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Next generation of ag leaders
FFA students receive college scholarships at annual luncheon
ag luncheon pic1
Katelynn Lawson of Denair High School, one of this year's Turlock Chamber of Commerce Ag Scholarship recipients, shakes hand with Turlock Mayor John Lazar at the annual ag luncheon on Monday.

In California alone there are over 70,000 student members in over 300 Future Farmers of America chapters, or FFA. On Monday 18 of those local graduating high school seniors were recognized for their contributions and potential in the agriculture industry by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce.

A total of $20,000 was presented to the high school seniors by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee at the 14th Annual Ag Scholarship Luncheon, where local industry members gathered to support the passing of the figurative baton onto the next generation.

“Agriculture is our number one industry in Turlock and we wanted to continue to build that growth. It’s very important for the Chamber to continue to maintain that relationship with the agriculture community because it is such as part of life here,” said Sharon Silva, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Louie A. Brown, Jr. of Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP in Sacramento, who served as National Western Region Vice President of FFA in 1991, was the keynote speaker where he reflected upon his experience in FFA as “the single most forming moment for me in my professional life. It helped develop who I am.” The other guest speak, recent Cal Poly graduate David Jones of local Jones Farm and also an alumni of the Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee scholarship, reminded the students to take a proactive approach to learning as they take their next step into the agricultural world.

“It’s really important to share and defend our industry. If we’re not going to tell our story someone else will,” Jones said.

“There’s a lot of agricultural in this community and to see people willing to put back into the industry by these scholarships means a lot,” said Trey Smith, a Turlock High School recipient of a $1,000 scholarship which he will put towards his education at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he plans to study agricultural business.

Other recipients included Jelena Bravo, Matthew Oliveira, Kayli Perry from Turlock High School; Sheyenne Sousa and Tim Truax from Pitman High School; Fabian Garcia, Stephanie Gonzalez and Stephanie Land from Livingston High School; Sean Anderson, Katelynn Lawson and Holly McDiffett from Denair High School; Helen Barnes and Kaleb Woody from Hughson High School; Quinn Fonseca and Trey Johnston from Hilmar High School; and Kevin Bonner and Stephany Celio from Waterford High School.