“A huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution.” That is the definition of juggernaut, and Spencer County FFA in Kentucky has certainly earned the description after claiming their seventh consecutive National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Contest title. And, keep in mind, once a student judges in this contest, they cannot judge again. This means 28 national champion students in seven years. Few high schools in any discipline can demonstrate this type of dominance.
Each student places six classes representing three breeds (Holstein, Brown Swiss, and Jersey), gives three sets of reasons (one per breed), and takes a written test, which includes evaluation of Dairy Herd Information (DHI) records. The points earned are then added to a group presentation score. This team activity includes evaluating a farm and providing feedback in the form of an oral team presentation where all four youth discuss the farm’s recommended animal health protocols.
Kentucky FFA’s team members were Kelly Baird, Madison Goodlett, Tyler Moehrke, and Casey Montgomery, and were coached by Bland Baird. All four Spencer County FFA members earned gold rankings and the team won the presentation portion of the contest.
Prairie Central FFA in Illinois trailed Kentucky by 30 points and placed second. This Illinois FFA team consisted of Ashlyn Kratochvil, Ainsley Kratochvil, Jacob Raber, and Addie Raber.
Amery FFA in Wisconsin placed third, just nine points behind Illinois. Team members were Courtney Glenna, Kathrine Elwood, Hailey Clausen, and Ella Williamson. The top three teams are invited on the International Dairy Judging Tour next summer in Europe. They will compete at the Royal Highland Show in Edinbugh and tour dairy operation in Scotland and Ireland as well as historic locations.
Chehalis FFA from Washington placed fourth. Team members included sibling Gary and Lauryn Young, Cassy Schilter, and Kaylee Keehr. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington all had three gold and one silver emblem individuals among their teams.
Ionia FFA in Michigan and Maquoketa Valley FFA in Iowa had all four team members earn gold emblems and placed fifth and sixth, respectively. Rounding out the top ten were Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and California. Additionally, Billings FFA in Montana, Plainview-Elgin-Millville FFA in Minnesota, and North Iredell FFA in North Carolina also earned gold team emblems. North Carolina was the only other team with all four students earning gold rankings among the 43 state teams.
The individual honors tally the combination of classes, reasons, the written test, and DHI record evaluation, while excluding the team presentation score.
Not to be outmatched by Kentucky’s win, Miriam Cook of Ionia FFA dominated the contest winning by an amazing 43 points! She won the Brown Swiss, Jersey and oral reasons portions.
Courtney Glenna of Amery FFA had the high score on the written exam with 132 points out of a possible 150.
The overall top individuals receive cash awards. Here are the top 10:
1. Miriam Cook, Michigan FFA
2. Isaac Rott, Minnesota FFA
3. Kelly Baird, Kentucky FFA
4. Ian Black, Michigan FFA
5. Julia Heijkoop, Florida FFA
6. Lauryn Young, Washington FFA
7. Laurel Gray, North Carolina FFA
8. Kinley Topp, Ohio FFA
9. Courtney Glenna, Wisconsin FFA
10. Jacob Raber, Illinois FFA
Dairy Handlers Contest
In a separate contest, the dairy cattle handlers activity is evaluated during the Dairy Cattle Evaluation contest in Indianapolis, Ind. The leadspeople for the judging contest each won their state contest and presented the animals for the FFA members to judge. As leadspeople, they were evaluated for their skill at presenting the animal they were given. The top three individuals were Katheryn Longenecker of Central FFA in Pennsylvania, Perry Baird of Woodbury FFA in Tennessee, and Austin Baker of Providence Grove FFA in North Carolina.
For a listing of past high individuals and teams since 2001, click this link.
The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.