Local FFA chapters participate in career development events
COVE — Members from several local FFA
Chapters participated in the Eastern Oregon District's ag soils and
crops and weeds career development events and field day held Oct. 10 in
Cove High School ag teacher Toby Koehn coordinated the activities, the Cove Ascension Camp allowed the use of its facilities and the Cove FFA Booster Club supplied lunch for everyone.
Teams competing from this area in the district included La Grande, Union, North Powder, Cove, Imbler, Elgin, Joseph, Enterprise, Baker City and Pine Eagle.
Career development events provide FFA members with the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills acquired in agricultural science and technology classes at their local high schools, putting them to the test in a hands-on environment.
During the soils event, students made scientific and subjective measurements in pre-dug soil pits. Then they used that data to make the best management decisions for any determined soil problems, the most effective agricultural use for the soil, erosion control, septic tank limitations and what crops could be grown at that site.
The top five teams were first-place winners Joseph, then Union at second-place, Enterprise at third, Cove took fourth and Imbler placed fifth.
Overall top individuals included first- and second-place winners Megan Yost and Justin Waters, both from Joseph. Jadon Herron, Union, and Colby Patton and Chris Harshman from Joseph tied scores for third, fourth and fifth places.
Several examination pits were dug on the Sonny Johnson farm east of Cove prior to the activity. Crop and soil sciences professor Gary Kiemnec from Oregon State University's agriculture program at Eastern Oregon University examined the pits first to provided the official interpretations and results.
For the crops and weeds career development event, students were asked to identify 85 different weeds, crops and seeds during the competition. This year, the crops contest was hosted by Darrin Walenta, OSU Extension Agronomist for Union County. Walenta put together a great set of live and preserved samples that really challenged the students' ability to identify and classify local noxious weeds.
"It was great, to have actual samples and not just a power point slide show," said one Union FFA member. "It made it a lot more practical than identifying slides."
As an FFA district, chapter members had worried about bringing weed sample to various locations from the tri-county area because of the possibility of spreading some of the weed seeds. Walenta's direction and expertise helped overcome that obstacle and made the more "hands on" experience realistic.
The top five teams were first-place winners Pine Eagle, then Union at second-place, Cove at third, Baker City took fourth and La Grande placed fifth.