Key Future Farmers place high in contests Team ranks third at Louisville expo NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge

November 18, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

In yesterday's Carroll County section, Matt Griffin, a student on the Future Farmers of America dairy-judging team, was incorrectly identified.

The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

For the Francis Scott Key Future Farmers of America dairy judging team, success breeds more success.

The four teens, who won the state dairy judging contest last summer, took third place among 23 teams at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 8.

Five days later, the group received a silver award and placed 16th out of 45 teams at the National FFA Convention in Kansas City, Mo.


"Whenever we win the state, we try to go to the Louisville invitational for practice," said Key's FFA adviser. Joe Linthicum. "This year, it just happens that they fell one right after the other."

The team -- consisting of sophomores Jeff Fritz and Susie Speak and seniors Matt Riffen and Marie Speak -- was required to judge six classes of dairy cattle and rank the animals.

The students also had written tests to select a sire for breeding from pedigree descriptions, and were required to decide which animals were the best producers and should remain in a herd.

"We had a blend of youth and experience," said Mr. Linthicum. "I'm real pleased with their effort. They can hold their heads high and be real proud."

"Two years ago, [the Key team] got a bronze and this year there was a silver," he said. "I hope that we can [take another team] back again and get a little higher."

Students are only allowed to compete in a specific category once, so these team members will have to take a different route to get to the national convention again, Mr. Linthicum said.

Individually, several team members fared much better. Jeff received a gold award for placing in the top 25 percent of the contestants. Marie won third place overall for oral reasons.

The oral reason portion of the competition is where contestants must justify why they ranked the animals the way they did.

"It was actually a tie for second," Marie said. "The competition was very different from others that I've done, so I'm real happy with the way I placed."

Both she and Jeff said they were not used to the management quizzes and sire selection exercises. In fact, Jeff said he felt the written exercises were unfair.

"The quiz doesn't have anything to do with actually judging cows," he said. "If it was a junior dairyman's competition, like they have at the state fair, I could understand it being there. But this was a cattle judging contest."

Nevertheless, the students said they had a good time and were happy with their results.

Marie and Susie both received silver awards for placing in the top 50 percent, and Mark received a bronze award for placing in the top 75 percent.

"I was very pleased," Marie said. "With this being a national contest, we placed 16th out of 45 and I was tickled with that. Everybody put their best foot forward, and you can't ask for more than that."

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