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Northeast Ag Students Earn Runner-up Honors at National Contest

Northeast Ag Students Earn Runner-up Honors at National Contest

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Northeast Community College students finished in second place in sweepstakes for two-year colleges at the 2024 Northeast American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Judging Conference.

In the agriculture education contest, the team of Brabec, Cody Nelson, a mechanized agriculture major from Ansley, McKenna Russell, a natural resources major from Winside, and Emily Willis, an agribusiness and animal science major from Shelby, placed first overall. 

Individually, Nelson placed first and Willis placed third, Brabec placed fourth and Russell placed sixth overall.  In the presentation portion of the contest, Brabec, Nelson and Russell all placed first in their division, while Willis placed second in her division. On the written exam, Willis placed fourth and Nelson placed seventh. 

In the ag mechanics contest, Northeast placed second overall, on the written exam, tool identification, electrical wiring, and welding and third in small gas engines. Team members include Mechanized Agriculture majors Braden Duhsman, West Point, Cody Nelson, Brody Nuesch, Pierce, Ryan Smith, Craig. 

Individually, Nelson was fourth overall, fifth in small gas engines, tool identification, electrical wiring and on the written exam and seventh in welding, Duhsman was third in tool identification, sixth in welding and electrical wiring, and seventh overall, Nuesch was seventh in small gas engines, eighth overall, ninth in electrical wiring and on the written exam and tenth in welding and tool identification and Smith was ninth in welding and tenth overall and on the written exam. 

In the crops contest, team members were Barrett Andel, an agronomy and agribusiness major from David City, Dillon Dubbs, an agronomy and precision agriculture major from Wood River, Kylie Jerabek, an agronomy major from Ashton, and Braden Monke, an agronomy and agribusiness major from Arlington. The team placed first on the agronomic quiz and second overall, on the lab practical, on the math practical and on identification. 

Individually, Andel placed second on the math practical and agronomic quiz and fourth overall and on the lab practical, Monke placed first on the agronomic quiz, fourth on the math practical, fifth overall and on the lab practical and tenth in identification, Dubbs placed sixth overall, seventh on identification, eighth on the math practical and ninth on the lab practical and agronomic quiz and Jerabek placed fifth on identification, seventh on the lab practical, eighth overall and ninth on the math practical. 

Also participating in the crops contest was Ashlynn Millikan, an Agronomy major from Norfolk who placed tenth in the agronomic quiz and Jackson Nelson, a Precision Agriculture major from Albion, who placed 10th on the lab practical. 

The dairy judging team placed third overall. Team members included Emily Happold, an animal science and agribusiness major from Doniphan, agriculture transfer majors Cole Miller from Charter Oak, Iowa, and Kyle Rehak from Wisner, and Jack Ritter, a diversified agriculture major from Beemer.  Also participating in the contest was Kylie Luebbe, an animal science major from Seward. 

Individually, Rehak placed fifth in placings and sixth overall, while Ritter was 10th in placings. 

The knowledge bowl team of Bayer, Jerabek, Gavin Nelson, an agriculture transfer major from Schuyler, and Sheridan Smejkal, an animal science and agribusiness major from Wagner, South Dakota, placed third in the competition. 

In livestock judging, the team from Northeast placed seventh overall. Team members included Happold, Luebbe, Miller, Rehak and Ritter. 

In the livestock management contest, the team of Miller, Britanny Preister, an agriculture transfer, diversified agriculture and animal science major from Albion, Smejkal, and Aleksus Wegener, an agribusiness and animalscience major from Burwell placed fifth in identification and sixth overall and on the written exam. 

Individually, Smejkal placed third overall on identification, fifth on the written exam, and 10th in problem solving. Miller placed seventh on identification and ninth on the written exam.  

In the natural resources contest, team members included Russell, Audie Tejkl, a precision agriculture major from Leigh, Uhing and Wegener placed third overall. 

Precision agriculture team members included precision agriculture majors Spencer Batenhorst, Wisner, Alex Jessen, Bloomfield, Ethan Specht, Hemingford, and Kelly Pfeifer, a precision agriculture and agribusiness major from Madison. The team placed first overall. Also competing in the contest was Megan Kota, a diversified agriculture and precision agriculture major from Western. 

Individually, Jessen was second overall, third in problem solving and knowledge exam and fifth on the equipment identification, Specht was fourth on the lab practical and fifth overall, in problem solving and the written exam, Kotas was sixth in problem solving, and Batenhorst was ninth in problem solving. 

In the soils contest, the team of Kuhlman, Gavin Nelson, Tejkl and Willis placed second on Pit 4 and third overall and on Pits 1, 2 and 3.  Also competing in the soils contest was Bayer, Jerabek and Preister. 

Individually, Tejkl was fourth in Pit 4, Kuhlman was sixth in Pit 1 and eighth in Pit 3, Willis was sixth in Pit 4 and 10th in Pit 2, Jerabek was seventh in Pit 1 and Nelson was 10th in Pit 1. 

The Northeast students were accompanied on the trip by instructors Chris Burbach, Brandon Keller, Mike Roeber, Sarah Sellin, Bernie Thyen and Mike Zierke. 

In addition to participating in the contests, the group also had the opportunity to take part in some tours and visit sites within the Twin Falls area. Tours included Beta Seed, a sugar beet seed company, a sugar beet processing facility, Grant 4D Farms, and a local fish hatchery. 

Sites visited included several areas along the Snake River, including Thousand Springs State Park, Dierkes Lake and Shoshone Falls. 

During the business meeting held with the judging conference, Mike Roeber was re-elected president of the judging conference coaches for a two-year term. It was also announced that Roeber will be receiving the Judging and Student Service Award at the NACTA annual conference in Wooster, Ohio, in June.  

West Texas A & M in Canyon, Texas, will host the 2025 NACTA Judging Conference in April 2025. Northeast Community College hosted the judging conference in 2018. 


NACTA students 

Among the Northeast Community College students placing at the NACTA in Twin Falls, Idaho, were (front, from left) Natalie Brabec, R.J. Bayer, Kathryn Kuhlman, Travis Uhing, Cody Nelson; (second row) Megan Kotas, McKenna Russell, Emily Willis, Spencer Batenhorst, Alex Jessen, Ethan Specht, and Kelly Pfeifer. (Northeast Community College)