Students test their skills at Crowder’s Aggie Day | Local News

NEOSHO, Mo. – A few things have changed around the world since last Aggie Day at Crowder College, held in 2019. The event has become more important to organizers in light of supply chain disruptions .

“Do you see the grocery store shelves empty? said Jorge Zapata, president of the agriculture division. “We’re not used to seeing this. As certain global changes have taken place, people are becoming more aware of where our food comes from. Supply chain issues in particular mean that people think about it more.”

Nearly 1,500 National FFA Organization students from 81 high schools in four states put their skills to the test Thursday at the 51st annual Aggie Day in Crowder. Competing in fields such as forestry, agronomy, farm management, livestock, soils and poultry, students have worked for more than $11,000 in scholarships.

One of the largest contests of its kind, it also gave students the opportunity to practice for upcoming district contests in their area. Zapata said they competed in 16 contests throughout the day.

These pageants are more than a competition, he said. They are an essential component of agricultural education.

“These are designed to be hands-on parts of academic learning,” Zapata said. “They’re learning academics and science, and then they’re going to apply it, whether it’s evaluating carcasses, eggs, livestock. They apply what they learn.”

Other aspects of the competition assess skills such as speaking, research and resource management.

Zapata said the skills featured in the contest will grow in importance over the coming decades. It introduces students to trades and tasks in the middle of the supply chain between the farm and the store.

Such a large employment sector is occupied by only 1.8% of the population, he said. And this small group has a monumental task ahead of it.

“Think about how much food has been made from the beginning of time until now,” Zapata said. “We need to produce as much by 2050 to feed the growing world population. This will put a strain on agricultural production.”

The event was led by nearly 60 volunteers across campus, Zapata said. Bursaries and other services were provided by community sponsors.