Approximately 9,000 FFA members from across the state will converge on the campus of Tarleton State University on Thursday, March 22, to participate in the annual FFA Invitational Career Development Event (CDE) Judging Contests.
This year marks the 46th year Tarleton’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will host the statewide FFA invitational, organized by Dr. Ted Ford, associate professor of agricultural and consumer sciences. Approximately 750 ag science teachers, representing 450-plus high schools from all corners of Texas, will join FFA members.
Several hundred Tarleton students will serve as group leaders and contest mentors, Ford said. Contests will take place on the Stephenville campus as well as at the Agricultural Center, Horticulture Center, Hunewell Ranch, Lone Star Arena, the National Guard Armory and Stephenville City Park. The invitational is a practice round, allowing students to prepare for team judging in a variety of categories.
FFA members will compete in 19 contests, including: Ag Sales, Dairy Cattle, Entomology, Environmental & Natural Resources, Farm Business Management, Floriculture, Homesite Evaluation, Horse, Land, Livestock, Marketing Plan, Meats, Milk Quality and Products, Nursery/Landscape, Poultry, Range, Veterinary Science, Wildlife and Wool.
Visiting teams will check in from 6 to 7:30 a.m. at the Bosque River Center, with events scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
The top 20 individuals in each of the judging categories will be recognized during a 3 p.m. awards ceremony at Wisdom Gymnasium and presented with a plaque and other prizes. Several $1,000 scholarships will be awarded, along with a $2,000 sweepstakes agricultural scholarship.
“The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is proud to serve as host and organizer of these statewide invitational CDEs. This annual event is the most significant service activity sponsored by our college,” said Dean Steve Damron.
“CDEs provide our students the opportunity to help organize and conduct large service activities, support our high school agriscience teacher colleagues, and provide the first opportunity for many high school students to visit and spend time on a university campus. Many will choose to attend Tarleton State University for their college education. That makes CDEs a significant recruiting opportunity for our college and for Tarleton,” Damron added.
The March 22 invitational is the largest of three contests that Tarleton will host this spring.
The university will welcome high school students again on April 18 for area FFA contests, and on April 26 when Tarleton hosts state FFA contests for Dairy Cattle, Environmental and Natural Resources, Homesite Evaluation, Land, Milk Quality and Products and Range.