By Scotta Callister
HARPER – In its first year, Harper School’s agriculture and FFA program have taken root, and teacher and advisor Kristy Riggin says she expects it to grow even more next year.
Last week, Riggin’s Ag and FFA teams tested their skills and found success at the Snake River District Livestock Judging competition in Caldwell, Idaho. The event, put on by Treasure Valley Community College, drew teams from schools with long established programs – including those from Vale, Ontario, Nyssa and Adrian.
The competitors judged beef, pigs and sheep for market, as well as some for breeding.
Harper’s Advanced FFA took first place, with Shayla Joyce earning high point honors for team and district. The beginners group took third, and Trevor Fugate had high point for the team and second highest for the district.
It was a strong showing for a young program. The Harper district hired Riggin, a first-year teacher, to teach social studies but also to launch agriculture courses at the school.
The ag program started this year with two classes that drew 11 students: five of them – four freshmen and one sophomore – also joined the new FFA chapter.
She estimates the ag classes may draw 16 students next year – and the FFA program could double to 10 or more participants.
Riggin said this year’s classes focused on introductory material, but she plans to go into more depth next year in both plant and animal sciences, plus some business aspects.
Both groups of students have participated in projects and competitions this year, and they will be even busier next year, she said, with more competitions, activities, and fundraising.