by JESSICA ANDERSON
Polk County FFA students have been working hard in the past month to prepare for numerous state and county career development events. On March 9, we held the Polk County Land Judging career development event at the Kathleen Middle School land lab. This contest was sponsored in part by our supporters at the Polk County Soil and Water Board. Students evaluated soil profiles to determine things like porosity, water holding capacity, and nutrient amendments that may be needed. They also evaluated soil samples to make recommendations on homesite preparation or use. Students from George Jenkins High School and Auburndale High School attended this event. Students are now participating in the state-level Land Judging Career Development Event on the first weekend of April.
On March 10, we held the Ornamental Horticulture District Career Development Event at Haines City High School. Students could compete alone or with a partner in the following categories: floral arrangement, consumer use, marketing, landscape, and production. The results are below.
High School Middle School
Artistic Arrangement Artistic Arrangement
1st Haines City 1st Dundee Ridge Middle
3rd Winter Haven Christian
Consumer Use Consumer Use
1st Frostproof 1st Bartow Middle
2nd Winter Haven 2nd Dundee Ridge Middle
3rd Haines City
1st Frostproof 1st Dundee Ridge Middle
2nd Lake Region
1st Lake Wales 1st Bartow Middle
2nd Haines City 2nd Dundee Ridge Middle
3rd Winter Haven Christian
1st Haines City High School 1st Dundee Ridge Middle
2nd McLaughlin Middle
Students earning first place in their respective ornamental horticulture demonstration category will now advance to the state-level event.
We also held the Polk County Star Awards on March 10 where we interview potential candidates of Polk County’s best and brightest FFA members for a chance to win $100 and be crowned the Polk County Star Discovery Award winner, Greenhand Award winner, and Chapter Award winner. Students were required to submit a digital application and resume ahead of time where they were then screened on their overall FFA involvement and Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) development. The top 5 students in each award area were determined from the digital applications and given the opportunity to be interviewed and questioned about their SAE. To say these students were impressive would be an understatement. Through our generous sponsors, like Bronson Ranch, we were able to expand this award area to include not only the Greenhand award (ninth-graders) as has been offered in the past, but could also include our Chapter Degree (10th-graders) and Discovery Degree (eighth graders) students as well. We are fortunate to have those in Polk County who deem agriculture as important and vital to our youth and are willing to sponsor events like this that teach the importance of record-keeping, personal interview skills, communication, and professionalism.
The Polk County FFA Federation provides scholarships to students to attend state and national leadership events and conferences as well as provides awards to students excelling in agriculture from Polk County. If you or someone you know is interested in supporting one of these award areas, or a specific conference for students to attend, your tax-deductible donation can be made to:
Polk County FFA Federation
Attention: Jessica Anderson
1915 South Floral Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830