HAMILTON – Hamilton Central School class of 2015 graduate Lindsey Palmer knows first-hand the vast benefits of becoming a member of the FFA, and even now her commitment to the group continues to be recognized.

At the annual FFA National Convention in Indianapolis in October, Palmer was awarded their prestigious American Degree.

“I was pretty excited to find out that I had been qualified to receive my degree,” Palmer said. “The American Degree is the highest degree an FFA member can bestow, so being awarded this degree is a pretty bittersweet way to end my career as an FFA member.”

Palmer is the daughter of Doc and Christine Palmer and joined FFA in her freshman year of high school. She said she earned the American Degree through the completion of the Supervised Agricultural Experience requirements that she began as a high school sophomore. Concentrating on veterinary medicine, she grew her project through jobs, internships, and other hands-on experience outside of the classroom, she explained.

Eligibility requirements include earning and productively investing $2,000, working 2,250 hours beyond class time, maintaining a C average or better, and completing at least 50 hours of community service. She found out she would receive the award in May during the FFA State Convention at Morrisville State College, the same school where she began her college studies before transferring to Cornell University, where she is now a junior studying Animal Science.

Palmer compliments the FFA for all the opportunities her membership has brought her.

“FFA has benefited my life in more ways than I can count,” Palmer said. “Aside from gaining confidence as a speaker and overall as a person, I have been able to make connections with people across the country. I have been able to figure out my passions in the agriculture field and use them to help plan my future. I have made lasting friendships with other FFA members. I have also been able to develop communication skills and leadership skills that will be crucial to my career and life as a whole. This organization has greatly impacted my life and I am not sure where I would be today without it.”