FFA Members From Lewis and Thurston Counties Earn Accolades, Leadership Positions at State Convention


Last weekend, the Washington Future Farmers of America (FFA) Association held its 93rd convention and expo at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick to hand out accolades to FFA members from chapters throughout the state and choose state representatives.

Skylie Voie of the Chehalis FFA chapter was awarded the 2023 state championship for creed speaking.

According to Chehalis FFA chapter adviser Chris Guenther, Voie will now go on to compete in the creed speaking competition at the national level in Indianapolis this November.

Creed speaking involves reciting the national FFA creed from memory and answering questions related to it. 

The FFA creed was written in 1928 by E.M. Tiffany and adopted by the FFA in 1930. In its five paragraphs, the creed reflects on the importance of agriculture, stewardship, leadership and business. 

“Some of the questions seek to identify a speaker's understanding of sustainable agriculture production, supply chains and the importance of our national food independence. The ability of a speaker to effectively answer questions with confidence is also evaluated,” Guenther said in an email. 

It was a particularly historic convention for the Adna FFA chapter as well, according to chapter adviser Molly Majors. A record 31 students from Adna participated in six different competitions.

Chapter members Natalie, Clayton and Brooklyn Loose all were awarded their FFA state degree pins. To get these pins, they had to productively earn and invest $1,000 into an agriculture-related job or project on top of other requirements, Majors said. 

Natalie Loose was also chosen as the 2023-2024 Washington FFA state reporter. 

“While at the state convention, Natalie had to take part in multiple rounds and levels of interviews, as well as media interviews,” Majors said in an email. “She was asked about current agricultural issues and to create workshops for the more than 14,000 FFA members in Washington, all within a short time span of preparation.”

She also delivered a two-and-a-half minute speech to all of the Washington FFA members in attendance. As the state reporter, Natalie Loose will spend the next year traveling around Washington visiting various FFA chapters and giving presentations. 

She will also serve as a delegate for Washington at the national FFA convention in Indianapolis later this year. To assume these duties, she has postponed her freshman year of college until next year, Majors said.  

Ty Bodenhamer of the Adna FFA chapter also won the Washington FFA 2023 talent contest for his singing and guitar playing and will represent the state at the national FFA convention’s talent competition in Indianapolis.

Majors said Bodenhamer had to submit an application tape and then perform in front of more than 2,800 FFA members and guests at the state convention. 

“He was judged on not only his performance but his involvement of the crowd as well. Ty won playing Zach Bryan's ‘Something in the Orange’ and played ‘Shake the Frost’ by Tyler Childers for his encore,” Majors said.  

To watch some of Bodenhamer’s performance, visit https://bit.ly/3IpEgtv. 

Nathan Heay of the Tenino FFA chapter was chosen as the 2023-2024 Washington FFA state secretary. His duties will entail preparing and reading FFA meeting and convention minutes, making sure each meeting has an agenda with business items and attending to official FFA correspondence. 

Additionally, after serving as 2022-2023 Washington FFA state secretary, Esther Grosz of the Rochester FFA chapter has been chosen as the Washington FFA national officer candidate. 

Each state can only declare one national officer each year. Grosz will be competing against 49 other candidates for one of six national officer positions. 

Ileana Wall of the Yelm FFA chapter was awarded the 2023 state championship for extemporaneous speaker for demonstrating her ability to deliver impromptu public speeches. Yelm FFA chapter adviser Nik Grimm said contestants vying to win extemporaneous speaker do not get their speech topic prompts until 30 minutes before they present. 

The speech must be four to six minutes in length and the student must answer questions from judges. Wall’s prompt was, “Who should be making decisions on legislation related to food and fiber regulations?” 

Grimm said Wall’s speech touched on current and past agriculture law, food and fiber production data and how both are used by legislators to enact agricultural subsidies to create the argument that people can’t always expect legislators to have an agricultural background. 

“Instead, as agriculturalists, we need to advocate for ourselves and build relationships with the policy-makers who make those legislative decisions,” Grimm said in an email. “She also referenced the current United States Secretary of Agriculture (Tom Vilsack) as a great example of how when we do have a legislator from an agricultural background, we can leverage their experience to magnify our voice.” 

The FFA is a nonprofit youth organization focused on preparing its members for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more information, visit https://washingtonffa.org/. 

To view more photos from the convention and expo, visit the FFA’s flickr page at https://bit.ly/3WgVbnP.