FFA competes at forestry, tractor events

Published 1:52 pm Thursday, May 6, 2021

April was filled with FFA contests including contests for forestry and tractor operators.

From virtual practices and some on the weekends, members were excited to get a chance to show their knowledge and skills in their events.

On April 10, members of the Buckingham Senior FFA Chapter competed against each other for a chance to compete at the state level Tractor Operator’s Contest. Members had to take a written test about tractor maintenance and operation and complete a two-wheel and four-wheel wagon course. John Tackett placed third, Noah Jones placed second, and Ethan Martin won the event that was held at Whetstone Farm in Dillwyn.

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Martin advanced to the state contest on April 15 where he placed seventh.

The chapter would like to thank Dale Senger and James River Equipment for loaning the tractor for the local event. 

Typically only the State Forestry Contest is held in the spring, however, this April was packed with qualifying events.

On April 12 a virtual Piedmont Federation contest was held. The senior team (composed of 10th-12th graders) placed first with Jordan Dorrier placing first overall. Camden Allen placed third, Shaylynn Elick placed fifth overall. Tyler Padgett came in eighth. Emma Staton placed 10th, and Daniel Farrish placed 12th.

The junior team (composed of ninth graders) also won the event in their division.

Team members included Jones who placed second, Hunter Branch placed third, Martin placed fourth and Jacob Carter placed eighth.  Winning allowed them to advance to the Southeast Area Contest on April 14 which was held at the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest.

Buckingham also won the area event with team members Dorrier and Staton tying for fourth overall, Elick placed eighth, and Padgett placed 10th. Camden Allen also competed, placing seventh.

The junior team placed second with team member Jones placing second overall, Martin placed fourth, Branch finished seventh, and Carter placed ninth. 

To advance to the state contest in the Senior Division you must win your area contest, and in the Junior Division to advance you must place in the top two of your area contest. Since Buckingham did that, the teams advanced to the state contest on April 28 at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.

The senior team paced fourth overall with team members Dorrier, Elick, Padgett and Staton.

The junior team placed fourth overall as well with team members Branch, Carter and Jones placing seventh overall and Martin placing eigth.

The forestry contest consists of tree identification, equipment identification, measuring tree volume and reading topographic maps for both divisions.

The Junior Division must be able to figure tree value where the senior division must complete a compass course (reading a compass and estimating distance by walking). The Senior Division also had additional stations at the state contest that included timber stand improvement (deciding which trees to leave or harvest based on the scenario), wood product identification (selecting the correct tree species of a wood sample), a group presentation about wood boring insects, a general knowledge exam and tree disorder identification. The teams would like to thank Henry Paris for his time and dedication to coaching them for these contests.