WIU Ag Alumnus Leaves Mark on National FFA Convention 2023


Western Illinois University proudly celebrates the remarkable achievements of an outstanding individual in the world of agriculture education. Trent Taber, a WIU alumnus and agriculture teacher, left an indelible mark at the National FFA Convention, showcasing his unwavering dedication and significant contributions to the field of agriculture education.

Taber played a pivotal role in nurturing Cambridge High School’s agricultural education program, where he provided invaluable mentorship to students like Kendra Downing. Her tireless commitment to agriculture sales entrepreneurship culminated in her earning the prestigious title of national winner. This accomplishment wasn’t merely an individual triumph but a testament to the dedication and guidance bestowed by Taber.

Downing, representing the Cambridge FFA Chapter in Illinois, is the owner and operator of the Downing Daughters’ Farm Stand, which she has successfully managed for the past four years. Her enterprise includes the sale of locally sourced pumpkins, honey, mums, popcorn, Indian corn, broom corn and straw, all housed within a charming 15 feet by 50 feet rustic barn. During the months of September and October, the farm stand opens its doors on Fridays and Saturdays. Kendra’s achievements are a testament to her hard work and commitment, buoyed by the unwavering support of her parents, Crista and Zane, and her FFA advisor, Taber.

In his role as an FFA advisor, Taber instilled the philosophy of encouraging students to push beyond their comfort zones.

“Kendra is the epitome of a dedicated FFA member. Her five years of hard work within her Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) culminated in this exciting achievement,” Taber said. “Our alumni, community and school couldn’t be prouder of her!”

Agricultural proficiency awards recognize FFA members who, through their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), have honed specialized skills that will be invaluable for their future careers. Students compete in diverse areas, ranging from agricultural communications to wildlife management. Proficiency awards hold significance at local and state levels, providing recognition to members as they explore and establish themselves in various agricultural career pathways.

These notable achievements by WIU’s agriculture alumni set a standard for future generations of agricultural enthusiasts at WIU.

For more information on WIU’s Ag program, visit wiu.edu/ag.

***Courtesy of Western Illinois University***

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