FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Muscogee (Creek) Nation Agriculture Youth Program Manager Billy Haltom will receive the Honorary State FFA Degree May 1, 2018 at the Oklahoma FFA Association 92ndState FFA Convention in Oklahoma City, Okla., for his contributions to the Native Ag youth and the FFA.
The Honorary FFA Degree is the highest grade that you can bestow on anybody in the Oklahoma FFA Association and goes to individuals with outstanding service toward the advancement of the youth in FFA programs.
Haltom brags on the youth program and explained MCNis one of the few tribally funded programs and the only tribe in Oklahoma with a program that initially assists in the purchase of a show animal.
“We’re the only tribe to help them in the beginning to help them get started,” Haltom said. “A lot of our kids come from and not all of them but from lower social economic backgrounds and it’s expensive. My theory is you can pay for your kids now when they’re young when we have the ability to have influence on them. They take part in a program and it’s family oriented.”
Carly Hotvedt, MCN Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said with the help of Haltom, the MCN Ag Youth Program has grown tremendously.
“Billy has worked tirelessly to support the Ag Youth Program and participating students,” Hotvedt said. “We have seen tremendous growth and popularity of this program and its events.”
From archery to the Livestock Assistance Program, the MCN Ag Youth Program works with Muscogee (Creek) students who live within the tribal jurisdiction and are enrolled in FFA or 4H.
Haltom said the biggest success the program has had is the Muscogee (Creek) Livestock Show, which finished up its fifth year holding the event.
The event is open to all Native American students and has grown from just 200 animals in the show to more than 500 animals in just five years.
Haltom said the programs’ achievements and growth has been a team effort.
“I am accepting the award for the Creek Nation,” Haltom said. “It was not me that earned this. This was a conglomeration of putting this together.”
Another highlight of the program is the Livestock Assistance Program, which assists tribal youth in FFA or 4H in purchasing an animal or assisting in other costs through a $500 grant to help them secure a show project.
“I just want to thank the people that are on my 4H board, they are individuals that volunteer their time and they don’t receive anything. When we have the livestock show it’s pretty labor intensive.”
The Honorary State FFA Degree and VIP Banquet will be held Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 5 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center.
For more information on the MCN Ag Youth Program and its services, visit: //www.mcn-nsn.gov/division-of-agriculture-and-natural-resources/.