Agriculture business students and faculty are humming “We are the Champions” this week as Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture students upheld their top rank at a national contest.
NCTA won first among 10 teams in the agriculture business category of competitions held by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture 2014 Judging Conference at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville.
Students from 2- and 4-year colleges competed, with NCTA teams ranking high in all of their respective contests with two firsts (AgriBusiness and Knowledge Bowl), a second in AgriBusiness Computers and third in Agronomy.
Team members and individual rank in the Agribusiness contest were: Jacob Wilgenburg of Fort Morgan, Colo., second; Jeff Hanhardt of Otis, Kan., third; Chelsea Nealon of Farwell, 10th; and Logan Lueck of Overton, Neb., tied for 16th. They competed among 34 students in the two-year colleges contest. An NCTA team had won the Agribusiness event last year, in Texas.
The 2014 foursome also competed as an Agribusiness Computer team and placed second overall in a field of eight teams and 28 individuals.
In the top 10 individuals, Wilgenburg placed fifth and Hanhardt sixth.
Knowledge or “quiz” bowl champions who competed in the comprehensive six-subject contest were: Wilgenburg, Lueck, Cody Vana of Wilber, Neb., Desarae Catlett of Broken Bow, Neb., and Dillon Brown of Hayes Center, Neb. They answered questions about agribusiness/farm management, agriculture mechanics, animal sciences, crops/soils, current agricultural events and horticulture.
“Earning the victory in the two-night, double-elimination tournament is a reflection of the abilities of NCTA students and the well-rounded education they receive,” said Dr. Brad Ramsdale, chair of NCTA’s Agronomy/Horticulture Division.
Agribusiness students are coached by Paul Clark, division chairman of NCTA’s Agribusiness Management Systems and faculty members Jennifer McConville and Jeremy Sievers, who both attended the student competition.
“These outstanding results demonstrate that, when going head-to-head against students from other colleges across the country, NCTA students are well-prepared in their disciplines,” said Dr. Ron Rosati, NCTA dean. “Congratulations go to our students for the skills and knowledge demonstrated in this contest – knowledge resulting from much studying, hard work, and a passion for agriculture. I would also congratulate NCTA faculty for the outstanding job they do in the classroom and in the laboratory, preparing students for careers and for competitions such as the North American Colleges and Teachers in Agriculture contest.”
NCTA’s agronomy team placed third overall among seven teams, which included an agronomic exam of 75 questions, math practical, lab practical of 75 specimens and plant and seed identification (75 specimens of crop and weed plants, and seeds from 150 possible species).
The team topped the contest score in the agronomic knowledge exam, with Wilgenburg placing 11th individually. Team members along with Wilgenburg were Catlett, Vana, Mitchell Poss of Kimball, Neb., and Kate Ostermeier of Grand Island, Neb.
Students and coaches will be recognized at NCTA Honors Night on Wednesday, May 7 at the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center Auditorium. Graduation is Thursday, May 8 at the Curtis Community Center. ❖