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New Mexico State University

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FFA members receive proficiency awards for outstanding achievements

LAS CRUCES - Several New Mexico FFA members will go on to represent their division nationally after having received proficiency awards for distinct areas of farm and ranch development.

the 11 recipients of the awards took part in a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) as part of their FFA activities. The SAEs are designed to prepare students for agriculture-related careers. Students work with FFA advisers as well as parents and community mentors in a specific field of interest.

Awards are given out every year to the students who demonstrate the greatest achievement in a range of FFA-related activities. This year's winners were recognized during the annual FFA State Convention June 5-8 at New Mexico State University.

Terry Henson of the Moriarty FFA chapter received the proficiency award for Agriculture Mechanical Design and Fabrication Placement. Henson has worked toward developing a school-based mechanics program. He is able to perform shield metal arc welding, metal inert gas welding, oxy fuel cutting and brazing. As part of his SAE experience, Henson performs maintenance on equipment around Moriarty. He also designs and builds new projects for himself, his family, his school and the community.

Michael Ryan Gaines of Carrizozo is the recipient of the proficiency award in Agriculture Processing Placement. His SAE project was based at the Carrizozo High School meat cutting facility. Gaines' tasks include equipment maintenance, cleaning and repair as well as keeping the facility sanitized and up to government standards. He has gained skills in custom meat cutting and meat cut fabrication.

Kade Wooten of the Goddard chapter is the Beef Production Placement proficiency award winner. Wooten is a third generation rancher in the Wooten family. Wooten works for his family's ranch and the Roswell Livestock Auction and does day work in the Roswell area. At his family's ranch he works cattle, moves stock and performs branding and fencing. At the livestock auctions he is responsible for unloading, tagging, sorting and pinning cattle. Wooten is familiar with all aspects of the business including keeping paperwork and records.

Caleb Dodd of Melrose received the proficiency award in the area of Diversified Agriculture Production. His project began with crop production through growing wheat, sorghum and hay grazer. Dodd later added beef cattle to his enterprises to take advantage of rising market prices. By diversifying his projects, Dodd is able to keep up with and take advantage of market fluctuations. His marketing interest has led him to pursue collegiate studies in Agriculture Business.

Drew Perez of the Logan FFA chapter is the recipient of the Beef Production Entrepreneurship Award. In addition to his participation in FFA, Perez is active with the New Mexico and National Junior Hereford Association. Perez's parents have helped him become established in the registered beef and cattle business in the Logan area. His exhibition of market and breeding cattle extends from the local to national level.

Seth Menefee received the award for Diversified Crop Production Entrepreneurship. A member of the Artesia chapter, Menefee looks forward to a career in the farming industry. His diversified crop program consists of 20 acres of alfalfa, five acres of grain sorghum and nine acres of cotton. Having diverse crops allows Menefee to take advantage of market changes and helps him maintain cash flow.

Denton Dowell of Logan is the proficiency award recipient for Diversified Livestock Production. Dowell's SAE program currently consists of 30 beef cattle, 60 breeding ewes, 100 breeding lambs and two horses. Dowell has produced many winning animals in the livestock show arena. He has worked to maximize sales and minimize production costs by marketing livestock through the show ring and exploring the prospects of sales and contracting in the feed lot.

Logan Potts, a member of the FFA chapter in Texico, received the proficiency award for Equine Science. Potts works for his family raising and training race horses. He is employed at another local business where he works stock. Potts has gained valuable experience in foaling mares, nutrition and feeding, breeding stock and grooming. Potts has earned his way to become an employee of the New Mexico State University horse facility next fall.

Trevor Gray of Hagerman is the recipient of the Sheep Production Entrepreneurship proficiency award. Gray has been raising ewes since the eighth grade. Each year he has increased the size and quality of his flock by keeping his ewe lambs and purchasing additional breeding stock. His first flock consisted of 10, but over the years has grown to 140. In 2006 his lamb crop yielded 252 lambs, a production of 180 percent.

Kelsey Chandler of Artesia is the proficiency award recipient in the field of Specialty Animal Production. Chandler's work in meat goat production has proved successful, providing income from her show ring accomplishments. Chandler showed the reserve grand champion at the Denver Livestock show in 2005.

Charli Porter, a member of the Hatch FFA chapter, received the proficiency award for Specialty Crop Production. As part of her work at Hatch Valley Produce Company, Porter is involved in all phases of onion crop production. During the summer harvest Porter's work at the packing shed requires knowledge of the grading line, equipment, operation, trucking schedule and office management. Porter is also active with livestock exhibition and livestock judging.

With 72 chapters and more than 4,000 members in New Mexico, FFA is a nationwide organization that is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Mickelle C. Spendlove
July 13, 2006