(08/30/22) BATON ROUGE, La. — Several Louisiana FFA members received exciting news this month as the National FFA Organization announced the list of national finalists in Agricultural Proficiency Awards and the Agriscience Fair.
Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE), have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers.
Lauren Poole, a member of the Winnfield FFA chapter, was named as one of four national finalists in the Environmental and Natural Resources area. Her SAE is a paid internship as a Youth Conservation Corps worker at the United States Forest Service (USFS) Winn Ranger District in Winnfield.
“I began working for the USFS in the summer of 2020 after I learned about their summer program,” Poole said. “I had various responsibilities during my time at the USFS. Originally, my main job duties included maintaining and improving recreation areas in Kisatchie National Forest, an over 940-square-mile area, but soon, as I gained trust, it expanded to assisting in preparing timber sales, managing red-cockaded woodpecker conservation, timber sale accounting and so much more.”
Poole went on to say that her SAE was an important learning opportunity for her.
"My SAE was a truly rewarding experience that allowed me to develop a broader understanding of ecosystem management, wildlife conservation and how different program areas work together to properly manage public lands,” she said.
In the Agriscience Fair program, eight individuals/teams from Louisiana were named as national finalists. One of those finalists, Remi Larson of the Iberville Math, Science, and Arts Academy West FFA chapter is no stranger to the Agriscience Fair. She finished 10th in the nation with her project in 2021 and is looking to improve on her performance this year, researching the impacts of ocean acidification on Eastern oysters and other marine life.
When she decided to continue with the research after one year, Larson created a plan with set goals. She said that this research opportunity has improved her scientific reasoning, analytical and statistical skills.
“I immersed myself in the scientific research field, and I learned how to better conduct experiments and analyze data to get the results clearly examinable,” she said.
Louisiana’s eight Agriscience Fair national finalists are:
National finalists in all areas will participate in interviews in September. Winners will be announced at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in late October.
The Louisiana FFA Association is composed of over 11,000 student members from 210 FFA chapters in 52 parishes. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
FFA operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress, and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture.
For more, visit the Louisiana FFA Association online at www.laffa.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Lauren Poole, a member of the Winnfield FFA Chapter, was named as one of four national finalists in the Environmental and Natural Resources area. Photo by Rachel Duncan/LSU AgCenter
Remi Larson of the Iberville Math, Science, and Arts Academy West FFA chapter is researching the impacts of ocean acidification on Eastern oysters and other marine life. Photo by Rachel Duncan/LSU AgCenter