More than 1,600 high school and middle school students from all over Montana will descend on Bozeman and the MSU campus Nov. 11-13 for the 10th annual Montana Future Farmers of America Ag Expo.
The Expo has been sponsored by John Deere Dealers since it started 10 years ago, according to Katharine Taylor, office manager for the Montana FFA Foundation.
These three days will see FFA events at the MSU SUB, the Gallatin County Fairgrounds, and the MSU BART Farm at South 19th Avenue and Garfield.
“We wanted to bring together something practical for the students. It’s an opportunity for the students to get together mid-year before the state convention.,” Taylor said.
The public is welcome to observe these three days of workshops and competitions, she added.
When this first started 10 years ago, there were “just a couple workshops,” she said. “This year we have 26.” They run the gamut from livestock judging to soil management and horsemanship to public speaking and farm management.
Events also includes leadership workshops, poultry contests, dairy production and science, extemporaneous speaking, ag career options with industry representatives, and tours of MSU research and academic facilities. The speaking contests are all at the SUB.
Students also will compete in various FFA activities, such as quiz bowls and livestock judging competitions, which will be hosted both on campus and at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. There’s an equipment driving contest Friday at the Fairgrounds, after a morning of instruction with hands-on experience in ag and construction equipment.
The expo is the result of a partnership between the university, Montana John Deere dealers – C&B Operations, Frontline Ag Solutions and RDO Equipment Co. – and the Montana FFA Foundation. The foundation supports 100 FFA chapters across the state. Its mission is to cultivate partnerships, and secure resources for ag education and opportunities for students.
The Expo is largely a volunteer-run event, requiring hundreds of judges and volunteers to put on the 25 career development events.
The FFA expo’s career fair is Friday, Nov. 12. More information on the career fair is at www.MontanaFFA.org.
The FFA Expo piggybacks on MSU’s Ag Week.
Saturday, the Bobcats take on Idaho at 1 p.m. for their last home game of the season. “We even managed to set aside some game tickets for the FFA’ers,” Taylor said.