Harrells Students Place First & Second In FFA Ag Sales Competition
High school students around the state prepared for months to compete individually and in teams for the FFA’s high-pressure Ag Sales Career Development Event.
After a written test, a problem-solving practicum, and a formal sales pitch, Harrells Christian Academy student Holden Quinn took first place in a field of 124 students, and the Harrells team as a whole took second place in a field of 31 schools.
The Ag Sales event challenges future farmers to learn in-depth marketing research skills and to develop the personability, etiquette, and on-the-spot problem-solving that a successful career in agricultural sales, or sales in any field, will require. Harrells’ team members Kyra Gensel of Elizabethtown, Amos Lanier of Burgaw, Blake Phillips of Warsaw, and Holden Quinn of Kenansville worked hard to successfully pitch their product, a needleless livestock vaccinator called Pulse NeedleFree Systems.
The Harrells team did a tremendous amount of research to thoroughly understand this company and what it sells. They studied the health risks and problems associated with traditional needle vaccination, and learned about new practices, including the Pulse system, that allow life-saving vaccinations to be administered to large animals without the dangers inherent to using and disposing of needles. They also arranged three informational interviews with different departments at Pulse NeedleFree via conference call, and even visited the company’s CEO in Kansas City.
This deep preparation as a team was put to the test on March 8, when each student walked alone into separate rooms where judges playing the role of farmers awaited their marketing pitch. The judges could ask them any question or role-play any kind of customer response, and later compared notes to see how coherent the team’s knowledge and performances were. Add in the written test and problem-solving practicum, and one can see why Harrells ag teacher Reva Wethington is so proud of her students’ two big wins.
“They worked incredibly hard,” she said, “and I’m so glad that work has been rewarded.”