The Penn Yan Future Farmers of America chapter is excited to announce that four of their seniors will be receiving the Empire Degree, the highest honor students can receive at the State level. It requires documentation of a student’s SAE, 25 community service hours, completion of at least two years of agricultural education, earned at least $1,000 or worked 300 hours in their SAE, and participated in at least 5 activities above the chapter level. The members who will be receiving their gold state degree charm are Triana Burgos-Farnan, Brianna Hawley, Braden MacPherson and Genevieve Elliott. Triana was also named the District 8 Star in Agricultural Placement based on her application.

The local FFA’s biggest celebration is the election of Triana Burgos-Farnan to the 2020–2021 New York State FFA Officer team. Triana will be serving as the 2020-2021 New York State FFA Vice President. Triana went through many interviews and tests and was selected by a committee for this position. She will serve the state over the next year travelling, putting on workshops, and representing FFA. 

When asked about the honors she’s receiving and her upcoming position as an FFA State Vice President, Triana Burgos-Farnan said, “For me, getting selected to serve our state FFA organization this year is a dream come true. I am so excited to see what our team does in FFA and how we will overcome the challenges of our current situation. It is still so surreal to have been selected and the long lapse since someone from Penn Yan served as a state-level officer only makes it more unbelievable. I am so thankful to have been the person to break the streak. It’s great to see how close our community is and how much this affects our alumni as well. I hope to be able to set a good example to other members; not just in Penn Yan but across the state. I want them to know that even though you may come from a really small community or chapter that you can still achieve so much if you work for it!”

Talking about her time as District President over the last year, Triana said, “My year of service was amazing and I am so thankful for having had this opportunity. I got to start my year of service by spending it at state FFA camp with my other team members up in the Adirondacks. There we interacted with the members and also facilitated a leadership workshop to all of the students. I also, with the help of my advisor, set up our district’s 2020 leadership contests which we had the opportunity to host at Penn Yan.

“I am honestly so proud of our chapter and so thankful for all the work Mrs. Bossard has put into our chapter and our program of activities. It is such a huge honor to be recognized at the state level for the national chapter award. I have seen in the past that the chapters who  receive this recognition are usually chapters with very high membership levels or larger programs that start in middle school. So, for us to receive this award over the other well established and highly decorated chapters is so amazing,” Triana explains.

Penn Yan has not had a State Officer since Susie Vaughan served as the State President in 2000–2001. Triana just finished her year of service as the District 8 President for this area. Penn Yan has not had a member serve as district president since 2005.

The Penn Yan FFA has also been recognized as the 2020 New York State 1st place, gold ranked, National Chapter Award recipient. It also ranked 1st in the areas of Strengthening Agriculture and Building Communities and 4th in Growing Leaders out of all the chapters in NY. This program recognizes outstanding FFA chapters throughout the state that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasizes growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing education experiences for the entire members. Penn Yan’s application will be moving on to the National level and will get recognized at the 2020 National FFA Convention as a 3-, 2- or 1- star chapter. 

Even though their state convention scheduled for May 14–16, 2020 has been cancelled, members of the Penn Yan FFA have had many accomplishments that would have been recognized on stage in Syracuse. The chapter would have had over a dozen members competing in different contests, but will now have to wait until the end of August to compete.

Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences (SAE), have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Penn Yan had 5 members complete Proficiency awards this year with great results. Janet Martens received a 2nd place Gold ranking for her Dairy Production Placement Proficiency which is NY’s most competitive area. Janet works on her family dairy farm in Penn Yan. Triana Burgos-Farnan was a silver rank for Sheep Production Placement. She works on her family’s farm caring for their small flock of sheep. Brennan Dailey was awarded a silver rank for his Small Animal Care and Production Entrepreneurship Proficiency. Brennan owns and breeds several rabbits meant for show purposes. Brianna Hawley received a silver ranking in the Veterinary Science Proficiency area. She has been a member of the Eastview Vet Clinic team for several years working in the kennel. Connor Moore was awarded a bronze ranking for his Grain Production Placement Proficiency. Connor works at a grain mill in Lyons, NY where he helps with running the equipment and maintaining it. These applications are very in depth and members had to provide records, pictures and explain their SAEs in depth.

One of FFA’s newest members, Natalie Yonts will be receiving her very own FFA jacket based on her application. Natalie has been a highly active member and recently placed 1st in the Jr. Creed Speaking contest at the district contests. She will be competing at the state level contest in August.