Nevada Union FFA teams place at state finals |

Nevada Union FFA teams place at state finals

Two of Nevada Union High School’s FFA teams recently celebrated success at the California FFA state finals, held at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The school’s forestry and agricultural mechanics teams placed highly in the competition; forestry placed fifth overall and agricultural mechanics placed sixth. Each team is made up of four FFA students.

The forestry competition including the identification of timber as well as native plant species, map reading, tool identification, a knowledge test, land surveying, compass bearing, and legal land description. Coal Barker, Kambree Thompson, Izabella Votino, and Madison Pierce were the team’s members.

Competition requirements for the agricultural mechanics team included welding, knowledge of electrical boards, wiring electrical circuits, a tool identification component, oxyfuel welding, and problem solving. This year the team consisted of Justin Baker, Cole Jarvis, Hector Romo, and Colton Walley.

The teams are seemingly on a roll. Last spring, Nevada Union FFA students won first place in the state forestry contest and then were eligible to go to the National Contest in October where they ranked gold at eleventh place.

Nevada Union FFA instructor Katie Alling said the program is about much more than learning to farm.

“We really try to connect students in to real world knowledge,” Alling said, “(like) career skills and soft skills — presenting themselves, speaking their minds, and performing community service.”

FFA is a sectional, regional, state and national organization for students enrolled in agriscience and technology classes. Those in the program are engaged in agriscience curriculum and are given the opportunity to be involved in student leadership and community service activities through the FFA organization.

Nevada Union freshman Izabelle Votino was part of the forestry team who placed at state finals.

“It was really fun,” she said of the competition. “We’d been preparing for finals for at least three months. Getting fifth-high team gave us a confidence boost.”

Votino became involved in the forestry program when Alling simply asked if she would like to be part of it.

“I got right into it,” said Votino. “It landed in place for me. Once you know what to do it is really fun. I really love the forestry team.”

Votino had a message for kids who are thinking about being part of FFA at Nevada Union.

“I would tell them to not be afraid to get involved. It’s a great program. Forestry is really fun, and there are people here with open arms,” she said. “Just being part of the ag department is amazing. It’s really fun.”

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at or 530-477-4231.

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