For four South Florida State College agriculture students, a trip to Orlando this month was the payoff for their investment in agricultural education.

The SFSC students traveled to the Florida Future Farmers of America state convention to pick up their American FFF Degrees. The American FFA Degree is the highest award a student can earn from the organization.

SFSC students Robert Wyatt Bennett, Taylor L. Brown, Zachary Wallace McKinney, Sarah D. Orrell joined 4,700 other young people committed to agricultural education for FFA’s annual convention at Orlando’s Caribe Royale Convention Center.

Taylor L. Brown and SFSC FFA Adviser Leah Sauls hold the college’s chapter charter.

To attain the award, FFA members must earn at least $10,000 and invest $7,500 in an agricultural project, demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, maintain a record of academic achievement.

“This is a significant achievement for our students,” said Kevin Brown, dean of SFSC’s applied sciences and technologies division. “Only 0.05 percent of all FFA members earn this award, making it one of the organization’s most coveted honors.”

The awards come just as SFSC received its chapter charter from FFA, marking 2015 as the first year the college sponsored a chapter.

The Florida FFA Association is the state’s major youth and leadership agricultural organization, with more than 17,000 member in 300 local chapters. FFA members participate in nearly 50 leadership and career development events each year.

Brown said SFSC plans to step up efforts to boost FFA membership as part of the college’s push to enhance its agricultural education offerings.

Kevin Brown receives his Honorary State FFA Award

He said there are about 25 students in the college’s two-year degree and college credit certificate agricultural programs, with 15 of them active in FFA.

For more information about SFSC agricultural program, visit www.southflorida.edu.