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The slogan “Got Milk” means something special to four Santa Maria High School FFA students as they head to a National Competition.

The Saint State Champion Milk Quality and Foods Team is diligently preparing for the National Contest to be held at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., during October 28-November 1.

On the team are Alondra Novoa (senior), Daisy Bernal (senior), Valentina Santos (junior) and Mariana De Leon (junior). They have put in hundreds of hours over the past three years preparing for this event, according to Shannon Powell of the SMHS FFA Agricultural Department.

The young ladies will represent the California FFA at the contest and will be required to perform several laboratory tests on milk to determine the quality and give an oral report on their findings. In addition, they will be tasting and identifying several different cheeses and milks, along with taking three different knowledge tests on current marketing and industry trends within the dairy industry.

While at the National FFA Convention, SMHS Agriculture Teacher Mr. Clemente Ayon will be receiving his Honorary American FFA Degree and the Santa Maria FFA Chapter will be recognized as a National Two Star Chapter.

This past week, the team prepared for the contest by visiting California Dairy Inc., Hilmar Cheese and Clauss Dairy where the students participated in the hands-on learning of the California Mastitis Test, and the Titratable Acidity test, in addition to talking to industry representatives about national dairy production marketing trends.

Team member Daisy Bernal is ready. “I am excited to represent California and Santa Maria at the National FFA Convention,’’ she said. “This opportunity has opened my eyes to the Dairy Industry and at this time I would like to go to a 4-year university and major
in Dairy Science.”

Coach Mark Powell applauded the team’s dedication.

“Not many people have the opportunity to compete for a national title, this will be a lifetime memory for these young ladies and an experience that the ladies have earned themselves through hard work and a long time commitment,’’ he said.

Each year, more than 60,000 FFA members and guests attend the National FFA Convention from throughout the United States. (

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