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Taylorville FFA Chapter Wins Big at National FFA Convention

This story courtesy of farmweeknow.com:


The Taylorville F-F-A Chapter and some of its members, were big winners at the National F-F-A Convention in Indianapolis late last week.


The chapter itself won the presigious National Award called "Strengthen Ag."


And, 2 members, Abby Norris and Abby Erlenbush, won the Ag Science Fair Social Science Award.


Chapter member Jay Bliler also won First Place for a project on the rate of iron in his family's water supply.


“Our farm actually has really bad iron in the water, so we wanted to filter that out and see if that would help weight gain and the effects were very positive from that,” Bliler told FarmWeek. “I am excited to see what I can do (with producers) and help others with my research.


Bliler has done other proficiencies in animal systems, including a project testing the effectiveness of enzymes in unzipping macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats to make them more available for calves and decrease deficiency.


Bliler was part of an agriscience fair finalist project with his partner Drew Mickey, examining the impact of egg powder on 160 head of Angus and Holstein bottle calves.


The two said they were inspired to start the project after worrying calves being bought from sale barns might not always receive the necessary amount of colostrum.

“We wanted to make sure that they had the antibodies to fight the diseases that they could get on our farm,” Bliler said. “This powder actually has those antibodies that would be provided through the colostrum and that way we can feed those antibodies to those calves, and we can decrease death loss and increase weight gain and health.”


Mickey said the team hypothesized the egg powder would work but they did not know the extent of improvement.


“Our hypothesis was proven correct, to an even bigger extent than what we might have thought firsthand because the calves that had the egg powder weighed 15 pounds on average per calf than the calves that did not receive egg powder,” Mickey said. “We think it could really be a big thing because health is obviously an important part of raising cattle and it is hard to maintain health during the calf stage.”


Both students expressed how much they enjoyed their project, working with industry professionals and most of all working together for three years.


“I think the number one thing for me is just that I’m thankful for all of the experiences that everybody can provide and everything everyone has done for me … it really does take a community to make good people and I am thankful for the investment of our community into our chapter,” Bliler said.

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