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10 Ripon FFA members earn state degrees
Participating Ripon FFA members were, from left, Ty Johns, Ryan Kirkpatrick, Garret McManis, Luis Toledo, Charlie Leir, Miguel Lopez, Justin DeBow, Francisco Martinez, and Nick Thomas. - photo by Photo Contributed

Eleven members of the Ripon FFA Chapter attended the Northern California State Degree and Regional Proficiency Award Ceremony on March 19.

Justin DeBow Chris Fisher, Corey Goodwin, Ty Johns, Ryan Kirkpatrick, Charlie Lehr, Miguel Lopez, Francisco Martinez, Garret McManis, and Luis Toledo were the recipients of the State FFA Degree which they applied for in January.

The State Degree is the highest ranking degree that an FFA member can receive by the State FFA Association.  It is scored based on their records that they maintain throughout their high school years.  They must have worked and productively invested 500 hours and earned and a minimum of $1,000 that they have saved or productively invested from their SAE project.  The students receiving the degree had projects in livestock production, landscape maintenance, nursery management, agriculture mechanics, and orchard management.  They also had to be scholastically eligible, participate in FFA activities at the chapter, section, region, and state levels and contribute to their community by acquiring a minimum of 25 hours of community service.

Nick Thomas was the recipient of the Central Region Proficiency Award for both Forage Production and Ag Service.  Nick was fortunate because at an early age his father and grandfather gave him the opportunity to tag along and learn about forage production.  This opportunity led Nick to develop his SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) project.  He enjoyed the work and looked to gain more experience by being hired on to work for a family friend who did custom harvesting for individuals who did not own the proper equipment to harvest the crop, and then with a major hay producer in the valley.  His experience gave him the opportunity to prep the land to be used for various grasses and legumes, plant, irrigate, cut rack, and bale the crop for resale to various clients or for personal use.  Nick’s project qualified him for the Ag Service proficiency because some of the clients would grow the crop but not have the necessary equipment to harvest, bale, and get the crop out of the field to a place of storage or sale.

Nick is also a State Finalist in both areas and will be interviewing this month for the State title in both Proficiencies. The Ripon FFA would like to congratulate all participants for their pursuits of excellence in their SAE’s.