The Smyrna FFA Chapter brought home the blue ribbons and gold metals after having a successful showing at the 2014 Delaware State Fair, with numerous recognitions being presented at the Delaware FFA Awards Breakfast on Friday.

Winners and school awards

This was the first year the Smyrna FFA Chapter participated in the Agricultural Issues Forum competition, sponsored by the Delaware Farm Bureau and took the top prize. The team of Angela Haldas, Cynthia Kayati, and Cole Sebastianelli showcased their topic “urban sprawl and its effects on agriculture” in a forum setting, with previous performances being held earlier this summer with the Smyrna Town Council, Duck Creek Historical Society and more. The team will now travel to the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky this fall to vie for the national title.

Eight members of the Smyrna High School FFA were first place winners in the AgriScience Fair competition, which showcased scientific skills and analysis in the areas of agricultural research. These scientific members included: Gabby DiRusso, Tyler Hartsock, Ryan Harris, Chance Hemphill, Sarah McHale, Jenna Scuse, Gabrielle Virdin, and Allison Wheatley. Their first place victories guarantee them a trip for further competition, as well as to the National FFA Convention.

DJ Correll drove his way to first place in the Safe Tractor Operation CDE, by operating a tractor along with a two and four wheel wagon against other statewide competitors in a course designed to test speed, accuracy and safety around obstacles. DJ’s brother, Dakota, also competed for the first time in this even and placed a respectable third place.

The Smyrna FFA featured two second place judging teams in the areas of agricultural mechanics and dairy evaluation. The Agricultural Mechanics CDE team consisting of Elizabeth Blake, Amber Counsellor, Tyler Niblett and DJ Correll placed second in the state. The dairy evaluation team consisting of Allison Wheatley, Rebecca Wroten, Gabrielle Virdin, and Gabriel Ayala captured second place, with individual competition recognition going to Wheatley for placing third, Wroten placing eighth, Virdin ninth, and Ayala twelfth. The second place victories for both teams have also earned them a trip to the regional competition in September along with DJ Correll, to compete at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In other competitive events, the chapter fielded a variety of teams that included: poultry, nursery landscaping, horse evaluation, and chapter displays.

The Poultry Evaluation team of Ryan Harris, Gabrielle Virdin, Tyler Hartsock and Sarah McHale were fourth place in team competition, with individual honors going to Ryan Harris for placing fourth in an event designed to evaluate egg quality, processed meat, carcasses, and live birds.

The Nursery Landscaping team of Leandra Gantzer, Jennifer Savin and Jenna Scuse also placed fourth in team competition, with individual honors going to Gantzer for placing fifth and Savin ninth.

The Horse Evaluation team of Samantha Greim, Meghan Yerkes, Melissa Hart, and Hailey Boots placed fifth in team competition, with individual honors going to Greim for placing sixth.

The chapter repeated a blue ribbon performance again this year, in the Delaware Agriculture Products Display competition with its “Farmacy” drug store theme. The display will be featured at the National FFA Convention’s Hall of State exhibition. The Smyrna FFA also exhibited another display in the educational category of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and it received a second place red ribbon.

FFA Fair Exhibits

When it came to growing, arranging, harvesting, or building fair exhibits, there were a number of Smyrna FFA members who supplied competitive entries. Premium ribbon winners included:

Vinny Barone – first place, welding display; Kory Bowersox – sixth place, welding display; Dakota Correll – first place, timothy hay; second place, mixed hay; second place, orchard grass hay; DJ Correll – first place, mixed hay; first place, orchard grass hay; second place, timothy hay; Ryan Dickson – second place, welding display; Gabby DiRusso – third place, bonsai display; David Gonzalez – fifth place, welding display; Tyler Hartsock – third place, timothy hay; fourth place, best watermelon; sixth place, best pickling cucumbers; sixth place, best potatoes; Ashley Hurd – first place, bonsai plant; first place, gallon of oats; first place, bundle of oats; third place, potted foliage; fifth place, shelled corn. Sarah McHale – first place, container garden 12-inch or less; second place, unique plant container; third place, hanging basket; sixth place, container garden 12-plus inches; Richard Muniz – fourth place, welding display; Tyler Tiblett – second place, small interior woodworking; sixth place, small exterior woodworking; Brandon Pierson – third place, welding display; Jenna Scuse – first place, silk arrangement; fourth place, silk centerpiece arrangement; sixth place, yellow squash; sixth place, timothy hay; Gabrielle Virdin – fourth place, best carrots; fifth place, best watermelon; fifth place, best white onions; fifth place, best potatoes; Allison Wheatley – first place, best field corn; first place, grain silage; fourth place, shelled corn; sixth place, alfalfa hay; sixth place, gallon of barley. Besides being successful in the FFA Department, ten members of the chapter also exhibited various animals in the Livestock and Dairy Departments with a great deal of achievement. These FFA members included:

Kylie Chillas – second place, market goat showmanship; eight place, market goat; Brendan Cook – third place, junior and open show dam and daughter, fourth place, dairy showmanship; fourth place, Holstein Sr. two year old in open and junior show; Ashley Hurd – Grand Champion spotted boar; first place, spotted boar; first place pygmy showmanship; second place, Hampshire gilt; Sarah McHale – Jr. Grand Champion wether; Overall Grand Champion wether; second place, showmanship goats; fifth place, market lambs; Kristen Moore – second place, market hog; fifth place, showmanship; Tyler Niblett – third place, market goat showmanship; fourth place, swine showmanship; fifth place, market hog; seventh place, market goat; Jennifer Savin – Champion Jr. Show Hereford heifer; first place Jr. & Open Late Senior yearling Hereford heifer; second place, feeder calf; fouth place, beef showmanship; Jenna Scuse – second place, gilt; second place, market; third place, showmanship; Gabrielle Virdin – second place, showmanship hogs; second place, open barrow; seventh place, market hogs; Allison Wheatley – second place, dairy showmanship; third place, junior show jersey winter yearling; fourth place, open show jersey winter yearling; sixth place, junior show Holstein three year old cow; eight place, open show Holstein third year old cow. “It’s always great to have dedicated students showcase their skills and abilities at the Delaware State Fair. It not only allows them to apply what they have done in the classroom, but also learn some valuable life lessons while earning some money for commitment to FFA and agriculture,” said Jay Davis, one of the FFA advisers at Smyrna High School.

The Smyrna FFA was founded in 1976 and makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through Agricultural Education.

The Smyrna FFA also received the largest chapter award with 475 members, with several of its past members still actively showing animals showing a the state fair.