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Press Release



November 7, 2006

Cowley freshman receives honor at National FFA Convention


Cowley College freshman Emilie Magnus was recently named the 2006 national winner of the Diversified Crop Production -- Placement Proficiency award program at the 79th National FFA Convention held Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Magnus, the daughter of Wade and Tresia Magnus, has been a member of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) for five years. At Cowley, she is majoring in agribusiness. She plans to eventually transfer to Kansas State University and keep her major in agribusiness.

Proficiency awards are given each year to those FFA members who excel as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while receiving hands-on career experience.

Magnus said there are 51 different areas of proficiencies and that diversified crops was her particular job qualification through her work with L & M Harvesting, a farming operation that her uncle, Lloyd Birdzell, and some of his neighbors formed.

"They harvest hay and grain crops (such as wheat and milo)," Magnus said. "And they put up hay for other people."

The road to the FFA nationals is like most sporting events where one starts at the district level.

"After winning at the district level, it's on to the state level where you have to compete with everyone from Kansas," Magnus said.

When it came down to the national competition, Magnus said applications from all 50 states received a ranking and were then narrowed down to four, who were invited to Indianapolis.

At nationals, each of the top four had to undergo an interview process with CEOs and presidents of various businesses that were familiar with the specific proficiencies, Magnus said.

"We had to sit through a ten-minute interview where they asked questions that they felt were necessary about our applications," she said.

Magnus said that FFA has helped her a lot and she recommends it for other young people.

"It gives you everything you'll ever need to know, pretty much, for the rest of your life and career; anything from personal business skills to going through an interview, to going up and meeting someone and being able to introduce yourself," Magnus said. "It has given me confidence."

Those who compete in the award program each year have the chance to earn money and scholarships. Magnus received $500 and a plaque as a finalist and another $500 when she won the national award. But it wasn't all about the money.

"Just the chance to go out there and meet everyone from all across the nation is awesome," Magnus said.