SACRAMENTO, March 28, 2022 — Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and supporters from across the state of California returned to the Golden 1 Center for the fifth session of the 94th State FFA Leadership Conference in Sacramento, with the theme of “Embracing Agriculture.”
State FFA Secretary Paul Horta Castañeda gave his retiring address, reflecting on his family’s journey immigrating to the United States from Mexico. Castañeda shared how his family and community helped shape the man he is today.
Castañeda shared that while he was lucky to have a community that supported him through all of his endeavors, others from his town in Mexico weren’t as lucky as him. Castañeda asked all California FFA members to thank the people that have impacted their lives in positive ways because it’s hard to imagine what would’ve happened without them.
“Because of the support of my community, I was able to go from the quietest kid in my sixth-grade class to the person standing in this arena sharing my story with a crowd of thousands,” Castañeda said. “What would my life look like if my family didn’t move to the United States?”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond gave remarks to attendees, calling the California Association FFA “the signature CTE program in the state of California.”
Scott Stump, CEO of the National FFA Organization, also addressed the crowd. Stump stressed the importance of FFA and agriculture teachers.
“Ag teachers make all the difference,” Stump said. “It is not National FFA, it is not State FFA, it’s the teachers that make the difference.”
The final 12 state officer candidates were announced and will be slated in session seven. The candidates are Sophie Albiani, Andrew Angulo, Shane Brennan, Jose Cruz Lopez, Savanah Downs, Savannah Grove, Hunter Haslem, Landon Hendricks, Abigale Jacobsen, Brian Kavanagh, Morgan Oliveira and Melanie Orozco.
Honorary State FFA Degrees were handed out to FFA supporters who have made an outsized impact on the association. The individuals awarded honorary degrees are listed at the end of this article.
The annual State Star Awards were handed out, and the winners are as follows:
- State Star in Agriscience: Avery Coehlo, Tulare
- State Star in Agribusiness: Allison Heupel, Merced-Golden Valley
- State Star in Agriculture Placement: Kylie Anderson, Sebastopol-West County
- State Star Farmer: Blake Klafsbeek, Colusa
Multiple speaking awards were handed out and will be posted at www.calaged.org later this week.
The final proficiency awards were handed out in alphabetical order from Poultry Production Production to Wildlife Production & Management. The winners are listed at the end of this article.
Honorary State FFA Degree Recipients:
- Gary Colburn, Mazze Nursery, Fresno
- Michael Denny, State Officer Parent, Yuba City
- Dawna & Ricky Dowell, State Officer Parents, O’Neals
- Susan Henderson-Perry, Retired FFA Advisor, Tollhouse
- Toni Lindeleaf, FFA Foundation Board, Fresno
- Marlene Miyasaki, Administrative Assistant, Fresno State
- Brian Montaño, Videographer, Madera
- Bobbin Mulvaney, Mulvaney’s B&L Restaurant, Sacramento
- Steve Rocca, Teacher Educator, Fresno State
- Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, Ag Business Instructor, Reedley College
- Dane White, Vivayic, Galt
Proficiency Winners, Poultry Production Production to Wildlife Production & Management:
- Poultry Production: Samantha Albiani, Elk Grove
- Service Learning: Trevor Denier, Galt-Liberty Ranch
- Sheep Production: Blake Kalfsbeek, Colusa
- Small Animal Production and Care: Sophia Albiani, Elk Grove
- Specialty Animal Production: Samuel Jimenez, Madera
- Specialty Crop Production: Antonio Hernandez, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley
- Swine Production Entrepreneurship: Lane Sheehan, O’Neals-Minarets
- Swine Production Placement: Sophie Rodriguez, Menifee-Heritage
- Turf Grass Management: Alexis Delgadillo, Madera
- Vegetable Production: Jiashee Thao, Merced-El Capitan
- Veterinary Medicine: Madilyn Golden, Fallbrook
- Viticulture Production: Daniel Cook, Palo Cedro-Foothill
Wildlife Management: Chas McPheeters, Bakersfield-Frontier