This past January, the East Juniata FFA Chapter attended the 90th FFA Mid-winter Convention at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show. There were about fifty students from the Chapter that went and attended this year. They got the chance to go down and to explore the many exhibits, see different animals, and try all kinds of food. There were even some members that participated in exhibiting livestock, volunteering, and working in stands throughout the week.
The most exciting things to happen while the chapter was down at the Convention on January 7th were the first year jacket and Keystone Degree winners. There was a total of four hundred and nine members in Pennsylvania that achieved the highest degree with the Keystone Degree. From the East Juniata Chapter, there were four presented with this distinguished degree. Those who received their degree this year was Tessa Bard, Kenneth Beatty, a 2018 graduate, Jessica Roush, and myself. These four obtained the highest degree that the state can give with having their Chapter Degree, have two years of agricultural course work, be an active FFA member for the past twenty-four months, SAE earnings and investments of at least $1,000 or at least 300 unpaid hours outside of class time, demonstrated leadership ability, participation in chapter Program of Activities, participation of at least five activities above the chapter level, satisfactory scholarship record, and other requirements prescribed at the local or state level. Along with these four, there were also four members that received their first-year jackets which is also a great accomplishment. These members were Hailey Whilemen, Silas Fronk, Adam Strawser, and Hailey Nipple. They had to be a year member within seventh to tenth grade, must be in their first year of membership, must be on a roster prior to November 15th, and fill out an application. All eight of these members were proudly recognized for their hard work and dedication during the Convention.
Another great honor was seeing a past member of the East Juniata FFA chapter, Jacob Kinzer as a state FFA officer. Jacob Kinzer is the current Pennsylvania FFA State Vice President and he helped to lead the Mid-Winter Convention. He had opened it up with the opening ceremonies by making sure all officers were at their stations and reporting back to the president, Jenna Harnish. Kinzer had also welcomed numerous guest speakers, participated in little introduction skits and congratulated all of the four-hundred and nine Keystone Degree winners with a handshake. The East Juniata FFA chapter having a state officer is of great honor and it was great getting to see him in his office. He did a really nice job and everyone seemed to enjoy him as he assisted with his fellow state officer teammates in running the convention. Jacob Kinzer then helped close up the convention.
Also at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, I represented the East Juniata chapter by competing in the rabbit livestock show. I competed at the show on January 4th where I took thirteen show rabbits, a roaster, a stewer, a single fryer, and a meat pen to be judged. My meat pen had placed nineteen out of twenty-seven so, unfortunately, they did not do well enough to make it to the market sale. I did relatively well with winning each of my three breeds. With my French Lops, I won Best of Breed and Best of Variety with my rabbit Roman, Best Opposite of Breed and Best Opposite Variety with my rabbit Shado, and Best of Variety with my rabbit Alec. I also won Best of Breed with my Champagne D’Argent Lucas and won Best of Breed with my Silver Fox Priscilla. All five of my award-winning rabbits stayed down for the rest of the week at the Farm Show to be shown off.
The East Juniata FFA had a blast at this year’s 90th Pennsylvania FFA Mid-Winter Convention. The chapter was represented well with a good number of first-year jacket winners, Keystone Degree recipients, and having a state officer from our chapter. There were a couple of members that showed livestock through the week and also volunteered to work in stands. The whole chapter got to experience and learn many different things down at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show. I think that it is safe to say that this year’s trip to the farm show was one of the best yet.