By Carly Guise
Despite what their name may suggest, students in the National FFA Organization aren’t just planning on becoming production farmers.
With less than five percent actually going into farming, many students instead choose to go into teaching, medicine, engineering, or science, among many others, according to Mrs. Kimberly Dahr, the high school’s agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.
Larissa Herbert, a junior, wants to be a veterinarian. “The skills I’m learning now in FFA are really going to help me in the future,” she said. “I was even able to enter a state vet skills competition that I came ninth in out of 68.”
“I’m going to be an Ag teacher,” said Jacki Henshaw, also a junior. “So the competitions like Teach Ag really help to gain experience and knowledge.”
The organization’s goal is to create a path of achievement through leadership, personal growth, and agriculture education. Lessons such as these are often learned in numerous competitions that members of the Red Lion Area FFA enter and often dominate.
Mrs. Dahr calls it the program’s “best year yet,” which can be seen in their record of success so far this year.
Starting at the York County Fair in September, Red Lion students Larissa Herbert and Casidee Crowl both won first place in the senior and junior divisions of Dairy Skills, respectively.
Allison Macklin took home first places in the senior division of Livestock Judging and Chapter Bundle. Stephanie Gerver’s display, “The Avian Flu and You,” also won a first place prize.
From there, students traveled to the National All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, where Heidi Chapman came in first out of 168 competitors overall.
At the Keystone International Livestock Expo, Sam Bacon came in third overall out of 377 other competitors.
Out of all of their competitions, the organization’s Fall Skills Day is one of the more recent. The day typically features numerous individual competitions for students to enter; including Apple Judging, in which Larissa Herbert came in fourth; County Agronomy, where Stephanie Gerver won first; and County Tractor Driving, in which Ethan Urey came in third.
“You have to have past experience—a lot of it—to drive a tractor,” said senior Ethan Urey. “Especially if you want to do well [in a competition].”
The success of Red Lion’s FFA so far this year has shown that these future teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and scientists have been putting the lessons learned through the organization to good use, proving that they’re so much more than their name conveys.