These two SLO County FFA chapters are among the best in California

The Nipomo and San Luis Obispo high school FFA chapters have been named among the top 10 in the state based on 2017 performance.

Nipomo was ranked No. 5, followed by San Luis Obispo in the No. 10 position.

The rankings are based on performance in five categories: total number of American FFA Degrees, State FFA Degrees, State Proficiency Awards, State Championships and State FFA Executive Committee Members. Tulare was the top chapter this year, followed by Santa Maria, Madera South and Atwater.

Nipomo FFA reporter Kayla Zalesny said it “is a very rewarding feeling,” being recognized as a top chapter.

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The Nipomo Livestock Team posing for a picture with their first place finish at the Cal Poly State Judging Finals in May. Pictured from left to right: adviser Rosemary Cummings, Jenna Moore, Erika Bowles, Kyler Vernon, Tucker Banta and Eric Sahagun.

“What sets Nipomo apart are our committed and driven advisers,” Zalesny said. “They work so hard at their job to inspire the members of Nipomo FFA to be the best that they can be. Our hard-working advisers are the key to Nipomo’s success.”

Zalesny said the 383-member chapter has won numerous awards this year, including its Livestock Team that will compete at the National FFA Livestock Judging Contest in Indianapolis this week.

“It is an honor to be a part of such a highly ranked chapter,” she said.

San Luis Obispo chapter adviser Anna Bates also said the distinction is “a huge honor.”

San Luis Obispo Chapter group members at the California FFA State Leadership Conference right after alumnus Luke O’Leary was elected president. Anna Bates

“What makes us extremely proud is that our program is consistently in the top ranking of California, and we only have two teachers,” Bates said. “Many of the programs we are compared to have four to even eight ag teachers. We have a lot of passionate kids, peer mentorship and pride within our FFA chapter that keeps our students motivated to work hard toward success.”

The San Luis Obispo chapter, which has 350 members, has been in the top 10 several times in recent years, Bates said, and has been ranked as highly as No. 2 in the state.

Up next, its chapter members are heading to the FFA National Finals with the State Champion Prepared Public Speaker, State Champion Novice Parliamentary Procedure debate team and two State Champion Agriscience Research Project finalist teams. Bates noted that SLO High alumnus Luke O’Leary is also serving as California FFA President.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

Top 10 chapter rankings in state, based on 2017 performance

The rankings are based on chapter performance in 2017, including number of FFA Degrees, awards, championships and Executive Committee Members.

1. Tulare

2. Santa Maria

3. Madera South

4. Atwater

5. Nipomo

6. Turlock

7. Elk Grover

8. Lodi-Tokay

9. Holtville

10. San Luis Obispo