Agriculture

Region again produces state FFA leaders

Amanda Skidmore completed her year as state secretary for FFA.
Amanda Skidmore completed her year as state secretary for FFA. BRIANNA CALIX / bcalix@mercedsun

Half of the new state FFA officers hail from the Northern San Joaquin Valley, another strong showing at the annual convention in Fresno.

Jasmine Flores of Atwater High School will serve as vice president for the next year following the delegate voting. This past year, Atwater product Andrew Skidmore was president and twin sister Amanda Skidmore was secretary.

Bobby Marchy of Turlock High School was elected sentinel, tasked with helping to run meetings and events. Hunter Andrade of Tracy High School was elected reporter, which involves publicizing the activities.

The other new officers are President Luke O’Leary of San Luis Obisbo; Secretary Genevieve Regli of Ferndale, Humboldt County; and Treasurer Armando Nevarez of Holtville, Imperial County.

About 6,000 members and supporters turned out at Selland Arena for the conference, which ended its four-day run Tuesday. California has about 85,000 students in FFA, founded in 1928 as Future Farmers of America.

The organization remains closely tied to high school agriculture classes, but it teaches public speaking and other general skills to farm and city kids alike.

Andrew Skidmore won the national title in extemporaneous speech last fall, and he demonstrated his skill in his parting address Tuesday. He talked about the importance of integrity and respect. He said the key to a handshake is not the grip, but the eye contact. He urged the members to be ready for adulthood.

“We have the choice whether to show up on time, whether to say nice things or mean things, whether to build our friends up or tear them down,” he said.

Amanda Skidmore was part of an Atwater High team that won a national contest involving marketing of a farm product. In Fresno, she talked not about crops and livestock but about showing kindness to homeless people and others in need.

“Sit with the man at McDonald’s who sits all alone,” she said. “Say hello to the classmate that never speaks.”

The conferees heard also from Karen Ross, secretary of food and agriculture for California.

“Employers will want you,” she said. “Colleges will want you. Agriculture – this state, this country and the world – needs you.”

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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