The Rockcastle County FFA Chapter attended the 88th Kentucky FFA State Convention held at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on Monday, June 5 through Thursday, June 8. The theme for the convention was “This is Home,” and Rockcastle FFA brought much success back home at the conclusion of the event. The chapter was pleased to have 25 students attend and have one of the most successful conventions to date.
On Monday, June 5, Chapter President, Trevor Sweet, represented Rockcastle as he participated in the statewide Day of Service event with Chapter Advisor, Jeff Hayes. For community service, they helped clean the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington by performing chores such as mopping, vacuuming, and general maintenance. Also, on Monday, June 5 former Chapter Vice President and State Officer Candidate, Eric Bullock, spent the entire day interviewing for a possible State Officer position.
On Tuesday, June 6, the Record Keeping Team competed and placed 5th in the state. Team members were Logan Bullock, Callie Lewis, Holly Miller, and Cynthia Wells. Also, the Varsity Chapter Meeting Team competed and placed 1st in the state. Team members were Caleb Ballinger, Cole Ballinger, Elisha Blanton, Jarrett Burke, Savannah Goff, Hope Holbrook, Austin Kirby, Logan Miller, Pamela Miller, and Trevor Sweet. Team alternate members were Hannah Denny and Josh Martin. The team will advance to National Convention and represent the state of Kentucky as they compete in October. This is the second time Rockcastle FFA has been able to bring home the win in this very competitive event.
In addition to the team competitions on Tuesday, the following individuals competed in speaking events: Prepared Public Speaking- Hope Holbrook, Beef Impromptu Speaking- Michaela Barron, Crop Impromptu Speaking- Caleb Ballinger, Floral Impromptu Speaking- Cole Ballinger, Horse Impromptu Speaking- Savannah Goff, Poultry Impromptu Speaking- Daya McGuire, Swine Impromptu Speaking- Jarrett Burke, and Turf/Lawn Care Impromptu Speaking- Trevor Sweet. The following individuals won their impromptu speaking areas: Agriculture Mechanics- Josh Martin and Fruit/Vegetable Impromptu Speaking- Pamela Miller. The state level is the highest level of impromptu speaking competition.
On Wednesday, June 7th, Rockcastle FFA had three pairs of students compete in the Agriscience Fair. Hope Holbrook and Rebekah Kersey competed in Social Systems, Division 4 with a project that focused on agriculture students’ perspectives of RCHS Agriculture Pathways. Jameson Burdine and Connor Robinson, competed in Plant Systems, Division 4 with a project that compared organic and non-organic fertilizer. Lastly, John Bishop and Kevin Burdette competed in Power and Technical Systems, Division 4 with a project that analyzed lawn mower efficiency based on general maintenance. John Bishop and Kevin Burdette placed 2nd in the state. The winner of their division will not be competing at the national level. Therefore, John and Kevin will represent the state of Kentucky in October at National Convention. The Agriculture Sales Team also competed on Wednesday. Team members were Maggie Franklin, Savannah Goff, Logan Miller, and Pamela Miller. Also, the Agriculture Issues Team competed and placed 3rd in the state with their presentation of the controversy surrounding animals used for entertainment. Team members were Hannah Denny, Tiffany McGuire, Sarah Ponder, and Allison Renner. Chapter Secretary Logan Miller, Chapter Vice President Pamela Miller, and Chapter Parliamentarian Hope Holbrook completed the Chapter State Rating Form. Rockcastle FFA was awarded a Gold Chapter Rating and selected as one of the top 15 chapters in the state based on this form.
Further, several Rockcastle students competed with their Supervised Agriculture Experience Projects in the FFA Proficiency Competitions. Andrew McKinney competed in Agriculture Sales Entrepreneurship and David Gabbard competed in Landscape Management. James Clay Ballinger competed in Beef Production Entrepreneurship and placed 3rd; Logan Miller competed in Home and Community Development and placed 3rd; and Eric Bullock competed in Turfgrass Management and placed 2nd. Eric Bullock also competed in Fruit/Vegetable Production and placed 1st. His proficiency will be judged at National Convention in October.
Along with those team competitions, two of Rockcastle FFA students competed in the STAR Program competition. The STAR Program highlights senior students who have outstanding Supervised Agriculture Experience Projects. These students must meet the requirements for their State FFA Degree and be selected as the Regional STAR in their area to compete at the state level. Caleb Ballinger represented Rockcastle FFA, along with the Kentucky River Region, as the Star in Agricultural Placement. Caleb works on his family’s beef farm, where he has advanced his abilities to make management decisions throughout this agricultural experience. He also aids in managing his family’s sorghum cane production and does turfgrass management as well. Michaela Barron represented Rockcastle FFA and the Kentucky River Region as the candidate for STAR Farmer. Michaela owns and operates a Charolais breeding beef production program. She has continued to grow and advance the genetics of her herd each year. Michaela was selected as one of the top 5 finalists in the state for this most prestigious award that can be given to an agricultural student.
On Thursday, June 8, Rockcastle FFA had an exceptionally successful day. Four students were awarded their State FFA Degree. This is the highest degree that can be attained at the state level. Those students were Caleb Ballinger, Michaela Barron, Andrew McKinney, and Trevor Sweet. James Clay Ballinger represented our chapter and the state of Kentucky as the 2016-2017 Kentucky River Region State FFA Vice President throughout the past year and the entire convention. He retired his jacket and position on this closing day of convention. However, he proudly was able to install Rockcastle FFA member, Eric Bullock, as the 2017-2018 Kentucky River Region State FFA Vice President. Eric will go on to represent our chapter, our region, and our state this year as one of the 12 individuals selected to State FFA Office. This is one of the most sought after positions for agriculture students.
Rockcastle FFA was proud of the success that the chapter had at convention and looks forward to continuing that success at the national level in October.