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Prairie Heights takes FFA livestock crown


With two of the top three individual performers leading the way, Prairie Heights captured the 2012 LaGrange County 4-H/FFA Career Development Event on April 10. Some 80 students from the three county schools participated in this year’s competition, which was marked by seasonal weather and a variety of judging samples.

The competition began at the Young Family farms southeast of LaGrange, where the students evaluated classes of market cattle and hogs. The contest then shifted to the Gary Yoder farm where contestants judged two classes of breeding sheep before winding up at the 4-H Fairgrounds with a separate meats evaluation in which students consider different cuts of beef and pork for their consumption value. Westview’s Makayla Howard was the top scorer in that contest.

The Prairie Heights FFA team, coached by Ben Leu, amassed 903 points to outdistance Westview with 881. Lakeland FFA scored 807 to finish third.

Westview’s Damon Hershberger led all participants with 313 points, followed by Prairie Heights’ Alex Klaudy and Marissa Richardson with 303 and 302 points respectively.

An abbreviated contest for junior high students was also conducted in conjunction with the high school contest. Amanda Hochstetler, Brian Slabach, and Jacob Miller were the high scorers in the junior high competition.

In addition to Leu, the other county coaches are Katie Allen for Lakeland and Paul Baker for Westview.

Each county high school will be represented at the area competition as the top four units earn the right to move on to the Purdue Area XI Dairy and Livestock Career Development Event on April 20 in Adams County.Area competition brings together contestants from the nine counties of Northeastern Indiana to compete for spots in the annual state contest, to be conducted this year on May 19 at Purdue University.

Judging in 4-H/FFA career development events offers youth opportunities to cultivate life skills such as sample discrimination, reasoning, decision-making, and speaking ability. The livestock judging competition tests the students’ ability to observe, evaluate, and rank classes of livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, and swine using established livestock evaluation standards. The contestants then justify their rankings to officials with oral presentations. County 4-H and FFA contests are sponsored by the LaGrange County 4-H Club Association and the county FFA chapters. Vocational agriculture teachers, 4-H volunteers, and Purdue University Cooperative Extension staff coordinate the contest. This year’s competition was officiated by volunteer Brian Gilliland and Purdue Extension staff Tami Mosier and John Emerson.