Friday, March 24, 2023

Mission Valley FFA hosts District Competition

by Berl Tiskus
| March 16, 2023 12:00 AM

Dark blue Future Farmers of America jackets were everywhere last month when members from 13 Montana schools took over Lake County Fairgrounds in Ronan for the District FFA contest.

According to Mission Valley FFA Advisor Casey Lunceford, 116 students competed in livestock judging and 86 in mechanics on Feb. 21 to qualify for the Montana State FFA competition.

The other FFA chapters “might think they got homered,” Lunceford said with a big grin, “cause we won ‘em both.”

Mission Valley FFA currently has members from Ronan, Charlo and St. Ignatius, although some Polson youngsters have participated in other years. Lunceford said he’s always recruiting, and younger kids are coming up through the Lake County 4-H program. For instance, Grace Elverud, a young 4-Her who’s also in FFA, is on the varsity judging team.

“FFA isn’t just sows, cows and plows anymore,” Lunceford added.

From meat judging to forestry, mechanics and welding, and from livestock judging and raising to gardening and technology, there’s something to interest every young person.

The FFA chapter has a busy season ahead, with summer plans to finish refurbishing the FFA stockyards west of Ronan and to begin turning nearby FFA ground into an outdoor classroom, which mostly entails fencing to keep the critters enclosed. The property is home to a garden already.

Ideally Lunceford and his crew would like to construct animal pens and a building with a classroom to allow Lunceford to teach artificial insemination and other hands-on agriculture classes. The structure would also provide a place for animal feed storage.

But first there’s the Montana State FFA Convention competition set for March 22-25 in Great Falls. The Mission Valley kids qualified “in everything,” Lunceford said, and 22 members will travel to Great Falls. In addition to the nine competitions,Mission Valley members Kemrie Cross, Gunnar Lahaug, and Isaac Cantlon are running for state FFA offices.

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