State FFA Career Development Events are expected to draw some 1,000 student competitors to the University of Idaho June 4-7.

Opening and closing sessions are slated at the Kibbie Dome, with competitions and sessions to be held at various UI classrooms, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences facilities and the UI Experimental Forest. CALS and the UI Department of Agricultural and Extension Education host the competition.

In conjunction, the state FFA chapter’s annual tractor raffle, including planned enhancements, will be highlighted to mark its 10th anniversary.

State CDEs “are as wide and diverse as agriculture itself,” Idaho FFA Foundation Communications Director Liz Wilder said. They range from marketing and media plan creation to livestock and meat judging, food science evaluation and ag mechanics. FFA chapters pay $35 per participant.

Events have been added and updated as participation has grown, or new industry needs and career opportunities emerge.

“We really try to represent the industry as a whole so we can better prepare students for their role, and a future career in, agriculture,” Wilder said.

CDEs “bring the whole state together and create a competitive learning environment for students to hone their skills and experience new opportunities,” she said. FFA competitors also meet people, develop interview and presentation skills, and learn about additional potential career paths. Winners qualify to compete at the national FFA convention in Indianapolis in the fall.

For the raffle, students sell tickets year-round for the drawing held in early April. The tractor — funded with help from banner sponsors such as tire retailers, agricultural equipment companies and processors, seed companies, and various ag businesses — travels the state.

Wilder said the tractor traditionally is unveiled following the CDE competition. This year, it will be displayed at the competition to mark the raffle’s anniversary. The foundation also will announce changes that aim to direct more proceeds directly to FFA chapters and students.

The raffle program to date has given $146,000 in scholarships, with another $22,000 expected to be awarded next April.

CDE details are available from UI Extension’s Renee Hanson at 208-885-6358. Program and raffle information is available from state FFA Foundation Executive Director Marcia Jedry at mjedry@idffafoundation.org.

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