Students visit Chilton for FFA competition (with photo gallery)

The safe tractor driving competition was just one of the events held in Chilton County on Friday as the FFA held its central district eliminations. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

The safe tractor driving competition was just one of the events held in Chilton County on Friday as the FFA held its central district eliminations. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

The FFA Central District Eliminations were held for the third time in Chilton County on Friday.

“The main thing facing agriculture today is the education to the general public of how important it is,” Central District Specialist Andy Chamness said. “If we’re going to feed the multitude in 2020, we’re going to need these young people come into the farming world. This is a step on that path.”

Chilton County was represented well with many students of county schools performing well and receiving high scores in several events.

According to Chamness, there are about 100 agriculture teachers from the 37 schools that make up the state’s central district.

Together they form 84 FFA chapters. An estimated 900 to 1,000 students from about 70 chapters participated in Friday’s competitions

“Each year that it’s been in the county, it has just gotten better and better,” Chamness said. “It has always gone smooth.”

The competition offered a variety of events that were designed to test the farming skills of each student. Events were scored to reflect both team and individual success.

“We had everything from prepared speaking to livestock and poultry evaluation,” Chamness said. “It was a full gambit of contests that went on in the area today.”

Each team went to an event and then separated into whatever specialized stations the individuals were performing in.

Certain events required judges to keep score as competitors completed various segments, while a written test was required for other events.

“This is a great way to recruit agriculture teachers and someone that can carry on that tradition,” Chamness said. “I would put FFA’s leadership up against any other group in the world.”

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver and Chilton County Superintendent Tommy Glasscock each spoke on the town’s behalf during the opening ceremony.

“It seems like it gets larger every year,” Driver said. “Whether it is your first time or your last, it is always special.”

Glasscock thanked his time as a member of the FFA while a student at Jemison High School and noted how fitting it was that the competition is held in Chilton County since it is the top fruit-producing county in the state.

Chilton County senior Zach Owens displayed his skills in the safe tractor driving while Jemison eighth grader Colin Tillery competed in the safe compact tractor portion of the event.

Owens took up the tractor contest after it was recommended by his trade school teacher. He competed in the county tournament earlier in the year and advanced to the district competition.

“You’ve just got to do the best you can to not hit the cones,” Owens said.

Results included:

Chilton County High School

•Second as a team in agricultural mechanics.

•Fourth as a team in Forestry.

•Andrew Evans finished eighth in forestry.

•Bailey Price finished ninth in forestry.

•Second as a team in small engines.

•Tanner Jones finished first in small engines.

Thorsby High School

•Second as a team in livestock.

•Jerrett Posey finished third in livestock.

•Kailey Acreman finished sixth in livestock.

•Carson Littleton finished eighth in livestock.

•Second as a team in poultry.

•Jack Parnell finished second in poultry.

•Adi Argent finished seventh in poultry.

•Caleb Langston finished 10th in poultry.

•Fifth as a team in small engines.

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