Cambridge's Snook, Downing named FFA state champions

Mindy Carls
Cambridge FFA had six District 1 champions eligible to compete in the state contest on Saturday, March 26, in Decatur, where two won state champions. In front from left are Mackenzie Olson, forage production; Paige Leander, fruit production, and state champion Kendra Downing, vegetable production, and in back, Rodney Beam, District 1 STAR Farmer; Meric Veloz, turf grass management, and state champion Taylor Snook, ag mechanics design and fabrication.

Cambridge FFA qualified six members for state awards competition on Saturday, March 26, in Decatur, and two came home as state champions.

Kendra Downing was named state champion in vegetable production and Taylor Snook the state champion ag mechanics design and fabrication.

Also competing were Mackenzie Olson, forage production; Paige Leander, fruit production; Rodney Beam, District 1 STAR Farmer, and Meric Veloz, turf grass management.

Their advisor is Trent Taber, the ag teacher and FFA advisor

The Illinois Association FFA recognizes state proficiency winners in 47 areas based on work-based learning, also known as Supervised Agricultural Experiences or SAEs. FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through record keeping, leadership, and scholastic achievement may be considered for this award. SAEs allow students to learn by doing by either owning and operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

To choose the state champions, a committee of agriculture teachers, industry representatives, parents and volunteers reviewed student records online and then conducted interviews on Saturday at Eisenhower High School, Decatur.

The six Cambridge students previously were chapter, section and district winners. As state champions, Downing and Snook are eligible to compete for national awards in July.

Downing and Snook will receive plaques for their accomplishments. These plaques are made possible by gifts by individuals, businesses, corporations and organizations through the Illinois Foundation FFA.