News FFA Equips the Future of Agriculture

FFA Equips the Future of Agriculture

FFA Equips the Future of Agriculture
July 5, 2023 |

By Maggie Edwards 

National blue and corn gold spread through downtown Montgomery June 7-9 as over 1,500 students stepped into the Capital City to celebrate the state’s largest career technical organization.

Students also competed in contests held in Auburn June 6 before the start of the 95th annual Alabama FFA State Convention. The Alabama Farmers Federation and partner organizations annually sponsor a handful of Career Development Events (CDE) and Proficiency Awards, which helps students develop skills across commodity specialties.

Those sponsorships include the forestry CDE, especially important since Alabama is home to 23 million acres of timber, said Lamar Dewberry.

“We need to support FFA programs so these students recognize their importance to the Federation and Alabama Treasure Forest Association (ATFA),” said Dewberry of Clay County. “FFA gives students an outlet to feel they are worth something. Everyone has a place to participate, and they are often led to choose a career that aligns with agriculture.” 

Dewberry is a former agriscience teacher, current landowner, chairman of the Federation Forestry Committee and an executive committee member of ATFA, a partner of the Federation.

He also led Alabama’s first national-winning forestry judging team in the ‘80s.

FFA hosted its state contests June 6 in Auburn.

This year, Morgan County’s Falkville FFA Chapter took home the first-place award for forestry judging. Cedric Beavers, also of Falkville, was the highest individual scorer.

“I have enjoyed forestry judging since I was in seventh grade,” said Beavers, a rising senior at Falkville High School. “My favorite part of this contest is tree identification. We take 20 trees and identify them by the leaves, bark and markings.”

Beavers — alongside teammates Avery Bramlett, Meggie Bramlett, Landen Fields and Talon Payne and adviser Ashley Holmes — said he’s excited to represent Alabama at National FFA Convention in Indiana this November. 

“It is a dream come true to compete in forestry at nationals,” Beavers said. “We are thankful for all the contest sponsors.”

Beavers said he loves convention because it gives him the chance to be around other students who are passionate about the industry.

“I come from a row crop farm and forest land background,” he said. “I want to continue my love for ag, major in horticulture and own a landscaping and logging business in the future.” 

Federation Young Farmers Division Director Hunter McBrayer visited with FFA members like Alex Lee, the Douglas FFA Chapter president, at convention.

During convention, the Alabama FFA Foundation inducted six influential individuals to the FFA Wall of Honor. Honorees included Federation Director of Agricultural Legislation Preston Roberts, Alabama FFA Executive Secretary Jerad Dyess, John Colquitt, the late Scott Crosby, Kim Jordan and Gerald Smitherman.

Additionally, Federation Broadcast Director Kevin Worthington, Creative Technical Director Mike Moody and Graphic Designer Laura Unger received Honorary FFA State Degrees for outstanding contributions to agriculture.

Federation President Jimmy Parnell commended the Alabama FFA Association for its positive influence on the state’s agricultural industry. 

“These students are our future,” Parnell said. “It is a privilege for the Alabama Farmers Federation to give back to this association.”

A trade show was held in conjunction with convention. Students from across the state circled through the exhibit hall where Federation Young Farmers Division Director Hunter McBrayer taught members about careers and opportunities in agriculture. 

“It is important for us to connect with FFA members at a young age,” McBrayer said. “We need them to get involved and stay engaged in programs like Young Farmers. They are a light for our industry, and it’s exciting to see them excited about agriculture.” 

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