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Perham FFA team at national agronomy event

Pictured from left to right, are Perham FFA team members: Allen Lubitz (silver), Mark Riepe (gold), Michael Lehman (silver), and Andrew Gorentz (gold). Agricultural teacher and FFA advisor Carl Aakre who coaches the students, is also pictured.

Members of the Perham FFA Chapter were one of 36 teams participating in the 2008 National FFA Agronomy Career Development Event (CDE).

The competition was held on Oct. 22-25, during the 81st National FFA Convention.

The Perham team notched one of the highest scores ever, at 982 points out of 1,000, said FFA director Carl Aakre. The score propelled the team to an eighth place finish--competing against 34 teams from across the nation.

The upper midwesterners faced an unusual challenge, as one contest scenario was a farm in southeast Georgia. The test was to prepare an agronomic plan, down to production costs, yield and revenue. The team was assigned to determine the most profitable commodity for the tract of land--cotton, watermelons or corn.

The Perham team, with little or no background in either cotton or watermelons, went to work. They concluded that watermelons would be the most cost effective.

Perham team members were Allen Lubitz (silver), Mark Riepe (gold), Michael Lehman (silver), and Andrew Goretz (gold). Participants in the event were asked to compete in all facets of the agronomic industry, from crop and weed identification to integrated pest management. Soil analysis and managerial decision making skills are also tested.

The Agronomy Career Development Event is a competitive activity that allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Participants' knowledge of agronomic sciences was tested through several levels of competition including developing solutions for problematic scenarios, identification of seeds, insects, soil and crops, and other management practices. The event is one of many educational activities at the National FFA Convention in which FFA members practice the lessons taught in agricultural education classes. The event was held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Ind.

The National FFA Agronomy CDE is sponsored by Bayer Crop Science as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. It is one of 23 different national events that use the fun of competition to connect classroom learning and careers.