The Paola FFA Chapter competed in the Kansas FFA Career Developments events during the first week of May and once again came home with state championship honors.

This event was canceled a year ago due to COVID-19, and club members said they were excited the Kansas State Department of Agriculture chose to overcome some challenges and host the event this year. Contests were held virtually and over 1,400 students competed from across the state. Paola was represented in 12 different events and had 31 FFA members represent the local chapter, according to a news release.

For the sixth time in the last 10 years and the 13th time overall, Paola was named state champions in Farm Business Management. The event requires that students be able to interpret and use financial documents such as balance sheets, income statements, cash flows and budgets and then answer questions about the documents. They also answer questions about basic financial and economic concepts that impact agriculture including marketing, efficiency and business organization, according to the release.

Team members were Rylan Armbruster (who was the individual state champion), Seth Aistrup (fifth overall), Alea Russell (sixth overall) and Ben Timpe (ninth overall).

FFA Advisor and Farm Business Management Coach John Menefee said he couldn’t be more proud of the work and dedication the team showed.

“All four members wanted to win and challenged each other all spring long,” Menefee said. “They won several other district and invitational Farm Business Management contests and were never beaten by a team from Kansas.”

The team members will now compete at the National FFA Convention and Expo this fall.

The poultry evaluation and agricultural mechanics teams also had a strong showing at state with both bringing home third-place honors. Both areas have traditionally been strong events for Paola with multiple state champions in the past.

The poultry team evaluates live birds, carcasses, eggs and further-processed products as well as taking a written test. Team members this year were Selah Hade (third overall), Seth Aistrup, Josie Dees and Vanessa Berrey. They were coached by FFA Advisor Tom Schull.

The agricultural mechanics event this year consisted of written test covering metal working, electricity, plumbing and mathematical calculations. The team was led by Trevor Hinman, who finished seventh overall. Other team members were Alex Ure, Nick Walker and Steven Yeager.

The meats evaluation team finished sixth and was led by Seth Aistrup, who was fifth overall. Other team members were Ben Timpe, Hayley Hines and Gus Wright.

Two years ago, Paola started competing in Nursery and Landscape Management for the first time in several decades. Their hard work paid off this year with a seventh-place finish. Team members were Rylan Armbruster, Molly Kane, Luke Elkinton and Gus Wright.

Food Science finished ninth overall, with team members Hope Bishop, Natalie Glassel, Makayla Harper and Abi Shore.

The last team rounding out Paola’s Top 10 finishes was the Veterinary Science team, which finished 10th with Katie Cosgrove, Josie Dees, Luke Elkinton and Selah Hadle.

Other teams competing and finishing just outside of the Top 10 were horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, dairy cattle evaluation, agricultural communications and floriculture.

One of the biggest honors Paola won was being named third overall in Sweepstakes. This award recognizes the most successful chapters in Kansas in relation to how they place in their top five Career Development Events.

The Paola FFA Chapter will be back in action soon for the state Leadership Development Events.