McNeese Hosts FFA Career Development Event
On March 10, high school students from all over Southwest Louisiana visited the McNeese State University farm for the Area III FFA Career Development Event hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The event featured contests in dairy foods, floriculture, meat identification, nursery/landscaping, poultry judging and veterinary science. Students were tasked with examining, identifying and judging samples and specimens from their content area, as well as taking a written test.
“All of these contests are here to educate students on real industry,” says Dr. Chip LeMieux, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Students doing meat identification, for example, look at different cuts of meat and judge the classes of retail cuts, as well as assign a quality grade to the meat. This replicates what people who work in this industry do.”
Kevin Moreau, an agricultural science teacher at Comeaux High school in Lafayette, says that these events represent a way for students to apply their learning outside of the classroom.
“Students are learning this as part of their curriculum in the classroom and these events extend their knowledge into more hands-on type applications,” he says. “That’s what makes it fun, too, as students can get outside and see the real deal and not just talk about it in class.”
Moreau, who graduated from McNeese in 2006 as the university’s first agricultural education major, says it also gives students the opportunity to see what McNeese has to offer.
“A lot of these kids have toured campus, but they’ve never seen the outskirts, so it lets them see the meat packing plant in Lacassine or Fuller Farm and different aspects of university life at McNeese.”
LeMieux says that this event also gives students the chance to meet McNeese faculty and current agricultural sciences majors, many of whom have participated in events like these in the past.
“McNeese has several collegiate FFA officers that make connections with high school students throughout the state,” he says. “So students come here and see these officers helping out, many of whom a year or two ago were in their shoes. Students have the chance to talk to them and hear about how great the programs are at McNeese. It’s really a tremendous opportunity for students to network with us and for us to reach them. I’ve had more than one student approach me and tell me that they’re looking forward to making McNeese their first choice.”
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