Despite cold temperatures and unexpected snow, the Nelson County High School Future Farmers of America celebrated another successful competition.

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, the FFA team was in Indianapolis, Indiana competing in the annual Future Farmers of America National Convention and Expo. Months of preparation and practice paid off as the Nelson teams — the Forestry team and the Farm Business Management team — returned home with top honors. The forestry team, made up of Cole Morris, Colt Mauer, Jack Rodgers, and Lydia Staton, placed seventh in the nation overall out of 38 teams. Lydia and Colt achieved silver ratings and Jack and Cole received gold ratings. Cole also placed seventh individually in the nation. In addition to the team’s success, they also received a perfect score during the interview portion of the competition.

“It’s not very common,” Cole Ramsey, FFA advisor, said.

The team didn’t expect to score so high in that portion of the competition but ended up presenting on a topic they had studied the most.

“It took me by surprise how well we did on the interview,” Colt said.

Colt and his teammates explained that for the interview competition, they have to have a number of different scenarios prepared and the topics vary drastically. However, the teams don’t know the topic they are actually presenting on until 10 minutes before presenting. Then, they have 10 minutes to present; seven minutes to cover the topic and three minutes to take questions from the audience.

The cold weather created an unexpected challenge. Cole said it made everything that much harder during the six hours each day they had to spend outside.

“The scantrons were getting wet. I couldn’t feel my fingers,” Jack said.

The Farm Business Management team also returned to Nelson successful. Luckily for them, the events took place inside. The team, made up of Katie Powell, Sarah Harvey, Kelsy Fitzgerald, and Brittany Hall, placed 18th in the nation. Sarah and Katie achieved gold ratings and Brittany and Kelsy achieved silver ratings.

Katie said the most challenging part for them was the section on income tax. The team had to answer different questions relating to income tax in the industry using a 100-page packet and a number of different charts to locate the answers to each problem.

“That section is basically all math,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said the students put in work every day this year to prepare for the convention and expo as well as the other competitions they have been involved in.

“These kids worked really, really hard for their contest. For example, the forestry students have been involved with forestry every day of a year,” Ramsey said.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or econway@newsadvance.com.

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