Conrad FFA Alumni hosts 24th annual Crops and Mechanics Seminar

Saturday 200 FFA members from 20 FFA chapters across the state of Montana traveled to Conrad to participate in the 27th Annual Conrad FFA Alumni Crops and Mechanics Seminar.

The Conrad FFA Alumni has hosted the statewide event since 1984 and it has become one of the premier FFA competitive events held annually.

The seminar is a unique event that combines teaching sessions instructed by industry professionals and competitive events allowing students to test their skills in agronomy and mechanics.  Nearly 50 volunteer presenters and staff work together on the first Saturday of March each year to host this event.

In the mechanics portion of the event students took part in six seminar rotations that taught the basics of plumbing, tractor components, electricity, welding, mower components and hydraulics.

Teaching sessions and afternoon contest rotations were 30 minutes each. During the afternoon competition, students are required to execute a series of tasks specific to each rotation as well as recall specific knowledge about each station.

The crops portion of the event consisted of five rotations that taught students about fertilizer, insects, soils, irrigation, and crop staging. The afternoon competition required students to identify various soil types, calculate fertilizer application rates, determine growth stages of crops, figure irrigation rates and components and identify insects.

Awards are given to the top twenty placing individuals in both the Crops and Mechanics contests. The top three teams also receive special awards along with the top Greenhand, or first-year, individual.

The top ten individuals in the Mechanics contest were:

1st    Justin Hartman, Fergus of Lewistown
2nd    Austin Standley, Missoula
3rd    Zak Stark, Shields Valley
4th    Quinn Bassett, Stevensville
5th    Colter Kroon, Shields Valley
6th    Tyler Moline, Fergus of Lewistown
7th    Garrett Jones, Big Timber.
8th    Austin Butcher, Fergus of Lewistown.
9th    Roy Handley, Missoula
10th    Calvin Ophus, Conrad

The top five teams in the Mechanics contest were:

1st        Fergus of Lewistown
2nd    Missoula
3rd    Shields Valley
4th    Big Timber
5th     Flathead

The top ten individuals in the Crops contest were:

1st    Emily Muir, Missoula
2nd    Shauntae Harmon, Missoula
3rd    Ethan Igo, Belgrade
4th    Loni Blackman, Cascade
5th    Alex Songstad, Joliet
6th    Aaron Igo, Belgrade
7th    John Walker, Park
8th    Justin Stilson, Fergus of Lewistown
9th    Tyrel Hoferer, Joliet
10th    Mandy Wiley, Roundup

The top five teams in the Crops contest were:

1st    Joliet
2nd    Missoula
3rd    Belgrade
4th    Roundup
5th    Shields Valley

The seminar sectionals were instructed by: Travis Walter, plumbing; Eric LeMay (GENCO), Welding; Steven Don (MSU Northern), tractor components; Wayne Boysun (MSU Northern), mower; Brian Fladstol, hydraulics; Joel Farkell, irrigation; Rick Bandy, soils; Dan Picard, insects; Jeff Farkell, crop staging; Mike Yakelewicz, fertilizer.

Local sponsors of the Crops and Mechanics Seminar were: Bain Plumbing and Heating, Big Sky Equipment, CHS-Cenex Harvest States, CENTROL Crop Consulting, Columbia Grain, Conrad Building Center, Conrad FFA, Conrad FFA Alumni, Conrad Tire, Conrad Veterinary Clinic, Courtesy Ford and Custom Crop Care.

Also a sponsor was EQ Auto Parts, Farm Credit Services, Farm Bureau Financial Services, First Liberty Credit Union, Frontline Ag, Gary & Leo’s Fresh Food IGA, G&D Hardware, GENCO-General Distributing, Helena Chemical, Judisch Spraying Service, Kronebusch Electric, KSEN Radio, MAC Tools, McDonald Electric,  Mike’s Muffler and More, Monsanto, Montana Merchandizing Inc, Mountain View Co-op and MSU–Northern.

Final sponsors were Northern Seed, Pure Bliss Cycle Sales, Smoot Honey, Stockman Bank, Superior Machine and Welding, 3-V Distributing, Timeless Seeds, Town Pump, Van Motors, Wells Fargo Bank, WESCO Trailer Sales, Western Plant Breeders-WestBred and Zomer Trucking.

Editor’s note: This article was prepared and submitted by Joylynn Petrosky, FFA advisor and Ag Education instructor at Conrad High School.