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Agricultural technology contest hosted by UWRF

March 28, 2014

UW-River Falls will host the 54th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest on March 29, 2014.

The contest began in 1961 with the hope of giving high school youth the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that they were learning in their agriculture classrooms. The first year 17 schools and approximately 600 students participated in the Agricultural Technology Contest. In 2013, the campus welcomed over 60 schools and more than 1,000 students in the contests.

Today the contests focus on agricultural communications, agricultural mechanics, agronomy, dairy cattle evaluation, farm business management, floriculture, food science and technology, forestry, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, meats, nursery/landscape, soils, veterinary science and wildlife.

A new contest area for 2014 that students can participate in is agricultural education. Within this competition students will develop and present a lesson plan on a topic of their choosing. In addition to their teaching skills, students will be tested upon their knowledge within agricultural education.

This year, UWRF coordinates the Wisconsin FFA state contests for agricultural communications and food science and technology. First-place teams will advance to compete at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., this October.

Six of these contests also serve as qualifying contests for the Wisconsin FFA Association Career Development Events (CDE) to be held April 25, 2014, in Madison, Wis. These contests include agricultural technology and mechanical systems, dairy evaluation, floriculture, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation and wildlife. New to our qualifying contests is the addition of a veterinary science contest. Middle school students can demonstrate their skills by participating in the agriscience contest that’s offered. Students also have the opportunity to compete in the 35th Annual Crop Show and a Power Tool Drag Race.

Another highlight of this year’s event is the change of the type of tool students use when building their vehicle to compete in the Power Tool Drag Race.

The Power Tool Drag Race is a unique opportunity available to students, who are interested in problem solving, creative design, research and development and engineering. This year students must power their vehicle using a 120-volt circular saw. This event is coordinated and sponsored by the UWRF Agricultural Industry Club.

Each year it takes over a hundred volunteers to ensure successful contests. Faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) serve as chairs for each of the contests. CAFES students volunteer their time as student chairs and assist on the contest day. Leeann Hitsman, an agricultural education major from Cleveland, Wis., is serving as this year’s contest coordinator.

The assistant coordinator is Kathryn Chapman, an agricultural education major from Portage, Wis. Tim Buttles serves as the faculty chair for the contest and Fay Westberg of the agricultural education department assists with overall contest preparations.

In the fall of 1912 the agriculture department began teaching in a total of three rooms in South Hall and with two and one-half instructors. Fifty-three men enrolled for the first school year. For more details about the contests, please visit the Agricultural Education Department website at http://www.uwrf.edu/AGED/CDE/AgriculturalTechnologyContest.cfm.