Youth Make Their Mark At Missouri Pork

FFA member Aly Francis was the 2018 winner of the pork speaking contest. ( Tony Francis )

A growing presence of youth in Missouri’s hog industry was evident during the first day of the Missouri Pork Expo, Feb. 6 and 7, in Columbia, MO.

Students of all ages participated in PQA training, show ring courses, leadership activities and the FFA speaking contest. Here’s the winners.


FFA Speech Contest

Aly Francis, a junior at Paris R-II High School, won first place in the FFA speech contest. Her speech, “Growing Missouri’s Pork Industry,” explored how young producers could obtain secure capital or partnering with other industry leaders to enter into pork production. She receives $200 prize for her first place speech.


Other finalists were:

2nd place and $150 award: Jenna Perry, Liberal FFA

3rd place and $100 award: Shelby Davies, Braymer FFA

Other finalists receiving $50 awards:

Ivy Jackson, East Prairie FFA

Alysa Neighbors, Eldon FFA

Dakota Pemberton, Richland FFA


 Youth Pork Ambassador Scholarship Program

Each year, top applicants to the Missouri Youth Pork Ambassador program are chosen to represent the pork industry at state events. This year, three individuals, Tayler Cope, Katelyn Robinson and Ryan Siegel were chosen from the applicants. Each individual will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Qualified applicants must be involved in the pork industry or the son/daughter of a parent or guardian involved in the pork industry, and between their senior year of high school and sophomore year of college as of Jan. 1, 2018.


Tayler Cope, a senior at Community R-VI High School, is the daughter of Aaron and Mandy Cope of Martinsburg. She works at Mid-Missouri Truck & Trailer Parts, LLC and Steinman Banquet Hall, both in Mexico, Mo. She is also part of Cope Kids Show Pigs and shows at the local and state fairs—she is involved in all aspects of the family operation including breeding, nutrition and choosing genetic lines.

At school, Tayler is involved in the Future Teachers Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FBLA, softball, basketball and National Honor Society. She is FFA chapter Treasurer. She’s received the Chapter Degree, Chapter Star Farmer Award and Swine Production Proficiency Award in Entrepreneurship for Area V. Tayler is co-president of the Merry Martins 4-H and a member of the MPA Youth Show Pig Circuit. She received the Jeff Rudasill Swine Ambassador Award at the Audrain County 4-H Fair in 2015.

After graduation, Tayler will attend the University of Missouri in Columbia where she plans to major in animal science or animal medicine.


Katelyn Robinson is a senior at the University of Missouri High School, and the daughter of Eddie and Tammy Robinson of Wellsville. She is currently employed part time at her church as a nursery attendant. She also works on the family farm where she is responsible for cleaning and bedding pens, moving pigs, and helping with farrowing. She is currently learning and excelling with her Duroc herd.

During the summer, Katelyn is responsible for taking care of show pigs, including feeding, walking, washing, grooming and keeping up with their overall health. Katelyn and her family enjoy showing together.

Katelyn is a member of the Coon Creek Cronies 4-H Club, and was president from 2016-2017. She has been involved in the MPA Youth Show Pig Circuit and has shown at the Missouri State Fair, receiving the Champion 4-H Duroc Gilt in 2017. She is also a member of the National Junior Swine Association, where she was Champion in the Intermediate Skill-a-thon and received 9th Overall Bred and Owned Duroc Gilt at the World Pork Expo, both in 2017.

After graduation, Katelyn will attend the University of Missouri in Columbia where she plans to major in animal science with a concentration in either swine genetics or feed nutrition.


Ryan Siegel is a senior at Otterville R-VI High School, and the son of Tim and Virginia Siegel of Otterville. He works for Siegel Dairy Farm as a farm technician. Ryan’s family raises dairy cattle and hogs. He is also an educator for the Missouri Farmer’s Care Agricultural Education on the Move program.

He is president of his FFA Chapter, as well as the Area VIII FFA Association. Ryan is also the North Central Region Vice President of the Future Business Leaders of America’s national organization. In this position, he oversees activities in eight states while working directly with state boards to grow and improve the North Central Region of FBLA. He has also participated in competitive FBLA events, and received 1st place in Missouri’s Social Media Campaign Event. Ryan is also involved in Quiz Bowl, Track and Field, Drama, Band and Choir.

After graduation, Ryan will attend the University of Missouri in Columbia where he plans to major in plant science with an emphasis in breeding, biology and biotechnology. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he hopes to attend graduate school earning a master’s, then doctorate, degree in sustainable agriculture and genetics.

Scholarship Winners: Cody Dotson, Logan Fullerton and Shelby Wolters

Cody Dotson, Logan Fullerton and Shelby Wolters were each recipients of a $250 Missouri Pork Industry Scholarship from the Missouri Pork Association.

Dotson, a senior at Penney High School, currently works on the family farm, Dotson Hampshires, where he also owns Chester White’s and Crossbred hogs. He also works for the local MFA.

He is active in cross country and basketball. Cody is currently Sentinel of his FFA Chapter, and part of Super Trooper at school. He is also a member of the Chester Swine Association.

Upon graduating, Cody plans to attend North Central Missouri College in Trenton, completing his general education requirements. He then plans to transfer to the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Cody is the son of James and Glynis Dotson of Kidder.


Logan Fullerton, a senior at Bolivar High School, works at Ima Pig Pig Farm, where she raises heritage Berkshires. She has also worked at the Ozark Empire Fair and Hale’s Fireworks Tent.

She is active in basketball, cross country, band and the National Honor Society, where she is chapter vice president. She is the FFA chapter president, and Area 1st Vice President.

Upon graduating, Fullterton plans to obtain a degree in agricultural education from either Missouri State University or the University of Missouri. Ultimately, she would like to work in agricultural policy in Jefferson City or Washington D.C.

She is the daughter of Jeff and Tommi Fullerton of Bolivar.


Shelby Wolters, a senior at Maryville High School, works at the Nodaway News Leader and Rush Printing. She also babysits for a local family and mows lawns.

She is a member of the National Technical School Honor Society, A+ Program, Future Business Leaders of America and the Maryville 4-H Saddle Club. Wolters is FFA chapter reporter. She has received Star Greenhand Degree, Chapter Degree, and Swine Production Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award, among others.

Upon graduating, Shelby plans to attend Southwestern Community College and earn an associate’s degree in graphic design. She then hopes to transfer to Northwest Missouri State University and receive a bachelor’s degree in graphic design/agriculture communications, with a minor in photography.

She is the daughter of Tim and Angie Wolters from Maryville.