The Audrain County R-VI FFA Chapter placed 27th out of 343 chapters in the state, earning a Top Chapter Award at the 90th Missouri FFA Convention. Only 10% of state chapters receive a top chapter designation each year.
Chapter activity awards, sponsored by FCS Financial, are given to chapters achieving excellence in student, chapter, and community development. The Audrain Co. R-VI FFA advisor is Stacy French.
The Audrain Co. R-VI FFA student development activities included a leadership event involving international agriculture. The International Ag Leadership Experience Program is designed to develop the necessary leadership skills to allow students to gain success at the next level. The eight-day trip to Costa Rica provides students with opportunities to learn about agriculture production through hands-on experience in Costa Rica, as well as develop leadership skills.
Audrain Co. R-VI FFA chapter development activities included a monthly Food for America program. The program provides the opportunity for students to bring lessons into all classrooms from preschool to 5th grade each month. Each class learns about a common agriculture product, its production and daily impact.
Community development activities included Protect the Woods. Through this activity, FFA members cleaned up and maintained the 5-acre wooded area between the school crop fields. Members were also able to promote environmental responsibility by promoting native plants and identifying plants along various walking trails.
The top chapters are submitted to the National FFA Organization where they compete for the National FFA Chapter Award. The competition will be this fall at the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis.
Landscape/Nursery team wins state title
The Audrain Co. R-VI FFA Chapter won the Nursery/Landscape career development event at the 90th Missouri FFA Convention. There were 49 teams in the competition.
The team members are Taren Clark, Lauryn Robnett, Molly Mays, and Emily Hoyt.
Individually, Clark placed first, Robnett placed 22nd, Mays placed 28th, and Hoyt placed 32nd out of 181 participants. The Audrain Co. R-VI FFA advisor is Stacy French.
Individuals in this event are scored on their knowledge of production, marketing, utilization, and culture of landscape plants. Students apply the information they learn in their horticulture and landscape design classes.
Sponsored by University of Missouri, Columbia, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, this CDE is one way the FFA prepares student members for career success. CDEs engage student learning and make a real connection to lifetime goals.
Duenke takes second in state
Morgan Duenke, of Laddonia, received the second-place Missouri FFA Equine Science Placement Proficiency Award at the 90th Missouri State FFA Convention.
Duenke, a senior at Community R-VI, is the daughter of Mike and Vicki Duenke. She is a member of the Audrain County FFA Chapter. Her FFA advisor is Stacy French.
Duenke’s supervised agricultural experience program consists of her employment at Duenke Farms, which raises and shows 50 Haflinger horses. Her responsibilities include mixing minerals into the feed and determining the proportion of the hay to feed. She also mucks the stalls and refreshes the horse beds.
In FFA, Duenke has attended Washington Leadership Conference, Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence conference, and State FFA Leadership Camp. She has also participated in the Missouri State FFA Chorus and was an exhibitor in the Missouri State Fair.
In addition to FFA, Duenke is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, Merry Martins 4-H Club, Junior Leaders, Student Council, and the National Honor Society.
After graduation, Duenke will attend Northwest Missouri State University to study agricultural education and agribusiness.
Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excel as agriculture entrepreneurs, employees, or volunteers while gaining hands-on career experience. Equine Science Placement is one of 48 proficiency award areas recognized at the state level. William Woods Equestrian Studies sponsors this award.
Nathan Gastler wins state proficiency award
Nathan Gastler, of Martinsburg, won the Missouri FFA Grain Production Placement Proficiency award at the 90th Missouri FFA Convention.
Gastler, a junior at Community R-VI, is the son of Philip and Donna Gastler. He is a member of the Audrain County FFA Chapter. His FFA Advisor is Stacy French.
Gastler’s supervised agricultural experience program consists of employment on his family’s 8,000-acre row crop farm. His duties include working fields, hauling corn seed, and running grain carts to help plant and harvest 5,000 acres of corn and wheat each year.
In FFA, Gastler was a Group I Individual in the Missouri Agronomy and Dairy Cattle Evaluation Career Development Events. He has also attended Missouri State FFA Convention.
