351 FFA members receive Keystone Degrees at Annual Mid-Winter Convention, 2014 PA Farm Show

Members of the Oley Valley FFA accept awards for their 3rd place Gold Team performance in the Food Science & Technology CDE at the National FFA Convention last November from Agriculture Secretary George Greig during the 2014 PA Farm Show in Harrisburg. (l-r) Hali Hoch, Callista Miller, Nicole Lynch, Kathryn Bergeman and Greig.

Pennsylvania FFA members were recognized for their dedication to agriculture during the youth organization’s annual convention on Monday, Jan. 6, at the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.

The Keystone Degree, the highest honor earned at the state level, was bestowed upon 351 FFA members. More than 6,000 FFA members were in attendance at this year’s convention.

“We inherit the world our elders created and our own children will inherit the world we make,” said Gov. Corbett as he spoke to the gathered members. “Leadership isn’t about how highly we regard ourselves. It’s about creating a world worthy of our children.”

The FFA provides students with leadership development opportunities through classroom instruction, career development contests – including livestock evaluation and parliamentary procedure – and real world agricultural career placement.

“The FFA equips members with skills they’ll need to succeed in agriculture or any career,” said Greig. “I still use the business skills, work ethic, teamwork and leadership I learned in FFA.”

Four state star winners were named: Jared Oman, Central Columbia FFA Chapter, in Agribusiness; Ruby Monn, Shippensburg FFA Chapter, in Agricultural Production; Johnathan Noss, West Perry FFA Chapter, in Agricultural Science; and Graham Rhone, Central Columbia FFA Chapter, in Agricultural Placement.

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania FFA Alumni Association, 357 first-year members chosen through an application process were awarded their own official FFA jackets.

The National FFA Association, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, boasts more than 500,000 members in all 50 states, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Pennsylvania, alone, is home to nearly 10,000 members.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, with 24 acres under one roof that feature nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and nearly 300 commercial exhibitors. Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us for details.

From the Pennsylvania Farm Show.