FFA Chapter competes at national convention

The Eugene FFA Chapter’s educational booth team will represent Missouri at the national convention competition today in Louisville, Ky. This barn-shaped display includes miniatures of several technologies being used in Mid-Missouri farms, such as solar panels, remote-controlled machinery and automated dairy farms.

The Eugene FFA Chapter’s educational booth team will represent Missouri at the national convention competition today in Louisville, Ky. This barn-shaped display includes miniatures of several technologies being used in Mid-Missouri farms, such as solar panels, remote-controlled machinery and automated dairy farms.

EUGENE, Mo. — Wind-powered farms, automated milking stations, remote-controlled weights and temperatures — they’re not technologies of the future. They exist today in Mid-Missouri.

The Cole County R-5 High School FFA Chapter’s educational booth team was surprised to find so many high-tech farms nearby.

That made it easier for the team to collect firsthand information for its 10x10-foot, barn-shaped display, which will represent Missouri today at the National FFA Convention against 53 other state/territories.

This is the third educational booth team from the Eugene chapter in the past five years to win the Missouri State Fair show and advance to nationals.

“These folks are ambitious,” said adviser Ed Hager.

Once the team won the state fair, it began expanding the display from the 5x5-foot size to the nationals’ larger requirements, and its content took on a statewide representation.

“It would be awesome to win at nationals and to represent our school like that,” said junior Madison Kliethermes.

The team’s exhibit captures the initiative of Missouri farmers to create more efficient operations through technology.

“It’s almost impossible to tell it all, to try to give it justice,” said senior Koby Limbach.

In Mary’s Home, solar power operates nearly an entire farm operation. And just down the road from the school, another farm is self-sufficient with windmill-generated energy.

Another nearby farmer uses GPS programming to remotely operate his machinery in the field.

Junior Jayda Crouse was most surprised to visit a dairy farm where robots milked the cows and other technology monitored each cow’s health and frequency to be milked.

And in Brazito, a computerized turkey barn tracks the weight of each bird and allows the owner to monitor the temperature from his Smartphone.

“I didn’t realize how high-tech some of these farms are,” said senior Garrett Crouse.

“It’s inspiring knowing we are advancing so rapidly in the alternative methods used today.”

Teamwork and ingenuity are trademarks of the FFA organization and were imperative for this team, since they have been regularly collecting and including new information since May.

“Who doesn’t like a good challenge?” Garrett Crouse said. “It’s not done to beat everyone else but to see how well we can do.”

The display includes miniature windmills, a red barn with solar panels and GPS tractor, as well as two team-created videos. They also wrote and recorded their own lyrics to Hank William Jr.’s “Family Tradition.”

“It’s our attention-getter,” Garrett Crouse said.

Today, the team will stand with their educational booth in the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, where judges and visitors will ask questions.

“It will be nice to go more in depth with the operations and explain the booth’s intent,” Limbach said.

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