Members of the 2020 state champion Nebraska FFA ag issues team include from left Markenna Terryberry, Alexis Richmond, Lindsey Mendenhall, Courtney Odens, Brooklyn Christensen, Jozie Schilke and Valerie Herbert.
Imperial ag issues team takes state FFA title
An Imperial FFA team took the state title in Ag Issues, which was part of the 2020 Career Development events.
The team consisted of Alexis Richmond, Lindsey Mendenhall, Courtney Odens, Brooklyn Christensen, Jozie Schilke, Valerie Herbert and Markenna Terryberry.
Terryberry wasn’t actually a competing team member, but was in charge of technology for the competition, the team’s Coach Jeremy Vlasin noted.
“It was against the rules for any of the six presenters to have control over the powerpoint presentation, so her job was to have the correct information up on the screen as it was being presented,” he added.
In the competition, the team must present a written portfolio that includes research and an understanding of an issue relevant to their local community.
“It can be an issue on the state level, as well, but it must be also an issue in your own community,” Vlasin said.
The team’s issue was property tax relief in Nebraska.
They prepared an oral presentation that examines both sides of their chosen issue.
“Not only do you have to select an issue, but you have to select an issue that has opposing sides to it,” Vlasin added, noting that there needs to be a wealth of information available.
“In this contest you have to represent the different perspectives on the issue but you have to represent those perspectives with factual statements, not just emotionally-based opinions,” he added.
At the end of the presentation members must show that both sides were represented equally and at no point can they take a side as an overall conclusion.
“Obviously this group had a curveball thrown at them as COVID-19 hit and everything was shut down.” Vlasin said. “There are an awful lot of teenagers out there that would say ‘no thanks’ to that, but this team chose to finish what they started.
“Regardless of how we ended up, I was proud that they chose to finish it out, because that wasn’t the easier option,” Vlasin said.
Also placing at the state level were teams from Pender, Stanton and Ogallala.
“The 2020 national convention, as we know it, was canceled in May,” Vlasin said. “So this was the end of the road as far as competing in this contest.”
State champs again
This particular team is a veteran one for the national convention.
Last year, Richmond, Mendenhall, Odens, Christensen, Schilke and Herbert competed at the National FFA Convention in parliamentary procedure and took home the national title.
Since they had won state and nationals in parli pro in 2019, they were unable to compete in that contest this year.
“You know this group is walking away with an awful lot of hardware,” Vlasin said, “but more importantly than the hardware, I hope they are walking away with valued relationships and a sense of belonging to a group that works for each other.”