When Steve Hickey took the job as executive director of the Indiana FFA Association just over a year ago, one of his goal was to make changes that would make Indiana more competitive once again at the national level in FFA proficiencies, based on a student's supervised agricultural experience program, contests and leadership positions. Hickey is an employee of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
Indiana kids fared well in the past convention, although only Eastern Hancock FFA grabbed a first place finish, that in livestock judging. North Miami, coached by Glen Jones, took second in the nation in dairy judging. Kayleigh See of north Miami was seventh-high individual in the contest.
The drought continues for Indiana as far as National Officers goes. Morgan Gadd, Fishers, of Hamilton Southeastern FFA, made the first cut, which narrows the field to 25 candidates, but was not selected as a national officer during the final session of the convention. Her advisors are Tom Younts and Charity Keffaber. Gadd was a 2010-2011 Indiana State FFA officer, and was chosen over three other candidates to represent Indiana FFA back in July. Each state is allowed to send one candidate to run for national office. The candidates are screened and grilled, much like state officers are grilled by a nominating committee to pick a slate of state FFA officers.
While Indiana didn't capture a proficiency winner, there were four finalists. They included Clayton L. Goodnight of Clinton Prairie FFA, in swine production; Ben Ice of Eastbrook in turf grass management; Kayleigh Warner from Dekalb FFA in environmental science and natural resources; and Andrew Helming from Forest Park, in nursery operations.Several chapters were recognized for their overall outstanding achievement. Three-star chapters in Indiana were Clinton Central, Dekalb, Jay County, Owen Valley, Prairie Heights, Rossville, Southmont and Western Boone. Two-star chapters included Carroll at Ft. Wayne, Carroll at Flora, Caston, Churubusco, Eastbrook, North Montgomery, Switzerland County, Tri-County and Woodlan from Allen County. Shenandoah from Henry County was recognized as a 1-star chapter in national competition.