The mechanical whirring of a drone and the whinny of a horse were some of the unusual sounds heard at York College on Thursday, as more than 150 FFA students from across the state flooded campus for the third annual Cultivate Event. Next month these students will begin competing in FFA events such as ag demonstration, parliamentary procedure, and agriculture literacy. At the York College hosted event, they had the opportunity to practice their presentations and hone their skills with feedback from college students and faculty members.

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Students presented information on many agricultural topics, from how to use a drone to monitor crops and livestock more efficiently to how to saddle a horse for rodeo competition.

“This is a really good opportunity for students to get their jitters out before competition,” said Chrisinda Schleideler, an agriculture education major from UNL who volunteers with the FFA team from Arcadia. “When I was in FFA I didn't have these kind of opportunities to practice in a real competitive setting. It is really helpful to get feedback from people who don't know them and have a more professional background.” Schleideler will be student teaching in Gothenburg in the spring semester and is excited about a future career in agriculture education where she plans to continue her affiliation with FFA.

Ag education may be waning in some places, but it is still alive and well in Nebraska, as evidenced by the number and enthusiasm of the student participants at Cultivate. From beef and dairy production to crop science, students explored a variety of ag-related interests. “I do FFA because of beekeeping,” said Rolf Kloch, a junior from Waverly. “I usually keep one to two hives. It’s pretty fun. This is the only club at school that is about that kind of thing.” Kloch has been keeping bees since the 8th grade. While he hasn’t presented on beekeeping at a competitive FFA event, the networking available through FFA has been important to the young entrepreneur. “Most of my honey sales come by word of mouth through connections with FFA,” he said. He is planning to grow his business and improve his marketing efforts in the future. “FFA has been useful because of leadership stuff. Being an officer and going to competitions, you learn a lot.”

“The Cultivate event has grown every year that it has been offered and is a valuable service to area ag educators,” said event coordinator Stacie Turnbull, director of the agribusiness program at York College. “This is a great experience for York College students and faculty also, as they interact with the FFA members. I appreciate all of their hard work, as well as that of the many businesses in York who help judge.”

Team Results

​​Ag Demo
1. O’Neil
2. Wood River
3. Arcadia
4. Sutton
5. Waverly
1. Becky Hupp, O’Neil
2. Hunter Kohl, Raymond Central
3. Joseph Hindrichs, Sutton
4. Kelsey Alder, St. Edward
5. Ellie Hula, Raymond Central
6. Krystal Hall, Raymond Central
7. Andrea Mejia-Barrios, Kearney
8.  Lance Searns, Arcadia
9.  Seth Howard, Arcadia
Sr. Public Speaking
1. Josie Samuelson, Doniphan-Trumbull
2. Melody McDonald, St. Edward
3. Miranda Hornung, Raymond Central
4. Halle Sidak, Wood River
5. Garrett Ingalls, Shelby Rising City
6. Morgan Fowler, O’Neil
7. Adi Friesen, Sutton
8. Lee Carslson, Sutton
9.  Kelsey Loseke, Blair (unranked)

Cooperative Speaking
1. Zane Kern, Blair
2. Makenna Welke, O’Neil
3. Morgan Fowler, O’Neil
1. Kale Strizek, Raymond Central
2. Roy Cummings, St. Edward
3.  Adam Razey, Waverly
4. Clare Hornoug * (3rd based on feedback round), Raymond Central
 Discovery Speaking
1.  Gracie Nuss, Sutton
2. Emma Saathoff, Doniphan-Trumbull
3.  Abby Hullinsky, Arcadia
4.  Katie Hegen, Arcadia
5. Kaleigh Nuss, Sutton
Conduct of Chapter Meetings (demo only)
1. Blair
2. Kearney
3. Shelby-Rising City
4. St. Edward #1 (team members included Gage)
5. St. Edward #2 (team members included Cole)
Conduct of Chapter Meetings (full results)
1. Blair
2. Kearney
3. Shelby-Rising City
4. St. Edward #2 (team members included Cole)
5.  St. Edward #1 (team members included Gage)
Sr. Parli Pro  (demonstration only)
1.  Shelby-Rising City
2.  Waverly
3.  St. Edward
4.  O’Neil
Sr. Parli Pro    (full results)
1.  Shelby-Rising City
2.  Waverly
3.  St. Edward
4.  O’Neil
Employment Skills (interview only)
1.  Naomy Snider, McCool Junction
2.  Maddie Nuss, Sutton
3.  Hallie Paulson, Blair
4. Megan Fehr, Sutton
5.  Hannah Alden, O’Neil
6. Ashley Heyen, Raymond Central
7. Levi Sorgenfrei, Wood River
 Employment Skills (final results)
1.  Naomy Snider, McCool Junction
2.  Hallie Paulson, Blair
3.  Megan Fehr, Sutton
4.  Maddie Nuss, Sutton
5.  Hannah Alden, O’Neil
6.  Ashley Heyen, Raymond Central
7.  Levi Sorgenfrei, Wood River
Natural Resources Speaking
1. Luke Mathiesen, Blair
2. Lacey Hoffman, Doniphan-Trumbull
3. Zachary Taggert, McCool Junction
4. Nathan Burnett, Wood River
5. Sophie Reeves, St. Edward
6. Sophie Reeves
Jr. Public Speaking
1.  Claire Rolf, Waverly
2.  Sabrina Ellenwood, McCool Junction
3.  Ali Neilson, Blair
4.  Audrey Sorensen, Waverly
5.  Joseph Hinricks, Sutton
6. Tori Perry, Shelby-Rising City
7.  Alias Schumacher, St. Edward
Ag Literacy Speaking
1.  Sydney Rainforth, Doniphan-Trumbull
2.  Jessi Heyen, Arcadia
3.  Jordon Underwood, Arcadia
4.  Haley Robb, Doniphan-Trumbull
5.  Carly Rose, Sutton
6. Makayla Messenger, Sutton
7.  Brittney Nelson, O’Neil