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Published October 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Alexandria hosts regional FFA contest

The Alexandria FFA Chapter at Jefferson High School (JHS) in Alexandria held the regional contest in soils, nursery/landscape, forestry and floriculture on September 30.

The Alexandria FFA Chapter at Jefferson High School (JHS) in Alexandria held the regional contest in soils, nursery/landscape, forestry and floriculture on September 30. It included FFA members from west central Minnesota competing for a chance to advance to the state FFA competition in April.

The forestry teams traveled to Lake Carlos State Park, the soils teams went to a farm site near Alexandria, and the nursery/landscape and floriculture competitions were held at JHS.

FFA chapters from Region 3 and 5 of the State FFA Association were invited to compete. In order to advance to the state competition, a team had to place in the top section of the regional competition.

Alexandria had teams competing in both the soils and nursery/landscape contests. Both teams did well enough to advance to the State FFA competition.

In the soils contest, JHS placed second as a team. Individually, William Harding placed 4th, Seth Bogatzki 8th, Dillon Schauff 9th, Connor Sundberg 11th, and Cody Domek placed 12th.

In the nursery landscape contest, the Alexandria team placed third in the region. Individually, Bryce Holm placed 10th. Other members of the team were Joe Basiago and Mitchell Ahrendt.

The soils contest requires students to examine a soil site exposed by a backhoe. By looking at soil texture, color, slope and water conditions, they are able to classify the land as to its suitability for farmland, support for structures, septic systems and holding basins. In addition, they can make fertilizer and erosion control recommendations based on the condition of the land.

The nursery/landscape contest tests students’ knowledge of Minnesota plants used in the nursery industry as well as the disease and pests that affect them. They should be able to identify more than 100 plants and pests and solve problems common to the landscape designer, such as chemical recommendations, budget estimates and factors that affect plant growth.

The forestry contest challenges students to identify trees that are used in the Minnesota forestry industry. They also demonstrate skills needed to estimate lumber production, tools used and classify the health of a forest.

The floriculture contest allows students to identify plants common to the greenhouse and floral industry in Minnesota. They create floral arrangements, identify pests and are tested on their knowledge of greenhouse operation.

Alexandria has hosted the soils and forestry contest for 10 years. This is the first year the other contests have also been held.

The Alexandria FFA chapter currently has about 30 members.

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