From Youth Fair to Agri-Fest and All the Fun Between


Spring is always a busy season in the world of agriculture but especially so for the Polk County FFA Federation! After wrapping up a successful Polk County Youth Fair, the District Career and Leadership Events were held January 30 at the Polk County Extension Office. Students competing in these events first had to win at the respective sub-district level to advance to the district events. Our winners from the district level events will now proceed to the state contests, which will be held in June at the Florida FFA State Convention in Orlando. Congratulations to the following students for their success!

  • Creed Speaking- Mattie Fountain, Lakeland Christian FFA
  • Prepared Public Speaking Middle School- Mattie Fountain, Lakeland Christian FFA
  • Prepared Public Speaking High School-Charleigh Wood, George Jenkins Senior FFA
  • Opening and Closing Ceremonies- Dundee Ridge Middle FFA
  • Extemporaneous Public Speaking Middle School-Riley Grogan, Bok Academy North FFA
  • Extemporaneous Public Speaking High School-Kaylee Douge, Lake Wales Senior FFA
  • Parliamentary Procedure Middle School-Citrus Ridge Middle FFA
  • Parliamentary Procedure High School-Bartow Senior FFA
  • Tractor Driving-Haygen Gooding, Mulberry Senior FFA

On February 3, the Florida FFA State Food Science Career Development Event was held in Gainesville for those chapters who qualified via an online preliminary exam. Citrus Ridge Middle competed at this state event in aroma testing, triangle sampling, and food product development among other areas and through hard work and dedication were able to bring home the win! We are so proud to see Citrus Ridge place first in the entire state for this event! Congratulations to team members Amelia Daiuto, Wesmalye Paniagua, Giovanna Carvalho, Fatou Seck and advisor Trace Foreman!!

National FFA Week was recognized February 18-24. FFA members across the nation celebrate the legacy, history, and value that the National FFA Organization brings to its members and communities. Here in Polk, FFA members kicked off the week by attending Little Flock Church service on Sunday morning. Little Flock Church and one of its members, Mr. David Byrd, invite FFA members to speak about their life experiences through FFA and how that impacts their faith. This service is followed by dinner on the grounds. This year the attendance was so large, not everyone even fit inside the historical church building! 

On February 19, the City of Lakeland granted a proclamation to FFA members declaring National FFA Week throughout the city of Lakeland and recognized the importance of civic leadership learned through the FFA Organization. After receiving the proclamation from the City of Lakeland, FFA members met downtown in Munn Park to write notes of affirmations for students enrolled in the HEARTH (Homeless Education Advocates Restoring The Hope) program for Polk County Public Schools. Throughout the last few weeks, FFA chapters from all around Polk County collected personal care items for HEARTH students. With more than 5,000 items donated, the notes of affirmation written by FFA members were included with the items to be handed out. 

Polk FFA members wrapped up National FFA Week with a friendly competition of FFA Quiz bowl, a challenge of FFA trivia and facts, held at Warner University on Thursday, February 22. Students from middle and high school gathered to compete against each other for the hope of bragging rights. Bok Academy North and George Jenkins High School won for the middle and high school flights. Fun was had by all, and we always appreciate Warner hosting us in their beautiful agricultural facility! 

On February 26, the Polk County Nursery and Landscape Career Development Event was held at Hollis Gardens in Lakeland. Middle and High school students competed in plant identification, equipment identification, and pest and nutritional disorder identification. We always appreciate our partners, like the City of Lakeland, that help to put together opportunities for students to sharpen their skills. Citrus Ridge Middle took home the win for middle school and George Jenkins took home the win for the high school chapters. 

Polk County Agri-Fest is occurring from February 26 through March 1 and March 4 through March 8 at the Polk County Extension office. This year marks the 35th year of Agri-Fest! Agri-Fest is a cooperative effort between the Polk County UF/IFAS Extension, Polk County Public Schools, and Polk County Farm Bureau. Together with the help of volunteers from Mosaic, Florida Forest Service, local citrus growers, Master Gardeners, and our local extension agents, we can bring in more than 5,000  fourth-grade students from all around Polk County to learn about beef cattle, citrus, forestry, horticulture, small farms, and phosphate. With 235 classrooms scheduled to attend this year, it is sure to be a great time! 

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