Gretchen Lee — Staff Writer
After weeks of late-night preparations, a four-hour drive, and two full days of competition, the Dordt Agriculture Club returned victorious from the Professional Agricultural Students (PAS) Conference.
On Tuesday, February 4, eighteen members of the Dordt Ag Club travelled to Ames, IA, to participate in a series of agricultural-related competitions. These contests covered areas such as Livestock Specialty, Impromptu Public Speaking, Dairy Specialty, and Employment Interview. Students faced the challenges of the competition by drawing upon their ag knowledge to solve problems and demonstrate their prowess in their chosen area.
“The competitions challenged me but were not extremely difficult,” said freshman participant, Emma Zwart. “It was just a good opportunity to learn and practice skills.” Zwart was a member of the Dordt Sheep 2 team and a participant in the Employment Interview competition.
Katie Bush, a freshman member of the Dordt Beef 2 team and a participant in Impromptu Public Speaking, felt similarly. “As a freshman, the content was a little hard, because we haven’t learned a lot of the specifics yet. We are only in the 3,000 foot animal science class, so we haven’t gotten into the specifics of feeding and stuff yet.”
While this competition focuses on skills-building, there are other benefits to attending PAS.
“I enjoyed getting to know Dordt students better. My favorite part of PAS was watching Dordt do well in almost all of our competitions and seeing teams and individuals excel,” said sophomore Dordt Beef 1 team member, Mariah Posthumus.
The teams from Dordt did indeed excel at PAS. In the Specialty Livestock competitions, the Beef teams placed 1st and 5th, the Sheep teams placed 1st and 2nd, and the Swine team placed 3rd. The Soil Science team also placed 2nd.
The individual competitions also went very well for Dordt competitors. In the Agricultural Education competition, Jacob Van Der Wilt earned 2nd place. Brayden Konynenbelt was the 1st place winner in Agricultural Sales. In the Vet Tech Specialty competition, Katia Sytsma placed 6th. In the career planning competitions, Hannah Baljeu was 2nd in Agriculture Education.
In the Employment Interviews, Gretchen Lee was 2nd in Agriculture Education, and Joslyn Fousert was 1st in Crop Production. Karibeth Englesma, Micah Kooiman, and Kalli Moser also swept the Job Employment: Dairy Production category, taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively. Joeli Haan, Mariah Posthumus, and Adri Tilstra took the Employment Interview: Feeds and Animal Health category by storm, placing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. In Job Employment: Livestock Production, Aubriana Vander Woude was 2nd, Emma Zwart was 4th, Tim Guse was 6th, and Levi Larson was 11th.
In the Precision Ag competition, Kallin Crile placed 11th. Katie Bush was 4th in Impromptu Public Speaking.
The Dordt Ag Students felt that it was an overall very successful week, both in terms of the competition, and in the relationships they built.
“I had a blast. I got to know more people and develop connections within the ag community,” said Zwart. “Working as a team on the case study and the presentation, I got to work with people that I haven’t worked with before and explore topics in an industry that I have been in my whole life.”