Harrisburg - More than 2,000 Pennsylvania FFA members and guests celebrated their achievements and recognized leaders in agricultural education at the Pennsylvania FFA Mid-Winter Convention on Monday, Jan. 10, as part of the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
"FFA members are the future of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry," said Redding. "Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding youth in blue jackets, which are training jackets that will serve them well as they enter the workforce and develop into the leaders who will keep Pennsylvania growing."
Redding was recognized by the National Association of Agriculture Educators for his advocacy for agricultural education, as was Dr. MeeCee Baker of Versant Strategies.
The Keystone Degree, the highest honor bestowed upon FFA members at the state level, was awarded to 265 recipients.
Four star members were recognized for their exceptional work in agricultural business, placement, production and agri-science, respectfully, including Zachary Mueller, of Grassland FFA in Lancaster County; Rhiannon Radacosty, of Derry FFA in Westmoreland County; Kaleb Long from Manor FFA in Lancaster County; and Emily Griswold, from Greenwood FFA in Perry County.
The FFA Alumni Association awarded 191 official FFA jackets to first-year members, bringing the total number of jackets donated to 1,000 since the program's beginning.
Members also participated in the "Stock the Trailer" food donation campaign, supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania FFA Association , Pennsylvania FFA Alumni Association and Shetron Trailer Sales.
All donated food will be given to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which distributes more than 15 million pounds of food and groceries each year to more than 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters. The food bank provides assistance to an average 36,800 people weekly, with nearly a third of those served under the age of 18.
Redding said the FFA will continue collecting donations as part of the "Stock the Trailer" campaign throughout the year during upcoming state conferences.
Last year, at the Farm Show and conferences, FFA members donated more than 3,000 pounds of food.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10.
Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us for details.
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