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Nebraska Ag News Headlines
District 11 FFA Events at Curtis
Nebraska Ag Connection - 11/17/2020

A college campus in Curtis was the site recently of academic contests for nearly 500 FFA members from 34 high schools in two FFA districts.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture hosted in-person and virtual Career Development Events (CDE's) for FFA Districts 9 and 11, said Doug Smith, NCTA's associate professor of Animal Science and Agriculture Education.

District 11 had CDE's last Thursday in Livestock Evaluation, Agriscience, and Natural Resources for 222 FFA students on 22 teams from 17 high schools in southwest Nebraska, said Smith.

Schools in District 11 are: Arapahoe/Holbrook, Bertrand-Loomis (BerMis), Cambridge, Chase County (Imperial), Cozad, Dundy County-Stratton, Elwood, Eustis-Farnam, Hayes Center, Hitchcock County, Lexington, Maywood, McCook, Medicine Valley, Southern Valley, Southwest, and Wauneta-Palisade.

The next day, on Friday, District 9 contests were in Livestock Evaluation, Farm Business Management and Agronomy. (Those results were pending at press time on Monday).

Vicky Armstrong, Maywood FFA Chapter advisor and District 11 representative, said students and advisors were glad to have contests in person.

"We are extremely grateful to NCTA and their faculty, staff, and students for their assistance in putting on our fall contests and allowing us to be on campus," Armstrong said. "Any opportunity we have for contests in person this year is what our students need."

The FFA members rotated through the contest with their individual chapters assigned to separate locations designed with COVID-19 precautions in place to include social distancing and required facial masks to be worn inside buildings.

"We appreciate all of Dr. Smith's work on scheduling our schools to follow all of the health guidelines," Armstrong said. "I feel our contests ran smoothly throughout the day."

The logistics and task of designing in-person contests for hundreds of FFA students during a pandemic was a unique challenge. NCTA coordinated all of components for in-person and virtual Livestock Judging for both days.

Agriscience and Natural Resources contests on Thursday were organized by the District 11 agricultural education teachers and were held in large classrooms of the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center.

Agriscience is for freshmen, only, and includes a written exam plus a practicum in the topic area of plant systems.

The Nebraska State FFA Convention in April was canceled, and events and competitions were conducted virtually or in online submissions through the spring and summer. Then, late last month, the 93rd National FFA Convention and Expo, was conducted virtually, including the presentation of 4,136 American FFA Degrees. Last week, the Nebraska Department of Education announced the Nebraska State Convention 2021 will be virtual, too.

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