The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 28, 2013

High school students travel to Crowder College for Aggie Day

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — Nearly 3,000 high school students were on the Crowder College campus Thursday for the annual Aggie Day contest.

Students from several schools competed in a variety of agriculture-related events.

A team from Buffalo made up of seniors Seth Stewart, Tate Leer, Davis Benedict and Kolby Zouck competed in ag mechanics. Stewart said they were tested in electrical wiring, agriculture machinery, soil and water, surveying, carpentry, welding, and small gas engines.

“We got pretty in-depth with this,” Stewart said.

He said the team members have been practicing since January and already had been in several competitions. They didn’t yet know how they did in the Crowder competition.

“I feel we did OK,” Stewart said.

Thursday was Jay Wilkins’ 22nd year organizing Aggie Day. He is the college’s agriculture division chairman. He said the favorable weather helped speed the events along.

Wilkins said the students gain knowledge, and they also gain confidence.

“Probably the biggest thing is they learn how to express themselves verbally,” Wilkins said. “They also get to socialize with a bunch of kids with common interests from other schools.”

He said the college benefits from so many students seeing what Crowder’s campus is like.

Levi Elliott, 15, a freshman at McDonald County High School, participated in horse judging.

“We basically had to watch horses, compare them, take notes, and give their placements and reasons,” he said.

East Newton High School freshman Anthony Garnett, 15, judged dairy foods and took a test on FFA knowledge.

Garnett said the dairy food judging involved tasting several samples of milk and trying to distinguish what was wrong with each. He said he also sampled several types of cheeses and did an analysis of milk fat in samples. The event also included judging cow udders.

“In dairy foods, I placed 64th out of 175,” Garnett said. He said it was the biggest competition in which he had participated so far. He said he hadn’t yet been informed how he did on the FFA knowledge test.

His older brother, Daniel Garnett, a student at the University of Arkansas, assisted with Aggie Day and provided some good-natured ribbing to his younger sibling. A graduate of East Newton High School, he helped with the poultry competition. He said the teachers and advisers there are top-notch.

“He’s learning from the best,” Daniel Garnett said.

Varied competitions

OTHER EVENTS at Aggie Day included farm management, agronomy, forestry and meats.