Animal Science students competed in three different contests at the recent NACTA Conference. —Courtesy photo

Apr 29, 2019

Panhandle State Communications

Animal Science Students Compete at NACTA

Goodwell, Okla. — Students from Oklahoma Panhandle State University traveled to Murray State University in Murray, Ky. for the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, or NACTA, Conference. The NACTA Conference covers a wide array of judging competition areas such as: soils, crops, general livestock, dairy cattle, ag business, and knowledge bowl.

The host school of the competition has the ability to add other competitions if they are equipped to hold them. Examples of these can be, but is not limited to: ag systems management, precision ag, computers, horticulture, horse judging, ag marketing, ag communication, wildlife/natural resources, meats, poultry, animal science management, hippology, small animals, and landscape design. The competitions were held over a three-day period, and the Panhandle State students competed in three different competitions: Horse Judging, Livestock Judging, and Livestock Management. While in Murray, the students were able to tour a hemp extraction facility, a grain elevator and cooperative owned ethanol facility, Murray State Apiary Farm, Murray State University’s Equine Center, and an Elk & Bison Prairie.

On the first day, Tel DeWitt, Reilly Shore, and Dillon Perez competed in the Horse Judging competition. The students viewed both halter and performance classes including Western Pleasure, Ranch Riding, and Hunter under Saddle. The students also gave a total of six sets of oral reasons and tied for fifth with Fort Hays State University. Reilly Shore placed seventh as an individual; while Tel DeWitt placed 10th place overall and Dillon Perez placed 19th.

The next day, the Panhandle State Livestock Judging Team, consisting of Tel DeWitt, Daniela Abatti, and Whitney Nelson, competed in 12 classes of various livestock with six sets of reasons. The team placed fifth overall, while Tel DeWitt placed sixth as an individual in a contest with some fierce competition.

On the third and final day, it was time for the Livestock Management competition. The Panhandle State team consisted of Dillon Perez, Reilly Shore, Daniela Abatti and Whitney Nelson. The contest consisted of a general knowledge exam, identification of various pieces of equipment, identification of breeds and feedstuffs of livestock, and finally a problem-solving section. Overall, the team placed fifth with Reilly Shore leading the team in total scores and placing twelfth individually.

One of the main goals of NACTA is to prepare students for careers in the agriculture field. Dr. Johnson found that “The conference was very educational for the students to see agriculture and university education in a different region of the United States.” While the team worked hard, and that hard work did earn them a place in the top five of every competition they were in; having had this experience and learning opportunity will allow the Panhandle State teams to be even more fierce competitors next year at the NACTA Conference in Kansas.

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