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Cherokee and Timberlake FFA members compete in competition

Three students from the Timberlake FFA Chapter placed third overall at the 2020 American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Livestock Handling Contest held at Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City Dec. 11. Joel Pecha, Ethan Jenlink and Jacob Diller competed against other FFA students from across Oklahoma to claim a top spot at the statewide contest.

Three students from the Cherokee FFA Chapter placed sixth overall at the Livestock Handling Contest. Drake Williams, Brant Failes and Abby Guffy competed against other FFA students.

Sponsored by American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU), the annual competition showcases the skills of young 4-H and FFA members in practical, real-life cattle handling scenarios, such as weighing for accurate dosage, vaccinating and tagging calves in a hydraulic chute. Contestants are judged on skill, accuracy and efficiency as they process the animals. 

“While stress-free processing has always been a goal of good cattlemen, proper and efficient handling has become even more important in the modern age of livestock production,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “With an increased need to diversify herds, producers can now expect cattle of all ages and backgrounds to be sent through the chute. It’s vital that young producers understand the needs of each animal.”

The annual contest begins with a written exam that measures students’ knowledge of livestock handling practices. At the state level, the competition emphasizes the application of classroom study to actual agricultural production scenarios. In order to excel, students must take knowledge out of the classroom and apply it in a real world situation.

“The industry needs young producers more than ever,” said Blubaugh. “We hope this contest encourages young producers on their path to becoming full-fledged cattlemen and cattle women. This is a noble profession to pursue. We want them to know we’ll be supporting them every step of the way.”

For more information on the AFR Livestock Handling Contest or other AFR/OFU-sponsored youth events, contact interim AFR/OFU Youth Coordinator Jim Pilkington at 918-830-0017 or

AFR/OFU Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR/OFU provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR/OFU principles.

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