FFA advances to IndianapolisPublished 6:50pm Sunday, March 18, 2012
When it comes to breaking down agricultural issues, no one in the state does it better than members of the Cassopolis Future Farmers of America team.
The Cassopolis FFA’s Agricultural Issues team, which includes two Niles High School students, finished first in a state competition held during the Michigan FFA Convention March 7-9 at Michigan State University.
The win means Niles High’s Anna Benjamin and Libby Hein will travel with their teammates to Indianapolis this fall to compete in the National FFA Convention.
Other members of the winning team were Cameron Hayden, Courtney Kuemin, Malika Malik, Desirae Massey and Emily Waldschmidt.
The last time a Cassopolis FFA Agricultural Issues team won state was in 2009, according to Cass FFA coach Carrie George.
For the Agricultural Issues competition, teams were judged on their ability to discuss and argue both sides of a controversial topic in agriculture.
The Cassopolis team tackled the issue of whether or not proposed child labor regulations have gone too far. George said the U.S. Department of Labor is proposing changes that would make it unlawful for children under the age of 16 to perform hazardous jobs on the farm.
“As they began researching it, they realized what a big impact it could have on not just them, but the entire agriculture industry,” George said.
Teams were not supposed to argue one side or the other. Instead, they were asked to argue both sides and let the audience decide for themselves.
George said the Cassopolis team did a good job of that.
“Our kids researched a lot and did a good job of digging out all the details and all the different perspectives on the topic, and I think that is what edged us in the finals,” she said.