Grassland FFA traveled to “Big E” in Massachusetts

To compete at the Eastern States Exposition, “The Big E” in Career Developments Events, contestants had to place 1st or 2nd as a team at state competitions in June. Grassland FFA came home with individual champions in both events in which they competed. In the small animal veterinary skills competition Crystal Diem won 1st place followed by teammate Calliana Riggins who earned 4th Cyndi Phae 18th and Jessalyn Horst 22nd rounded out the scoring for the Grassland FFA which placed 3rd in team competition.

Team members had to show their competence in a variety of skills necessary to pursue a career as a veterinary technician including: There was a power point that included different breeds of dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and fish. This was an I.D. test to see if the contestant knew what each animal was. It also involved equipment and feed type identity. It included an oral explanation to a judge of how to hold a cat while trying to find the jugular vein. The last part of the competition was a written test that was all multiple choice that evaluated the contestant’s knowledge on diseases, history of diseases and other general facts that were involved with the veterinary field of science.  (team pictured below)

In the Poultry Evaluation CDE Wes Weaver lead the way as individual champion followed closely by his Garden Spot sophomore teammates who swept the top for individual places to win the team title. Bethany Sauder 2nd, Kelly Seifrit 3rd, Nathan Moyer 4th.  This was the second year in a row for a poultry team  from Garden Spot to earn first place at the Big E. Contestants demonstrated their skill in grading eggs by both candling and exterior examination, evaluating both meat type and laying hens as well as ready-to-cook poultry and further processed.

In addition to the competitions the group toured SUNY Cobleskill in New York on their way to the Big E.  The had an in-depth tour of the agricultural facilities at the college which included everything from seeing trout being sexed and measured at the aquaculture facilities, to being the first group to tour the brand new state of the art heifer facilities at the dairy complex.  The group also enjoyed a visit with the director of the equine facilities as well as the livestock program. SUNY Cobleskill is also known for its agricultural mechanics program. The 3 ½ hour tour wrapped up with a close up look at the horticultural and greenhouse facilities.

While at the Big E students had the opportunity to visit many educational displays and exhibits.  Not the least of these exhibits is a replica of each of the six original New England state capitals where samples of the agricultural products of each state were highlighted.  FFA members from Maine to Virginia and Michigan to Delaware participated in the competitive events.

For more information, visit the Big E Website.


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