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Aggies Making It Count
By: Ron Rosati, Ph.D., Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Curtis - 04/13/2018

The 90th annual Nebraska State FFA Convention was in Lincoln last week. This is a great tradition of bringing together one of America's greatest agricultural youth programs.

Eleven students from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are part of the activities in our state's Capital City. NCTA Aggie students are serving as volunteers, lending a hand with the contests and networking with Nebraska's agricultural students in the impressive venue at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Three days are jam-packed with agricultural contests, career development events, motivational speakers, and recognition of the youth active in 184 Nebraska FFA chapters.

Under the 2018 theme of "Make It Count", the FFA convention showcases the best of the best. We at NCTA are pleased to again be partners in this statewide effort. Agricultural pursuits and leadership endeavors are being showcased before thousands of FFA members, families, advisors and volunteers.

For those at home, parents and families can view the general session proceedings. Live stream details are available at: http://www.neaged.org/state-ffa-convention.html

Blue jacketed FFA students are everywhere in Lincoln. Many of the FFA events are hosted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus and East Campus, along with the Haymarket District in hotels and the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The indoor arena is the main hub of activity, however, where students assemble for seven general sessions. Our NCTA students will be visible at the arena's second floor for the FFA Expo on Wednesday and Thursday. Stop by and say hello and learn about NCTA's academic programs.

A Career Expo on Friday brings students to conversations with agricultural employers about workforce development and career opportunities. The NCTA-Reinke Irrigation program taught in Curtis for irrigation technicians is among the featured industries.

Our Aggie students who are attending the State FFA Convention represent NCTA's academic majors in agricultural education, animal science and agricultural mechanics, including irrigation technology.

Some were FFA members during high school, and are still active in NCTA's Collegiate FFA. While in Lincoln, our students are helping at contests, and are networking with FFA students about NCTA's academic programs and collegiate opportunities at Curtis.

In addition to our student assistants, Dr. Doug Smith, animal science and agricultural education division chair, Dan Stehlik, agricultural mechanics instructor, and Tina Smith, NCTA admissions coordinator also share in leadership roles at state convention.

They coordinated registration, displays, tests and contest materials for the Agricultural Mechanics contest on Wednesday. NCTA representatives are judging competitions this week, and are assisting at the Livestock Judging Contest held at East Campus on Friday.

Our NCTA students at State FFA Convention include Collin Overmann and Max Greco from NCTA Ag Mechanics; Katrina Clay, Karlee Johnson, Jentrie Maurer, Brent Thomas, Haley Farr, Claire Schmidt, Chantelle Schulz and Kenidee Urling with NCTA Agricultural Education, and Braden Wilke, third-year Animal Science student and assistant livestock team coach.

About 30 students from the NCTA area will be competing at the state contest. They include Maywood FFA, Medicine Valley FFA and Eustis-Farnam FFA. Each will be represented at Friday's closing session as students are among the 641 State FFA Degrees recipients.

State Degree recipients include Von Fritsche of Maywood, Tristin Smith of Medicine Valley, and Ayden Boller, Leigh-Anne Lehmann and Colton Thompson of Eustis-Farnam.

Congratulations to these State Farmer recipients, our NCTA Aggie students and all FFA members who will "Make It Count" this week and long into the future!

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