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Ag Department chairman serves as judge at FW Livestock Show

by Darin Allred | Feb 11, 2013

FORT WORTH - A North Central Texas College agriculture instructor was picked to serve as a judge for a new event at the Fort Worth Livestock Show recently.

Steve Keith, who chairs the agriculture department at NCTC, was selected to judge the Junior Agricultural Mechanics category at the prestigious livestock show.

The National FFA Agricultural Mechanics Career Development event is designed to recognize students who have developed the competencies necessary for success in the constantly-changing workplace. Emphasis is placed on the way in which students work with others, access information, solve complex problems, select and appropriate technology and apply the principles of science.

Judges were selected from various industry segments such as John Deere, Lincoln Welding, Priefert Livestock Equipment and post-secondary education instructors with agricultural mechanics experience. Keith has taught agriculture mechanics at the community college level for 11 years and also instructed the welding labs at Tarleton State University as a graduate assistant.

This year's contest, the first such event in this category at the Fort Worth Livestock Show, featured 358 entries representing 105 schools or counties.

There were a lot of variation in entries with such items as gates, BBQ smokers, flatbed trailers, aluminum cattle and horse trailers, handmade saddles and knives, goat walkers and treadmills, chicken tractors, utility trailers and many other items built by students.

The category that Keith judged was Livestock Equipment.

"I looked at the design of the project, quality and specifications of construction, functionality and attention to detail in the overall finish and appearance of the final project," Keith said. "Students also had to present a binder which was also part of the judging process. These binders were to include their blueprint drawings, bill of materials, photos representing start to finish as well as any MSDS sheets on the paint or other chemicals that may have been used during construction."

Students were competing for $75,000 in cash and prizes.

Judging the event also gave Keith the chance to network with other agriculture instructors and meet students who might be interested in attending NCTC.

"It was a great opportunity to interact with vocational agriculture teachers, parents and prospective students from across the state," he said.

For more information on the Agriculture program at NCTC, contact Keith at 940-668-7731 Ext. 4353 or by email at skeith@nctc.edu.