It was not a typical Wednesday afternoon as buses filled with excited high school FFA members descended eagerly upon the University of Missouri campus. These FFA members, sporting the traditional corduroy national blue jackets, were here to compete in the 9th annual collegiate FFA practice contest.
“As a collegiate FFA member and as someone who wants to become an ag teacher in the future, planning this contest has been a great experience,” said Taylor Strain, Collegiate FFA president. “Hosting this contest gives the high school students participating a chance to practice for upcoming competitions and us college students who are organizing, a chance to gain experience we can use in our future careers.”
The contest took place on March 1 this year in various buildings spread across campus. The contest featured leadership development events that included public speaking, job interview, parliamentary procedure, FFA knowledge, agricultural issues, FFA Creed speaking, and agricultural sales. 32 FFA chapters from all areas of the state participated.
“Having an opportunity to plan and execute this contest has given me a glimpse into my future career and a look back at my high school FFA member days,” said Kaitlin Verace, Contest Public Speaking LDE chair and Collegiate FFA member. “It’s been really fun to help out these students and lead them through the contest as a LED chair.”
Mizzou Collegiate FFA chapter members coordinated the event locations, recruited judges and volunteers, and directed students and chapter advisers throughout the contest. Since the contest began, nine years ago, attendance has continued to increase each year. Attendance at this years contest was a record high. The contest allows high school students to gain experience in their leadership development events before going on to compete in FFA area and district contests.
“Participating in the contest is a good experience for all high school FFA members to really work out their nerves and any hiccups in their LDEs,” Verace said. “We have a few freshmen participating as their first LDE FFA contest, and it’s been fun to watch their confidence grow as they gain experience.”
Throughout the rest of March and the beginning of April, FFA members from across the state will compete at the area and district levels in leadership development events and career development events. The top teams from these contests will then move on to compete at the Missouri State FFA Convention which will be April 20-21. The state contests are held on and off campus at a variety of locations across Columbia, and the Hearnes Center will host a career show as well as award ceremonies and other sessions in the evenings. Members from Mizzou Collegiate FFA will be helping in various contests throughout the convention.
Contest results from the practice contest hosted by Mizzou Collegiate FFA can be found here.