FFA gears up for Friday

Published 8:52 am Thursday, March 31, 2011

GLENVILLE – The Glenville FFA students are gearing up for a big day tomorrow.

The students are traveling with Albert Lea FFA students to Brookings, S.D., to compete at Little International, also known as Little I, at South Dakota State University.

The 88th Annual Little International competition, slated for Friday and Saturday, is one of the nation’s largest livestock contests. Hundreds of high school students, and some college students, compete in the event each year. The event is managed by SDSU students and is famous as the largest two-day, student-run agricultural exposition in the nation.

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Angie James, Glenville-Emmons High School’s FFA adviser and agriculture instructor, said she has 27 of her 52 students attending the event. They will compete in the categories of general livestock, floriculture, fish and wildlife, horse and nursery landscape.

“The purpose of this event is for students to have another chance to compete in their contest for FFA,” said James. “Some of our teams have already qualified for our State FFA competition, and a few have our state qualifier the week after Little I, so it is good practice, and one of the best competitions to bring them to, in my opinion.”

The event also gives James a better idea of what the teams need to practice on. Plus, it gives students a variety of experiences through FFA.

James has been bringing the Glenville-Emmons FFA students to the event since she took over as the FFA adviser three years ago.

“I went to SDSU for my undergrad degree in Ag Ed, and participated in the college portion of Little I when I was there,” said James. “I knew what a good experience it was when I was in college, so I wanted my students to have that experience. It is also a good chance for them to see a college campus that has agriculture majors.”

Courtney Williamson, a sophomore at Glenville High School and two-year FFA member, participated in Little I last year. She hopes to learn what judges are looking for in different types of livestock and looks forward to hanging out with her friends, along with meeting some new ones.

“I went last year when we went and had a great time because we got to compete with people from other states and we got to go see a pretty advanced college campus,” said Trenton Thoms, a Glenville-Emmons junior and third-year FFA member.

Williamson also hopes to learn more about agriculture and leadership.

“Without ag, we would all go hungry because there wouldn’t be much food left in the world,” she said. “Without leadership there would be many world conflicts because people would pretty much do whatever they want.”

Friday is most of the high school contests. The Glenville and Albert Lea FFA students will go to Brookings after school on Thursday, compete at the contest on Friday and return home Friday evening.

James said because she used to be the Albert Lea FFA adviser, she has known Kim Meyer, Albert Lea’s FFA adviser, since she taught there. Albert Lea FFA’s general livestock team is going to the competition with the Glenville students to save money on transportation costs. They also plan to share a bus to the state FFA convention.

“Agriculture teachers know each other better than teachers from different schools in other disciplines since we see each other so often for meetings and competitions,” James said. “We like to share our talents with each other. Kim helps me with welding, and I help him with flowers.”

James hopes to continue taking students to Little I for many years to come.

“The students seem to really enjoy this competition, and the chance to get to travel,” she said.