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Identifying high school students in FFA is easy. Their trademark blue corduroy jackets are impossible to miss.
Members of La Grande High Schoolâ€™s FFA chapter examine a prickly lettuce plant. The students were responsible for identifying prickly lettuce and much more at a FFA recent weed, seed and crop identification contest. The LHS students shown are, from left, David Ridder, Blake Partney, Misha Sigurdson, Kelsey Johnson and Jake DeLong. The Observer/DICK MASON
Identifying seeds, crops and weeds is much harder, but in
La Grande it can be as easy as finding a student wearing an FFA jacket.Members of the La Grande High School FFA chapter are adept at seed, crop and weed identification. They recently displayed their skills at a District Career Development Event at the Elgin Stampede Hall.
The LHS FFA Crops Team placed first in the event’s seed, weed and crop identification competition.
“It was pretty cool,’’ said Blake Partney, a member of the LHS FFA chapter.
Partney is one of 12 members of his chapter’s crops team which competed in the identification contest. The other members are LHS students Mikaila Hossele, David Ridder, Misha Sigurdson, Tenille Werner, Kelsey Johnson, J.J. Jenkins, Jake Craddock, Jake DeLong, Cory Miles, Cody Shaffer and Robbie Smith.
Students took the identification test as individuals. The marks of the top five scorers on each team were then combined to determine the top squads, said Paul Anderes, La Grande High School’s FFA adviser.
Students were responsible for knowing 68 weeds, 11 crops and 20 seeds. The weeds included birdscape mustard, prickly lettuce and Russian thistle; crops included crested wheat grass, alfalfa and orchard grass and seeds included field corn, popcorn, sweet corn, barley, alfalfa and rye grass.
Identifying the three types of corn seed was one of the biggest challenges students faced, Anderes said, because the differences are so subtle.
People who look closely will find that sweet corn is wrinkled, popcorn is rounder and field corn is yellower and has a significant indentation.
Students identified actual seeds, weeds and crops and ones shown in photographs. Anderes said identifying real seeds, weeds and crops was sometimes more difficult than distinguishing them in photos. This is because students sometimes had seen some only in photographs.
Anderes said he is proud of how his students did.
“They worked hard, practiced hard and had a great outcome,’’ he said.
FFA chapters from every Union County high school, plus Joseph, Enterprise, Pine Eagle and Baker high schools, were represented at the District Career Development Event. The Elgin and Imbler high school FFA chapters put on the event.
“They did a great job,’’ Anderes said. “It was very well organized.’’