John Carney, Tara Lang posing for a picture

Milford FFA wins awards at Delaware State Fair

Education, Headlines

John Carney, Tara Lang posing for a picture

Milford FFA fair participants stand with Governor John Carney and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall Long at this year’s Delaware State Fair

More than 28 Milford FFA members worked, studied and practiced in preparation for the 2021 Delaware State Fair. Each year, the fan allows for members to compete as a chapter, with a team or as individuals in many different competitions. Some of the competitions are behind the scenes while others are displayed at the Centre Ice Rink.

“The Milford FFA Chapter won the inaugural “Fantastic Fair Award in the FFA Department,” Trish Gerken, Public Information Officer for Milford School District, said. “This award is based on the amount of points earned for exhibits by a chapter. Points are given for placings 1st through 6th in a class. The Milford FFA Chapter entered over 100 exhibits in the FFA building, ranging from vegetables, shop projects, grains, plants and flower arrangements. The students worked tirelessly to win this award which was presented by Governor John Carney on Governor’s Day at the fair.”

Milford FFA’s Chapter Vice President Anya Phillips was awarded the William H. Abbott Sr. Memorial Plaque. This award goes to the student who receives the most points in the department based on the quality of their entries. Anya received the most points in the FFA building for her entries that placed 1st-6th. Anya entered a variety of projects such as flower arrangements, plants, vegetables, grains and shop projects. Anya spent countless hours preparing her fair entries. Anya received her award from Governor Carney at the Governor’s Day ceremony.

Milford FFA received the prestigious Gold Chapter rating from the State of Delaware FFA and just last week received the 3-star ranking from the National FFA Organization which is the highest ranking that can be given.  This award recognizes that Milford FFA actively implements the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards (NQCS) and a Program of Activities (POA) that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.

“As a chapter, Milford FFA members built two chapter displays that were both placed inthe Delaware State Fair FFA Building: Educational Display, with the theme of “Factor in  the Tractor ” and the Horticulture Display, with a title of “Preserving the Past, Presenting the Future”, placed 4th,” Gerken said. “FFA members began working on these displays at the end of May and came into school over the summer to finish them up and get them to the fair on time.

Milford FFA members represented the chapter in a wide variety of Career Development Events at the fair.  In order to prepare for these competitions, students spend hours both in an out of the classroom during the summer studying a range of topics from judging livestock, through identifying weeds, seeds, and plant disorders commonly found in local agronomic crops.

“The Milford FFA Food Science and Technology team placed 1st in the state,” Gerken explained. “Team members were Hannah Haigh, Beau Davis, Veronika Moore          and Colin O’Connor. In the Food Science category, students demonstrate their understanding    of food product development, food presentation and food safety. Students will use sensory skills to problem solve. These students will hopefully be traveling to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana in October.”

The Milford FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation team placed 2nd in the state.  Team members were Jacob Smith (3rd individually), Miranda Walker (4th individually), Ashlyn Welch (7th individually) and Dorothy Bradley (8th individually). Dairy cattle evaluation includes judging classes of dairy cows or heifers, presenting oral reasons, evaluating cows based on their linear evaluation, and a team activity.

“Milford FFA had two individuals who competed in the Dairy Cattle Handlers Activity, Mason Foxwell (4th individually) and Alexis Wright  (6th place individually),” Gerken said.  “These students learn to work with others in a way that is cooperative, courteous and helpful while demonstrating effective dairy handling skills.”

The Milford FFA Veterinary Science team placed 3rd in the state. Team members included Jorja Willey (4th individually), Julia Popelas, Natalie Stevenson and Alexis Wright. In this contest, students working in teams demonstrate their technical competency with small and large animals by completing a written exam, critical-thinking scenario questions, identifications and hands-on practicums.

The Milford FFA Livestock Show Team consisted of thirteen students; Natalie Armstrong, Dorothy Bradley, Hailey Cylinder, Beau Davis, Mason Foxwell, Hannah Haigh, Sarah Hudson, Alaina Judd, Colin O’Connor, Julia Popelas, Sarah Stevenson, Miranda Walker and Alexis Wright. From March thru July these individuals worked countless hours at the school barn feeding, walking, practicing with their market hogs, market steers and dairy heifers to get ready for the county shows and Delaware State Fair.

“They have truly put in blood, sweat and tears to get these animals ready for show,” Gerken said. “Although many of these students have never worked with livestock to this capacity before, they are all walking away as better livestock handlers, leaders, communicators, hard workers and advocates for the agriculture industry.”

The Milford FFA chapter is led by Caitlin Walton, McKenzie Hardy and Josh Bethard.  All of the advisors are very proud of all of our members and their placings at the fair.  The students represented Milford FFA with outstanding service and effort through their many hours of hard work throughout the Delaware State Fair.

“We would also like to thank all the parents and supporters that helped make our Summer/State Fair Program a success,” Gerken said on behalf of the administration.

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