On the first Saturday of February each year, the Arbuckle Chapter of Future Farmers of America welcomes hundreds of their brother chapters from across the state for the annual Arbuckle FFA Agriculture Technology Field Day.
In the 22 years since its inception, the event has grown from just three competitions and a handful of students participants to more than 1,500 students from 108 schools competing in the 18 contests held during this years installment.
According to Arbuckle FFA Advisor Cindy Rohde, FFA Chapters from as far way as San Luis Obispo and the Oregon state line were in attendance. Local FFA Chapters from Willows and Princeton were in attendance as well.
Alli Lux, senior at Pierce High School and co-chairperson of the event, said the event is held each year to allow FFA members to compete in a variety of agriculture related competitions including small engines, veterinary sciences, horticulture, ag business, job interviews and a dozen of other skill sets.
New this year, competitors faced off in the Ag sales competition which challenged the contender selling skills in a mock business transaction, said Lux.
All of these competitions can sure work up a hunger so Rohde said they provided a free tri-tip sandwich lunch to everyone in attendance, a staple of the event that everyone loves year after year.
Rohde said she helped pilot the field day over two decades ago after her former students had the idea to host their own on the way back from a field day hosted by a local college.
“They wanted to have their own field day just to give back,” said Rohde.
Since then, the annual event has been entirely facilitated by the student members of the Arbuckle FFA Chapter.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Rohde. “The kids run everything. I am just the mother hen, overseeing things.”
While the students line up all the necessitates for the field day, Rohde said the school district and the community of Arbuckle have been a huge help with the event throughout the years.
“It’s like a big family,” said Rohde. “The whole town really gets involved.”
Rohde said the event teaches her FFA students great leadership skills and prepares them for the real world by getting them out of their comfort zone while they connect with the many people that make this event happen each year.
“The kids always keep that feeling of giving going,” said Rhode. “They continue to want to serve the community and what better lesson could I hope they learn?”