The blue jackets are coming! Nearly 4,000 high school students from across California — many of them wearing their blue FFA jackets — will gather at UC Davis this Friday and Saturday (March 6 and 7) to participate in the university’s 44th annual Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day.
“Field Day is a wonderful opportunity for students to come to campus and compete in some very interesting topics that are so important in agriculture today,” said Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which hosts the popular event.
Field Day will feature 25 contests in areas like livestock judging, veterinary science, milk quality, computer applications and much more. The competition tests practical skills like welding, wiring and setting proper tire pressure on a range of farm equipment, as well as critical thinking and public speaking.
Some competitors go on to study at UC Davis
“This competition really opened my eyes to the world of plant sciences,” said Marie Swain, a former Ag Field Day competitor who is now majoring in environmental science and management at UC Davis.
Student Shelby Light decided to major in managerial economics at UC Davis after competing for years at Ag Field Day.
“Seeing how well the event was put on made me realize that the type of organization this college offers was exactly what I needed and wanted in my life,” Light said.
The Field Day competitors are 4-H and FFA students from high schools mostly in California and a few schools in Nevada. The students will participate in other agriculture field days at other campuses over the next several weeks, leading to state and national championships this summer.
“The UC Davis Field Day was always my favorite contest of the year,” said Catherine Renner, now a nutrition major at UC Davis. “I was always super excited for this event.”
Hundreds of UC Davis faculty, students, staff and community members volunteer to make the event possible.
“Field Day lets us show our support for prospective students, future leaders and the entire agriculture industry as we work together to feed the world,” said Sue Ebeler, associate dean of undergraduate academic programs and professor in viticulture and enology. “We welcome our friends in blue!”
“FFA” used to stand for Future Farmers of America. But since FFA members aspire to be teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners, farmers and more, the group switched to just the acronym in 1988 to reflect the growing diversity and opportunities in the agriculture industry.