94th State FFA Leadership Conference: Fifth Session Recap

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. 

For any media inquiries, please contact Harrison Reilly at news@californiaffa.org. He can also be reached at 707-337-9539. To learn more about California FFA, visit calaged.org

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

Display Date

Contact Us

Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Nulla quis lorem ut libero malesuada feugiat. Sed porttitor lectus nibh.

Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec velit neque, auctor sit amet aliquam vel, ullamcorper sit amet ligula. Nulla quis lorem ut libero malesuada feugiat. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Vestibulum ac diam sit amet quam vehicula elementum sed sit amet dui. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi.

Nulla quis lorem ut libero malesuada feugiat. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec velit neque, auctor sit amet aliquam vel, ullamcorper sit amet ligula. Proin eget tortor risus. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.


Agricultural education strives to maintain its status on the cutting-edge of rigorous classroom instruction, relevant skill acquisition and premier leadership development. Check out the expansive and evolving catalog of resources to generate new ideas, enhance curriculum delivery skills or identify new ways to engage in FFA and SAE activities.


Beginning in the early 20th century in California, agricultural education has a long tradition of preparing students for rigorous, satisfying careers both within and outside of the industry. As a school-based learning program, agricultural education operates as a unit within the California Department of Education and is written into the state’s legislative education code.


Rich in history with an eye toward the future, California’s school-based agricultural education program seeks to prepare all students for satisfying careers in and outside of the agriculture industry. The multi-faceted approach to growing the whole person includes a focus on character and interpersonal skill development, technical acumen and critical thinking capabilities.



From personal growth to career skill enhancement, the focus of California’s agricultural education events is always on the experiential development of the student. With activities ranging from local to national, the statewide organization offers a number of premier events each year that are suited to best meet the interests of an ever-diversifying student population.


Recent News from the California Association FFA and the Department of Education.
Media Assistance.
Archived Newsletters.




Support Agricultural Leadership, Growth and Career Education

The mission of the California FFA Foundation is to promote, aid, and assist, financially or otherwise, California FFA to ensure the success of Agricultural Education by preparing tomorrow's agricultural leaders, today.




California FFA Foundation’s goal is to provide individuals, businesses, foundations, and others the opportunity to invest in the premier secondary Agricultural Education leadership development program in California: FFA. The Foundation provides award recognition for student projects, competitive team events, leadership development events, as well as leadership training conferences.