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RIVER FALLS

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will host the 56th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest on campus Saturday, April 2.

The Agricultural Technology Contest includes a series of career development events hosted by the UW-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) that allow Wisconsin and Minnesota FFA members to showcase their knowledge by participating in a variety of contests.

The contests focus on agricultural communications, agricultural mechanics, agronomy, dairy cattle evaluation, farm business management, floriculture, food science and technology, forestry, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, middle school agriscience, nursery/landscape, soils, veterinary science and wildlife.

CAFES expects nearly 1,000 students this year to compete in 18 different contest areas. UW-River Falls coordinates the Wisconsin FFA state contests for agricultural communications and food science and technology. First-place teams will advance to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in October.

Seven of the events also serve as qualifying contests for the Wisconsin FFA Association Career Development Events (CDE) set for April 29 in Madison. These events include agricultural technology and mechanical systems, dairy evaluation, floriculture, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, wildlife and veterinary science.

Unique to the Agricultural Technology Contest, UW-River Falls offers an agricultural education event that provides the opportunity to better comprehend the teaching and learning process, foster leadership and communication skills, and allows students to practice teaching. Students also have the opportunity to compete in the 37th Annual Crop Show. Competition areas in the crop show range from oats to soybeans to the longest ear of corn.

Another highlight of the contest is the Power Tool Drag Race. The event changes the type of tool used when building a vehicle and that makes the contest unique from year to year. The race encourages students to use their problem solving, creative design, research and development and engineering skills.

This year students must power their vehicle using a 120-volt router and must try to achieve a target race time of 5.5 seconds. The UWRF Agricultural Industry Club sponsors and coordinates this event.

Each year it takes more than a hundred volunteers to ensure successful contests. Faculty and staff from the CAFES serve as chairs for each of the contests. CAFES students volunteer their time as student chairs and assist on the contest day.

Tyler Foote, an agricultural education major from Brandon, is this year's contest coordinator. Madeline Bode, an agricultural education major from Cassville, is assistant coordinator. Professor Tim Buttles serves as the faculty chair for the contest and Fay Westberg, academic department associate, assists with overall contest preparations.

Since the CAFES first began in 1912, it has transformed from having one and a half educators running the program to now offering 12 majors and 14 minors. As more areas of study have begun to be offered, such as agricultural engineering, dairy science and horticulture, the prestige of the college has also grown. CAFES has consistently earned itself a ranking as one of the top undergraduate agricultural programs in the United States. Although UW-River Falls enrollment has changed over the past 103 years, our dedication to our students, our passion for teaching and our desire to help our students fulfill their greater purpose has always remained the same.

For more details about the contest, visit http://www.uwrf.edu/AGED/CDE/AgriculturalTechnologyContest.cfm or call Westberg at 715-425-4731.

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