Three Marion FFA members feted at state convention

Three members of the Marion-Florence FFA Chapter were recognized May 29 for having one of the best career development programs in the state at the 86th Kansas FFA Convention.

Nicholas Meyer, Clint Croupa and Alicia Maloney and earned State FFA Proficiency Awards for outstanding accomplishments they have made in developing programs that will prepare them for careers in agriculture.

Their adviser is Mark Meyer.

Nicholas Meyer received his award in Poultry Pro?duc?tion, sponsored by Car?gill Meat Solutions.

Croupa?s award is in Diversified Crop Produc?tion, sponsored by the Kansas Corn Commission.

Maloney earned her award in Small Animal Production and Care, sponsored by Animal Health International.

The proficiency award program recognizes students for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in a Supervised Agricul?tural Experience (SAE) program. This program allows students to set goals and gain real-world experience in a chosen area of the agriculture industry.

Meyer?s SAE consists of raising broilers and fertilized eggs in cooperation with a local production operation. This has provided him with access to a large niche market, specializing in providing cage-free chickens to a variety of outlets including the Chipotle restaurant chain. This has allowed him to market his birds for a premium price.

Through his SAE, Meyer has learned to properly manage a poultry flock and maximize egg production from his hens. In the future he hopes to pursue a career in agriculture.

Croupa manages 103 acres of corn, alfalfa, wheat and soybeans. Growing up in a farming family, he has always been around agriculture but through his SAE is able make management decisions. This has taught him the financial side of farming and the importance of understanding markets.

He hopes to continue to use the profit from his SAE to rent more acres and expand his business.

Croupa plans to attend college to earn a degree in agribusiness and then become a partner in his family?s farming operation.

For her SAE, Maloney sells Australian Shepherds as working and companion dogs. After falling in love with the Australian Shepherd breed, she wanted to breed dogs of her own. She advertises her puppies online and has used both traditional and online media to help her find customers.

Through advertising she has been able to sell over 70 percent of his puppies out of state, including finding customers in New York and California. In the future Alicia plans to attend Kansas State University to major in animal science.

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