earn $10,000 or invest 10,000 hours in a supervised agricultural learning experience, and complete fifty community service hours.