Exeter FFA citrus team blossoms in winter contests

Individual, trio and overall team of Exeter ag students take home top ribbons for citrus judging


EXETER – For the past month, a group of Exeter High School ag students have toured local groves and nurseries, practiced for hours in a classroom, and traveled the county competing against other FFA chapters with a good deal of success.

The citrus judging team is made up of Brian Dreyer, Grace Jardon, Hayli Limon, Lainie Shields, Mikayla Daniels, DeAnna Harden and Haylie Chavira and is coached by Dan Crookham.

The team traveled to Porterville for their season-opening contest on Jan. 6 and finished in seventh place. The experience paid off and when the team competed at the Golden West contest on Jan. 13. The field was deep with 17 “A” teams and 24 “B” teams for a total of more than 175 FFA members competing from across the state.

Grace Jardon was the highest placing Monarch; she finished second overall in the “A” contest.

With assistance from her teammates that day, Hayli Limon and Lainie Shields, the Exeter FFA trio finished in fourth place and took home many ribbons for sub-contest placings. The “B” team was made up of Haylie Chavira, Mikayla Daniels and DeAnna Harden and their scores were good enough for a mid-pack final placing in the crowded contest.

On Jan. 20, the team traveled to Tulare to participate in the Tulare FFA contest.  The team took home second overall in a contest with 120 competitors.

In preparation for their competitions, the citrus team has practiced at the school farm grove, the neighboring Ward Ranch, the Dreyer Ranch, and was hosted to a tree practice at McEwen Citrus Nursery by owner George McEwen.

The Monarchs continue their practice schedule this week and are looking forward to the Hanford contest on Jan. 27 and will compete at the state finals contest at Fresno State University on Feb. 3. The Exeter FFA wishes to thank those who have supported their practices with donations of fruit, trees or time.

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