Stihl sees rewards in FFA sponsorship

For the seventh year, Stihl was a proud sponsor of the Nursery and Landscape Career Development Center at the 82nd annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., where more than 53,000 FFA high-school students gathered for various competitions.

Why would an outdoor power equipment company become a major sponsor for high-school students at this level?

“When you attend one of these conventions, you are amazed by the level of knowledge these future young professionals retain in their specialty areas,” said Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager for Stihl Inc. “Our sponsorship allows us to participate in developing future leaders in the areas of environmental stewardship and sustainability.

“Thanks to the FFA, we are passing the torch of ‘greenscaping’ to a very worthy group of young people who will help carry the message forward as they take their place as tomorrow’s leaders.”

Will Fett, regional director of the National FFA Foundation, said, “As a sponsor of the Nursery and Landscape Career Development Event, Stihl is helping FFA students practice and learn sustainability as it relates to careers in the green industry. The FFA and agriculture industry have been practicing sustainability for a long time, but it has taken on a new meaning when talking about sustaining the leadership and viability of the agriculture industry.”

Forty teams competed in the National FFA Nursery and Landscape Career Development Event, with Stihl sending the top two teams to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days (SCD) to compete against more than 70 collegiate teams in 51 different events for the university championship. The industry’s largest job fair will also be held at PLANET SCD.

The team from Washington County High School FFA in Washington, Kan., placed first in the National FFA Nursery and Landscape Career Development Event. Coached by John Kern, winning team members were Jesse Huber, Michael Welch, Brooke Stamm and Bonnie Bailey. Finishing second was the Georgia team of Thomas Burnham, Spencer Freeman, Morgan Strickland and Nick Wood, all of Perry High School FFA.

Rounding out the top-10 teams were as follows:

3rd place — Florida, Kole Peterson, Ashley Leonard, Ryan Capps and Lucas Worley, all of Lennard FFA

4th place — Minnesota, Justin Simpson, Doreen Lorentz, Jacob Demarais and Jackson Houston, all of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School FFA

5th place — Iowa, Kinsey Edmonds, Mitchell Longtin, Brenden McCleary and Andrea Chatfield, all of Muscatine High School FFA

6th place — Missouri, Katlyn Britt-Rankin, Will Garrett, Brady Chasteen and Russ Chambers, all of Columbia FFA

7th place — Delaware, Ashley Brizendine, Eric Reid, Heather Lefner and Lindsey Scott, all of Kent Polytech High School FFA

8th place — Ohio, Justin Martin, Ashley Lewis, Casey Fuleky and Andi Miteen, all of Sylvania Southview High School FFA

9th place — Idaho, Joslyn Waters, Traci Lundquist, Cherokee Carrillo and Michelle Mortimer, all of Rigby High School FFA

10th place — North Carolina, Josh Martin, Ricki Miles, Lonnie Nicholson and Matt Dale, all of Southern Alamance High School FFA

Top-placing individuals:

1st place — Jesse Huber of Washington County High School FFA, Kan.

2nd place — Michael Welch of Washington County High School FFA, Kan.

3rd place — Lucas Worley of Lennard FFA, Fla.

4th place — Justin Simpson of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School FFA, Minn.

5th place — Kinsey Edmonds of Muscatine High School FFA, Iowa

6th place — Nick Wood of Perry High School FFA, Ga.

7th place — Thomas Burnham of Perry High School FFA, Ga.

8th place — Spencer Freeman of Perry High School FFA, Ga.

9th place — Mitchell Longtin of Muscatine High School FFA, Iowa

10th place — Bonnie Bailey of Washington County High School FFA, Kan.

The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Founded in 1928, the FFA organization represents a large diversity of more than 300 careers in the food, fiber and natural resources industry. More than 7,000 FFA chapters are currently in existence; their programs are managed on a local, state and national level.

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