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October 23, 2007   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
October 23, 2007

Alabama's State FFA Officers are, from left: President James Paul Bailey of Sand Rock; Vice President McKenzie Crabtree of East Limestone; Secretary Brendon Boyd of Marbury; Treasurer Scottie Hunter of Billingsley; Reporter Melody Murrell of Red Bay; and Sentinel Leah Blalock of Daphne.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A Lawrence County Alabama FFA Chapter will receive a national award, and Jennifer Himburg, the Auburn University student who served the past year as Southern Region Vice President, will deliver her retirement address when the 80th National FFA Convention gets under way in Indianapolis, Ind., this week.

With "Blue Jackets, Bright Futures" as its theme for the 80th annual conference Oct. 24-27, the convention is expected to draw more than 55,000 Future Farmers of America members and guests from across the nation.

In addition to numerous guest speakers such as Henry Winkler who gained fame as "The Fonz" on the Happy Days TV sitcom, the members will be treated to appearances by The Beach Boys with special guest John Stamos of Full House fame and country music artist Montgomery Gentry.

Alabama's delegation of state officers -- President James Paul Bailey of Sand Rock, Vice President McKenzie Crabtree of East Limestone, Secretary Brendon Boyd of Marbury, Treasurer Scottie Hunter of Billingsley, Reporter Melody Murrell of Red Bay and Sentinel Leah Blalock of Daphne -- will be among those in attendance.

Alabama will also be represented by three district officers: Northern District President Salora Wright of Clements FFA Chapter, Central District Secretary Christina Turner of Alexandria and Southern District President Bethany Lott of New Brockton.

Matt Barton of the Gaston FFA is a national officer candidate, and will be interviewed by the national nominating committee throughout the week. The committee will name six new national officers Saturday.

"The Alabama FFA Association has 12 delegates to help comprise the 475 delegates from state associations from around the country that will discuss and vote on business that will affect the National FFA Organization for years to come," said Alabama FFA Executive Secretary Jacob Davis. "We have teams here representing our state in career development events in 12 areas, including everything from public speaking to livestock evaluation. Students from Alabama will be attending sessions featuring outstanding keynote speakers and experiencing the mission of the FFA -- premier leadership, personal growth, and career success -- first-hand."

Advisor Robby Vinzant's Speake FFA Chapter from Lawrence County will receive a 2-Star National Chapter Award on stage Thursday, about 2 p.m., during the conference that is being nationally televised by RFD-TV. (Check local listings)

The Speake FFA floriculture team -- Bailey Blankenship, Leslie Graves and Dixie Hampton -- placed first at the state finals during the 78th FFA state convention at Auburn University in June. Blankenship was the state high scorer and Graves placed second in the state. Leslie Graves of the Speake chapter placed first in the state in nursery operations and second in floriculture proficiency.

Speake's forestry team -- Tyler Parker, Ethan Parker, Lucas Johnson, Ben Hjelm, Zach Vick and Brian Burnett -- also placed second in the state competition where they were tested in tree identification, timber cruising and estimating, timber stand improvement, compass and pacing, topographical map interpretation and general knowledge.

The school's nursery-landscape team -- Todd Cross, Emily Smith, Marah Cooper and Jamie England -- placed third in the state competition where it was tested in plant identification, landscape estimating, landscape drawing, written customer assistance, pruning nursery stock, plant disorders and a team activity.

Himburg, who was a member of the Ariton High School FFA Chapter before enrolling at Auburn University, will deliver her farewell address at noon during Friday's Fifth Session. At Auburn University, Himburg serves as a College of Agriculture Ambassador and as Director of Public Relations for Delta Gamma. She is also a member of Auburn's Collegiate FFA chapter.

The National Future Farmers of America was founded in 1928, and today counts more than a half million active members across the nation. The Alabama FFA was chartered in 1929 -- the 36th association to do so.

For more information, visit www.FFA.org or www.AlabamaFFA.org.

Click Here For Convention Highlights & RFD Broadcast Schedule

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