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More than 800 FFA members in Marshall for CDE contests (Updated 3 p.m. March 17))

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marshall FFA members Abrea Mizer (left), Bethany Miller (right) and Chelsea Manson of Brunswick (in back) were just a few of the over 800 FFA members from across Missouri in Marshall on Wednesday, March 16 for the Marshall FFA Alumni CDE (Career Development Event) contest. Because of wet soils, the students wore mud boots to help get down in the "pits" to judge soils at the Saline County Fairgrounds. The students are participating in 13 different contests ranging from livestock judging, FFA knowledge and soil judging. Over 80 volunteers from across Saline County are helping with today's event. [Order this photo]
More than 800 FFA students, representing 24 schools from as far away as Milan, converged on Marshall Wednesday, March 16, for the Marshall FFA Alumni Contest Day and Testing Skills Assessment Test.

"I thought it actually went fabulous, we had a wonderful group of volunteers who worked endlessly to make sure that everything was done and it really did turn out well," said Callie Dobbins, one of the three Marshall FFA agriculture advisor.

Students tested their skills against other schools in 13 agriculture-related subjects ranging from Entomology to Farm Management.

Livestock judging team members from Missouri FFA chapters look over a class of sheep during the Marshall FFA Alumni CDE contest at the Saline County Fairground. [Order this photo]
"We had over 800 kids that came in and the contest was over by 1 o'clock. As an ag teacher you want your kids to come in and be able to compete at a quality contest and be able to get home on time," she said.

Many of the written contests were held at Missouri Valley College's Burns Athletic Center, while livestock, soils judging and meats contests were held at the Saline County Fairground.

"It was a smaller contest compared to some of the others but it still gave those kids a really good contest where they were able to see how they ranked with their peers as well as test their knowledge which is ultimately what we are trying to do," said Dobbins.

FFA students from 24 schools gather in Missouri Valley College's Burns Athletic Center on Wednesday, March 16. The students were in for the Marshall FFA Alumni Contest Day and Testing Skills Assessment. This is the first time a similar contest has been held in Marshall. Students will not only compete against each other, they will also be taking the Testing Sklls Assessment tests now required by the state. [Order this photo]
The event also gave FFA students a chance to take the state required Technical Skills Assessments tests. Last year, the first year of the requirement, Marshall students had to travel to Linn to take the test.

"A certain percentage have to test each year," said Dobbins, adding that this year 75 percent of their students were required to test. "They have to pass at a certain percentage and that really reflects back on us as a department and us as teachers."

Planning for the contest began last year with the Marshall FFA advisors Jason Price, Callie Dobbins and Randy Plattner, as well as the FFA Alumni Advisory committee.

Danielle Hogan and Haley Bentley, both juniors from Richmond FFA, use the time they have to get a closer look during the soils judging contest. In all students look at and judge the soils from three different pits which were dug on the Saline County Fairground. Finding a dry enough place to dig the pits was one of the challenges for the first ever Marshall FFA Alumni Contest Day held Wednesday, March 16.
"It takes a lot to put this on," said Susan Pointer, one of the advisory committee members, who helped plan the event. In all, more than 80 volunteers from Saline County helped to make the event possible, helping with everything from preparing food to furnishing livestock for judging, according to Price.

Weather was nice for the event, following Monday's snowstorm, but the wet ground caused problems for soil judging contest members and the organizers of that event.

The soil "pits" had to be dug by a backhoe to allow the students to look at the soil below the surface. However, melting snow, along with already saturated soils, kept filling up the pits with water, so the judging spot was moved to a hillside at Saline County Fairground. Originally, they were to be dug at a spot east of Marshall.

In all, seven pits were created before finding three that were dry enough for the students to study, according to volunteer Brian McCarthy, who was one of several Saline County USDA staff members helping with the contest.

Dobbins said it was a testament to the quality of the volunteers that she didn't know about those problems until after the contest was over.

"They took care of it, we didn't even know it was a challenge until after it was over," she said. "It was good for us that we had competent people that just took care of it."

Although, it hasn't been decided for sure, Dobbins said the advisory committee will soon regroup and decide whether they will host the contest again next year.

"Ultimately it's their decision, but after talking to everybody I thought it was a great success and I thought it was a worthwhile endeavor, so I think it will happen again," she said.

This contest will help prepare students for upcoming Area and District contests, which take place each spring.

According to unofficial results, several area FFA teams placed well in the contest.

Marshall took first in Floriculture, as team member Lauren Hisle was the high individual and Steph Stark was the fifth place winner, Jessica Browning was sixth overall and Carlyn Crawford was eighth.

Marshall's Michael Harlow was the high individual in Forestry and the team placed second overall. In Livestock, Katie Green of Marshall was the high individual, Eric Underwood was sixth overall, while the team placed second. Marshall's meats team took fifth in the contest.

In Nursery, Marshall's Morgan Schell was fifth place followed closely by Ali Chastine, sixth place; and Abby Smithey in seventh place. Marshall's Ag Mechanics team and Agronomy team both placed fourth overall.

Malta Bend's FFA chapter also did well in the contest as the horse team took first place, with Dawn Gorrell winning high individual. In Livestock, Phillip Wattenbarger placed fifth, helping the MB livestock team take third place overall.

Slater FFA also did well in the contest, taking first place in Meats, with member Liz Owens placing second overall. In Nursery, Madison Miller was the third place winner. Slater's livestock team was fifth overall.

Sweet Springs won the FFA knowledge contest and swept the top five places. In order of placing were: Zachary Weber, Colten Bynum, Lizzie Gieseke, Kelly Griffitt and Heath Snider. Scott Thomas was 5th place in Ag Mechanics. Cole Nowland took second overall in the Forestry contest. The Farm Management and Forestry teams all took fourth place in their respective contests, while the Entomology team placed fifth.

Cole Nowland took second overall in the Forestry contest.

Santa Fe FFA captured second place team honors in the Knowledge contest.

More results from the event can be found at https://www.judgingcard.com/

Contact Marcia Gorrell at


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amen observer! amen.

ag teaches responsibility and self-reliance, not to mention a respect for the earth.

I wish I went to a school that had a program like this when I was that age.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 9:10 AM

How cool is this! I think this is a great event that the advisors have started. Two of my children went thru the local ag program. Marshall should be very proud of what these Ag teachers do for their children.

-- Posted by theobserver on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 2:46 PM

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