Southwest Iowa News

As the 2019 summer starts to winds down to its final weeks, the Atlantic FFA chapter has many things they can look back upon — and many things to look forward to.

Some of the activities that the chapter has been involved with this summer includes the following: competing in five livestock judging contests, judging at the horse evaluation contest, attending the Chapter Officer Leadership Training (COLT) Conference, working at the Elite Octane Open House, and working on projects for the county fair.

Below is a short description of each of these event(s):

Livestock Judging

While competing at five livestocking judging events, members were able to gain an understanding of how to judge sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle. Placement wise, the chapter found the most success at the Southwest District Livestock Judging Contest, held at the Cass County Fair. At this event, graduated senior Nathan Behrends placed 3rd overall, and incoming freshman Dylan Comes placed 10th overall. The chapter also placed 2nd amongst teams within the district, and had one of their two teams place 3rd overall.

Horse Evaluation

The Iowa FFA Horse Evaluation contest was held at the Iowa Equestrian Center in June. Three members from the Atlantic FFA chapter competed at this event. These members included Taylor McCreedy, Aspen Niklasen, and Craig Alan Becker. Overall, 103 individuals from 33 different FFA chapters across the state of Iowa competed in the competition. Amongst these contestants, McCreedy placed 4th individually. The Atlantic chapter placed 7th as a team as well.

Chapter Officer Leadership Training (COLT) Conference

The Atlantic FFA hosted the COLT conference at the high school during the first week of June. In all, officers from 23 different schools attended the conference. Southwest Iowa District Officers helped coordinate the event. One of these officers includes President Tyler Comes. He explained that “COLT focuses on teaching FFA chapter officers skills they can use throughout their year of service in the position they are in.”

Elite Octane Open House

On May 31st, the ethanol company Elite Octane hosted a grand opening event, which celebrated the making of the company’s new ethanol plant, located just north of Atlantic. During the open house, many prominent speakers came to talk about the benefits of ethanol, along with Iowa’s role in producing this substance. These speakers included people such as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

County Fair

At this year’s county fair, Atlantic FFA members could have been seen showing livestock such as sheep, swine, cattle, goats, horses, rabbits, and birds. On top of these projects, many members also brought static exhibits.

While at such events, members were given the opportunity to not only be involved with the chapter, but to also grow as a person. This growth could be found in their citizenship, leadership, and communication skills.

Carli Henderson, Atlantic FFA Chapter Vice President, said “The opportunities this summer have given me the time to grow a relationship with our community and the incredible people in it. These relationships will grow as I continue to be involved with my chapter in the future.”

Some of this involvement that Carli and other FFA members will be taking part of is at the Iowa State Fair. From August 8-18, the fair will be taking place in Des Moines. At the fair, five members will have photos in the photography contest, four will have crops in the farm crop contest, two will be showing goats, and one will be taking part in the agriculture mechanic contest.

The Farm Progress Show is another event coming up on the chapter’s calendar. This event will take place Aug. 26-27, and will be in Decatur, Illinois. This show exhibits the latest technology and ideas in the agricultural industry, and draws worldwide attention. Also at the show will be the displacement of the “A’s” created for the “Big A Contest.” This competition was held back in the spring of this year, and was opened to FFA chapters in Iowa and Illinois. In order to win, a chapter must create a design that would be the most appealing on a large letter “A.” The prize was money reward given to the winning chapter. The Atlantic chapter took part in this event, and received honors for being one of the finalists of the contest. Despite the fact that they didn’t win, the “A” that Atlantic made will be on display during the show.

The final planned event of August will be the Guthrie County Fair Livestock Judging Contest. This contest would be the sixth, and last, contest that the chapter plans to do for 2019 year. It will be held on Aug. 28.

All of these events help give members opportunities to be actively involved with their chapter. Not only does it give them this opportunity of involvement, but also a chance to strengthen themselves in various ways.