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About 1,500 High School Students Compete in FFA Contests at Northeast

About 1,500 High School Students Compete in FFA Contests at Northeast

NORFOLK – Northeast Community College has some top-notch facilities for hosting district FFA competitions.

Most of the Agricultural Department instructors have helped in the past, and many of the Northeast students have experience, competing in FFA when they were in high school.

All were called upon Monday, Feb. 26, as Northeast hosted high school students from FFA Districts 3, 4 and 10. Most of the contests featured winners advancing to the state contest this spring at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jill Heemstra, director of the agriculture program at Northeast, said the final total was about 1,500 students, with 52 schools represented.

Heemstra said the FFA Chapters that participated were as follows:

District 3 Schools: Arlington, Bancroft-Rosalie, Blair, Logan View, Lyons-Decatur Northeast, Mead, North Bend, Oakland-Craig, Omaha Bryan, Pender, Scribner-Snyder, Tekamah-Herman, Wayne, West Point, Winside, Wisner-Pilger.

District 4 Schools: Allen Consolidated Schools, Battle Creek, Bloomfield, Creighton, Crofton, Emerson-Hubbard, Hartington-Newcastle, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, Lutheran High Northeast, Madison, Norfolk, Osmond Community Schools, Pierce, Plainview, Randolph, Stanton, Summerland, Verdigre, Wynot.

District 10 Schools: Ainsworth, Boyd County, Burwell, Chambers, Elgin, Elkhorn Valley, Keya Paha, Loup County, Nebraska Agriculture Economy, Neligh-Oakdale, O'Neill, Ord, Rock County, Sargent, Stuart, West Holt, Wheeler Central.

Northeast has hosted district FFA contests for more than 40 years, with the entire college involved in an event of this magnitude. In the past, the three districts have featured as many as 1,600 students competing, so this is nearly as large as it has been.

Tee Bush, agriculture instructor at Northeast, said almost any available room on campus was used on Monday. That included the Lifelong Learning Center, the College Welcome Center, Ag/Allied Health and the Cox Activities Center. Less than a mile to the east, the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex was hosting the livestock management contest and meats evaluation and identification.

Each ag instructor oversees one or two events. Students from the Northeast agriculture and horticulture students also assist with the scoring, including team and individual scores.

Most of the competitions were completed by mid-afternoon, but the scoring will take longer. All the scores are reviewed in the tabulation room to check everything, especially any hand scores, with the results distributed later to the districts.

Kaleb Wragge, a sophomore from Custer, S.D., and Kirby Smith, a sophomore from Fullerton, helped to check scores from the floriculture test.

Wragge said he never got to take the floriculture test when he was in high school.

“I didn’t do FFA, so I don’t know a lot about it,” he said. “(The test) should be about how to take care of plants, story problems and things like that -- not so much with the landscape.”

Wragge said he plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after graduation in May. Smith said he plans to enter the workforce, working for a golf course in Albion.

FFA District Competition Pender cutline
Scenes like this were common on Monday, Feb. 26, as Northeast Community College hosted more than 1,500 FFA students from three districts competing for a chance to go to state. These students are among the more than 50 students from the Pender FFA Chapter, which competed in District 3. (Northeast Community College)