Moffat County High School FFA students reap range of benefits from state event
About 40 Moffat County High School Students participate in state FFA events
May 14, 2016
Craig — When 37 Moffat County High School students participated in Future Farmers of America Career Development Events on May 1 and 2, they practiced skills they may draw upon heavily if they enter an agricultural field — and even if they don't.
Fifteen of the students placed in the top 30 percent of the state in their events, said Denee Chintala, an agriculture teacher and an MCHS FFA advisor. Most of the students competed at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Chintala said Moffat County students placed at the silver level, overall, in the dairy cattle evaluation. She said Tiffany Hildebrandt placed gold, Brayden Anderson placed silver and Sidney Ferguson placed bronze.
“Dairy Cattle Evaluation centralizes around the desired qualities we seek as producers in a variety of breeds of cattle used primarily for dairy production,” Chintala explained in an email.
John Peroulis, who competed in Fort Collins, scored highest of any individual student in the state in agricultural mechanics.
"It's a really good organization because you learn a lot of different things you can use in the real world," said Peroulis, an MCHS junior. "It's pretty fun, too, to compete in the state."
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Among the things he said he's learned are how to weld, how to wire an outlet and how to work with irrigation systems.
The students are members of the Moffat County FFA chapter, and they take courses through the MCHS Agriculture Education program.
Rick Murr, an agriculture teacher at the high school, noted a number of career development themes at the event in Fort Collins, including land evaluation, meat carcass evaluation, farm business management, livestock evaluation, agricultural mechanics, floral design, milk quality and a number of others.
Murr, like Chintala, is an FFA advisor.
For students and teachers, work in FFA ranges well beyond agriculture — even as it plunges deeply into that field. Colby Beckett, one of the students who competed at the state level, noted that the sorts of skills honed by students who participate in FFA range from the very specific, such as welding, to much broader ones.
"I think it teaches you great skills that you're going to use later in life when you get a job and have a family," the MCHS sophomore said.
Freshman Lacey Wiseman described the livestock judging she did during an event in Fort Collins. It's a process that involves some careful reasoning, followed by clear — and public — explanation.
"You do your placings, and you have to tell them why you placed that way," Lacey said. "Depending on what you're judging, you want to look for muscle definition, their structure and their legs."
Murr noted public speaking as a particularly vital skill when it comes to FFA participation.
"Every (FFA) student goes through the intro class, and they have to get up in front of their peers and do public speaking several times," Murr said. "Hopefully by the time they're seniors, that side of it, and that skill, is there and it's not so scary to get up in front of people."
And it's not only career expertise, Murr added, that FFA helps to cultivate.
"If they understand all those facets of agriculture," Murr said, "they're a lot more educated when certain things come up on a ballot initiative to be able to make an educated decision on what they want to do and how they want to vote for something."
Other highlights from the event include:
• Kelton Villard placed bronze in Ag Mechanics, to accompany Peroulis’s state-high placement. Moffat County High School’s contingent placed gold as a team.
• Hannah Peterson and Kaylee Springer placed bronze in Milk Quality.
• Brady Springer and Kearn Gerber placed bronze and Kaitlyan Reed placed silver in Land Evaluation. The team ended up placing bronze all together.
• Jared Baker placed bronze in Livestock Evaluation.