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Ag Communications boast ‘State Champions’ title

The FFA Communications team comprising of Seniors Macey Fowler, Connor McGehee, Alyssa Downes, and Junior Bailey Ham poses for a photo following their success in their competition. Courtesy Photo

Bear River FFA’s Agricultural Communications Team won the title of “State Champions” on May 15, and will be competing for the title of “National Champions” in the fall. 

Agricultural Communications is a competition consisting of four members who work together to create a media plan for an organization to solve a communication problem. This year’s Agricultural Communication scenario and goal was to design a plan to promote a Local FFA Advisor with the goal of increasing agricultural awareness. The team included Seniors Connor McGehee, Alyssa Downes, Macey Fowler, and Junior Bailey Ham. 

FFA Advisor Holly Hockett summarized the premise of the competition.

Students are ‘hired’ by clients to prepare a media plan which showcases their organization or work. This year, our scenario was to highlight a local agriculture teacher. The team chose Ms. Meyers from Elk Grove FFA, then created a media plan which showcased her unique skills and talents. They created plans for social media outreach, travel to school boards, among other things. After they submitted their plan, they presented it to a panel of judges who were acting as their clients,” she said.

She then elaborated on the reasoning behind the contest.

“[This] competition prepares students for careers in the lucrative fields of…communications. They develop skills that will directly serve them should they choose to follow this path after high school.”

Due to COVID-19, the contest was more condensed and excluded the individual events that students looked forward to. 

“The competition was a lot more condensed this year, doing less of the “fun” aspects and focused more on the serious side of things. Usually states would be in San Luis Obispo, but this year we competed online,” said Ham. 

McGehee gave a more in depth explanation. 

“This year was super weird because they cut our practicums,  which is like our individual competitions portion of it, because normally you make a media plan and you present it and that’s like your team portion and then you go and do like a press conference with an agricultural organization,” said McGehee. “And then you take notes based on that,  and you each have your individual competitions. There’s a video editing portion, I usually do a website building portion based on the press conference and the information they give you and there are also two different kinds of journalistic writing that your other two team members do.”

The team all enjoyed the contest, but all have different favorite portions.

“My favorite part of the competition is definitely the individual practicums. My least favorite is probably the grammar test,” explained Ham. 

McGehee preferred the team aspect of the competition.

“One of my favorite parts of competing was probably sitting down with my team and  coming up with our media plan, just because it was super fun just to get all those creative juices flowing and just see the different ideas from everybody, and see how all of us could interpret it [the prompt] in a different way and incorporating all those different ideas into one big media plan,” he said. 

“My favorite part was competing and hearing the critiques from the judges. And my least favorite part was being online of course,” said Downes.

McGehee and Downes recalled the team’s reaction when the results were announced, emphasizing on the team’s surprise and excitement.

“We were all sitting there on a Zoom camera, we all had our masks on, and all of our jaws dropped, I think, but you couldn’t really tell,” said McGehee. “But we were all definitely a little bit shocked and super excited.”

“I was very excited that all of our hard work paid off. And then I’m really looking forward to our team competition game at nationals,” expressed Downes. 

As State Champions, they have secured their spot at Nationals in Indianapolis this fall, and they look forward to compete when the time comes. 

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Ag Communications boast ‘State Champions’ title