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Kansas Youth Excel at National FFA Convention

National officer, Star in Agribusiness and Proficiency recipients named.

A Paola woman was elected president of the National FFA Organization, while two other Kansans were recognized by FFA for their business skills.

Becky Sullivan was elected National FFA secretary at the 80th National FFA Convention, Oct. 24-27, in Indianapolis. Sullivan, a sophomore in agricultural communications and journalism at Kansas State University, was chosen from a field of 40 candidates for the national positions.

Also at the convention, Caleb Alexander, Garden City, was named National FFA's American Star in Agribusiness for starting his own hay-bailing operation, CA Hay. Alexander was among four finalists for the honor. He received a $4,000 award and a plaque.

Morgan Gauby, Washington, received a National Agricultural Proficiency Award from FFA for agricultural sales-placement.

Sullivan will travel more than 100,000 miles as they meet top leaders in business, government and education, visit about 40 states, and participate in an international experience tour to Japan. Their responsibilities will include providing personal growth and leadership training for students, setting policies that shape the future of the organization and promoting agricultural literacy.

Nominees for national FFA office must first qualify on the state level to represent their particular state FFA associations. They then submit an in-depth application, detailing their accomplishments and contributions to the community, along with an essay detailing why they desire to be elected to the position. Once at the convention, candidates participate in five rounds of interviews, take an in-depth written test on the organization and agricultural education topics and complete two writing exercises.

Alexander started his business in 2002 after he and his father noticed a shortage of small, high-quality square bale producers in their area.

With his father's help, Alexander created CA Hay and purchased a used baler and accumulator. He now bales, sells and delivers small squares of high-quality alfalfa hay to several customers. He also custom bales to a customer base of more than 40 people from seven different states.

After completing his degree at K-State, Alexander wants to complete an internship with an agribusiness or volunteer with a mission organization for a year. He then plans to return to his family farm and hay operation full time.

Gauby is developing her interest in floriculture into a career. She has been learning all sides of the business, including designing fresh and silk arrangements, managing customer service and expanding her knowledge of foliage plants. She works at a floral shop in Washington, perfecting her arranging skills and learning about the business side of the industry.

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