Over 20 junior and senior Warwick Valley FFA members participated in this year’s Orange County Fair. Members created two blue ribbon displays, exhibited plants, vegetables, wood, and welding projects, and participated in ten different competitions.
One of the chapter displays showcased native plants and told of the advantages of planting them, including their role in sustaining the local ecosystems. The other chapter display involved wood pallet projects which made up a waterfall and surrounding woodland. FFA members grew plants, vegetables, and forage crops in both the greenhouse and at the sites of their Supervised Agricultural Experiences (places of employment and internships). Other wood and welding projects included a chicken coop, animal cutouts, bluebird houses, and repairs to farm implements.
The competitions are agriculturally significant including dairy foods, vegetable identification, tree identification, conservation, horticulture identification, wildlife identification, field and forage identification, junior and senior tractor driving, and small engine troubleshooting. The Quaker Creek Store in Goshen, NY prepared samples of milk and cheeses for students to smell, taste, and identify. Vegetable plants were provided by Alex Ronne and Erin Ackerly and other local individuals. Trees that were identified included those which grow natively in Orange County.
The Conservation competition consisted of a true and false test examining student’s knowledge of the role of plants and animals in the ecosystem. Horticultural plants included those commonly planted in local landscapes.
Pam Golben, wildlife rehabilitator, provided specimens for the wildlife identification competition. The field and forage competition included plants grown for animal feed and weeds that may be found growing alongside of them.
Paul Ruszkiewicz and Jeff Colgan judged the two levels of tractor driving competition in which students had to drive a course which included backing up a landscape trailer. Glen Ehlers provided a troubleshooting scenario for the small engines competition and students worked in pairs to get the engine running again.
FFA members would like to thank parents and other volunteers for assisting with setting up the competitions, providing donations, grading tests, and transporting projects to the Orange County Fair. Members enjoyed the newly renovated Orange County Fair during the time between their competitions and the presentation of ribbons. They also enjoyed receiving their prize checks in the mail.
For more information about the Warwick Valley FFA program, send an email to FFA advisor Nancy Colgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.