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December 17, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
December 17, 2009

Federation President Jerry A. Newby, right, receives Honorary American Degree from Paul Moya, immediate past president of the National FFA Organization.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Jerry A. Newby, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, and State Schools Superintendent Joseph B. Morton, were awarded Honorary American Degrees at the National FFA Organization's annual convention in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 21-24, according to Jacob Davis, executive secretary of the Alabama FFA Association.

"I am deeply honored by this award," Newby said. "Coming from a new generation of farmers and others interested in agriculture, it's an award that humbles me. To see these outstanding young people promoting agriculture, developing necessary skills and becoming tomorrow's leaders gives me hope for the future. It makes me proud just to be recognized by this great organization."

Honorary American Degrees are awarded to teachers, superintendents, partners and others to recognize their support of the agriscience education program and FFA.

The national FFA gathering drew more than 53,000 members, advisors and supporters -- including an Alabama contingent of more than 520 -- to participate in competitions, workshops, convention sessions, and other activities.

Also attending from the Alabama Farmers Federation were Executive Director Mike Kilgore, Governmental Affairs Director Paul Pinyan and Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore. The Alabama group also included state Rep. Richard Lindsey of the 39th District and chairman of the Education and Finance and Appropriations Committee.

Fifteen members of the Alabama FFA received American FFA Degrees, the highest honor that the National FFA Organization offers to its members. This degree is bestowed upon members that meet certain criteria that substantiate their growth as productive members of society.

The Alabama recipients and their respective FFA chapters were: Taylor Andrews, Brantley; Jared M. Beasley and Jonathon Micah Martin, both of Gaston; Ciara Crotzer and Zac Rutherford, both of Speake; Judy Elizabeth Eldred, Smiths Station; Robert Samuel Ginwright, Justin Bryant Posey and Brittani Landers, all of Montevallo; Sarah Lesley and Steven Turbyfill, Red Bay; Bethany Ray Lewis, Ashford; Josh Maples, Elkmont; Amanda Pangburn, Geraldine; and Salora Wright, Clements.

Alabama had several state-winning Career Development Event (CDE) Teams representing Alabama in national competition. Advisor Shane Bryan's Falkville FFA Forestry Team -- Ashley Holmes, Justin Jacobs, Christopher Wilhite and Jordan Saint -- placed third in the nation.

Others placing included: Agricultural Mechanics, Douglas High School FFA, silver; Creed Speaking, Danielle Cassady of East Limestone FFA, bronze; Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Arab FFA, bronze; Extemporaneous Speaking, James William Haynes of Tallassee FFA, bronze; Floriculture, Enterprise FFA, silver; Horse Evaluation, Southside FFA, bronze; Livestock Evaluation, Douglas FFA, bronze; Parliamentary Procedure, Geraldine FFA, silver; Prepared Public Speaking, Elizabeth Wilson of Jacksonville FFA, silver; and Poultry, Arab FFA, bronze.

Davis of the state FFA association also reported that 10 state chapters submitted applications for recognition in the National Chapter Awards Program. "This program allows chapters to receive recognition for the chapter's Program of Activities they conduct throughout the year," said Davis.

Speake and Fort Payne chapters received the highest star ranking with three each. Brantley, East Lawrence, Eufaula, Geraldine, Montevallo, New Brockton and Pell City chapters earned two stars and New Brockton earned one star.

The Speake chapter also was named as a national finalist for the Models of Innovation competition of the National Chapter Award Program in two categories -- Community Development and Student Development.

Three state chapters -- Enterprise, Kate Duncan Smith D.A.R. and Sand Rock -- participated in the national FFA talent program. The Enterprise chapter had a quartet that performed at various functions during the national convention, while the Kate Duncan Smith D.A.R., Enterprise and Sand Rock chapters had string bands that performed at various functions as well as on stage at the National Talent Review.

The Goshen FFA chapter, along with advisors Rusty Yeomans and Kelly Pritchett, were responsible for Alabama's Hall of States exhibit.

Justin Posey, 2006-2007 state reporter from the Montevallo chapter, was Alabama's choice as a national officer candidate to go through the nominating committee process, but wasn't selected.

The Alabama FFA has a membership of 15,067.

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