Manhattan, Kansas – The NCTA Aggies set the academic bar high for their peers in agriculture over the weekend.
Twenty students of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture returned to their Curtis campus from Manhattan, Kansas, bringing home the 2017 Reserve Champion Sweepstakes among two-year colleges.
They repeated as national champs in crops judging, and won team honors in precision agriculture and knowledge bowl.
The North American Colleges of Teachers in Agriculture (NACTA) Conference and Judging Contest drew more than 40 colleges to Kansas State University. There, about 850 students tested their agricultural skills in exams and hands-on competitions.
The NCTA Aggie team defended its national title in Crops Judging, and added team titles in a new category this year, Precision Agriculture, and the multidiscipline Knowledge Bowl, said Brad Ramsdale, PhD, agronomy professor and one of two NCTA faculty and a teaching assistant who coached the Aggie students.
“The NACTA contests provide a great learning experience for our students with many real-world knowledge examples,” said Ramsdale, after coaching his eighth national contest. “I am very proud of all the work done by our students in preparation for the contests and for their achievements.”
Aggie teams won seven team awards, said Jeremy Sievers, NCTA agribusiness professor.
NCTA students captured 15 individual academic or separate sub disciplines, including first-place individuals in crops judging, dairy judging and computer applications.
“NCTA came through with the best overall finish for the college in NACTA history,” Sievers said Sunday. “I am proud of everyone who went this weekend and even prouder of how the students all performed as a team in different disciplines.”
The Aggie students will be formally recognized at campus events on April 27 for the Animal Science and Agricultural Education Division, and on May 3 at the 2017 Awards Ceremony, said NCTA Dean Ron Rosati.
“The stellar performance of NCTA students at this national contest documents their high level of knowledge and skill in their disciplines,” Rosati said. “I appreciate the dedication, intelligence and hard work from our students and faculty that resulted in this significant achievement.”
Aggie students who will graduate on May 4 with an associate degree in one of more subjects earned high marks in multiple categories at NACTA. Some will be transferring to four-year colleges in the fall for their bachelor’s degrees, while others are poised for the agricultural workforce.
NCTA Aggie Team results from the NACTA contest, in alphabetical order by subject:
Computer Applications: 2nd Place team
Alyssa Novak, 1st place individual
Team Members: Novak, Dather, Johnson, Kayla Reynolds, Litchfield.
Crops – 1st Place team
John Paul Kain, McCook, 1st place individual, High Lab Practical, High Identification, High Agronomic Exam
Vincent Jones, Kirwin, Kansas, 2nd place individual
Maggie Brunmeier, Bayard, 3rd place individual, High Math Practical
Team Members: Kain, Jones, Brunmeier, Brent Thomas, Alliance.
Dairy Judging – 2nd place team
Nathan Lashley, Curtis, 1st place individual
Braden Wilke, Columbus, 4th place individual
Team Members: Lashley, Wilke, Dean Fleer, Pierce, 8th; Joe Calvo, Bassett, 12th.
Horticulture – Andrea Burkhardt, Winnetoon, 2nd place individual
Knowledge Bowl – 1st Place team
Team Members: Braden Wilke, Wade Vallery, Katharine Schudel, John Paul Cain, Andrea Burkhardt.
Livestock Judging – 8th sheep and goats, 10th beef cattle, 11th reasons, swine and overall team.
Team Members – Wilke, Calvo, Fleer, Katharine Schudel, North Loup; Wyatt Duskie, Jewell, Kan.
Livestock Management – 5th in ID, 6th overall team. Katharine Schudel 4th individual on test.
Team Members – Schudel, Wilke, Calvo, Duskie
Precision Agriculture – Team 1st place
Vincent Jones, 2nd place individual
John Paul Cain, 4th place individual, High Harvesting
Team Members – Jones, Cain, Will E. Kusant, Comstock; Lee Jespersen, Hemingford.
Sweepstakes – 2nd place overall
In addition to Sievers and Ramsdale, Bailey Hinrichs of Ayr, Nebraska, attended NACTA as an assistant coach for the livestock judging team. She is a third-year student with a double major in livestock management and agribusiness management.
Other NCTA instructors who prepared the Aggies for national competition are Tee Bush, horticulture; Mary Rittenhouse, agribusiness management; and Terri Jo Bek, Joanna Hergenreder, and Doug Smith, animal science.
The 2018 NACTA events will be hosted by Northeast Community College at Norfolk, Nebraska.