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UWRF to Host 50th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest

March 12, 2010--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will host the 50th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest on Saturday, March 27.

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 saw 17 schools and approximately 600 students. For the 2009 contest, the campus welcomed over 60 schools and almost 1,000 students. 

“The scope of the contest broadened over the past 50 years to match changes to the agriculture courses taught in high schools,” said Tim Buttles, faculty chair for the Agricultural Technology Contest and associate professor in agricultural education. “We have maintained the original areas such as dairy and livestock evaluation while adding events for students with interests across the spectrum of agriculture, food and natural resources.”

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, small animals, soils and wildlife.

This year, UWRF coordinates the Wisconsin FFA state contests for agricultural communications and food science and technology. The first-place teams will advance to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. in October.

Six of the contests also serve as qualifying contests for the Wisconsin FFA Association Career Development Events (CDE) to be held April 30 in Madison. These contests include agricultural mechanics, dairy evaluation, floriculture, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation and wildlife.
Two contests allow middle school students to demonstrate their skills in agriscience and plant science.  Students also have the opportunity to compete in the 31st Annual Crop Show and a power tool drag race.

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. Kellie Claflin, an agricultural education major from Osseo is serving as this year’s contest coordinator. The assistant coordinator is Michelle Heeg, an agricultural education major from Marshfield.  Tim Buttles, associate professor of agricultural education,  serves as faculty chair for the contest and Fay Westberg of the agricultural education department assists with overall contest preparations.

To learn more about the contests, visit the Agricultural Education Department
Web site at http://www.uwrf.edu/ag-education/.


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