NRCS Prepares Agriculture Science Teachers for New FFA Career Development Event
story by Joe Ray Burkett, Jack Soil and Water Conservation District
Agriculture science teachers from 30 school districts attended a workshop on Sept. 19 at Tarleton State University's Hunewell Ranch, a 1,172-acre ranch located in Erath County, to learn about the new format of the Texas FFA Range Evaluation and Management Career Development Event (CDE).
Jeff Goodwin, State GLCI coordinator, was the main presenter and walked the teachers through all aspects of the new Range CDE, along with Terry Baize, Ag science teacher from Hamilton; Charles Kneuper, NRCS district conservationist in Meridian; and Joe Ray Burkett, Jack Soil and Water Conservation technician assisted with the set up and presentations.
The new contest is geared toward the NRCS Ecological Site Determination. There will be two sites judged with four major components, including how to determine the type of site based on soil depth and topography, determine similarity index for the site (i.e. determine how closely the current plant composition is to what historically grew on that type of site prior to human settlement), determine the resource value rating of the site for beef cattle based on the plant composition and the resources available, and make management recommendations based on a stated landowner objective.
The last portion of the contest will be the identification of 30 selected plants of the 84 on the Texas Range Plant List. The contestants must identify the plant and give the characteristic of each plant that includes life history, season of growth, origin, invasiveness, and food value for beef cattle.
With so many new features of the contest, the competition will be fierce, opening the door for new participants to shine. The agriculture science teachers present at this workshop represented past national champion advisors to brand new instructors just learning the ropes. Each and every one of them looks forward to many years of healthy conservation competition.
Teachers are determining the resource inventory - present condition and recommended management practices for beef cattle.
Participates that attended the workshop at the Hunewell Ranch on Sept. 19 received a presentation from Jeff Goodwin, NRCS Texas GLCI coordinator, helping the agricultural teachers prepare for the new Range Evaluation and Management CDE.