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NCTA wins Texas crops contest

CURTIS, Neb. — For their inaugural trip to Texas, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Aggie Crop Judging Team swept top four individual placings and won top team honors among two-year colleges.

Eight Aggies from the NCTA and Agronomy Professor Brad Ramsdale, their coach, traveled to West Texas A&M University for Saturday’s collegiate contest.

It was the first time an NCTA crops team competed in Texas and one of the larger contests, thus far, in the 2021-2022 academic year. National events were halted in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.



“I really appreciate that West Texas A&M stepped forward to provide one of our two regional contests this year,” Ramsdale said Monday.

While winning the team title among two-year schools, the NCTA sophomores placed first, second, third and fourth individually.



Koltyn Forbes of Grand Island was first overall, with Kaden Bryant of Firth, Ahren Marburger of Malvern, Iowa, and Allison Wilkens of Gibbon completing the sweep.

NCTA also had four Aggies who gained experience while participating as unofficial contestants.

They were Kamren Sitzman, McCook; Nolan Buss, Stockton, Kan.; Codi LaBorde, Milliken, Colo., and Garrett Thielen, Dorrance, Kan.

NCTA Crops Judging Team won Top two-year Team at the West Texas A&M contest, left to right, Ahren Marburger, Koltyn Forbes, Kaden Bryant and Allison Wilkens. Photo by B. Ramsdale /NCTA

For most Aggies, they’d not traveled to the area around Amarillo and the nearby campus at Canyon. WTA&M has brought its teams to Curtis for NCTA-hosted contests previously.

“They are a regular participant in the region and the chance to travel to their campus provided a wonderful learning experience for everyone,” Ramsdale said.

CONTEST STANDARDS

Contest content is from four main categories of criteria required as an agronomy standard for professionals to become certified crop advisers. The categories are agronomic test, lab practical, plant and seed identification, and math practical.

Aggie students earned plaques for the following categories: Agronomic Quiz — second Ahren Marburger; Plant and Seed Identification — first Kaden Bryant; second Koltyn Forbes; third Ahren Marburger; Lab Practical — first Kaden Bryant; second Allison Wilkens; third Ahren Marburger; and Math Practical — second Koltyn Forbes

Koltyn Forbes is an Aggie sophomore majoring in agronomy and plans to return to NCTA a third year to study agribusiness and continue crops judging. He won high point overall individual, was second in math, and second in plant and seed identification.

“I liked the plant and seed ID the best, and my least favorite was math because it was quite tough,” Forbes said. “But, I must have done well enough as I got second place with 45 out 150 points.”

Forbes said the Aggies studied in the college van on the long trip from Curtis, and once reaching the hotel in Amarillo.

“We showed up to win and that’s exactly what we did,” said Kaden Bryant, who also has competed in Texas with the Aggie Shooting Sports Team. “West Texas had the hardest math quiz ever. They set an all-time low for scores on it.”

Allison Wilkens placed second on the lab practical, and fourth overall, said, “The tests were difficult, but we had a good teacher to prepare us.”

The next regional contest for the NCTA Aggies is March 5 at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

In late March, NCTA will be the host college for a national contest coordinated by the National Agriculture Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. The contest is expected to draw 600-800 people from around the U.S. As hosts, Aggie students do not participate in competitions but help set up the 14 contests for the two-year and four-year colleges.


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