SPRINGFIELD — The numbers are in and confirm that the 65th edition of the Wilmington College Aggies’ annual Judging Contest was a record-breaker in attracting 1,608 participants from Ohio and three neighboring states on March 1. Numbers eclipsed last year’s 1,600 competitors.
Billed as the largest judging contest east of the Mississippi, the event gave high school 4-H, FFA and vocational agriculture students the opportunity to hone their skills in judging agronomy, equine, dairy and general livestock in anticipation of this summer’s county and state fairs and other judging contests.
WC senior Aubrey Schwartz, a Miami Trace High School graduate, is the Aggies president — and current Ohio FFA president. She commended all those students from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana who competed in the venerable contest named in memory of the late Harold Thirey, the former agriculture faculty member and Aggies’ adviser.
“This year’s Judging Contest was an impressive showing of young people involved in the future of agriculture,” Schwartz said. “We are incredibly grateful to all those who traveled to compete in our contest. Each year, we seek to improve and make it more competitive and beneficial for the competitors.”
The team and individual winners were General Livestock — Ohio Valley team and Quentin Derrer of Hamilton Heights FFA; Equine — Firelands team and Linzy Weyhmeller of Clear Fork FFA; Agronomy — Miami Trace Great Oaks team and Madelyn Zimmerman of North Union High School; and Dairy Cattle — Fairbanks team and Aubree Topp of Botkins High School.
The Aggies’ Judging Contest is a hands-on learning experience for not only the high school students but also for the Aggies, who run the show. They secure the animals, organize the logistics and get the word out to Ohio and neighboring states’ schools, 4-H groups, FFA members and vocational agriculture classes.
Wilmington College’s Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree program features concentrations in agricultural business, agronomy, animal science, equine business management, agricultural communications, agricultural education and a new concentration in resource conservation & regenerative agriculture. WC also features an ag-related concentration in food policy and agriculture advocacy housed under political science. The College offers minors in agriculture, equine studies and sustainability.