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Local FFA students steer focus toward next state competition

Jackson, Mich. – The Agriscience barn at the Jackson Area Career Center looks more like a bovine beauty shop these days as FFA students steer their focus toward another prestigious competition.

The students are spending a lot of their classroom time rinsing, blow drying, combing and trimming their steers for the upcoming Winter Beef Classic Show at the MSU Pavilion in East Lansing December 7-9. The event, one of Michigan’s largest livestock events, will host more than 800 exhibitors and more than 1,000 head of prospect steers and heifers.

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“The Winter Beef Classic is a great opportunity for the students to see what the agriculture industry is like first-hand,” says Instructor Jason Gehrke. “Showing the steers they take care of on a daily basis here at the Career Center at a competition like this will also help prepare them for the Jackson County Fair next summer.”

Besides showing their animals, students will get to meet industry experts - which could lead to future employment. There is also an educational component to the competition, as students have to take tests on cattle and design posters that highlight the work that goes into showing an animal.

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Participating in competitions like the Winter Beef Classic Show is nothing new for FFA students. Each year, they attend several events around the state and the nation to help develop their commitment to the agriculture industry. In October, three JACC FFA students (one current & two graduates) were awarded the Bronze Award in the Marketing Career Development Event at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Lumen Christi Senior Holly Hart is looking into a career in Agriculture Marketing because of this competition.

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“I am extremely proud to see this team’s hard work and dedication pay off,” says Instructor Assistant Danielle Martinez. “For me personally, the best part about experiences like these aren’t the wins, but seeing my students find a career field they are truly interested in and passionate about.”

Just a few weeks later, three JACC FFA teams took the Silver Award at the annual Broiler Contest in Fowlerville. Students raise the birds themselves and take them to a poultry processing plant where they are judged on weight, uniformity, conformation and a project write-up. This contest gives students the opportunity to showcase their abilities in producing broilers.

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Following the Winter Beef Classic Show, JACC FFA students will return to the MSU Pavilion to show their pigs in the annual MSU Green & White Swine show at the end of January.

Kaci Babineau
Marketing & Special Projects