Penns Valley

On Centre: Penns Valley | High school agronomy team wins state FFA contest

The Penns Valley Area High School agronomy team placed first at the Pennsylvania FFA competition this month.

Agronomy is the science and technology of using plants for food, fuel, feed, fiber and reclamation.

The district said the team will represent Pennsylvania in the national FFA competition in Louisville, Ky., in October.

Andrew Slavinsky, Taran Rowles, Zach Engle and Shawn Foreman comprised the winning team. Foreman also was a second-place winner in the individual competition.

The district said that after a third-place finish in last year’s competition, the agronomy team was “determined to come in first this year.”

“We really stepped it up a notch with study sessions,” John Howell, Penns Valley FFA adviser and agriculture teacher, said in a statement.

Three of its four students returned to this year’s team, and all placed in the top 14 individually, the district said.

The FFA state competition, which was held at Penn State, was a three-day event, with two days of competition and the final day for awards.

Students competed using tools and reference guides to identify plants, trees, weeds, seeds, and various crops and vegetation.

“It’s a working contest,” Howell said. “They’re given information and they work the problem out.”

In addition to the agronomy state title, the Penns Valley FFA’s veterinary science team — Sam Kelly, Kylie Orndorf, Trevor Heckman and Cody Stoner — placed third in the team event. The Dairy Evaluation and Judging team — Charlotte Auman, Thomas Bierly, Stephanie Clouser and Devon Wasson — placed sixth.