After multiple wins and a 6th place finish at the State FFA Contest last year, expectations were high for the Southeast FFA Chapter Farm Business Management team going into this year as they returned three of their four team members from last years team. On top of that, the team, consisting of Jarod Watson, Phillip Underwood and Jacob Zortz, identified, and recruited first year member Aaron Westervelt, to join them in their quest for a banner year.
Their first target was the Southeast District FFA Farm Business Management contest on December 12th. Last year the team finished 3rd in the district which consists of 24 schools in Southeast Kansas, and were determined to do better this year.
The hard work and determination paid-off as the team brought home the first place hardware for the District contest, edging out Labette County by two points for the win. Phillip Underwood led the way with a 4th place finish, Jacob Zortz had a 5th place finish, Jarod Watson took home 8th and Aaron Westervelt finished in 10th at his first FFA contest. Also on the team, but falling short of the top 10 was junior Erin Horgan. With the victory comes a state qualification allowing the students to compete at the State FFA Contest in May.
With the brief tradition of being strong in the Farm Business Management competition, the Chapter wanted to start grooming some younger students to eventually fill the shoes of the seniors. With a limited amount of time to prepare and with the difficulty of the contest itself, expectations for the six Freshman students who competed in the “B” division of the Farm Business Management Contest were modest to say the least.
However, as the contest grew closer, FFA Advisor Scott Sutton knew that the group of first year FFA members had a chance to compete very strongly. The “B” division consists of both Freshman and Sophomores, so the Freshman are at a disadvantage as they are essentially a year behind the Sophomores competing. But thanks to some hard working kids who were eager to learn, the “B” team also brought home the 1st place hardware as they won the “B” division of the Southeast District FFA contest.
Eric Underwood followed in the footsteps of his brother by leading his team with a 1st place individual finish, Jacob McGuire won his 4th medal of the year by finishing 6th, and John Jameson finished in 10th. Also on the team, but falling out of the top ten were Devon Guison, Alli Markley and Cady Lloyd.
The Farm Business Management teams will see several other opportunities to compete when spring arrives as several local Community Colleges hold “Aggie Day” competitions that all feature Farm Business Management contest.