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Rugby High hosts CDE for area FFA chapters

By Sue Sitter - | May 29, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Participants in an ag mechanics contest listen as Travis Fritel, right, ag instructor at Leeds High School, explains a task for Career Development Event day at Rugby High.

FFA chapters from schools throughout the region met at Rugby High School the morning of May 25 for Career and Leadership Development Events, better known to members as CDE.

Kristi Tonnessen, FFA adviser and ag teacher at Rugby High, said “There are about 140 kids competing and 15 adults putting on the contest today.”

The 10 competitions took place in the library and classrooms on the high school campus and Rugby Armory. One component of most events was an individual written test.

Tonnessen said, “There’s ag mechanics, intermediate ag mechanics, advanced ag mechanics, floriculture, food science, meats, dairy foods, small animal care, environmental natural resources and dairy cattle – so there would be 10 contests going on today.”

Although most contests had hands-on activities, Tonnessen said no live animals were on campus that day.

Tonnessen scored the food science contest. “They work both as teams and individually,” she said. “The individual exam is by themselves, but they do a team problem where they develop a new food product to meet the demands of a specific market and they have to calculate the nutrition information for the new food product, product labeling, packaging requirements and how much it would cost to produce that product as well.”

“They also do a triangle test,” Tonnessen added. “That’s where they sample three different food items and one is different from the other one, so it might be an off brand or a low sodium product or low fat product – some different version of the other one, so they have to identify which one’s different.”

“Each contest has a lot of different pieces to it,” Tonnessen explained. “One of it is a written test, an individual exam. From there, it depends on the contest. Small animal care does breed ID and anatomy of animals; dairy foods does cheese sampling and milk samples; food science, they do an aroma test; they do a math test with problem solving.”

Ag mechanics participants met in the school’s shop classroom, where they worked with farm machinery. Welding students worked in the background.

“Anybody who was in our FFA District, District 3 was invited to come,” Tonnessen said, adding, “We also have some neighboring schools who aren’t in our district like Leeds and Maddock and we invited them because they were close by. Other schools are Harvey, Bottineau, Rolla, Rolette, St. John, TGU, Fessenden-Bowdon and McClusky.”

Tonnessen said although the CDE is a competition, there’s no elimination process and all FFA members will be invited to participate in the state convention in Fargo in June.

“It’s an opportunity for the kids to compete and see where they’re at for the year so they know what to work on for the state contest,” Tonnessen explained.

The Fargo convention marks the first time North Dakota FFA members have gathered together since 2019.

Tonnessen said her students “are just happy to compete again. We didn’t get to have state convention last year and that’s kind of the big hurrah for the FFA for the year – the opportunity for kids to meet FFA members from throughout the state, because there are 2,000 kids at the state convention. So, they’re excited to go to the state convention.”

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