Local FFA members, Charlie Armour and Austin Moore, receive high honors for Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE)

This past March, Charlie Armour and Austin Moore each earned a Proficiency Award in their respective SAE areas. Both students’ applications competed on the National FFA level where Charlie received a Gold rating, and Austin was selected as a top four National Finalist and will be competing at the National FFA Convention to be held October 19-22, 2016. The accomplishments of these two outstanding FFA members reflect an array of skills that stand to significantly contribute to their future careers.

Charlie Armour’s SAE is Diversified Livestock Production, Placement, which consists of swine, sheep, and beef cattle. Charlie was raised on a beef and horse farms, so animals have always been an important part of his life as he developed a continued interest in livestock, particularly marketing animals. He has been showing livestock since fourth grade, and the diversity of raising three species of livestock has given Charlie an understanding he can utilize throughout the rest of his live. Currently, he works at 4C Livestock, which began retaining sheep and raising club lambs to show and sell, as well as breeding Simmental cattle to be marketed as show or breeding stock. Charlie has played a vital role in encouraging the operation at 4C Livestock to begin selling freezer lambs to local customers, and, as a result, 4C now has a reputable buyer base. Charlie’s SAE has been rewarding to him as he exhibited two Grand Champion Steers as well as two Supreme Reserve Grand Champion Commercial Ewe (2014 and 2016), Champion Breed Market Lambs, and Market Hogs.

Austin Moore’s SAE is Nursery Operations, Placement. Austin is employed at River Road Farms and has worked as a part-time employee there since 2012. River Road specializes in raising Espaliered trees. The nursery is a total of ten acres with five being used for production of the Espalier Trees. Both of Austin’s parents are full-time employees at River Road, so visiting from an early age sparked Austin’s interest in this production operation. Specifically, River Road Farms is a unique nursery that grows, trains, and shapes Espaliered trees to be used in landscaping; in fact, their trees are shipped to places all over the East Coast with Austin’s favorite location being Mt. Vernon. These trees are not common nursery stock found where plants are typically sold because they require special attention and are most often used as a center piece for premier landscapes. Furthermore, the production of these unique trees requires a lot of attention in order to achieve a desired look that attracts customers. Some customers will even contact the operation three to five years in advance to request a particularly shaped Espaliered tree. Austin’s awareness gained through his experiences allowed him to easily begin his SAE as a freshman. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and feels that his program has been very rewarding for him over the past few years. Working with his family to produce a premier ornamental product that can be shipped anywhere on the East Coast has been an exciting endeavor.