The National Future Farmers of America Convention was held October 26-29 in Indianapolis, IN. This was the 95th convention. Two Pettisville FFA juniors were finalists in two different categories of the National FFA Agriscience Fair. To qualify, the participants conducted a research project, created a board and presentation and placed first in the Ohio Agriscience Fair last May. Then the two each submitted an application with the research paper to National FFA in June and were selected to be interviewed virtually in September. The results were announced, on stage, during the convention.
In the category of Plant Systems, Ella Richer placed 3rd in the nation, winning a medallion and a cash prize. The title of Richer’s project was The Effect of Growing Cereal Rye with Annual Ryegrass as a Cover Crop. She tested how cereal rye and annual ryegrass grew together, in hopes of finding a new grass-grass cover crop combination for farmers around our area to use. The basic conclusion was the two crops do not create more biomass when grown together, but there could be value in studying how these plants interact over a longer period of time or in a field situation.
Richer is the daughter of Chris and Julia Richer. She said the most interesting part of the project was “learning about the importance of cover crops for soil health” and the most difficult part was “statistical analysis and making the graphs.”
When asked about being on stage Ella replied, “There were so many people! But I liked meeting the other kids up there and learning about their projects.”
In the category of Food Products and Processing Systems, Delana Damman placed 4th in the nation with a gold rating. She is the daughter of Andy and Bree Damman. The project was titled The Comparison of Protein, Solids, and Fat in Cow and Goat Milk. Damman was testing to see if goat milk has some of the same properties as cow milk. She did this test to see if goat milk was a sufficient substitute for cow milk. The conclusion was that goat milk had a greater amount of fat, proteins, and solids than cow milk.
Damman found the most interesting part of the project was “I learned about a spectrophotometer and that was pretty interesting.” A difficult part was “when micro-pipetting because we had a faulty pipette. Also, comprehending the procedure of the spectrophotometer was challenging.” Delana’s reaction to being on stage was “I got a lot more comfortable talking in front of people and being in front of large crowds.”
For Agriscience fair, each state can send in one applicant. There are currently over 850 FFA members in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Both FFA members will graduate in 2024 and started the research projects in the fall of 2021 with the first fair presentation in February of 2022. The projects are mentored by Mrs. Donna Meller, science teacher and Mr. John Poulson, ag teacher.