Four Arbuckle FFA students joined over a thousand FFA members at the Consumes River College on April 14 and took the top team score in Agricultural (Ag) Sales.
Alexis Erickson, Carlyn Marsh, Crystal Medina, and Riley Griffith were among the 48 top contestants to compete with 12 teams from around the state.
“I am super proud of our students,” said Arbuckle FFA Advisor Luke VanLaningham. “They worked hard as a team. Their goal was to win state, and they accomplished that.”
With a state title in hand, the team will compete in October for the national title during the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis.
According to the FFA, the purpose of the Agricultural Sales career development event is to evaluate and demonstrate skills that are essential for an individual to be successful in an agricultural sales career. Students develop an understanding of the opportunities available in the sales industry. The process of selling agricultural products is essential for production and marketing of agricultural products.
“A lot of the world is making stuff, and there are a lot of people selling this stuff,” said Riley Griffith. “It is a great way to learn economics.”
Carlin Marsh said that the event provides an opportunity for individuals to learn rapport-building techniques, and how to build lasting relationships.
“I discovered that sales aren’t about selling the product, but listening to the customer, understanding their needs, and then presenting the right product to the customer,” said Alexis Erikson.
Crystal Medina said that one of the essential techniques she learned was establishing the right chemistry not just to sell the product, but putting the right product with the buyer.
For the 2018 California State Agricultural Sales competition, the product featured was Yuba City’s own Orchard Machinery Corporation (OMC).
“We would like to thank OMC for all of their support,” said VanLaningham. “The students reached out to the company and asked for a tour of the facility, and they were kind enough to provide that. They were very sportive.”
With a product nearby, the team is nervous about the national product selection.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is understanding what will be chosen for the national product,” said Arbuckle FFA member, Carlyn Marsh. “One of the biggest things is knowledge of the product, and I fear it will be something we won’t know much about.”
“It’s going to be difficult to continue our teamwork with two of our members heading off to college next year,” said Arbuckle FFA member, Crystal Medina.
With their nerves in check and their challenges underway, the team is confident that they will work through them and do the best they can.
“We want to win the national title,” said Griffith.
The contestants will have the opportunity to prepare their sales skills when the topic is released sometime in July, said VanLaningham. ■