“Neighbors” Editor Among Honorary FFA Degree Recipients
Darryal Ray, editor of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Neighbors magazine and Web director of www.AlfaFarmers.org, was among 21 guests receiving Honorary State FFA Degrees, the highest honor the state association can bestow, during the 78th State FFA Convention on June 6-8 at Auburn University.Ray, who was recognized for his Neighbors article on how Team Ag Ed is helping combat Alabama’s critical shortage of agricultural education teachers, was honored along with Dr. Joseph Morton, state school superintendent; Dr. Richard Guthrie, dean of Auburn University’s College of Agriculture; Dr. Tony Frazier, state veterinarian; Thomas Paulk, chief executive officer of Alabama Farmers Cooperative; and several other ag educators, state officials and corporate supporters.James Paul Bailey of the Sand Rock FFA Chapter captured the State Star Farmer award, and was elected state president of the Alabama FFA during the convention. Other state officers elected were: Vice President, McKenzie Crabtree, East Limestone; Secretary, Brendon Boyd, Marbury; Treasurer, Scottie Hunter, Billingsley; Reporter, Melody Murrell, Red Bay; and Sentinel, Leah Blalock, Daphne.All new officers were to participate in training workshops in which they learn dinner etiquette, speech development and delivery, how to address a group, along with various other leadership activities. The new officers will also participate in the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO), a four-day workshop conducted by two of the National FFA Officers in Helen, Ga.In addition to the election of officers, William Brandon Smith of the Slocomb chapter was named Future Farmer/Agribusinessman of the Year, and Joshua Melson of the Danville chapter was named recipient of the $1,000 Mindy Stringer Memorial Scholarship.The Enterprise FFA String Band won the string band competition, and the Oak Grove FFA Chapter won the quartet competition.
The convention also featured addresses by Jennifer Himburg of Ariton, the National FFA Southern Region Vice President, and National FFA Advisor Larry Case. Miss Alabama Agriculture Elizabeth Grimes also addressed the convention. About 150 State FFA Degrees were awarded to students from across Alabama.