TRENTON, N.J. — The National FFA Organization has announced that Joshua Loew, from Newport in Cumberland County, has been selected as one of four finalists for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Outdoor Recreation – Entrepreneurship/Placement. Loew, a member of the Cumberland Regional FFA, will compete for the top prize at the national finals to be held this October during the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.
The proficiency awards recognize outstanding student achievement in agribusiness gained through establishment of a new business, working for an existing company or otherwise gaining hands-on career experience. The Outdoor Recreation – Entrepreneurship/Placement award is one of 47 proficiency program areas FFA members can participate in to develop valuable experience and leadership skills at the local, state and national levels.
“To be one of only four FFA members in the entire U.S. with a chance to win this award is an outstanding accomplishment by Josh,” New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher said. “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into just the application process and it’s great to see one of our FFA members from the Garden State represent himself on the national level.”
Loew became eligible for the national award after winning the New Jersey state FFA competition earlier this year and is the first New Jersey member to be a finalist for this award since 2006. Each of the four finalists will receive a plaque and $500. The national winner of the Outdoor Recreation – Entrepreneurship/Placement Award will receive an additional $500 during a special ceremony at the National FFA Convention & Expo.
“Josh is just one of example of the kind of young adults that our agriculture programs and FFA chapters around the state continue to produce,” said Nancy Trivette, the New Jersey Program Leader, Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Education. “Our agriculture teachers and sponsors emphasize the importance of what it means to be a well-rounded person in order to better prepare them for the future.”
Loew’s nomination came in large part because of his employment at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals on the Oranoken Creek. Because of his experience there, Loew can identify multiple species of wildlife and plant and tree life. He also went from being shy around other people when he first started his job to becoming an outgoing worker who makes regular conversation with customers. Loew has learned the business over the last five years, going from a beginner to now pulling as many as six boats at a time onto the creek.
“With the help of FFA, I began to develop public speaking skills and began utilizing them at work,” Loew said. “Today, I am able to carry on conversations endlessly about basically anything and with anyone. I have used skills I developed in FFA to help me to remember names, and people really seem to appreciate my service much more now. I once had a woman approach me at the end of the day and thank me for chatting with her husband. She explained that no one can ever connect with him.”
Loew was the New Jersey FFA State Sentinel for the 2016-2017 school year. He also has competed in fruit and vegetable and poultry identification, team demonstration, individual demonstration, turf and nursery, and environmental and natural resources events, and attended various other workshops.
In New Jersey, more than 2,400 FFA members engage in personal, career and leadership development activities that challenge them to excel as they develop agricultural skills and competencies for the future.
The National Proficiency award is sponsored by Yamaha Motor Corporation USA as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture