FORT SCOTT — Aggie Days has been a tradition for Fort Scott Community College for as long as the college has had an agricultural department.
"For the last 33 years, we’ve hosted this interscholastic event," said Ryan Edgecomb, an agriculture instructor at FSCC. "We pull schools from the Four State area."
He said quite a few schools attended from Arkansas, as well as several from Oklahoma and Missouri with Kansas schools still making up the majority.
"We’ll have close to 1,500 students there today," Edgecomb said. "This makes us one of the larger Aggie Day events in the Four State Area."
Students traveled from as far as three or four hours away to test their knowledge and skills in the fields of agronomy, entomology, farm management, floriculture, food science, livestock, meat, milk quality and products, nursery and landscape, poultry and speech.
Edgecomb said it is fitting for a school like FSCC, with a nationally competitive agriculture department of its own, to host the event for members of Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs.
"Our ag department is big enough at FSCC, it’s a stamp of who we are," he said.
Justin Petty, a freshman at Chetopa-St. Paul, said he was one of 20 students from his school and spent his day doing dairy judging and food science.
"It teaches people how to learn about agriculture," he said of the event.
Petty added that there are plenty of facts an average person might not know, such as how many stomachs a pig has.
Petty said he doesn’t enjoy tests, but hopes the day’s work will turn out well.
"I hope I did good," he said. "I’m not really fond of tests."
For students like Petty, the Aggie Days event also can be their first taste of college, and it is not common for participants to eventually continue on to FSCC.
"We obviously do get some ag students from this event," Edgecomb said, adding that it also is not uncommon for students studying other subjects, such as English, to have first visited FSCC through Aggie days.
"Those kids are preparing for life and preparing to be consumers and so on," Edgecomb said. "This is good practice."
Jason Larison, ag ed instructor at Holton High School in Northeast Kansas, helped facilitate the nursery landscape contest and said some students may continue into the business and others will want to know what to look for their own properties, but that the skills developed are universally applicable.
"I think they’re critical thinking skills," Larison said. "It exposes them to things they might not do so well to begin with."
Results of the competition are available on the Aggie Days Web page at www.fortscott.edu/students/activities/aggiedays/results.aspx