Warren County’s FFA chapter set a record for having not just one, but two, Middle Tennessee Star Winners compete on the state level.
Clay Prater and Hayden Hildreth both excelled at state competition with Prater claiming the title of 2015 Tennessee FFA State Star Farmer.
Agriculture educator/ FFA advisor Danielle Smith said, “An FFA Chapter having one Regional Star is excellent, but we had two individuals who stood out above the rest this year and we are very proud to have them represent our community, FFA Chapter, and Middle Tennessee Region at State FFA Convention.”
Clay is the son of Kelly and Leah Prater, owners of Prater Show Pigs in Centertown.
The family sells show pigs across the country. Clay also shows pigs, sheep, and cattle and has been very successful in showing.
Hayden is the son of Ann Whitefield and Danny Hildreth. His family owns Hildreth Brother’s Nursery in Dibrell. The business specializes in dogwood production. Hildreth Brother’s ships trees as far away as Texas. Chances are if you have purchased a dogwood in the state of Tennessee, it originated from this family farm.
Warren County earned the title Tennessee State Superior FFA Chapter and took home the gold in the PLOW Program. PLOW stands for Passing Literacy OnWard and was created to help improve reading skills in the community. Smith said local FFA members have been very active in the program throughout the year.
“Our FFA members have been actively participating in a chapter reading program,” she said. “They have read to pre-school students, and even held a book drive to collect books to donate to local libraries.”
The chapter had 17 students who received the Tennessee State FFA degree, the highest degree any FFA member can earn in Tennessee. Warren County took home more degrees than any other chapter in Middle Tennessee.
Students receiving the Tennessee State FFA degree include: Clay Prater, Hayden Hildreth, Corbin Hildreth, Hayden Carter, Emily Grove, Chase Hillis, Tristan Reish, Nate Baker, Brenden Southard, Garrett Jones, Neil Matheny, Cierra Holt, Hannah Green, Karrington Tanner, Elizabeth McCormick, Elijah Holder, and Hunter Bouldin.
Five students also placed in their proficiency award areas. Smith said students put considerable effort into the projects for their proficiency areas each year.
“These students work many long hours and put blood, sweat, and tears into completing these projects,” she said. “Our students put many hours above and beyond that of a regular school day to be competitive in these areas and placing on the regional level is very impressive.”
Students placing on the regional level for proficiency in their areas include: Hayden Hildreth - Nursery Production 1st Place, Austin Barry - Dairy Production Placement 1st Place, Martin Grissom - Diversified Crop Production Placement 1st Place, Clay Prater - Swine Production 2nd Place, Hunter Bouldin - Outdoor Recreation 2nd Place.