The career development education, or CDE, competitions allow students to test their knowledge in several agriculture and technical fields ranging from electrical to agricultural business.
Normally students would gather together and the tests would be hands on events. However, the lingering COVID-19 virus forced event organizers to shift to an online event to assure social distancing protocols.
Mount Ida FFA Sponsor Jonathan Rowland explained that due to COVID-19 events were limited to virtual activities. Gone were the hands on portions of the competitions with competitors needing keen eyes and a great memory to compete online.
Many of the competitions consisted of competitors watching videos and then answering questions afterward.
Mount Ida competed in the Southern District while participating in the State Competition.
Participants in the Farm Business Management and Mechanics competitions were given scenarios within their field of study and were then asked questions about each.
Both groups did well with each earning top honors in district competition.
There best overall performance came in the farm business management competition. The team including Katelyn Gilbert, Haley Black, Garrett Campbell and Mesa Miller finished second overall with a score of 596 points. Gilbert finished sixth overall with a score of 228, followed by Haley Black with an eighth place finish with a total of 222 points. Campbell finished in 21st place with 146 points and Miller finished in 23rd place with 138 points.
The agriculture mechanics team finished fourth overall with 811 points. Austin Rowland finished in the Top 10 at eighth place with 257 points. Seth Breashears finished 17th with 207 points, followed by Ethan Pearce in 18th place with 200 points. Jacob Woodfield finished 34th with 147 points.
The Southern District dominated the forestry competition with the top seven places coming from that region. Mount Ida finished seventh in district and state with 1057 points. Jacob Woodfield finished in 11th place with 381 points. Ian McDowell finished in 30th place with 355 points, Gage Pantel finished in 38th place with 321 points and Gracia Huitt finished in 50th place with 266 points.
Mount Ida was fourth best in the Southern District in the horse competition with 958 points. They finished 18th overall. Bethany Black finished 35th with 350 points, Abry McClure finished 60th with 319 points and Tracy Efird finished 77th with 289 points.
Mount Ida finished in fifth place in the Southern District in the Livestock competition with 1135 points. They ranked 23rd overall. Maddie Summitt finished 79th with 386 points, Gracie Summitt finished 85th with 379 points and Mikayla Ellison finished 88th with 370 points.
Mount Ida finished fourth in the Southern District with 670 points and 18th overall. Jon Sturch finished in 52nd place with 343 points and Aleena Rowland finished in 54th place with 327.
Rowland stated that the distance learning forced upon the students this Spring as a result of COVID-19 helped prepare them for the virtual contest. FFA sponsors are considering including virtual competition a part of their curriculum to prepare for any future contests of this kind.
The competition wasn’t without its tragedies.
Rowland shared that his best public speaker, Alexis Rowland, wasn’t able to compete due to bad internet service. She has won several events leading up to the state competition, but was unable to log in during the alotted time missing a chance to win state.
Rowland expressed pride in his team, especially the seniors who participated. He shared that he wasn’t sure how many would after school was out, but many did. Alexis Rowland was one of his seniors, along with Austin Rowland, Seth Breashears and Haley Black.
The future looks bright for the Mount Ida FFA program with several underclassmen participating in the state competition. Rowland stated that his poultry team consists entirely of eighth graders, while his forestry team is mostly freshmen.