In addition to FFA, Gastler is involved in Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Grace Lutheran Youth Group. He is also a member of the Community R-VI basketball team.
After graduation, Gastler plans to attend the University of Missouri, Columbia studying agricultural systems management and agribusiness management. After college, he plans to return to the family farm and seed business.
Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excel as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees, or volunteers while gaining hands-on career experience. Grain Production-Placement Proficiency is one of 48 proficiency award areas recognized at the state level. Missouri Corn Growers Association sponsored this award.
Two R-VI students get Area 5 Star Awards
The Missouri FFA Association recognized Tayler Cope, of the Audrain County R-VI FFA Chapter, as the Area 5 Star in Agribusiness at the 90th Missouri FFA Convention. Cope is the daughter of Aaron and Mandy Copek, of Martinsburg. Her advisor is Stacy French.
Area Stars in Agribusiness are selected based upon outstanding achievement in work experience in an agricultural business as part of a student’s supervised agricultural experience program and active participation in FFA. Area 5 includes 19 chapters in the Northeast District.
MFA Inc., Columbia, sponsors the 16 area Star in Agribusiness awards as well as the State Star in Agribusiness Award.
Cope’s SAE began when she and her father started breeding show pigs. This developed into Cope Kids Show Pigs, a business including her three younger brothers. The show pigs are marketed to 4-H, FFA, and youth circuit members in Missouri.
Cope has served as chapter sentinel, and is currently serving as chapter treasurer. She has competed at the state level in meats evaluation, nursery/landscape, and floriculture career development events. She attended Washington Leadership Conference and is a graduate of University of Missouri Animal Sciences and Leadership Academy.
In addition to FFA, Cope is a member of National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Business Leaders of America, and Art Club. Outside of school, she is co-president of Merry Martin 4-H Club, and is a member of St. Joseph Youth Group, National Junior Swine Association, and Team Purebred. She has been selected to serve as the 2018 Missouri Youth Pork Ambassador.
After graduation, Cope plans to study animal science at University of Missouri. She plans to remain involved in the Missouri pork industry through college and her career.
The Missouri FFA Association recognized Matthew Gastler, of the Audrain County FFA Chapter, as the Area 5 Star Farmer at the 90th Missouri FFA Convention. His parents are Sam and Sandy Gastler, of Martinsburg. His advisor is Stacy French.
Area Star Farmers are chosen based upon outstanding production agriculture in the student’s supervised agricultural experience program and active participation in FFA. Area 5 includes 19 chapters in the Northeast District.
MFA Inc., Columbia, sponsors the 16 area Star Farmer awards and the State Star Farmer Award.
Gastler began his SAE program by renting land from his grandfather to begin raising his own crops. In 2015, he purchased four crossbred cows to expand his beef cattle herd. Gastler has grown his SAE to include 47 acres of a diversified row crop operation. In addition to his SAE, he is an employee of his family’s 7,500 acre row crop farm and a 1,000 commercial cow/calf operation.
Gastler has served as his chapter assistant vice president and served on various committees within his chapter. Gastler participates in his chapter’s annual Farm Safety Day and helps teach over 120 elementary students about tractor and agriculture equipment safety. He was a finalist for the National FFA grain production entrepreneurship proficiency award in 2017 and has attended the Washington Leadership Conference. In addition to FFA, Gastler is a member of the National Honor Society and has been active on his high school’s varsity basketball and baseball teams for three years. He is also a member of the Grace Lutheran Church where he is part of the youth group.
After graduation, Gastler plans to study agriculture at Moberly Area Community College, Moberly. He intends to take over the commercial cow/calf operation and become a third generation production agriculturist in his family.
Hoyt takes third
Emily Hoyt of the Audrain County R-VI FFA Chapter placed third in the FFA Creed speaking leadership development event at the 90th Missouri FFA Convention.
Sixteen individuals from six districts were selected to compete at the state level. Hoyt’s advisor is Stacy French.
The competition requires contestants to recite the FFA Creed. Speakers then answer a series of questions based on their interpretation of the creed. A panel of judges determines each participant’s score. Participating FFA members gain self-confidence, sharpen their ability to think quickly and hone presentation skills. MFA Inc. sponsors the event.