By Team iCEV on February 7, 2018 at 8:08 AM
Livestock Judging is one of the largest and most competitive contests in the entire National FFA Organization, especially in livestock-rich Texas. For the Fredericksburg FFA Livestock Judging Team, finding success in the contest at both the state and national level with the help of a determined team, as well as iCEV curriculum, has lead to opportunities that will benefit students for years to come.
In May 2017, the Fredericksburg FFA chapter brought home the Texas State Championship in Livestock Judging, qualifying them for the National competition. The team went on to place third and received an invitation to compete internationally at the Royal Highlands Livestock Show held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Patrick Padgett, Agricultural Science Teacher and FFA Advisor at Fredericksburg High School and his team are beyond proud of their success.
Reaching Beyond Borders
The Royal Highlands Show was founded in 1784. Today, the show has become an important event in European agriculture attracting over 200,000 visitors and over 900 competitions over a span of four days. In total, the show features over 6,500 animals on 280 acres. The Royal Highland Show boasts itself about having something for everyone and annually boosts the region's economy.
This unique international competition is for the best of the best. The exposure to Scottish agriculture and their livestock preferences at the Royal Highlands Show will be an eye-opening experience for the Fredericksburg team.
“I am extremely excited,” said team member Bryce Bowers. “I’m most looking forward to seeing the different priorities they have with livestock in Scotland.”
“No doubt the prestige of getting the opportunity to go is almost enough, but I hope they find it to be a once in a lifetime opportunity and will rate the opportunity to see agriculture in other countries as one of the top experiences of their life,” said Padgett.
Padgett attributes much of his team’s success to the determination of his students as well as the use of iCEV in their training. “The greatest thing that the iCEV program did for us was prepare us for the grading portion of the livestock judging contest as well as allow us to see classes of livestock when we could not get out to farms and ranches,” Padget says.
Combining iCEV curriculum and hands-on, in-field learning has created an immensely successful program at Fredericksburg as well as a uniquely driven livestock team. “We each care about the livestock industry unconditionally and are extremely competitive when it comes to livestock competitions,” said former student, Lindsey Behrends.
Many students in the program grew up around the livestock industry or are livestock exhibitors, giving the team a unique advantage. Students also benefit from real life practicing opportunities, like going out to the school farm and local livestock operations. The competitive atmosphere among students within the program, with an estimated 30 students expressing interest in making the competition team, members of the program are driven to study harder and strive to perform well at invitational contests.
The iCEV Difference
As an early adopter of iCEV, Padgett says the online platform solved two problems: affordability and relevancy — something textbooks could not offer. Fredericksburg initially started out with 10 student licenses for Padgett’s judging team. Today, the use of iCEV has spread throughout the entire Fredericksburg CTE program.
With iCEV, Padgett’s team has access to a diverse range of material. “iCEV allows us to have a tremendous amount of resources at our fingertips,” said Padgett. “My students like the ability to work on it in class, and they also have access to it at home.”
The team enjoys how the iCEV curriculum benefits them in practice. Seeing moving animals on video as opposed to photos is key for training team members. “iCEV gave me the opportunity to see every view of the livestock and to notice the small things that are easily overlooked in person,” said Behrends.
By equipping a driven judging team with the tools they need to succeed, Fredericksburg FFA is gaining unique opportunities for their students. As the team heads to Scotland this summer for competition, iCEV wishes them good luck and success.