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Career development events give FFA members ‘real world’ preview

Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Roughly 600 Idaho FFA members competed on the University of Idaho campus in Moscow, Idaho, the week of June 2. The CDEs were designed to give members an idea of what it's like to work in the agriculture industry.

MOSCOW, Idaho — About 600 FFA members from around Idaho converged on the University of Idaho campus this week to compete in state career development events, which tested their skills in a “real world” scenario.

Winners in state CDEs will compete in FFA nationals, held this year in Louisville, Ky., in the fall.

“A lot of these contests are very much like the real world,” said Justin Nesbitt, Idaho FFA Association state treasurer. “Once students come out of FFA, go to college and go into industries, (the CDEs) are very similar to what they’ll be seeing.”

Growing up in Meridian, Idaho, Nesbitt competed in a variety of CDEs for four years. He plans to follow in his father’s footsteps as an agricultural engineer.

“I really like the fact we’re learning about different parts of agriculture, different industries,” he said. “I find it really cool and interesting to learn about all these different areas within agriculture as possible careers.”

CDEs in Moscow included livestock and dairy judging, forestry, agricultural mechanics, veterinary science, food science and dairy handling.

Jacob Christensen, an 11th-grader from Homedale, Idaho, and his team competed in the marketing CDE, practicing for weeks prior to make sure they knew the material.

“When you go through it and you know you nailed everything, it’s just a great feeling to know you’ve done all this work and you know it through and through, you can deliver it perfectly,” Christensen said.

In marketing CDEs, members present their efforts in working with agricultural businesses to develop a marketing plan.

Bonners Ferry FFA member T.J. Smith competed in small engines and copper pipe fitting.

Smith enters the 10th grade this year. He says an agricultural career is a possibility, and competing in the CDEs gives him the chance to learn new skills.

“If you don’t want to pay someone to do it for you, you can just do it yourself,” he said.


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