Apr 25, 2024

Natasha Eidson

Agriculture Students Win National Championship at NACTA

The OPSU College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing attended the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Judging conference, where 23 students competed in various competitions. NACTA started in 1955 and has held an annual event each spring where teams of college students in agricultural institutions compete in various contests. This year, the judging conference was held on the campus of Southern Idaho with representatives from across the country and competing schools like Purdue University, Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University, and many more.

The Panhandle State team was led by Dean of Agriculture Tracy Kincannon and Agriculture faculty members Dr. Curtis Bensch, Dr. Crystal Tolle, Kathryn Hearn, and Cassidy Tolle-Johnson. Competing in 10 contests over three days, including Agriculture Education, Agriculture Mechanics, Crops Judging, Dairy Judging, Equine Management and Judging, Knowledge Bowl, Livestock Judging, Livestock Management, Natural Resources Management, and Precision Agriculture, the students demonstrated remarkable skill and determination.

While all students achieved notable success, one team rose to the top. The Livestock Management Team was named National Champions. Additionally, Toby McClure earned the distinction of 2nd high individual, with JD Fox placing 3rd high individual and Elizabeth Ross securing 4th high individual. The team’s victory, with a margin of 63 points, is an impressive feat in such a competitive environment. Other valuable team members included Makenzie Webster, Austin Jacobs, and Jake Hinds, under the coaching expertise of Kathryn Hearn.

In addition to the national championship, several other teams earned prestigious national standings. The Natural Resources team secured a reserve national title, while the Livestock Judging, Precision Agriculture, Agriculture Mechanics, and Dairy Judging teams earned a 3rd place national finish. The Agriculture Education and Equine Management teams also performed admirably, securing a 4th place national finish.

Dean Tracy Kincannon stated, “This group of NACTA Judging rookies worked very hard and missed taking down the defending sweepstakes champion by just a few points.”  

This year’s achievements reflect the student’s and faculty’s dedication and hard work. They eagerly anticipate another exciting year and hope for further success at the event next April at West Texas A&M University.

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