Minarets High School student wins FFA National Championship

O'NEALS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Recently Minarets High School student Mackenzie Camacho was recognized as a National Champion in Plant Science by the FFA. She brought home the win from the National FFA Convention.

"Third place was called and I knew I was either third or second," she said. "Second place was called and I knew I was placing first and I was so excited."

It was on Botryospharia also known as the Bot fungus. It infects and kills Walnut trees across the Central Valley. Camacho's goal was to find out what fungicide is the most effective against it. The idea came from her community.

"I had contacted local farmers and I asked them about their concerns at their farms and this fungus came up multiple times," said Camacho.

The project took her months and more than 150 hours to put together. She had to present at multiple competitions and even write a 22-page paper before she could even be considered for the convention.

"It was hard work getting this fungus," said Camacho. "Understanding how to perform the experiments and then receiving the research and interpreting it into charts and data."

She took home first place in the Plant Science Category Division 3, making her parents and her teacher Jessica Sweet proud.

"It was nerve-wracking and you get nervous and you want her to win so watching her on stage was such an exciting experience," said Sweet.

Camacho said now she will share her findings with farmers to better fighting the bot fungus. She has hopes of making back the FFA National Convention next year.
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