The JTAC/ Alex Huerta
Tarleton State University hosted high school FFA teams on Wednesday, April 14. These teams came from high schools across the state and vigorously competed for a spot in the Texas FFA state Career Development Events (CDE) competition that will take place throughout the month of April and into the early days of May.
Tarleton has hosted FFA competitions for high school students for many years. It is an opportunity for students across the state to experience Tarleton as they compete on campus for their team’s spot at a state competition. For many students, this was their first time on campus. Some chapters travel many hours to be at the competition.
The Tarleton Collegiate FFA chapter was able to play a vital role in these competitions as judges and volunteers for the teams. This is very meaningful to these students as they were in the shoes of those high school students just a few years prior. Without these volunteers, the competition day would not have been as successful as it was.
Career Development Events allow high school FFA students to showcase their hard work and their passion for agriculture through applied agricultural sciences. These events allow allows students to prepare for future careers in agriculture and possibly narrow down their focus on their career path in the agricultural field, as they can compete in many different events throughout their time in high school.
For many students, CDEs are their main focus in their FFA career, as many long hard hours are spent studying and perfecting their skills throughout the year. Some of these include, but are not limited to, livestock judging, where students can judge the best quality animal out of a group of others and place them in order from most favorable to unfavorable. Much like livestock exhibitions that most of these students likely compete in year-round with their chapter. Other CDE events include wool judging, dairy cattle, agriculture sales, homesite evaluation, wildlife, plant identification and much more.
Teams that competed in this year’s competition on the Tarleton campus were agriculture mechanics, agriculture sales, dairy judging, entomology, farm agribusiness management, floriculture, homesite, horse, land, livestock, milk quality and products, nursery/landscape, poultry, range, vet tech and wool. All of these CDE events had many teams in attendance, with the top three teams with the biggest turn outs being range, land and homesite.
“When the students are judging these animals in the contest, you can see the love and passion for this skill in their eyes,” Tarleton’s collegiate FFA president, Zoe Carlisle said.
She and many other students were able to volunteer with the livestock judging event. Carlisle and her peers put in a lot of effort to keep the contest organized.
“Two years ago, I would have been the high school student coming to these [CDE] contests, but now I help set up and officiate the contest for other students. It is interesting to see both sides of things. The amount of hard work and dedication that goes into both sides of the contest is astonishing,” Carlisle said.
Teams that were able to qualify for the state competition will be able to fine tune their knowledge and skills and soon compete for their very own state banner at numerous other college campuses across the state of Texas. The new state qualifiers that were named on Wednesday, April 14 will go on to compete in their next state event.