Today@Sam Article

Ag Mechanics Students Place First At National Judging Conference

May 24, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

NACTA Conference By Nhi Nguyen

The North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA ) annual judging conference presented 17 different agriculture-related judging events in April. At the NACTA in Modesto, California, four gifted SHSU Agricultural Mechanics team members had the opportunity to represent the school and took first place in the four-year university division. All students are rooted in Texas with Jonas Middleton from Katy winning first, Jayce Morgan from Pearland taking second and Wyatt Duhon of Alvin and Darrel Cihal from Ganado earning third and fourth places, respectively.  

“There were universities from all around the country participating in the event,” Middleton said, “It was a great networking opportunity with people from many colleges and universities in Texas because that's where agricultural machinery is most prevalent.”

According to Middleton, around 10 other colleges and universities from throughout the nation competed against SHSU’s Ag Mechanics team. Everyone who participated and competed in the program was invited to a banquet that was hosted after the competition.

The trip was an opportunity for the award-winning students to explore the Flory Industries facility, which produces and services harvesting equipment for commodities such as almonds, pecans and walnuts in Modesto. The business owner personally gave the students a tour of the fabrication, painting and assembly facilities. Furthermore, the team members were shown around the Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery in Walnut Creek, where they might view a display of drought-tolerant plants. The Ag Mechanics team members then had a chance to watch the Oakland Athletics play the New York Mets at the Oakland Coliseum.

SHSU’s Ag Mechanics team would like to express gratitude for the generous support provided by the Department of Agricultural Sciences Ag Development Fund, SHSU Ag Alumni and SHSU AET club. Their sponsorship has enabled the award-winning students to cover the expenses associated with travel and entry fees, allowing them to participate in this event. The students deeply appreciate the sponsors' commitment to their success.

“Our professors here teach us how to take on admirable leadership roles. We are receiving highly extensive education in all facets of agricultural engineering, including hydraulics, welding, electricity, tractors, etc.,” Morgan said. "The Ag Engineering department makes me feel at home and like I have found my people."

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