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Published May 05, 2010, 12:00 AM

FFA members compete at state

Sixteen members of the Alexandria FFA chapter saw their year of study pay off when they went to the State FFA convention in St. Paul.

Sixteen members of the Alexandria FFA chapter saw their year of study pay off when they went to the State FFA convention in St. Paul.

More than 3,200 members spent April 25-27 competing in contests and demonstrating their knowledge in a variety of agricultural careers. In order to earn the right to compete, each of the members had to rank high in a regional contest, often facing up to 15 other FFA chapters.

FFA members are students in grades 9-12 in the Agriculture Education program at Discovery Middle School and Jefferson High School. Cliff Orgaard, Josh Hein, and student teacher Jeff Pokorney served as advisors this year.

In the Fish and Wildlife Management contest, members must identify native Minnesota animals and pass a written individual test as well as complete a team problem. The Alexandria team placed 7th out of 55 teams and received a Gold award. Team members were Dylan Schmitz, Gary Kostecka, Blaine Graff, and Alex Paulson.

The Meats Evaluation team looks at carcasses to determine yield and grade, judges wholesale cuts on quality, and identifies retail cuts of beef, pork and lamb. The team consisted of Evan Lindberg, Andrew Brinkman, Dan Redfield and Dakota Trudell. They received a Bronze rating.

Agricultural Mechanics involves knowledge in tractor and machinery operation as well as electricity, plumbing, concrete work and general engineering applications. The team consisted of Logan Hanson, Ryan Illies, Garret Niska, and Ryan Halvorson. The team received a Bronze rating.

Students in the Soils contest look at the topography, soil type, fertility and uses of land to determine the Soil Classification number and limitations for use. Knowledge in this area is used by producers, contractors and municipal planners. Dillon Schauff represented Alexandria and earned a Bronze award.

The Nursery/Landscape contest requires members to evaluate and create landscape plans, determine proper plants, demonstrate knowledge of soils and fertility, and identify more than 100 common Minnesota landscape plants. Mitchell Ahrendt from Alexandria received a Bronze award.

In the General Livestock Evaluation contest, members must select beef, sheep, and swine based on conformation and use, then give oral reasons to back up their decision. This requires a good eye for animal characteristics and the ability to convince a judge the competitor placed the livestock in the correct order. Ariel Way competed and received a Silver award.

FFA is the largest student organization in the U.S., with more than 500,000 members. Darren Radil, Evan Lindberg and Logan Hanson represented Alexandria as delegates to the state sessions.