CADOTT, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – This week, students from across the nation will be heading to the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention and Expo in Indiana. First News at Nine’s Michelle Stangler hears from Cadott FFA members who will be competing.

After winning the State and Regional FFA Agronomy Career Development event this spring, the four-person team from Cadott will now take on the national contest. It’s the first time in over 10 years the local FFA chapter has competed at the national level.

Some of the things the team does includes identifying different elements. Team member, Henry Danielson, explains, “We have to ID insects, diseases, different crops and weeds, including their plants and their seeds. And then there’s also general knowledge about different parts of agronomy, like soils. It can get pretty difficult because I think there’s a list of 150 that we have to pick from for the crops.”

Members say the event also helps them learn as they compete. Nick Goettl says, “I’ve learned a little more about, like, how I can help on the farm, like find out what needs to be sprayed or what the animals might need to keep them good and healthy and help conserve the soil and prevent erosion.”

Some of the team members have been competing at the regional level for over five years. Goettl says, “My ag teacher said ‘You’re doing this’ and I’m like okay, I’ll consider it and as the years went on, I’m kind of happy I did.”

The team members’ goals were to compete at nationals, which led to many weekly and daily practices. Cadott FFA Advisor, Keith Becker, says, “Career Development Events, I always think are a really good option for kids because number one, it teaches them how to work as a team. With this group in particular, they were a fun seventh-grade group.”

Goettl adds, “It’s a pretty eye opener for like careers, that you want to see. It’s a good way if you’re thinking about going into a ag-related career.”

Some team members have graduated, and some are seniors at the high school. Becker says, “If any of these young men wanted to go into agronomy, they probably would have a job because there’s a need for agronomists.”

Goettl adds, “I mean, I’ve had a job offer, kind of, in Ag Agronomy.”

Overall, the FFA advisor says he sees this as an opportunity to grow their skills for life, “FFA provides students with the opportunity to basically develop their leadership, career knowledge, social skills and it enables them to travel to meet new people and really creates well-rounded individuals.”

The coach’s hope for the team is to have fun and learn, “I hope they enjoy their time together, that they kind of remember this as a great experience.”