Muscatine FFA attends State Convention, competes in biotech
by Margaret Hurlbert
April 23, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Muscatine FFA continued their season with their largest competitions to date at the State FFA Convention April 10 through 12. This year, Muscatine students competed in five different events, earned one state championship, and tried their hand at one new contest, biotechnology.

Muscatine FFA’s ag sales team won the state championship for the event this year, with team member Abigail Linderman earning first place individually, no easy feat in a difficult contest. In ag sales, teams receive a product to research, present on, and pitch to judges. Muscatine FFA’s team received the challenge of selling a tower garden, a planter with 20 ports for individual plants fed internally by a water supply system. Together, team members put in the work to get to know the product and convince judges of its usefulness. They also got high marks on the 50-question test that accompanies the hands-on portion of the event.

Avery Schroeder, a sophomore who competed on the ag sales team, found the experience enjoyable and educational, as she got to work with other students to develop real-world research, presentation, and soft skills, similar to those many professionals use in the workplace. Avery elaborated that she most liked, “getting closer with all our teammates and learning something we can use in the future–even just the communication skills will be useful.”

As the state champions, the Muscatine FFA ag sales team will move on to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana in late October. In July, the team will receive a new product to prepare to sell. As part of their preparation, they may get to go on a fieldtrip to see their product, or something similar to it, in action. Previous ag sales teams have visited equipment dealers and veterinary product producers to help them prepare for the national competition.

While Muscatine students have competed in ag sales for many years, a group of students tried out biotechnology for the very first time. A newer event added within the last 10 years or so, according to Muscatine FFA advisor Dave Tometich, biotechnology challenges students to get familiar with the workings of science labs and some of the biological technologies studied to help improve crops and animal husbandry. In addition to identifying common lab items and taking a written test, students on the biotechnology team had to work together to come up with a new cultivar of golden rice that beat out several genetic problems common in that plant. Students then had to make a visual presentation on how their product would prove superior to the golden rice seeds currently on the market.

Muscatine’s competitors earned eighth place for their first attempt at biotech. Though lower than their rank in other competitions, senior Grant Van Nice felt they did a good job for their first try. “Out of the number of people that were there, I think we did really well,” he observed.

Students in other career development events did well too, with the junior high school Ag Career Science Investigation team earning a reserve state championship, the poultry judging team earning a reserve state championship, and Jaide Schmelzer earning a fourth silver rating for job interview. For investing and earning $1,500 into his supervised ag experience, Grant also earned his Iowa Degree, the highest state award available to FFA members.

Watch PCTV Live

Recent Stories

Get Discover Muscatine in Your Inbox

Select list(s):