The nearly 15-acre FFA plot maintained by the Northeastern Wayne FFA in Wayne County on land provided by the school corporation serves several purposes. It helps Northeastern Wayne FFA fund activities throughout the year. But it also serves as a teaching lab for high school students and FFA members.
"Whenever we harvest the test plot, we bring several students, often our FFA officers, to help in the process," says Jason Roll, FFA advisor at Northeastern Wayne, "Several seed reps are here, and we always have two weigh wagons, one on each end of the field. We had 40 hybrids in our plot this year, and we used a check hybrid as every third entry.
"What the students get to do is pull samples for moisture, run the moisture in the moisture tester and measure test weight," he says. "The seed reps watch to make sure they do it right, but they don't interfere with the students so that they can learn how to do it. Usually we have a couple students who have done it before, and they teach our younger members how to do it."
Once measurements are taken, students calculate yields. Then another student enters the data into a computer program. When the plot is finished, each seed rep who had entries in the plot receives a copy of the computer-tabulated results, corrected for moisture. The reports are prepared by the students.
Some of the students have farm background, but some do not. It's much more than a day out of class. The seed reps see to it that the students weigh and record each entry properly on standard test plot reporting sheets provided by the seed dealers.
"It's a really good situation because everything is donated. We have the money we need to operate our FFA for the year," Roll says. He would like to especially thank all the seed reps who help, David Newman for use of his machinery, and Harvest Land Co-op who donates fertilizer and chemicals for the plot each year.