MIAMI COUNTY — Two Miami County FFA members were recognized as the best of the best in their division at the 88th annual National FFA Convention Expo in Louisville, Ky. on Oct. 30.
Emily Beal, a senior at Miami East High School, won in the area of Goat Production for her goat herd sales and growth.
Zach Hasting, a senior at Covington High School, won in the area of agricultural mechanics repair and maintenance in the entrepreneurship division for his restoration of antique tractors.
Each National winner received an additional plaque and an additional $500 cash award.
Covington FFA adviser Jessica Helsinger said she was proud that Hasting was recognized for his hard work and passion for mechanics and restoration. It is the first time a FFA member from Covington High School won the prestigious award.
“This is truly something that will never leave him,” Helsinger said. “It’s an honor for him to be recognized at the national level for something he is truly passionate about.”
Hasting also won an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for an 8-day trip in June 2016 to tour the country’s international agriculture facilities.
Beal was named the best in the nation in the area of Goat Production for her goat herd sales and growth last Friday. Beal said she began goat production when she was 10 years-old and has worked on the project throughout her FFA career.
“There’s a lot of record keeping that I log into my books, which can be a time consuming process,” Beal shared on Saturday. “It was really an honor to be recognized at this level.”
Beal was named top of the division over finalists from Indiana, Texas and Kansas.
Other National Proficiency finalists included Miami East High School seniors Nathan Teeters and Kelsey Kirchner.
Kirchner was recognized as a finalist in the area of Agricultural Sales – Entrepreneurship for her business, Kelsey’s K-9 Kookies and marketing at multiple farmers markets. Teeters was recognized as a finalist in the area of Emerging Agricultural Technology for his job placement at Buckeye Ag Testing, Troy.
Teeters shared how he used data from the company’s test plots as part of his project, which helps calculate yields in the Eastern corn belt.
“It was a niche market that’s often underrepresented and I learned how important it really is to use research that will be used to feed 10 billion people by 2050,” Teeters said.
Kirchner spent many hours selling her homemade dog treats at local farmers markets in Troy through the year.
“It was great getting to talk to other kids at nationals and seeing what they came up with,” Kirchner said.
The National FFA organization selects one student per division to send on the trip and all four students from Miami County will travel to Costa Rica for the international agricultural experience.
Miami East FFA adviser Marie Carity said Ohio had national finalists in 26 out of 49 areas at this year’s convention.
“For Miami County to have four finalists and two national finalist winners is unheard of — we are so blessed,” Carity said of all the FFA members accomplishments on Saturday.
For a detailed lists of winners and awards, visit www.ffa.org. For more information about each school’s FFA chapter, visit miamieast.k12.oh.us or covington.k12.oh.us.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her online @Troydailynews