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  Lauren Rhodes,
State Reporter

Home Chapter: Fort Defiance

SAE Project: Sheep production - I raise lambs to show at the county fair, and sell at the local stock yard and to community members; Maple Syrup Production - I help on my family’s 11 year maple syrup operation in Bland Co., VA. Through the month long process, we tap trees, collect sap, boil it down, and bottle the finished product to be sold to community members, and at the North River Marketplace; Service Learning: Affordable Solar for Family Farmers - I researched affordable solar for local farmers, using our poultry farm as a basis for my research. I presented my findings at the Virginia Museum of Science, as well at the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. "

Favorite CDE or LDE: My favorite LDE is Parliamentary Procedure. It was my first contest that I competed in, and kick started my love for the organization! It requires you to be extremely involved as an individual, as well as an active team member. Being able to efficiently run a business meeting has helped me feel prepared moving forward in the future!

Favorite FFA Memory: My favorite FFA memory was when I competed in Extemporaneous Public Speaking for the first time. I got to meet members from my federation, as well as compete in a contest that actively challenged me to develop my FFA and agriculture knowledge as an advocate and public speaker.

Future Plans: After my year of service, I plan to attend Blue Ridge Community College for 2 years, and transfer to Virginia Tech to major in Communications and minor in Agribusiness. My dream is to be an agriculture journalist, or agriculture and conservation lobbyist. I’ve also considered becoming an ag teacher. No matter where my journey leads me, I look forward to future opportunities educating others and advocating for agriculture!
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