MAYO — A record number of 4-H and FFA members attended the Lafayette County Extension Service’s annual Farm Judging competition Oct. 4.
Drawing from Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties, a record 247 4-H and FFA members participated in the event, which Lafayette County has hosted for 27 years with nearly 6,000 youth having participated since the first contest in 1992.
Contestants judged 10 classes in the following categories; beef and dairy heifers, market hog and gilts, poultry, corn, corn silage, peanuts, tobacco and hay.
The farm manager portion of the competition consisted of five tests: Basic Farm Knowledge, Feeds, Poisonous/Noxious Plants, Tools and Insects/Disease damage. The farm manager portion of the competition is optional, but many participate for the experience and educational benefits.
Awards will be presented to high scoring teams and individuals in the appropriate 4-H and FFA categories after all tests have been graded and scores have been calculated.
Many advisors, leaders and youth feel this is one of the best educational events of the year.
“It is more than farm judging, these kids are learning to have self-confidence and in our world today this is extremely important,” said Beth Moore, Madison County 4-H Agent.
Another adult present added: “This is what FFA and 4-H is about, teaching practical skills that will last a life time and prepare our youth for future success.”
Madison’s FFA won first place in the FFA Senior Team competition with Dixie second and Lafayette FFA placing third. Dixie Middle was the FFA Junior team winner with Bell taking second and third.
Lafayette placed second in the Junior 4-H division, finishing behind Gilchrist and just in front of Madison. Suwannee placed third in Intermediate 4-H, trailing Taylor and Gilchrist. In Senior 4-H, Suwannee placed second and third behind Gilchrist.
Among the high individual scorers in Farm Judging were Dustin Brown, Bell Sr. FFA; Allison Bradley, Dixie Jr. FFA; Dallas Frierson, Branford Senior 4-H; McKayden Wilkerson, Branford Intermediate 4-H and Dallas Dedwyler, Lafayette Junior 4-H.
The top scoring individuals in the Farm Manager division were Caden Reed, Dixie Senior FFA; Maddie Everett, Dixie Junior FFA; Joseph Paul, Hamilton Senior 4-H; Reagan Lane, Dixie Intermediate 4-H and Joyce Teague, Gilchrist Junior 4-H.
The Farm Manager/Farm Judging combined winners were Dustin Brown, Bell Senior FFA; Allison Bradley, Dixie Junior FFA; Zoe Martin, Gilchrist Senior 4-H; McKayden Wilkerson, Branford Intermediate 4-H and Dallas Dedwyler, Lafayette Junior 4-H.