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The Santa Maria High School FFA Milk Quality & Dairy Products and Soil & Land Evaluation Judging Teams are now the 2017 State Champions!

The honors were earned this past weekend when more than 40 SMHS FFA Students competed in the California FFA State Judging Finals at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

The Milk Quality and Dairy Products Team was coached by Mr. Mark Powell and consisted of juniors, Rosalva Diaz, Monserrat Nolasco, and sophomores Jenifer De Leon and Ariadna Romero-Gutierrez.

The contest is designed to enhance learning activities related to milk quality, federal milk marketing, attributes of milk products and substitutes for them. Students are required to evaluate four classes of milk, based on taste, and identify cheese flavors. In addition, the students take a dairy industry knowledge test.

Sophomore Jennifer De Leon, who is also the 1st place individual in the state of California says, “This year, as a member of the State Champion Dairy Products Team it has been very challenging with many obstacles, but it allowed me to grow as an individual inside and out. The FFA program and especially this team has taught me that no goal is too big to accomplish.”

The Saints will compete in October for the National title in Indianapolis, Indiana at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo.

The Santa Maria FFA Soil and Land Judging team also won the State Championship and was coached by Mr. Marc DeBernardi. The team consisted of, senior Mariana De Leon, juniors Felix Perez and Luis Lucas, and sophomore Efren Santos. Senior Mariana De Leon, was also placed 1st individually in the State of California.

Sophomore Efren Santos stated: “This year has been a year to remember, there have been many ups and downs but we were able to preserve and bring home the Land and
Soil Evaluation FFA State Championship. Through this experience, I have learned how to classify land, and how to read a soil profile. Other life skills that I learned are responsibility, problem solving and decision making.”

There were more than 50 students from 15 teams that competed in the contest. It seeks to effectively make students aware of the value of soils in production agriculture, environment and society. Students are required to evaluate four pits of soil and determine the soil types and qualities.

“This was a fun group to work with, they have worked extremely hard since last November, with one goal in mind, to win the State Championship. The team finished strong by winning the last two contests at Fresno State and Cal Poly, I couldn’t be more proud.” stated Marc DeBernardi.

Other Santa Maria FFA results include 3rd place in Poultry Judging, 3rd place in Vegetable Crop Team, 3rd place Floriculture Judging team, and 3rd place Poultry Judging team, 8th place in Light Horse Team. Also, competing this weekend were Best Welding Team, Veterinary Science Team and the Best Informed Greenhand team.

The California FFA Association has a membership of more than 85,000 FFA members, in which more than 2,000 FFA members are within the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.