Students in Mount Si’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program took home top honors and several awards at the Evergreen State Fair in August and the King County Fair in July for the goats and rabbits that they raised over the summer.
“They all did extraordinarily well,” said Amy Graham, an agriculture education teacher at Mount Si and advisor to the FFA. “In past years we’ve done well, but not this well.”
Throughout the summer, the students — Rebecca Glover, James Graham, Greg Graham, Elena Rourke, Jack Hawkins and Landon Martinell — were in charge of taking care off their Nigerian Dwarf Goats. This included, training them, milking them and trimming their hooves. The students also studied different breeds, diseases and parts of the animals.
In July and August the students entered their animals in fair competitions, with each student winning at least one top honor. At the fairs, the goats are judged in several categories based on the species of the animal.
For some classes the goats have to be in milk, meaning they recently had kids and are being milked twice a day, and are judged on their utters. In other categories, goats are judged on how well they are able to produce dairy, or on showmanship, which is based on the exhibitor and how well the animal is trained and presented.
At the King County Fair, in Enumclaw, Graham said one of her favorite moments was watching James, and his goat Violet, win the Royal Critter award, after writing an essay and presenting photos of the animal. Graham said this is the first time Mount Si has won the award in many years.
At the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Glover won the senior showmanship competition, which is a higher level of competition, for both rabbits and dairy goats. This allowed her to become the first round-robin participant in Mount Si history.
In the round-robin event, all of the senior grand champions for the species compete and they each have to show 10 different animals. Each student has to get to know the other students and ask about their animal prior to showing them.
“These kids work really hard. There’s a lot of knowledge that goes into showing these animals,” Graham said. “It’s hard to explain to someone off the street what goes into this, it’s lots and lots of dedication.”