MUSCATINE, Iowa–For the first time since 2019, Muscatine FFA members had the opportunity to return to the in person State FFA Convention. Though the state convention marks the high point of the spring for many members, they continue to keep busy with chapter activities, particularly running their annual plant sale.
From April 18 to April 20 many Muscatine FFA students competed in a variety of contests to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and to compete for spots in national FFA competitions. This year, students placed highly in several career and leadership development events. Of particular note, the poultry judging team, made up of Bob Carver, Danika Garrett, Emily King, and Audrey Seibel, earned the state championship and will proceed to nationals. Audrey placed first individually with Bob placing third. Jake Draves, Dailyn Garrett, Nick Peterson, and Grant Van Nice on the ag sales team also placed as state champions moving on to nationals with Dailyn earning second place individually. Individually, James Sprague earned a fifth overall gold rating for ag sales, Belinda Brian earned a sixth overall gold rating for extemporaneous speaking, and Alexis Moeller earned an eighth overall gold rating for ag broadcasting.
Looking back over their performance in the state competitions, students felt good about their accomplishments and eager to push themselves to do even better at nationals. James shared that he: “was pretty excited about it. I was confident in myself going in, but I was surprised I ranked that highly.
Thinking about his performance on the poultry judging team, Bob added, “I was very happy with how we performed.” Before nationals he hopes to continue developing his skills, as he individually scored only two points away from first place. “I know I can always improve, as anyone can,” he said.
Along with the excitement of competing, Muscatine FFA students also welcomed the chance to get to meet and spend time with many FFA members from across the state, something they have not had many chances to do this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob described the state convention as, “a big welcoming place for FFA members and anyone interested in agriculture,” and that he thoroughly enjoyed getting to visit Iowa’s largest city and meet, “so many like minded people from across the state.”
While the ag sales and poultry judging teams will not compete at nationals until the fall, FFA students continue to keep busy this spring with their annual plant sale. As in years past, students in Muscatine High School’s horticulture classes have grown all of the plants in the sale, giving them a valuable opportunity to learn how a nursery operates. Anna Sharar, a junior competing on the FFA floriculture team has found working in the greenhouse has made plant identification easier for her, and that working with her classmates and observing, “things grow from seeds into actual plants is fun.”
For the second year in a row, students will sell their plants online. After community members have selected and paid for the plants they would like, they may arrange to pick them up April 30 or May 7 or 14 between 7:30 a. m. and 6 p. m.