Farm­ing­ton FFA Team Sec­ond In Na­tion

THOU­SANDS OF HOURS ‘WORTH IT’

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — When it comes to west­ern Wash­ing­ton County, FFA poul­try judg­ing teams know what they are do­ing.

The Farm­ing­ton FFA Poul­try Judg­ing team of sib­lings Jor­dan Horn, Seth Horn, Kate­lynn Horn and mem­ber Emily Spatz fin­ished in sec­ond place at the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Oc­to­ber.

Lin­coln’s FFA Poul­try Judg­ing Team brought home the na­tional cham­pi­onship in fall 2017.

The Farm­ing­ton stu­dents won the state com­pe­ti­tion in April out of 24 teams and this qual­i­fied them to ad­vance to the Na­tional FFA Con­ven­tion & Expo held the week of Oct. 22 in In­di­anapo­lis, Ind. Only the state win­ner is able to com­pete on the na­tional level.

In In­di­ana, Farm­ing­ton’s team com­peted against 39 teams in the 2018 FFA Poul­try Judg­ing Ca­reer De­vel­op­ment Event. They had to

judge poul­try on sev­eral dif­fer­ent lev­els.

“It’s a com­bi­na­tion of look­ing at eggs, live birds and poul­try prod­ucts and eval­u­at­ing them for qual­ity,” said Seth Horn, a se­nior at Farm­ing­ton High School.

Jor­dan ex­plained that the team looks for de­fects, such as miss­ing parts and dis­jointed bones, “any­thing that’s not good for a cus­tomer to have.”

For ex­am­ple, one part of the judg­ing is a plate with chicken nuggets, wings and drum­sticks. The stu­dents looks for any de­fects in those chicken prod­ucts, any burned ar­eas or miss­ing bread­ing.

They also must look for any for­eign ob­jects placed in the prod­ucts. Things such as pen­nies and feath­ers have been found in chicken prod­ucts dur­ing a judg­ing com­pe­ti­tion, Jor­dan said.

Along with judg­ing poul­try, the stu­dents take a writ­ten test on a man­ual that is sev­eral inches thick. The test is chal­leng­ing be­cause the man­ual is 180 pages long but only 30 ques­tions are on the test.

Jor­dan and Emily, both fresh­men at the Univer­sity of Arkansas ma­jor­ing in poul­try sci­ence, fin­ished a four-year ca­reer to­gether as mem­bers of the Farm­ing­ton FFA Poul­try Judg­ing team. They fin­ished in third place at the state com­pe­ti­tion their fresh­man and sopho­more years, were in sec­ond place their ju­nior year and then topped off their se­nior year with first place at state and sec­ond place at na­tion­als.

Over the four years, the young ladies com­peted in 43 dif­fer­ent con­tests and placed in the top three 30 times. Their other team mem­bers dur­ing the four years in­cluded Joseph Welsch, Au­tumn Gregg, Jef­fery Jones, Madyson Bar­num, Seth and Kate­lynn

For FFA event com­pe­ti­tions, team mem­bers are ranked as in­di­vid­u­als and each FFA chap­ter en­ters the con­test ranked as a team. Team scores are an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of in­di­vid­ual scores.

At the na­tional con­ven­tion, Emily Spatz had the third high­est in­di­vid­ual score for poul­try judg­ing. Jor­dan fin­ished sixth and Seth Horn came in eighth place in­di­vid­u­ally. Kate­lyn Horn was in the top third.

The Horn sib­lings are the chil­dren of Ron­nie Horn, Farm­ing­ton High FFA spon­sor and agri­cul­ture teacher. They live on a farm with lay­ing hens and broil­ers.

“We eat a lot of chicken at our house,” Jor­dan said.

Seth said be­ing on the same team with his sis­ters and all liv­ing un­der the same roof can be an ad­van­tage.

“When we were not do­ing home­work or sleep­ing, we were study­ing,” he said.

Horn was proud of his Farm­ing­ton team. He said they worked hard to be com­pet­i­tive at the state level and then at the na­tional level. Horn said the kids were some­what dis­ap­pointed they did not fin­ish in first place but they were close.

“They’ve worked thou­sands of hours,” Horn said. “It’s all worth it.”

He points out North­west Arkansas is the tough­est re­gion in the state for poul­try judg­ing teams.

“Our state con­test is very tough. If you win there, you’ll be com­pet­i­tive at the na­tional level,” Horn said. “In Arkansas, there are six or eight schools that are good ev­ery year.”

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Farm­ing­ton FFA’s Poul­try Judg­ing Team came in sec­ond place at the na­tional con­test in Oc­to­ber in In­di­anapo­lis, Ind. Team mem­bers are Seth Horn, left, Emily Spatz, Jor­dan Horn and Kate­lynn Horn.

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