FFA members gearing up for State competition.

Twenty-three members of the Sleepy Eye FFA chapter attended the Little International Contest in Brookings, S.D. at SDSU on Friday, March 23. They competed in the Dairy, Livestock, Meats, Milk Quality & Products, Floriculture, and Nursery Landscape Contests.

Identifying off flavors in milk, identifying cheese and its characteristics, identifying dairy and non-dairy products, and a knowledge test were all parts of the Dairy Products contest at SDSU. The Sleepy Eye team placed second of 30 teams. Team members include Paige Romberg, sixth individual; Abby Hoffmann, seventh individual and Trey Heiderscheidt.

For the Dairy Contest, team members Macy Schenk, Clarissa Simonsen, Sophie Portner and Gracie Sellner evaluated several classes of Brown Swiss and Holstein dairy cows and heifers, as well as a pedigree class where they judged cows based on their records. Their team placed fifth and Sophie placed fifth individually.

The Meats contest was composed of identifying meat cuts by type—beef, lamb, pork—wholesale and resale. The meats team also evaluated pork carcasses and judged classes of meat. Team members include Maranda Braulick, Brittney Dittbenner, Carmen Lendt, Nick Ludewig and Kathryn Schroepfer. The team placed 16th out of 40 teams and Nick and Maranda tied for high scorers on their team.

Hanna Schroepfer, Luke Mielke and Jack Schroepfer competed in the Nursery Landscape CDE, placing sixth out of 17 teams. Hannah was the top scorer on their team. They identified nursery tree, landscape plants and tools, and took a knowledge test.

For the Livestock Judging Contest, members evaluated hogs, sheep, and beef. Jackson Hurias, Kyle Wersal, Osiel Carrera, Enrique Flores and Jon Bauers competed and placed 32nd out of 86 teams. Kyle Wersal was the top scorer on the Sleepy Eye team.

In the Floriculture Contest, the contestants identified cut flowers, annuals, and greenhouse plants, as well as taking a knowledge test and judging plants and flowers. The team consisted of Jenna Zuhlsdorf, Courtney Dittbenner and Mariah Miller. Their team placed 17th out of 42 teams and Mariah was the high scorer for Sleepy Eye.

Little International was a great opportunity for the teams to test their knowledge and skills to prepare for upcoming Region contests and the State Convention.

On April 4, the Region VI FFA Floriculture and Nursery Landscape Contests were held in Windom. Both Sleepy Eye teams will be advancing to compete at the State Convention.

The Nursery Landscape Team placed fourth overall out of nine teams. Team members included Isaac Nelson, Hanna Himmelman, Hannah Schroepfer, Jack Schroepfer and Luke Mielke. The CDE consists of Identification of Deciduous Trees and Shrubs, Evergreen Trees and Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, Weeds, Equipment, and Pests, as well as a knowledge test. There are also two practicums: Problem Solving and Potting Soil/Pavers. Isaac Nelson placed fifth individually in the region contest.

The Floriculture team placed sixth overall out of 15 teams. Team members included Jenna Zuhlsdorf, Courtney Dittbenner, Mya Ibberson and Mariah Miller. The components of the Floriculture CDE are Identification of Cut Flowers, Potted Greenhouse Crops, Annual Flowers, and Tools, as well as a knowledge test. There is also a Problem Solving Activity and a Practicum which included creating a floral arrangement. Jenna Zuhlsdorf placed 10th individually.

Several more teams will compete in Regions on April 13. FFA Advisor Mary Hoffmann wished good luck to all those participants and those who are gearing up for state competition.