Friday, April 27 , 2018, 12:06 am | Fair 55º


Santa Maria FFA Dairy Team Named National Champs

Mark Powell, Mariana De Leon, Alondra Novoa, Valentina Santos and Daisy Bernal. Click to view larger
Mark Powell, Mariana De Leon, Alondra Novoa, Valentina Santos and Daisy Bernal. (SMJUHSD photo)

The Santa Maria FFA Dairy Team are now the national champions, marking the first time receiving the honor since the start of the school’s FFA Chapter in 1931.

They earned the first place honor after competing against state champions from 39 other states during the two-day national contest at the FFA National Convention in Louisville, Ky., last weekend.

The Team consisted of seniors Alondra Novoa and Daisy Bernal and juniors Mariana De Leon and Valentina Santos.

The first day was the team competition where the girls had to perform a series of lab tests such as aerobic plate count, somatic cell count and titratable acidity.

They also had to interpret data from tests that were conducted by a professional lab. Finally, the girls needed to deliver a 10-minute presentation on their findings and interpretation of the data and deem the results as compliant or non-compliant with current USDA industry standards.

The girls not only won this portion of the contest, but made a huge impression on the professors from various major universities that were judging the event.

Several comments from the judges during the awards ceremony were that this was not only the best team presentation they have seen or heard, but also one of the most passionate, sincere and professional teams they have judged, according to Coach .

The following day’s competition included the tasting portion of the contest as well as another lab procedure that they had to perform.

The girls took three exams, which included marketing questions, dairy production questions and problem solving.

The problem solving exam required the girls to evaluate marketing figures such as per capita numbers and calculate market performances and outlooks. Essentially, it is a very complex mathematical word problem exam. De Leon was the only student to get every calculation correct and ultimately was the high individual in that area of the contest, Powell added.

“The girls worked very hard to earn this national title, devoting anywhere from 40–50 hours a week for the past few months,’’ Powell said. “In addition to that translating into the national title, the girls also had personal achievements. Alondra was third in the nation followed by Mariana (fourth). Daisy ended up seventh and finally Valentina was 15th.’’

Kenny Klein is the public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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