Indianapolis, Indiana - Galt FFA had 17 members and three advisors travel to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, October 16-23. Throughout the week, Galt FFA members participated in national contests, discussed agriculture education and represented the Galt community.

The National FFA Agriculture Issues Forum CDE is a competitive event that tests students’ knowledge of agricultural issues. Teams must design a presentation that addresses multiple viewpoints of a contemporary agriculture issue and present it to various audiences in their community. In addition, teams must win their state competition to qualify. The Galt FFA team made it to the final round and was awarded the National Champion Agriculture Issues team – the first team from California to win the contest in its 22-year history. The team was coached by Dane White and members included Eliseo Diaz, Madeline Franke, Jose Juarez, Isaac Martinez, Saul Ortiz and Carlos Torres.

“This was one of the best experiences of my life,” team member Diaz said. “I am very proud of our team because we worked very hard to give our best presentation. I am a better public speaker and have confidence when presenting to a group. I know that these skills will really help me after high school.”

Galt FFA also had a Poultry Evaluation team compete, representing California FFA and Galt FFA. The competitive event tested the participants’ ability to select top quality poultry and poultry products needed for successful production and marketing. They also participated in oral reasons, a team activity and written exam. The Galt FFA team was the National Reserve Champions. The team was coached by Katie Titus and members included Isabel Bishop (fourth high individual), Michayla Davidson (eighth high individual), Megan Oliveira and Trever Edwards.

“It was really exciting to represent our small town and community at the national level,” Davidson said. “This contest taught me life skills such as public speaking, problem solving and teamwork. I am thankful to have had this great opportunity.”

Galt FFA was honored to receive recognition as a National 3-star Chapter at this year’s National FFA Convention. This is the highest rating an FFA chapter can earn, with fewer than 40 chapters (out of over 3,000) nationwide being accorded this recognition. Chapter officers Arath Chavez and Hannah Cooley were fortunate to walk across stage to represent Galt FFA.

“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Chavez. “I am extremely proud of our FFA chapter and all of the members. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like, everyone is accepted and a part of the Ag family.”

Galt FFA member Fabian Rodriguez had the distinct honor of participating as one of the 15 students in a round table discussion with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The last remaining original member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Vilsack conversed with the group regarding future careers and opportunities in agriculture. Rodriguez was thrilled to have been asked to participate in such a prestigious panel with peers from across the country.

“It was an honor to meet the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture,” said Rodriguez. “I was excited to share with him what our FFA chapter does and how it has given me many opportunities and positively changed my life.”

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 649,355 student members as part of 7,859 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential of premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.