Career Development

RANDOLPH – Randolph Central School was represented by five members of its Future Farmers of America organization at the 89th annual New York State FFA Convention held at Medina Central School, May 8-10.

Pat Walker, team adviser and agriculture teacher at RCS, said there were 1,300 FFA members, advisers and guests attending, and more than 1,000 students participated. Although the Randolph team didn’t place in the top three positions, they gave it their all.

“I do a lot of preparation with the students prior to the convention and, between the state convention and the Envirothon, it’s been a little crazy,” she laughed. “The kids take what they have learned in classes and FFA to compete in the state contests.”

Walker said the students compete in a number of career development events including agricultural communication, agricultural mechanics, agricultural sales, aquaculture, farm business management, floriculture, food science and technology, marketing plan and small animal care.

“In the case of my Agricultural Issues team, they had to qualify either first or second at one of the three sub-state competitions to be eligible to go on to the state convention competitions,” she said. “They compete on teams in categories including Agricultural Issues, Prepared Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Job Interview, Parliamentary Procedure, People in Agriculture, and a few other contests.

Not all contests require pre-qualifying such as vet tech and food science.

According to Walker, for the speaking contests, the students have to qualify prior to the state convention. They must have competed at the district level in order to move on in the following contests: agricultural issues, job interview, junior creed speaking, junior extemporaneous speaking, junior people in agriculture, junior prepared public speaking, parliamentary procedure, senior creed speaking, senior extemporaneous speaking, senior people in agriculture and senior prepared public speaking.

She said participants have to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in all the categories and most of the events include a test. In addition to the speaking contests, there are some hands-on competitions such as vet tech, food science and agricultural mechanics. There’s also a marketing plan contest where the kids have to develop market strategy and do a presentation. Agricultural sales involves much the same thing.

An impressive lineup of guest speakers presented motivational, informational and inspirational guidance to the students at this year’s convention.

Between convention sessions and career development events, students had the opportunity to explore the career show, attend leadership and career workshops or travel on several tours to local farms and agricultural-related businesses.

Students qualifying on the state level had the option to take part in any number of CDEs – proving their technical and leadership skills – or they could just watch, learn and observe other competitors as they demonstrated their talents, aptitudes and abilities. Many of the CDEs fill requirements for qualification to the National FFA Convention.

The state convention competition is the final state-level contest for CDE winners who have advanced from the sub-state competition. Twenty-five career development events take place at the state competition with the winners competing in the national CDEs at the National FFA Convention & Expo held Oct. 29-Nov. 1, in Louisville, Ky.