October 29 to November 2, the FFA Ag Issues team took the National FFA Convention and Expo by storm, when they took a gold medal and second place in the nation. Team members Weston Noyes, Dillon Patterson, Isaac Mori, Brett Ferraro, Alison Aitken, Mickenzy Coleman, and Taylie Hoyt chose to perform a skit for their 15-minute demonstration that hit close to home.
“Our presentation was based on the decline in sage grouse population in Nevada and how and if cattle ranching is hurting it and where we can take regulations to help both sides...still have cattle on the lands and produce beef for the whole nation,” said Patterson.
With over 600,000 members, FFA is the nation’s largest career and technical organization. At the state-wide level, only about 500 of the state’s 2500 students competed in the convention. Attendance for Nationals was around 60,000. The team was up against far more people than they were used to.
“At state, we competed in front of a small group and we only had to compete against two teams,” said Coleman. "At nationals, we competed against 37 and we're in individual rooms with several judges.”
“Everything is scaled up from state and it's a lot higher caliber,” said Mori.
Both Mori and Patterson described FFA as being a leadership group that teaches social skills. Attending nationals provided the team with the opportunity to meet students from all over the country.
“The leader of the event said ‘talk with these other teams and get to know them because you probably won't ever have this experience again,’” said Hoyt. “Getting to know those other teams and what's their chapters were like was really amazing.”