Thorsby FFA repeats as state champions

Published 1:52 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018

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The Thorsby FFA is at it again after the school’s environmental science team was named state champions at the Alabama FFA Envirothon April 5-7 in Columbiana.

It was the second straight year that the team had won the state competition.

Winning the state competition means that the team will represent Thorsby and the rest of the state at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis October 22-27.

Finishing atop the state was a familiar feeling for Jerrett Posey, Carson Littleton and Jason Brackner, who had each been on the team through last year’s success.

“We were pretty confident and knew that we had a shot throughout,” Littleton said.

However, it was a new experience for Rylie Scarbrough and Brylie Posey who were new to the team.

For Brylie Posey, she had been around FFA competitions watching her brother compete.

“My brother’s been doing it forever, and he really seemed to enjoy it,” Brylie Posey said. “I sort of knew what to expect, but it turned out a lot harder than I thought.”

According to Brackner, having been through the competition before gave a sense of confidence and understanding of what to expect.

“It’s a lot easier, especially when you’ve been up onto the stage,” Brackner said. “You just don’t have that nervous jitter the second time.”

Scarbrough worked on her time management during the contest.

“You learn that every little moment matters,” Scarbrough said. “You can’t waste the time that you have.”

Groups of students from various schools competed and were given certain hypothetical scenarios that present issues.

The groups must devise solutions for the issues and present those ideas along with visual aids to judges.

“It’s not that I fear that the judges will think that we’re wrong,” Brackner said. “It’s more about us convincing our point that we’re right.”

According to Littleton, the complex issues change each year. This year’s issue dealt with rangelands, which presented a challenge for all teams because there are no rangelands east of the Mississippi River.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s website defines rangelands as lands on which the native vegetation is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs or shrubs suitable for grazing or browsing use.

Certain problems the team was tasked to find solutions for were those that they would find if they were resource managers for a 16,000-acre state park in Idaho.

Some of the problems included E. coli in the streams of the water, preserving a rare plant on the land and a decrease in elk population.

“We were kind of his first seventh grade class,” Jerrett Posey said. “Now that we are seniors, we can definitely look back at the younger ones and see how the Thorsby attitude has started to change. We can walk down the halls and see it, especially here in the Ag department, that we can do great things.”

The success of the Thorsby FFA program continues to create interest among students looking for ways to get involved.

“There are so many contests,” Jerrett Posey said. “If you have any interest in plants, animals or outdoors in general, there’s a contest for you.”