Tulare student elected FFA state president

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Dipak Kumar of Tulare Future Farmers of America (FFA) was elected state president.

Dipak Kumar of Tulare Future Farmers of America (FFA) was elected state president during the 86th annual California State FFA Leadership Conference that concluded today.

More than 5,000 FFA members from throughout the state were challenged to “pave the way” throughout the four-day event held at Selland Arena in downtown Fresno as well as on the Fresno State campus.

Attendees were motivated by state FFA officers and guest speakers, with workshops at Fresno State intended to develop their professional skills. The career show allowed students to see prospective colleges as well as entertain new ideas for the agricultural industry.

From public speaking to innovative production practices, students showcased their techniques in various competitions. Many contest winners will advance to compete at the National FFA Convention in October in Louisville, Ky.

Outgoing state president Riley Nilsen announced the new president. Kumar, 17, attends Tulare Western High School.

The 2014–2015 state FFA officer team will now begin preparing for the upcoming year. They are:

  • Vice President Haley Warner of Altaville – Bret Harte High School
  • Secretary Sierra Bryant of Templeton High School
  • Treasurer Roman Waskiewicz of Elk Grove – Pleasant Grove High School
  • Reporter Ellen Van Noy of Grass Valley – Nevada Union High School
  • Sentinel Luis Sanchez of Gonzales High School

The California FFA Association, founded in 1928, helps California high school students develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through vocational agricultural education.

Its state conference annually brings together students and educators from over 300 high schools across California to participate in conference sessions featuring keynote speakers for motivational leadership, a Career Show and Expo that provide essential networking opportunities and workshops to further challenge and develop stronger agricultural students

Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology  hosts the 5,000-plus agricultural students and educators for the conference.

About 100 agriculture students  assisted in running the conference April 12-15 by facilitating leadership workshops, giving tours of the University Agricultural Laboratory at Fresno State as well as coordinating the career development events that challenging students’ technical and factual knowledge of the agriculture industry in a specified area.

Nearly 2,800 FFA members competed in Career Development and Field Day events Saturday where over 30 different contests created and administered by Fresno State students, faculty and volunteers were held including fruit tree judging, livestock judging, dairy products, farm power and machinery and small engines throughout the day.

An awards ceremony was held in the Save Mart Center following the competitions before moving downtown for the conference Saturday night.

“FFA members directly benefit from these competitions as they gain essential knowledge and skill in specified areas of agriculture,” said Cheyenne Hefley, a Fresno State student who is the president of the California FFA State Conference Committee, a Fresno State organization that assists the FFA in planning the conference for its high school student members.

The college students work months in advance to ensure the success of the weeklong event, said Hefley, a senior biology student from Madera Ranchos.

“By being on this committee, students get the opportunity to inspire participating FFA students to pursue their passions in agriculture through a variety of opportunities that encourage them to explore their own capabilities,” he added.

Dr. Steven Rocca, professor of agricultural education at Fresno State, said the conference highlights the success and achievements of over 70,000 California FFA members who benefit from California’s secondary agricultural education system.

“This year in particular it takes on even greater significance given Governor Brown’s proposal to cut the Agricultural Education Incentive Grant Program, which funds over 300 FFA programs across the state,” Rocca noted.

View full conference proceedings and contest winners.

For additional information, contact Jodi Raley at 559.970.0719 (jodiraley@mail.fresnostate.edu) or Rachel Wright 559.476.9283 (rachellynn@mail.fresnostate.edu).

(Copy by Jodi Raley, University Communications news assistant.)

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Public Affairs Specialist, University Communications
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