Heyworth FFA member Zach Ferrie (center), with parents Ken and Jeanenne Ferrie, was a national finalist in the Emerging Ag Technology area at the 2012 National FFA Convention. (Photo by Carrie Muehling)
By Carrie Muehling
INDIANAPOLIS – This year’s National FFA Convention in Indianapolis set an attendance record with more than 56,000 people gathering for the annual event.
Many Central Illinois FFA chapters made the trek east to compete at the national level, accept awards and meet other FFA members from across the country. Heyworth FFA member Zach Ferrie was one of four national finalists in the area of Emerging Agricultural Technology.
“My project is all about working at a crop consulting business, where I did various things from test plots to hydroponics to soil testing,” said Ferrie. “Emerging Ag is anything that’s new to the business. So it’s people working with hydroponics to genetics to people who have done stuff with GPS. So it’s anything that’s new technology to the ag field.”
Ferrie is now a freshman at Illinois State University. Pontiac FFA junior Emma Rich was part of the Food Science team that competed nationally.
“It’s a lot of the things in the food industry, like sensory evaluation and product development. We have to create an entire product with marketing and doing the processing, packaging, nutrition, and then we also have the safety and sanitation. We look at pictures and see if something is wrong with them and then we identify out of a number of things what’s wrong with them,” said Rich.
The team received a silver rating for their efforts at the convention. Pontiac agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Jesse Faber was named this year’s National Agriscience Teacher of the Year.
One of the organization’s top honors went to Cissna Park FFA member Clayton Carley, who was named the National Star Farmer during this year’s convention.
For the next three years, the National FFA Convention will be hosted by Louisville, with plans to return to Indianapolis in 2016.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.