Ag students take high honors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Albert Lea High School FFA has a problem.

Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Albert Lea High School FFA has a problem. Advisor Kim Meyer had trouble finding an award presented at the state fair. &uot;I can’t even keep track,&uot; he said, &uot;We’ve been getting so many plaques lately.&uot;

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In fact, four local ag students brought another plaque home yesterday. Brett Mattson, Lance Brune, Jason Hubly and Matt Nielson teamed up to take fifth-place at the National Barrow Show this week.

With nearly 100 teams from around the nation competing, the Albert Lea students scored 759 points in ranking the hogs presented. They missed first-place by 12 points.

Still, the livestock judging team stepped up from seventh place last year and Meyer said they’re still moving.

&uot;We moved up and have some returners for next year and maybe can take it all next year,&uot; he said.

Meyer said any placing in the top ten means the Albert Lea FFA will be listed among the high school winners in a variety of national farming magazines.

But, the national placing is just the latest for the local students.

They also took top honors at the state fair.

Mattson and Hubly were joined by Jeff Nelson and Joel Busch for livestock judging at the state fair and took first for judging general livestock.

The state fair win followed a first place score at the local fair and a variety of top placings at regional fairs. Meyer said the consistency means the team is good.

Livestock judging can be tricky, he explained. Each team’s rankings are scored against an official judge’s score. As a result, scoring in any one competition could be a suspect.

Consistent winning means there is skill in the group, however, Meyer said.

That gives the FFA advisor hope for the upcoming year.

The livestock judging team will compete in regional FFA competition early next month. If chosen one of the top seven of 30 schools, they will advance to state.

Meyer said chances are good for a state bid this year and he’s hopeful the group will get a chance to test their skill in national competition next year. The national FFA convention will be held in October of 2000.

The group is also aiming to participate in the world livestock show next February in Denver, Colo. If they rank first or second at the state FFA convention, their way will be paid. If not, Meyer said they are hoping the can raise the needed funds.

He said the goal is to give the students a chance to do their best.

&uot;We have some really good students,&uot; he said.

In addition to the livestock team, other awards given at the state fair included:

* Grand champion individual livestock judging – Jason Hubly.

* Reserve champion individual livestock judging – Lance Brune.

* Reserve champion tractor driver – Chris Hanson.

* Third-place tractor driver – Justin Krueger.

* Reserve champion showman – Jason Hubly.

* Reserve champion carcass hog – Brett Mattson.