The Nyssa FFA officer team enjoys the scenery as a busy year of competitions is ahead. (Submitted photo)

NYSSA – Nyssa’s FFA started the year on a high note, taking home two banners from the Snake River District Dairy Judging Competition last week. The school’s beginner team placed first and the advanced team took home third place.

The wins cap off a summer of success at the Malheur County Fair. Students shined in Tractor Driving as five members placed in the top 10, with Nyssa’s Austin Romans nabbing the No. 1 spot.

Senior Britain Hartley took home a Grand Champion Swine Ribbon at the fair and also won Overall Grand Champion Market Hog.

“I think we have a pretty strong community and a lot of community support and we have parents that are super supportive,” said agriculture science instructor and Nyssa FFA Advisor Chad Cruickshank, who’s in his 14th year in the role.

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In October, six Nyssa students will represent the team at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis. The students will compete in the Farm Business Management Career Development Event.

Nyssa FFA has been a standout in that category for nine years in a row, beating out two dozen teams from across Oregon in the state championship.

This year’s FFA enrollment is in the 90s. Cruickshank, who was an FFA member at Ontario High when he was in school, said the class is really about life skills. Students learn about much more than farming; their studies are rounded out with lessons that include welding, public speaking and speech writing.

“Only 2% of our student population is actually farming, but it’s all those other skills that you obtain from being in something so awesome,” Cruickshank said.

He said he’s received positive feedback from students who tell him the elective course should be mandatory for all ninth graders. He’s seen his FFA students go on to careers in banking and accounting.

“The biggest thing is getting kids hooked,” Cruickshank said. 

Britain Hartley shows her market hog, a grand champion, at the Malheur County Fair. (Submitted photo)

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