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UW-River Falls to Host 55th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest

March 13, 2015--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will host the 55th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest on Saturday, March 28. Nearly 1,000 Wisconsin and Minnesota high school and middle school FFA students are expected to compete in 18 different contest areas. 

The contest includes a series of career development events hosted by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES).  

The contests focus on agricultural communications, agricultural mechanics, agronomy, dairy cattle evaluation, farm business management, floriculture, food science and technology, forestry, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, middle school agriscience, nursery/landscape, soils, veterinary science and wildlife.  

UW-River Falls coordinates the Wisconsin FFA state contests for agricultural communications and food science and technology. First-place teams will advance to compete at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. in October. 

Seven of these events also serve as qualifying contests for the Wisconsin FFA Association Career Development Events (CDE) to be held April 24 in Madison. These events include agricultural technology and mechanical systems, dairy evaluation, floriculture, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, wildlife and veterinary science. 

An event offered at the Agricultural Technology Contest that is unique to Wisconsin is the middle school agriscience event. This event provides exposure for middle school students in a variety of agriculture related areas, ranging from breeds of animals, plants, identification of poultry parts and much more. Students also have the opportunity to compete in the 36th Annual Crop Show. Competition areas in the Crop Show range from oats to soybeans to the longest ear of corn. 

Another highlight of this year's contest is the Power Tool Drag Race. This event changes the type of tool students use when building their vehicle. This makes the contests unique from year to year. 

The Power Tool Drag Race encourages students to use their problem solving, creative design, research and development and engineering skills. This year students must power their vehicle using a 120-volt drill and must try to achieve a target race time of 6.27 seconds. The UWRF Agricultural Industry Club sponsors and coordinates this event. 

Each year it takes more than one hundred volunteers to ensure successful contests. Faculty and staff from CAFES serve as chairs for each of the contests. CAFES students volunteer their time as student chairs and assist on the contest day. Katie Chapman, an agricultural education major from Endeavor is this year's contest coordinator and Tyler Foote, an agricultural education major from Brandon is the assistant coordinator. Professor Tim Buttles serves as the faculty chair for the contest and Fay Westberg, agricultural education academic department associate, assists with overall contest preparations. 

UWRF's CAFES has consistently earned itself a ranking as one of the top undergraduate agricultural programs in the United States. Although CAFES enrollment has changed over the last 103 years, its dedication to students, its passion for teaching and its desire to help students fulfill their greater purpose has always remained the same.   

For more details about the contests, visit the Agricultural Education Department website at http://www.uwrf.edu/AGED/CDE/AgriculturalTechnologyContest.cfm. For more information about the event, call Chapman  at 715-425-3555 or email kathryn.chapman@my.uwrf.edu.

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