Johannes Named FFA State Proficiency Winner

Congratulations to Alex Johannes for being named the 2019 Agricultural Communications State Proficiency Award Winner during competition over the weekend.

Washington County was well represented at the State. Lindsey Averbeck was named the 2019 Illinois FFA State Winner in the proficiency area of Food Science and Technology. Lindsey, daughter of Leon and Brenda Averbeck of Lively Grove, is a Junior at Okawville High School. She is the first Okawville FFA State Winner since 2005.

Hannah Liske placed 2nd as a State Finalist in the proficiency area of Ag Processing. Hannah Liske, daughter of Andy Liske of Covington and Beth Soles of Bartelso, is a Senior at Okawville High School.

The State Competition was held at the University of Illinois – Champaign on Saturday, March 23rd.

Alex Johannes of the Nashville FFA Chapter was named the 2019 Illinois FFA State Proficiency Winner in Agricultural Communications from her project on serving as the Nashville FFA Chapter Reporter, creating the “It’s An Ag Thing” blog,

working at The Nashville News, writing for Arable Media’s Blue Corduroy and working as a graphic designer at “Everything Agriculture.” Alex got started in this SAE by carrying out small tasks at the end of her freshman year before being elected as the Chapter Reporter for the first time her sophomore year. Some of these task included proofreading articles from the previous Chapter Reporter to designing the classroom bulletin board.

In her project, Alex has five different areas. First, Alex has served as the Nashville FFA Chapter Reporter for three years where she writes and sends FFA articles to the local news media, updates the chapter social media pages and maintains the chapter website that she designed herself her junior year. Second, Alex created her blog “It’s An Ag Thing” that can be found on Facebook and Twitter and her website at

Alex created “It’s An Ag Thing” to document her agriculture experiences and help promote 4-H and FFA. “It’s An Ag Thing” is unique because there is a Classroom Resource page that serves as a learning resource to agriculture students at Nashville Community High School. Students will visit her website, read an agriculture-related article and fill out a Google Form based on the article for a homework grade. Third, Alex has worked at The Nashville News as a news correspondent, covering community events and coming into the office when the office is short-staffed. Alex has also come into the office to design the State FFA Convention and FFA Week spreads every year since becoming the Chapter Reporter. Fourth, Alex has worked with Arable Media, a nationally-recognized social media presence that focuses on the agriculture industry. Specifically, Alex worked with the branch Blue Corduroy which is primarily focused on FFA. Alex sends in stories that she has written about the things she experienced while being in FFA and her stories are shared on Blue Corduroy’s social media pages and website. Fifth and finally, Alex spent time working as a graphic designer for “Everything Agriculture,” another nationally-known social media presence focusing on agriculture. Alex was responsible for designing their social media graphics and sending them in to be posted on their social media pages. Alex is a member of the Nashville FFA Chapter of the Illinois Association FFA. Illinois FFA recognizes students in fifty different areas based on their work-based learning, also known as Supervised Agricultural Experience Program or SAEP. FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through record keeping, leadership, and scholastic achievement may be considered for this award. SAEs allow students to learn by doing by either owning and operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

Alex, the daughter of Gary and Sharon Johannes, was selected as the State Winner by a committee of agriculture industry representatives and teachers knowledgeable in this work-based area. Her Agricultural Education teacher and FFA Advisor is Mrs. Julie Bond-Ledford. Receiving this honor now makes her eligible to compete in the National FFA Awards Selection process in July of 2019. Alex was previously chosen as the Chapter, Section and District awardee is this area. She will receive a plaque for his accomplishments at the Illinois FFA Convention in June in Springfield. These plaques are made possible through gifts by individuals, businesses, corporations and organizations through the Illinois Foundation FFA.

The Okawville FFA Chapter is led by agriculture teacher and advisor, Joshua Berg.

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